“What a crock.” Amy Stark kicked her well-worn boot at the rear tire on her truck, which was now flatter than a pancake. “Damn you anyway, Matthew Stark.”
If her brother and her best friend weren’t off on their honeymoon, she’d really be mad at them. But she’d been so glad to see them married that she’d readily agreed to attend this cattle auction. She just hadn’t expected her truck to get a flat tire out here in the middle of godforsaken nowhere.
There was a jack in the bed of the truck, but at five foot two and one hundred ten pounds she knew she didn’t have the strength to do what was needed to change the tire. She pulled out her cell phone and rechecked the bars. Only one, and barely visible. Of course. It stood to reason she’d break down where there was no reception and damn little traffic. She thought about kicking the tire one more time, but all she’d do was hurt her foot and it wouldn’t solve any problems.
Sighing, she checked her watch again. Twelve thirty. The cattle auction would start in half an hour and she still had a twenty-minute drive to get there. And the whole reason for her going was to bid on a bull Matt had specifically wanted and told her how high to go.
When she heard the rumble of a truck coming down the road, she thought she was having auditory hallucinations for a moment. But then, sure enough, a hulking black pickup came around the curve not half a mile away, driving as if it owned the highway. Hoping it wasn’t a sex pervert or a murderer driving, Amy waved her hands in the traditional motion for the driver to stop.
The pickup slowed, came to a stop about six feet from her and the driver’s door opened. And Amy nearly swallowed her tongue when she saw what climbed down to the road. At least six feet of honking sexy man, his tight butt clearly outlined in his jeans, broad shoulders stretching the fabric of his shirt, traditional Stetson clapped on his head. He turned and walked toward her with the typical loose-hipped stride of the seasoned cowboy. His face was tanned, accented by dark brows and the blackest eyes she’d ever seen. His lips were curved in a smile that could have melted her panties if she let it.
He surveyed her truck with its flat tire. “Looks like you’ve got a problem here. That’s some big truck for a woman your size to handle.”
Amy felt her temper spiking. A woman her size? Big truck? She jammed her fists onto her hips and glared at him. “I’ll have you know I drive this truck all the time. I just…just…had an unexpected setback here.”
The man laughed, a rich, deep sound. “I’d say so. Where you heading?”
She waved down the highway. “There’s a cattle auction not far from here. I was supposed to be there a while ago.”
“Oh? Taking something to your boss?”
To her boss? Holy shit. Who was this cretin? A relic from another century? She ground her teeth, hard, but decided arguing with him wouldn’t get her anywhere. If he’d just help her get the damn tire changed, she’d be on her way. Probably never see him again. Which under other circumstances might not be too bad. But right now she was having too much trouble controlling her temper to worry about other physical reactions.
“I just need to get there.” She found a pleading smile from someplace and pasted it on her face. “Is there a chance that you could help me? Do you have the time?”
“For someone as pretty as you, I think I can make the time. Where’s the jack?”
As pretty as her? Was this guy not the biggest chauvinist in the world? She was waiting for him to call her little lady.
She chuffed out a breath. “In the bed. I’ll open it for you.”
Still keeping herself under control, Amy unlocked the truck bed and raised the cover lowering the tailgate.
“I can take it from here,” he told her and handed her is Stetson. Black, like his truck and his clothes.
Amy was sure her back teeth would be ground to dust by the time she got her tire changed, but she couldn’t afford to annoy him. She just stood to the side, holding his hat like some hat rack or bimbo, while he expertly loosened the lug nuts and pulled off the flat. She’d never seen her savior before, so she glanced at the door of his truck to see if it had a ranch logo on it, but the panel was bare. Of course that meant nothing. She’d didn’t have Stark Ranch on hers either. It was too new.
At last the tire was changed and the man tossed the flat into the truck bed. He pulled a handkerchief out of his back pocket, wiped his forehead and his hands and retrieved his hat. He moved with a relaxed, effortless ease, yet there seemed to be a contradictory fine line of tension running through his body. As if he had to be wary at all times. What on earth was that all about?
“Thank you.” She held out her hand to him. “I really appreciate this.”
His hand nearly swallowed hers, the warmth of it seeping into her system. With great determination, she ignored the tingles that shot up her arm and spread throughout her body.
I’ve got to get out more.
“My pleasure.” He winked at her. “Hope you get to your boss in time.” He started to walk away.
“I’ll be sure to tell him what a help you were.” She couldn’t keep the edge of sarcasm out of her voice.