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Lydia's Twin Temptation(Divine Creek Ranch 8)(6)

By:Heather Rainier

As he was gassing up the big dually, Chance noticed there were lots of vehicles coming and going in the travel stop. After he’d spent some expensive, quality time with the fuel pump and his debit card, he went into the convenience store and bought what he would need for an overnight stay in a local hotel. He’d been so ready to get on the road, he’d hung his change of clothes in the back of the truck and forgotten to take the bag containing his toiletries. It was still sitting on his bed at home.

At least he’d remembered the gifts, he thought with a grin. Summer assured him the turquoise jewelry would send a clear, hopeful message, and he was praying that the book went over just as well.

He’d been a bit embarrassed to go back to Discretion and pick up another copy when he and Clayton had realized they’d put creases in the spine of the one she’d sold him. Thankfully, Rachel hadn’t batted an eyelash when he’d asked to purchase another copy of The Rancher’s Lady. Both gifts were tucked away in their wrappings inside the console, safely out of sight.

He checked his watch when he returned to the truck and decided it was time to head over to the café. Once there, he waited in the lobby with the rest of the crowd. The café was still busy, full to the rafters with diners. Chance could see over the lobby enclosure and caught a glimpse of her moving from table to table. Just the sight of her silky brunette hair was enough to make his heartbeat speed up and his cock take notice. She spoke to a customer and nodded then flitted away. Briefly, she moved across the room with the coffeepot and answered a customer’s inquiry. Even knowing her for as short a period of time as he did, Chance noticed the weariness in her stride.


Chance gritted his teeth at the sound of her boss yelling her name. She excused herself with a weak smile and rushed to the kitchen, where Chance could now hear her boss yelling. She returned a moment later with a tray full of steaming plates, her cheeks in flames. It was all he could do to sit there. The dominant urge in him was to provide a solution for her problem, which was obvious. There were three waitresses, who all looked dead on their feet, waiting on the entire café, which was too few for a crowd this size.

After about twenty minutes, the crowd of people in the lobby gradually dwindled down to a handful. He’d heard her name hollered so many times that he would’ve understood if she wanted to change it after tonight.

A seat at the counter finally opened up, and one of the other waitresses led him to it. The name on her tag read “LuAnn,” and he thanked her by name.

LuAnn winked at him and, with a West Texas twang in her voice, said, “I’ll let Lydia know you’re here, sir.” She started to walk away but then backed up and spoke softly to him. “Just so you know, Lydia’s been here since five thirty this morning. She worked through her lunch break to make up the tips she lost this morning because she had to cook. She hasn’t eaten supper so she’s starving, and she got robbed last night.” At his surprised reaction she nodded and continued, “And sir, I have a feeling the evening is about to get even worse, so your timing is the answer to prayer.”

That was a lot to take in at once, but the waitress had tables to wait on, so she smiled at him and went back to work.

“Lydia! LuAnn!”

Chance wondered if that son of a bitch had any idea how disruptive that was but doubted that the man cared. Lydia rushed by Chance, murmuring under her breath, “Coming, mein führer.” Chance covered a chuckle, but she glanced up in surprise as she passed him. “Oh!” Her tired but beautiful face broke into a smile that nearly blinded him. A soft blush tinged her cheeks as she said, “Hi. How have you been?” She seemed to visibly relax for the first time since he’d walked in the door.

He smiled back at her, thinking he must have a big, sappy grin plastered all over his face, and replied, “I’m better now.”

She glanced at the kitchen window and then said to him, “Give me one second to deliver these and I’ll be right back, okay?”

Chance nodded and watched as she loaded a giant tray with dishes and slipped past him at the end of the counter, winking at him as she flitted by.

“Simone!” Apparently none of the waitresses were immune to this guy’s brand of employee-employer relations.

Lydia returned with the empty tray and brought him a glass of iced tea, like always. She took out her order pad, and he noticed that her hands shook a little as she held it. As he placed his order, he glanced up and caught the boss man staring at him.

There were several things Chance wanted to do. First, he wanted to get up and let Lydia have his seat for a few minutes. Second, he wanted to place an order for her, so she could eat. Third, he wanted to know about all the things the other waitress told him, especially why her night was about to get so much worse. And fourth, he wanted to punch that bastard when he chose that moment to yell her name, “Lydia!” while she stood not four feet away from him at the other side of the pass-through window, causing her to nearly jump out of her skin.