by Amy Gregory
Her destiny was written for her, long before she was ever born. She embraced it, wanting nothing more than to give everything within her back to the sport in which she was considered royalty. Her family’s legacy would live on, revered by all. And she thrived on the long work days she spent teaching at the academy her blood was tied to. Alexandra Sterling needed that dirt track as much as she needed her next breath. That same track was the one that drew in a young student years before. Alex had given her heart away the day they met, knowing that he belonged to only her. For years she’d waited, knowing without a single doubt that he’d make her his when the time was right.
But…she’d never asked Dallas if he felt the same way.
Her hurt leaves her vulnerable, her days dark and her instincts dulled. After one night of hell, Alex is lost. Her world is crumbling around her, and without her lifeline and best friend beside her anymore, there’s nothing to keep her from sinking with it.
Dallas Hunter is a pro rider on the motocross circuit, following in the footsteps of his father Eli. For Dallas, it’s always been Alex, but he’s kept his feelings locked away out of fear, his love for their family, his biggest obstacle. One short and chilling phone call to her puts him on high alert. Knowing something is terribly wrong sends him racing across the country, back home, back to her. But what he finds almost kills him.
Now he’s watching her slip away right before his very eyes. Figuring out how to help Alex before it’s too late, might turn out to be harder than any race he’s ever ridden. And he has to do it with his team and sponsors screaming at him from the other side, trying to pull him back to the world he’s dedicated his entire life to. Dallas knows he has to help his best friend, the woman he loves…and do it without tearing his family apart.
~ * ~
She was half-way across the country from him, and without seeing her face, Dallas knew damn well she was hiding something from him. Anger for lying never crossed his mind. All he could think of were scenarios that would force her voice to crack and tremble like it was. Her breathing was fast and shallow, something he could hear even through the phone line, ramping up his own blood pressure.
He was in full gear, his helmet in his other hand, but the idea of where he was, or the job he had to do was gone. Squeezing his eyes shut, he could picture Alex, sitting at her desk, like she did every morning before she had a session with a young racer. Her coffee nearby as well as her iPod. Her ice blue eyes shined along with a full smile, the pride for her work, her students and the school that came through even the smallest of tasks. She would have on riding pants, a sports bra and tank top, flip flops for now, but she always had two or three pair of riding boots behind her office door, ready to wear on the track. And the long sun-bleached waves and curls he loved dearly would be falling down her back until she grabbed a pony tail holder and her aviators on her way to the track.
He knew Alex inside and out. There was stone-cold fear radiating through her every breath and word, not that she’d given him an answer yet. “Alexandra…what the hell is wrong?”
“I…ah”—she stammered and stalled and Dallas ground his teeth while waiting her out—“it’s nothing. Race safe.” With a click she was gone. Just like the last phone call, but this time it wasn’t pride that ended the call earlier
than he wanted. She was lying to him. And the less she said, the more his fear and anger spiked, not at her but at himself. He needed to go to her, he needed to be there, figuring out for himself what the hell was going on. “Dallas!” A fist pounded on the semi’s glass door, forcing him back to the race, back to the place that had be- come hell.
His passion that he grew up with had become his worst enemy over the last weeks. It was racing that drew him and Alex together, but since his last trip home, it was the thing that had driven a wedge between them. A wedge that was growing with each passing day.
The glass doors shook from the hand that smacked at them. “Damn it. Now, Hunter!”
“I’m fucking coming. Back the hell off !” He shouted back. Placing his cell in the side pocket of his backpack, he yanked the straps of his helmet, widening it so he could slide it on. Throwing the sliding glass door of the rig open so hard it bounced halfway closed once more, he stomped out, glaring at his manager.
He was so done with this team, their shit, their demands. They didn’t understand him, his ways or appreciate the work and dedication he gave. All they did was demand more. And when he didn’t have it to give—like now— they didn’t give a flying fuck. It wasn’t the way he grew up, it wasn’t the way of the Noland Racing Team he’d stuck with all through his amateurs. Going pro had been his dream, but between his manager, his team and the mess he’d made of his relationship with Alex, he was more than just fried.
Dallas had done what he’d set out to do. And the more championships he racked up, the more blood, sweat and now tears the sponsors demanded. He was done. His body hurt, aching everyday despite being in the best shape of his life. He’d given what he could, but his heart…that was, and always would be…Alex’s.
~ * ~
When asked ‘when do you have time to write’, Amy Gregory simply laughs. The real answer is, “in bits and pieces”. She and her husband live in Kansas City with their three fantastic kids that keep them running in three very different directions. Because she sits so much, she always carries a notebook with her at all times.
She has an off the wall, snarky, off the cuff sense of humor that often shocks even those who’ve known her for years. And she loves that her children have all been blessed that ability to make others laugh as well. At least
she’s grateful most of the time! Her husband often teases her about how she “makes this stuff up” when he’s read- ing a piece of her work. … The answer—“it just comes to me when I’m typing”. Scary thought, huh!