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Chapter3Chapter Three

Chapter3Chapter Three

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Published by white lies
chapter 3 to A dangerous Love
chapter 3 to A dangerous Love

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Published by: white lies on Oct 17, 2009
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12/07/2009

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Chapter3Chapter ThreeIn every mirror, dust obliterated her past. The radio channel playednonsensical songs from the 60s in a barely successful mission to lift her
spirits. Ahead was nothing but a narrow dirt road lined with mature Oak treesand brush. Wildlife hid behind that wall of green, but it was too late in theday for them to be hopping out on the road. The evening sun made eerie shapesin the forested landscape. The clever cost savings idea of sleeping in the cardidnt sound so safe right now.
She was on the washboard ruts before she realized they were there. The rear endof the car danced sideways, bouncing like a horse kicking up its heels. She letup on the accelerator long enough to gain control of the vehicle. Somewhere upahead was a sharp turn. She applied the brakes and the dust cloud caught up,cloaking the road so thickly that visibility was down to the front of the car.For a moment she felt the dull aching pain of being utterly alone. Solitude hadalways been her friend. In fact she had avoided - even pushed away those whomight want to claim close friendship. Acquaintances were shallow and many, butif a person had one true friend in a lifetime, they were blessed. Connie was afriend like that.The sharp curve arrived before her memory of it. All her skills were occupiedsimply keeping all four wheels on the ground. The car weaved in a cloud ofdust, throwing gravel at the trees. She gripped the steering wheel as thevehicle plunged down a steep hill. Her heart attempted a painful escapethrough her throat. At the bottom of the hill a sharp turn waited. Beyondthat, less than three feet separated the road from the edge of a cliff. Onlylow brush could grow in so small a space . . . no trees to prevent a vehiclefrom plunging into the forested mountain ranges below and beyond.A scream caught in her throat as she frantically locked the breaks. The carspun around at the bottom of the hill, spraying gravel in a wild circle. Shehad a brief impression of a man on a horse, and then they were behind her. Shedesperately fought the steering wheel for control, but the car weaved all overthe road.The car made one more circle in the road and then lunged at the cliff. Overthe dusty hood, the yawning valley beckoned, and then . . . the sound of metalgrinding against rock. The car abruptly halted its progress, slinging Lisaagainst the steering wheel with bone jarring force. For a few moments the carhung there, the back half solidly on the ground, the front hanging precariouslyover the cliff. And then the car slowly tilted toward the gaping canyon below.Again it stopped.Paralyzed with fear, Lisa waited, expecting the car to slide over the edge. Sheclosed her eyes and prayed fervently. Only a few minutes ago she had flaunteddeath. In fact, she had spent the last two weeks wallowing in self-pity. Ifonly she could have one more chance.Possibly in answer to her prayers, the front of the car climbed into the air.Once again the rear end was on solid ground. She opened her eyes, afraid tomove or even take a breath. Her first instinct was to scramble to the back ofthe car and climb out. But if she moved, the car might start rocking again.Her heart was beating so wildly she was finally forced to gasp for air. The carremained solidly in place.
 
