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Dance In My Heart

Chapter Seven

The drive back to the reservation seemed to take less time than when she first arrived. Candice pulled her rented Corsica into a parking space in front of Hawk’s office. Her eyes fell onto the bright red Indian motorcycle parked horizontally directly beside the building. How had she missed it earlier?

It didn’t matter, really. What mattered was she didn’t want to say good-bye to Hawk. Her stomach clenched with remembered passion.

“Here we are.” She couldn’t bring herself to look at him.

“Yeah, here we are.”

She reached into her satchel and removed the books. “Thanks for letting me photocopy these.” She handed him the books and his hand brushed against her fingers as he took them from her. Heated shockwaves raced up her arm and settled with tingling intensity in her breasts.

Please, don’t say it? Don’t say good-bye.

“I’m glad I had a chance to see you again. I really am sorry about the way I left.”

“I’m glad too,” she whispered before clearing her throat. “And please, stop apologizing. You didn’t do anything wrong.”

He offered her a tentative grin. When he leaned toward her, her breath caught in her chest. Was he going to kiss her?

Please, let him kiss her. An instant later, he shoved open the car door and climbed outside. Leaning into the window, he stared into her eyes. “I’m glad I know you, ozawahn weenessisee.”

She didn’t have time to answer before he disappeared into his office building. Her heart shattered into pieces, searing her from the inside out. She already missed him.

The sigh trapped in her lungs finally escaped. Dwelling on the impossible would get her nowhere. She should have learned that lesson when she and her husband called it quits. She thought she had, until she met Hawk.

She turned the ignition key, telling herself things would be clearer in the morning.

The engine stuttered, then died. She pumped the gas pedal twice, then tried to turn it over again. A clicking sound echoed through the cabin. She backed off and tried again.

More clicking.

This time, the clicking slowed, until, when she tried a third time, nothing happened. No click. No roaring engine. Nothing.

Great. Now what?

She leaned her forehead on the steering wheel and glanced sideways at the red brick building.

~* * *~

The clock ticked time away as if nothing mattered. Maybe the clock was smarter than him, but Hawk couldn’t shake the feeling he’d just thrown his whole life away. She was probably half way back to her hotel by now, he smiled ruefully. The way she drove, that might not be an exaggeration.

Actually, only ten minutes had passed since he left her in the car. He already regretted not kissing her. He wanted to taste her again. He needed it.

Unable to concentrate, he packed several files into his black leather backpack and shut down his computer.

He didn’t even have a picture of her, he sighed. Damn, but he was a wimp. His own thoughts sounded like the idiotic, pubescent ramblings of his boy’s group.

Get over yourself. She probably won’t even remember your name next week. He threw his pack over one arm and headed out of his office.

“I wouldn’t ask, but my cell phone died, and I just need to call a tow truck.”

His head snapped up at the sound of Candice’s voice in the lobby. His feet carried him swiftly in her direction of their own accord. She spoke with Celeste, looking a little sheepish and entirely beautiful.

“You won’t get one to come out here this late. At least, not for a tow clear into the city,” he answered. “What’s wrong?”

“It’s officially dead, I think. I’m no mechanic, but at the very least, the battery is dead, and I’m not real keen on driving half a day on borrowed power.”

Were the spirits trying to tell him something? Twice now, he’d left this woman and twice she’d come back through no design of her own. If he were his brother, Adam, he’d consult the spirit world. But he wasn’t a dream-walker, like his older brother. He was just a man with gut reactions. And right now his gut told him to not look a gift horse in the mouth.

“Well then, it looks like your stuck here. I have room at my place.”

Certifiably crazy. He really should seek help.

Still, he held his breath as he waited for her reply. She hesitated and then took a step in his direction. “Are you inviting me to spend the night at your house, Hawk?”

“Eya’. Yes.” His heart felt like it would explode. He tried to cover his anticipation by leaning easily on the counter.

“Are you going to be there when I wake up?”

“Wild horses couldn’t drag me away.”

“In that case, I’d love to.”

He felt like a little boy on Christmas as his mouth spread into a huge grin. He felt like dancing. “Good. Here, take this,” he handed her his motorcycle helmet. I only have the one, so you better take it.”

“Take it?” she quizzed him.

“Yeah. You wear it on your head,” he smiled. “When you ride on a motorcycle. You know?” He hinted with a fair dose of sarcasm.

“You want me to ride on the back of your motorcycle,” she replied.

He laughed at the inflection in her half-statement, half-question. “Of course. How did you think we would get there?”

