Christian romantic suspense
She’s worth more to me dead than alive…
Devastated to learn her fiancé is nothing more than a con artist after her inheritance, Hope Pearson is seeking refuge at the Circle C ranch when her brakes give out, sending her careening into a gully and Caleb McBryde’s life.
Though her lines don’t appear cut, the ex Texas Ranger finds the circumstances surrounding her crash landing in Serenity Cove, Texas highly suspicious. For calamity seems to shadow the woman… One might say she’s an Accident Waiting to Happen.
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Copyright 2011 Trinity Hart
There was no screeching of tires, no horns bellowing in warning.
Just impact, the distinct sound of metal crashing in the rainy summer night, easily heard through the open bedroom window that drafted in humid air.
To the untrained ear, the sound might’ve been mistaken for thunder. But with twenty years in the force under his belt, a sleepless Caleb McBryde shot into preprogrammed cop-mode. Considering his newfound handicaps, he might be finished carrying a badge, could hardly be considered a superhero to the rescue. But someone out there was hurt, needed help. Badly, from the sound of it.
Heaving from bed, he tugged his jeans over his boxers, the speed he pressed for inhibited by the leg he practically drug behind him as he gathered his keys and hat. Samson, his collie pup, gave a, “Woof!” pouncing at his feet and attacking denim.
Caleb shook him off. “Sorry, boy. You can’t come along.”
A glance to the clock revealed it was ten past two in the morning. Who would be traveling at this late hour, this far out, was beyond him. Drunk teens, his guess. His brother Noah, Sheriff of Serenity Cove, had his hands full with ’em lately. Real shame, the recent problems the area was having with youths and dangerous partying. Good kids, mostly, but they were bored. Young and dumb.
God, he sent up a quick prayer, let them be okay.
Though he hated to waste time, there was no telling how long he’d be gone and Samson had an affinity for power cords. Cool sheets of rain gusted around him as he lugged the yet-to-be housebroken pup to the barn and locked him in a stall. Rushing in his awkward way, he limped to his truck and brought the rumbling engine to life, kicking up gravel as he hauled eight-cylinders down the long, lonely lane.
Minutes later, his headlights skated over a smashed-up car buried nose-first in a gully. Fear for whoever was involved washed cold over Caleb as he slammed on his brakes and thrust the truck into park. Need you now, Lord! Grabbing his heavy-duty flashlight, heart kicking into overdrive, he hopped out.
Rain besieged him, thunder cracking in the distance. From the looks of it, whoever had been driving lost control around the curve, sideswiped a tree and landed here. Drunk or high, not much debate about that.
Concern kicked in his gut as his yellow beam whisked across the car and he slid down the slippery embankment, utilizing his good leg. An American model, at least several years old, its white paint job now covered in mud, though the vehicle otherwise appeared well-kept. If he had to guess, he’d say it belonged to some punk’s clueless grandmother. “Hello there!”
He received no response as his flashlight revealed a mass of blonde ringlets pooled over the steering wheel. A lady, small in stature he gauged from the narrow slump of her shoulders. Could be a teenage girl. She wasn’t moving.
“Hey there!” Winging open the door with a creak, he placed his fingers to her neck, finding a steady pulse. As he did, she moaned and tried to lift her head. “Easy does it. Try not to move too much. What’s your name?”
“Hope.” She sat anyway, weakly pushing herself from the steering wheel and deflated airbag. “Oh, that smells.” Her fingers found the swelling on her face just beneath a pair of busted glasses, blood oozing from her delicate-looking nose. “Oh!” she wailed. “What happened?”
“You tell me, ma’am.” When she cast a pair of huge, confused eyes on him, he added, “You were in an accident.”
Talk about stating the obvious—either she had a concussion or she’d indeed blacked out on booze, though offhand she didn’t strike him as the drinking type. Nevertheless, in his previous line of work a man learned fast not to put stock in flowery dresses or innocent faces. After a while, enforcing the law made a man cynical—one part of the job Caleb wouldn’t much miss.
In any case, it was late, or rather, early. Pouring cats and dogs. Maybe she’d fallen asleep behind the wheel or any number of things. He’d best leave the judging to Jesus and concentrate on the rescuing.
“I’m going to call in your accident and we’ll see about getting you some medical attention.” He handed her his handkerchief. “Lean your head back and pinch your nose.”
With a stifled sob, she complied, tilting her head against the seat. “The car wouldn’t stop,” she explained nasally. “It just…” Fear sliced through her words. “It wouldn’t…”
Then she passed out.