Nothing could be gained by remaining still. At any time a gust of wind couldsend the car over the cliff. She had to act now. Carefully she moved her feetinto a position with better leverage. Snaking her upper torso over the back ofthe seat, she began to shift her weight toward the back of the car. Shetentatively lifted a foot into the front seat, and knew a moment of panic whenher sandal heel caught in the hem of her dress. In spite of the cool day,moisture broke out on her forehead. She carefully worked the sandal loose andslipped into the back seat. There she sat for a few moments, gasping forbreath. The muscles in her legs were contracting painfully. She closed hereyes and said another prayer before she clamped a sweaty hand around the colddoor handle.Hurry up! A deep masculine voice commanded so gruffly that she jumped.
The man on the horse! She had forgotten about him.She opened the door and slid her legs out one by one, trying to avoid contactwith the car. Once free of the vehicle she took a deep breath and turned toface her rescuer.The man lifted his hands gently from the trunk, and the rear wheels of the carlifted a few inches from the ground. It had high-centered on the gravel ridgeleft by a road grader. That ridge was the only thing that had kept her fromplunging over the edge . . . that and the man who was now glaring at her.Dark bushy brows drew together over flashing blue eyes. You fool! He shouted
at her. What were you trying to do, kill yourself? If you werent concerned
about your own life, you might have thought about your chances of taking someoneelse with you.
Realization washed over her in alternating waves of pain and numbness. Herswasnt the only life that had nearly been taken today. It was all she could do
to remain upright on tingling weak legs. Her mouth went dry and her stomachlurched violently. Cupping a hand to her mouth, she turned away from him. Anempty stomach made the experience less embarrassing.When the spasms passed, she turned to the man she had nearly killed . . . theman who had helped give her that second chance.Im so sorry, she managed in a trembling voice, I didnt think there was
anyone on the road. I remembered how isolated these roads were, but I forgothow dangerous they were.
His eyes clouded with belated concern and his voice lost its edge. Are you all
right? I didnt mean to yell at you, but you nearly scared me to death.
Im sorry. I think I scared about ten years off my life too.
A faint smile twisted his dark features and one brow arched quizzically. That
must make you about five years old.
She smiled weakly at his deliberate misinterpretation of the clich. I was
talking about the other end of my life. Anyway, I only act fifteen, Im really
19. She made a face . . . old enough to know better.
He surveyed her slender figure with obvious appreciation. Only blindness couldhave prevented her from knowing that she was unusually attractive. Long ago shehad learned to ignore the second glances, open stares, and sometimes even
 
suggestive leers of men. Yet this young mans frank appraisal was none of
those. It merely confirmed that she had left childhood behind . . . quitegracefully.A gust of wind whipped at her full skirt and tossed her long blond curls intothe air. She collected a handful of the crisp material in modest protest andimpatiently brushed a wisp of soft hair from her eyes.When he continued to assess her, she boldly returned his appraisal. Beginningat his dusty oxfords and indigo blue jeans, her scrutiny continued up to aneatly tucked in worn white cotton shirt with the sleeves rolled up to mid arm.His face was clean shaven, but his dark curly hair was thick and unruly. Inall, he was a paradox of fashion. At 5 8, she was tall, but still had to lift
her chin to see his face. Their eyes met for a moment . . . piercing blue eyesmeeting startled green eyes in a battle of nerve. He won.Feeling the warmth of color invading her cheeks, she looked away. Never in herlife had she done anything so brazen. Focusing her attention on the car, shewas acutely aware of the fact that he was still watching her.I wonder how I can get my car back on the road, she mused, and felt relieved
when his attention returned to the car.After studying the car thoughtfully for a few minutes, he confidently assumedauthority.Go up the hill and watch for cars so you can warn anyone before they get to the
curve. Ill ride back to the house and get my car and a chain.
He turned to his horse and mounted in one smooth movement. Without anotherword, he turned the horse and kicked it into a trot in the opposite direction.She climbed the hill with dragging steps. What a fool she had been to comehere. It was nearly dark and she was a good fifty miles from home.Five years hadnt changed the wild hills of Madison County, but she had
forgotten how truly remote the area was. It would be dark by the time they gotthe car off the edge of the cliff. If it would still start, shed head straight
back home and forget this futile mission.By the time she reached the top of the hill, the muscles in her legs wereaching. A large rock beside the road provided a place to rest while shelistened for vehicles. Her car was in full view. The sight made her stomachroll again. Had her family known the same terror in their last moments oflife? The car rocked slightly with a gust of wind. Her stomach rolled and shelooked away. She rubbed her legs and stared up at the sky. It was gettinglate and the air was taking on a chill.A grinding noise jerked her attention back to the car. The front end was slowlysinking down as the ground gave way. She jumped up and gasped in horror as itslid forward. It poised for a moment and then took a dive off the cliff. Itscourse down the cliff was marked by the cracking of limbs. Seconds later itcrashed into the trees below. She counted the seconds in tense silence, waitingfor the sound of an explosion, but the only sound was a car approaching frombelow.She darted down the hill, reaching the bottom as a perfectly restored blue 72

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