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Lydia's Twin Temptation(Divine Creek Ranch 8)(9)

By:Heather Rainier

“Why did you take my things?” She slapped her hand on his desk to get his attention. A terrible thought occurred to her. “Did you slash my tires, too?”

He seemed to come back to himself and slammed his mouth shut, but he still held her underwear in his hand. The urge to beat on the disgusting lecher was almost undeniable. Strong, warm arms circled her waist unexpectedly, but not in a way meant to restrain her. It felt more protective than anything else, and then she heard a gentle voice murmur in her ear.

“Baby, Simone told me she called the police. I came when I heard you yelling. Let the police handle him.” Chance’s West Texas accent comforted her in a way nothing else ever had.

She’d been on her own this whole time in Fort Stockton, and to allow someone else to help felt foreign. She allowed him to pull her behind him. LaMont, LuAnn, and Simone stood in the kitchen waiting. The dining room lights were all dimmed, which meant the customers were all gone and the front doors locked.

Chance spoke to Mr. Cortez. “Don’t move from your seat and don’t bother trying to hide the evidence, you pervert. I knew something was off about you from the moment I first saw you.”

The Fort Stockton police arrived a few minutes later. Her friends showed them what they’d found, and Lydia explained what she’d seen him doing when she walked in on him.

Mr. Cortez seemed to crumble under the questioning and accusations as the arresting officers placed him in handcuffs. He mumbled, “I knew she would leave. I didn’t want her to go. I had to stop her from going. She is my light.”

“Your light?” LuAnn asked with a derogatory snort, then stated, “When someone is ‘your light’ you don’t work them like a slave and treat them like shit on your shoes, you asshat. Tell them what you did to her car, too.”

Mr. Cortez was crying by the time they hauled him out the back doors. His declaration that he considered her his “light” made her shudder in disgust.

Chance stroked his hand up and down her side as the police officers moved around them doing their jobs.

One of the policemen who had come to her motel room the night before spoke to her. “Ms. Webster, we’ll get the evidence inside the truck processed as quickly as possible. I know you’d like your clothing and possessions back as quickly as possible. If you’ll give me your number, I’ll be in touch when they release them. It shouldn’t take long.” The friendly police officer went back to his job, and Chance smiled at her. She tried to smile back, but it felt weak.

Chance asked, “Want to go take a break? We can get some ice cream at Sonic and talk while you wait.”

LuAnn must have overheard because she piped up. “Sweetie, LaMont called the café owners in Alpine. They’ll be here in a few hours. We’ll get everything sorted out in the morning. LaMont told them what all happened to you and said he was giving you tomorrow morning off since you worked for him this morning. I’m sure it won’t take long at all to get all your stuff back. Why don’t you go take a break?”

She hugged LuAnn and Simone and went inside to get her purse. When she came out, Chance was talking to them, and they both grinned at her as they waved good night and moved off.

Chance smiled at her and gestured to his big, black Dodge Ram dually in the parking lot. “Your chariot awaits, pretty lady.”

She chuckled and smiled at his words, but the last thing she felt right now was pretty, unless it was pretty exhausted. The sandwich had helped, but the drama of the last few minutes had drained what little strength she had left. She looked at her watch and grimaced. It was nine o’clock. Her workday had been more than fifteen hours long, all of it on her feet, which ached like crazy.

Chance offered her his hand, which she took for the very first time. His palm was rough as her fingers slid across it, and his hand felt strong and capable as it closed gently around hers. Heat warmed her cheeks that such a small, innocent gesture meant so much to her.

She walked with him to his truck and blushed a little hotter when she needed his assistance climbing up into the huge thing, tugging her skirt down when it rode up as she slid into the seat. He closed the door once she was buckled in, and she looked around the interior of the vehicle, which was fairly clean and smelled of leather.

Chance climbed up in the driver’s seat and started the truck. It rumbled to life, and Lady Antebellum’s “Just a Kiss” was playing on the radio. She sat in the seat as he put the vehicle in gear and the truck rolled over the parking lot to the exit. He pulled out onto the Interstate access road, and for a second she wished with her whole heart that the truck would take on a mind of its own, get on the highway, and keep on rolling away from Fort Stockton. Lydia imagined speeding away from there and never looking back, just leaving it all behind.