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Lydia's Twin Temptation(Divine Creek Ranch 8)(3)

By:Heather Rainier

After unlocking the car, she plopped into the driver’s seat and stuck the key in the ignition, wondering what felt “off” about Gunther this morning.

Turning the key, all she heard was, “Errrrt.”

“Don’t say that Gunther, baby.” Sometimes it helped to sweet-talk him a little.

With the sinking feeling that something was really wrong, she turned the key in the ignition once more.


“Oh, no. Come on Gooonther,” she begged, drawing his name out like a porn star. “Give it up for me, baby.”

“Er–er,” he replied negatively. She pulled the key out of the ignition and lifted herself from the seat, suddenly realizing what was wrong. In the dark, she hadn't noticed. This day was going to hell already.

She gasped in dismay when she saw the damage done during the night. Her tires had been slashed. Going around the car, she could see all four of them were gutted.

Now she wasn’t even at square one anymore. Less than zero. She felt like fate was determined to keep her in this town. She balled up her hands and stomped her feet angrily.

“Motherfucker,” she growled to herself.

Something went, “tsk,” beneath the engine door at the rear of the car.

She patted the engine door and said, “Not you, baby. It’s not your fault.” She looked around, wondering if anyone was watching her have a chat with her car. It was dark outside and all the motel room lights were still off.

Removing her phone from her purse, she dialed Mr. Cortez’s cell phone number. LuAnn’s biker boyfriend was in town, so she would be getting a ride to work on his Harley. Simone walked to work because she lived only a block away. The boss himself was her only solution.


It didn’t surprise Lydia when the rude bastard answered his phone this way. She’d had to quickly adjust to his abrasive ways because the waitress position at the café he managed was the only job she could find.

“Mr. Cortez, I have a problem. My car has been vandalized.” She didn’t mention that the car also wouldn’t start because he’d probably just yell at her for not having his cousin start the work yesterday when she’d had the chance. He’d probably throw in that it wouldn’t have gotten vandalized either.

Grudgingly he said, “I’ll be over in a minute. Be outside. Don’t keep me waiting.”

“Yes, sir.” She stuck her tongue out at the phone after he hung up on her and then slipped it into her purse. She locked up Gunther and then leaned against him to wait. The temptation to call her brothers was almost more than she could bear.

Rubbing her hand over her arm in self-consoling gesture, she wondered why someone would slash her tires. Fort Stockton had not been the easiest place to live, but she didn’t think she’d made any enemies. Her only real friends were the two waitresses she worked with and the café’s cook, LaMont. She also wondered if the robbery of her motel room and vandalism of her car were somehow connected.

After rubbing her hand over the silver bracelet, Lydia reluctantly removed it. Mr. Cortez did not like them wearing jewelry to work. On top of that, he’d been affronted when Chance Carlisle had dared to have her open the gift containing the bracelet while she waited on him at the café counter.

Mr. Cortez stared at Chance whenever he came in. Lydia thought that was very peculiar but had reasoned that he was a crotchety old man and maybe his gout or his hemorrhoids were bothering him. In either case, the job at the Oasis Café was her only way out of Fort Stockton, so she’d better play by the rules.

Unlike a lot of people she knew, she’d come to appreciate the beauty of the West Texas landscape. She’d done a little exploring on her few days off and had found some beautiful areas away from town and the interstate that almost made her stint in this part of West Texas bearable.

Mr. Cortez pulled in behind Gunther and rudely honked his horn even though she was standing right there. She did her best not to react to his tacky display and pulled open the door on his beat-up Ford truck.

“Good morning, Mr. Cortez.”

He grunted and put the truck in gear. He’d told her repeatedly to call him Ruben, but she’d preferred keeping it a little more formal with her boss. She hated accepting a ride from him because it would lead to him being more familiar with her today, crossing the boundaries of employer-employee status yet again. She’d be willing to bet he’d make free with his hands, touching her oh, so casually until she told him to back off.

“I need you to cook this morning. LaMont has to take his mother to the doctor.”

Her gut clenched because she didn’t make as much money cooking as she did waitressing, even though she much preferred to cook. Because she was fast and gave friendly service, her tips regularly represented more than half of what she earned. She bit her lip and said, “Yes, sir.”