Her eyes widened for a split second before she squared her shoulders as if she prepared for battle.

“Have you never ridden on a bike before?” he hedged, taking her elbow and leading her toward the door.

“Well, sure,” she cleared her throat. “I mean, the kind you pedal. The ones that go really slow and don’t take high-octane.”

“Well, then, Candy. You’re in for a treat,” he smiled as he pushed open the glass door.

The wind had picked up in the last few minutes. Dark clouds circled on the horizon. The whipping snap of the American Flag on top of the building cracked like a bottle-rocket above their heads.

“You better grab anything you need out of your car. You can put some things in the saddlebags on my ride.”

Candice had ridden in a tank once. She’d flown on a zip line in the Amazon, stood twenty feet from the edge of a live volcano and once, she’d even scuba dived with a Great White Shark. But she’d never had the nerve to climb on the back of a motorcycle.

Insane. She thought she’d be terrified, but instead, her lips spread into a wide grin as she lifted her laptop and camera from the backseat of the car, locked the doors and pocketed the keys.

A very few minutes later, her items stowed neatly in black leather satchels covered in silver tooling and fringe, Hawk lifted one leg over the seat of the bike. He lifted the heavy machine with apparently little effort and settled it between his muscular thighs. She closed her eyes as her stomach shifted against itself. An image of his naked, sinewy flesh flashed in her mind. Her trepidation about riding behind him wasn’t the only thing making her palms sweat.

She took a hesitant step forward.

“C’mon. Don’t sweat it. I only live about three miles from here,” he prompted. “Put the helmet on, and let’s go.”

“You’ll go slow, right?” she squeaked as she slipped the black life-saving device over her hair.

His muffled reply never reached her ears as he kicked the very loud engine to full vigor. She climbed on behind him, found purchase for her feet and wrapped her arms around his leathered torso. Here we go. She closed her eyes as tightly as she could manage without making herself dizzy.

The bike’s vibration shimmered through her as he turned them away from the building and onto the road. He slowly crawled toward the stop sign, then turned left and increased speed. Hopefully, the terrified squeal she released became lost in the roar of the engine and the howling wind.

She cracked her eyes open as her confidence increased. So far so good.

Suddenly, her own concerns scattered.

The images flashing past her tore at her soul. They had entered a residential section of the reservation apparently, and the condition of the homes amazed her. And not in a good way. Sad houses, mostly single wide trailers, sat haphazardly behind sagging chain link fences. A few of them boasted front porches, no more than stoops really, made from weather-damaged particleboard. The remaining tenants had stacked railroad ties or bricks to act as steps to the solid metal doors. Broken windows looked like crying eyes as the homes stared back at her.

Unhappy with the direction of her thoughts, she turned her head to face the other way. The opposite side of the street proved no better.

Hawk made another left, then a right before he slowed to a stop in front of a newer doublewide. He cut the engine and swung his leg over the bike in front of him, leaning his rear on the seat as he smiled in her direction.

“You can let go now.” He laughed.

She hadn’t realized she still clung fiercely to him until he pointed it out. She chuckled at herself as she let him go. Then she reached up and took off the helmet.

“That wasn’t so bad, now was it?”

“I suppose not. You didn’t kill me, anyway,” she replied reluctantly.

“Let’s go see what Jake made for dinner,” he smirked as he pushed himself off the seat and helped her dismount.

He lifted his pack and her belongings from the saddlebags in one strong hand and escorted her to the front door. His free hand pressed against the small of her back and tendrils of heat bore through her.

Was she insane to spend the night here? Intelligent and worldly, she knew what would happen tonight. She doubted seriously if he intended her to sleep in a guest room. She answered her own silent question with a resounding “probably”. But she didn’t care. Her body already responded to the erotic thoughts running through her mind.

He opened the unlocked door and ushered her inside. The neatly appointed living room into which she entered screamed, “Men live here.” Instead of a painting over the fireplace, an electronic dartboard hung over a collection of darts. The oversized sofa and twin chairs-and-a-halves looked comfortable and welcoming. The big, flat screen television nearly covered an entire wall as it tuned in a professional basketball game.

“Come on, you asshole! My grandmother could have made that lay-up,” a man shouted from a battered recliner.

Candice jumped at the unexpected voice, placing a hand to her chest.

Hawk sighed and shook his head. “Candice, meet my brother Jake.”

 

©2006 Romance at Heart Magazine.

Book ©2003 by Margorie Jones.

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