Prelude 2 Pleasure: Ride Shotgun with trucker Mike Masterson
Climb on up in the cab and ride shotgun with cowboy trucker, Mike Masterson, as he catches his first glimpse of "cutie" Veronica Torres.
Widow Veronica Torres needs something desperately—invisibility. Escaping the clutches of her conniving brother-in-law and traveling incognito in the RV she traded for online sets her on a collision course with her new destiny, and a barreling fiery-red 18-wheeler.
Trucker Mike Masterson steams at the close call. First, he nearly sideswipes her. Now, she ends up at the same rest stop with mechanical trouble. Maybe, she deserves to sweat it out in the June heat since she has the attention span the size of a pea. But, the child in her company deserves better. What else can Mike do besides cart them to his garage for repairs?
Will their burgeoning relationship ignite more fireworks than the upcoming Fourth of July celebration? Or will the sparks of six nights and seven days of summertime sizzle—fizzle to an end?
Mike Masterson's Prelude to Pleasure
"My name is Mike Masterson." His baritone voice increased in volume to be heard over the thumping sound system. "But, you can call me Snake. That's my CBhandle. I drive this 18-wheeler for a living." He thought for a second. "That's not quite true. I used to drive cross-country long haul for a living. That was before I had to stop to raise my kids."
Mike shook his head.
"Hmph..."he grunted, while shoving the shift into the next gear."...that's a story for another time."
He went silent, briefly glanced at the pinkish scars on his brown hands, repositioned in his seat, then, started his conversation, again. "I don't usually allow anyone to ride shotgun. Doing this gets my company a little publicity. So, here you are."
"I own a business with a small fleet of trucks that crisscross the U.S. Had a scheduling glitch this week that forced me to make this short hop." He diligently monitored the road as he talked. "Man, I miss this. Been doing it since after college. Couldn't stand being cooped up in an office."
He accelerated to the speed limit and stuck to it.
"This can be a dangerous business. Got to be on your P's and Q's at all times. There's always some irresponsible jerk on the road out to jam you up." Speedskater's glasses cut the glare as Mike checked his left and right outside mirrors. "Like the A-hole in that sports car eating up the road behind me."
He looked to his left, again.
"He can't pass," he grumbled. "But, what do you want to bet that he'll squeeze between that car in the left lane and my front bumper?"
The words hadn't cleared his mouth as the driver of the sports car did exactly what he predicted. Mike eased off the accelerator to make room in order to avoid a catastrophe. "I've seen it too many times. And—usually—truckers get the blame."
He resumed his journey in silence. However, another incident instigated another observation.
"Look at that RV up ahead. That's the second time he's crossed the centerline. Probably texting."
It wasn't long before Mike gained on the motorhome. "Hell! He's like the tide, rolling back in my lane, again." He attempted to get by. "Can't brake or downshift. Might jackknife my flatbed."
Only one thing for him to do. Mike yanked on the chain over his head with his left hand. The quad-tone horn blasted a gaping hole in the atmosphere with an unmistakable warning.
"That did it. Look at that rascal haul-ass back to his lane." He was satisfied with the other driver's reaction. "Stay where you are, fellow."
Passing was sweet as pie. Mike spared a look as his fiery-red truck whizzed by.
"Damn! She looks scared to death."
He put the pedal to the medal, keeping tabs on the RV until it was a speck in the distance. The upcoming rest stop sign was a welcome sight because he had been on the road since before dawn. Taking the exit, he snaked his way up to the lot. Soon, he parked his rig, leaving the AC humming while he stepped into the sleep quarters to change from his sneakers to his reptile-skin cowboy boots, and snatch up his crushable Stetson.
It wasn't long before Mike relaxed with his newspaper spread out on a picnic table. He barelyn oticed when an RV crawled across the lot to park on the far side. The pages slowly flipped as he thumbed each one. He was too engrossed in his paper until a blur streaked by in the corner of his eye. Mike looked up just as a big red ball rolled across the green grass heading straight for a departing 18-wheeler.
A youngster, in blind pursuit, hightailed it after the ball.
Mike wasted no time, forgetting all about his fatigue. He leaped to his feet and was swiftly on the run for a man six feet four inches tall, his arms flagging overhead. He barely got there in time to avert the disaster by stopping the truck's progress. Fuming, he mentally scolded the negligent parents. The tot now held on to his ball. He let Mike hold his other hand to usher him and his dog along to safety.
Scanning the area gave him an idea where the child belonged.
"I've seen a lot of strange things in my travels. Never have I seen anything like that."
He paused to watch the woman's derriere as she crawled along the roof of the RV. She suddenly looked his way and their eyes locked. "Now, you look familiar," he said, thoughtfully. "And you're a cutie, too."
Her eyes zoomed to the child.
"Samuel!"Mike heard her scream.
She tackled the ladder with such fury the fasteners at the top popped loose from the RV. Quickly, Mike covered her son's eyes to shield him from the unsettling spectacle as the ladder bent perpendicular to the RV and she hurdled downward. Her unconcealed panic weighed heavily on Mike as she squeezed her eyes shut.
Yet, to his amazement, her collision with the hard earth never happened for the ladder held at that point. He made it over to her just about the same time she opened her eyes to discover her close proximity to the ground and thudded the rest of the way. By this time, he towered over her where she lay, gasping for breath, on the ground.
"Need help?" Mike couldn't help the chuckle at her acrobatics. His anger of minutes ago all but disappeared.
Her answer to him was a strident command. "Take your hands off my son!"
"I'll take that as a "no", he intoned and stomped off, leaving the little boy in the care of his seemingly ungrateful mother as she struggled to her feet.
Check out Mike and Veronica.