Reclusive Mesha Rayburn's safe haven disintegrated when athletic Jack Connolly raced into her life. He was like an uninvited guest to her pity party. Yet, his brashness stoked her dormant emotions and injected spunk into her veins with every bated word. And-- calling the cinnamon-skinned Black woman "biggety" didn't help matters.
Mechanic Jack Connolly thought the trip down South to patch up and retrieve the bullet-ridden helicopter would be a pain. He never imagined the rhetoric becoming reality. But, thanks to Mesha's panicked outcry, it had. The pain radiating in his palm bothered him less than the one in his rear. Bold and beautiful, he had to know why she hid out in the boonies. As her transient tenant, he intended to find out at the risk of feeling the sting of her Louisiana Hot Sauce temper.
Burped, fed and ready to play, Mya was placed on a pallet spread out on the floor. Mesha sat cross-legged before her, the laptop screen staring at her like a big-eyed specter waiting to steal her thoughts. Writer's block seemed an inevitable outcome to the looming deadline for her latest manuscript. Too many distractions pulled her in too many directions. Her lids fluttered rapidly as her eyes magnetized to the cursor's hypnotizing blink. Her descent into oblivion, merely a few seconds in length, was substantial enough to jerk her awake in such a terrorized state she launched upwards and rocketed outside.
"Jack!" Her terrified shriek rent the air as she bolted blindly, thinking she had left her dog out too long. "Jack!"
"Sonofabitch!" a man's voice thundered as tools thudded to the ground at his feet.
The man repairing the helicopter missed his intended mark, stabbing the screwdriver into the fleshy part of his palm when he heard the panicked screams. Gushing blood required him to apply pressure to the area with the work rag as he bent his tall body to clear the undercarriage of the craft. The person he witnessed lurching toward him resembled a wild woman—one who teetered on the edge of sanity—as she zipped through the open field, thick hair flying every which way, evidently unaware of his presence.
"What?" he yelled while sprinting in her direction. Suddenly, he saw her cut away and make a beeline for the house.
He gave chase.
Mesha looked over her shoulder at the goateed and mustached man gaining on her, his forehead furrowed with more rows than her square foot garden—an admonition to beware. Studying the direction he came from spurred her to deduce the mechanic that was due days ago was finally on the job. But, as for his intent as he bounded after her? Her heart pounded loud enough to rupture her eardrums. Her refuge seemed to get farther away the harder she pushed. She tamed her hair for another quick glance that settled a foreboding in the pit of her stomach, for she realized he was swifter than she. That truth bore out as his long legs galloped in the hunt and a vise squeezed her upper arm, goading her to fight for her life.
"Stop hitting me!" he commanded, flinging the arm out that held her captive, the move dangling her about like a rag-doll. His eyes jumped from her to the weathered clapboard house in the distance where the burst of red foliage attracted him.
Mesha saw his distraction as her chance.
She wanted her freedom. Nothing else would do. So she attacked with all she had: kicking, biting, punching, scratching, stomping. In other words—street fighting. All of her efforts were for naught since his arm snaked around her body, constricting her intake of breath. The more she struggled, the tighter he compressed. Her feeble attempts to extricate herself turned her thoughts to Mya—all alone.
"The baby's in the house," she whimpered, cursing the fragility in her tone.
"I'm not going to hurt you, lady," he stormed. "Just stop mauling me."
"O-o-kay," she heaved, unable to control the panting while bent over the crook of his arm, her body gouged into his.
"I'm going to release you to turn around. Can you do that without a fight?" he questioned and received her positive headshake. He did as committed. "Turn around."
She turned all right and took off again, zigzagging across the field to throw him off.