Twins for the Texan

By: Charlene Sands

 One

 Brooke McKay had no clue where this deserted Texas road was taking her. Gazing past a dozen squished bugs on the rental car’s windshield, she saw flatland stretching before her for miles and miles. After living in California near mountains and beaches, this kind of vast flatness was foreign to her.

 Red warning lights blinked from the car’s dashboard. She looked down at the indicator. Her gas tank was nearing empty. “Don’t do it, don’t do it.”

 Decked out in her best black lace dress with all the necessary trimmings and red heels so high they’d put the balls of her feet to the test in the walking-to-the-next-gas-station department, Brooke pushed the car to its limit.

 She spotted something lying in the middle of the road. “Oh!”

 Roadkill.

 Apparently someone had driven on this road recently. It was good news for her, but not for the poor possum.

 As she drove on, she removed her sunglasses and squinted into the afternoon sun searching for a miracle. A gas station would be nice, with an attendant who knew where in heck she was.

 The car sputtered, the engine wringing out its last breaths.

 She sucked in oxygen, praying that her worst nightmare wasn’t coming to life.

 And then the car crawled to a stop.

 She pumped the gas pedal, but there was no more wringing to be had.

 Oh, boy. Not only wouldn’t she make it to Heather’s wedding on time, she might have to camp out here in the wilderness for heaven knew how long.

 She stared at her cell phone lying beside her on the seat. She already knew that miracle wasn’t happening. She had no cell service. She hadn’t for the last ten miles. She knocked her head against the leather steering wheel a few times and decided it made a good pillow, a place to rest her head and close her eyes while she thought of a way out of this predicament. She didn’t have many choices. She’d have to get out and start walking.

 “Excuse me, miss,” came a deep voice from out of nowhere. “Are you okay?”

 Her head popped up, and she looked into the bone-melting blue eyes of the man standing beside her driver-side door. Her heartbeat immediately picked up speed. There in the flesh was a dauntingly handsome, iron-jawed cowboy.

 Her miracle.

 “I, uh, I didn’t hear anyone drive up.” She glanced in her rearview mirror and sure enough, a shiny black Cadillac SUV was parked behind her car. “Yes, yes. I’m okay.”

 She took a closer look at him. Goodness, they grew them tall in Texas. Her miracle wore a black Western suit, a sterling silver belt buckle and one of those sexy string ties. “I th-think I took a wrong turn somewhere. Now I’m out of gas.”

 He nodded and scrubbed at the dark blond facial hair on his jaw. “Not a good thing to do on this road. There isn’t a gas station for at least ten miles or so. I’m Wyatt Brandt, by the way.” He stuck out his hand and she took it. It was a little awkward shaking hands through the car window, but his firm grip, beautiful eyes and rich Texas drawl put her at ease.

 He could be a serial killer.

 That thought flittered through her mind, but she dismissed it. The butterflies winging around in her stomach as he enveloped her hand, ever so briefly, told a different story. “I’m Brooke. I was heading to a friend’s wedding, and now I’m afraid I’ll never make it.”

 “Nice meeting you, Brooke,” he said. “You wouldn’t by any chance be heading to Blake and Heather’s shindig, would you?”

 Her eyebrows drew up. How did he know? Serial killer flashed in her mind again. Had he been stalking her? Her brother Dylan had almost lost his life to a stalker out to get revenge. Luckily, he’d survived the murder attempts and decided to get his wife away from the Hollywood scene for a while. Emma, Dylan and Brooke were all in Texas now, while Dylan was shooting a movie. She still had stalker on the brain but immediately dismissed the notion where Wyatt was concerned. How many stalkers drove Cadillacs and dressed like GQ models? No, Wyatt Brandt either was psychic or had been invited to the wedding, too. “Yes, that’s the one. The GPS told me to take this road. I was running late, and this is supposed to be a shortcut to their wedding venue. Do you know them?”

 “Sure do. I’m on my way to the nuptials, too. Blake’s a friend of mine.”

 She smiled. This miracle was getting better and better. “Heather and I went to college on the West Coast together. I’ve never met Blake.”

 “He’s a great guy. Just so you know I’m not anyone you have to worry over. I own the Blue Horizon Ranch, about fifteen miles back that way.” He pointed behind them. “And yes, this is a shortcut, if you know the roads. I’d be happy to give you a lift. I was running a bit late, too, and if we hurry, we’ll make it before the ceremony begins.”

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