"Shhh. It's okay, honey." As she spoke, Elisa twisted, putting herself between her daughter and the overgrown pup.
"Brant, call off your mutt!" Tucker shouted. "Go on, Lug Nut. Get out of here."
Brant whistled, and the young dog skittered to a halt, looking back over his shoulder.
"Come here. Now." Brant pointed at the ground in front of him. Head hung low, a raggedy teddy bear in his mouth, Lug Nut trotted back to Brant, who knelt to rub his head. "Good boy. Stay." Shaking his head, he looked at Elisa. "Sorry about that. I'm working on teaching him some manners, but they're not taking as well as I'd hoped."
"It's all right. Daisy's a bit out of sorts right now."
"Guess she would be." He turned back to the yellow Lab retriever. "Lug Nut's about ten months old and still has a lot of puppy in him. Go find your ball, dog."
The Lab dropped his stuffed animal and tore off in an ecstatic search.
"That'll keep him busy for a bit."
"My brothers, Brant and Gaven," Tucker said by way of introduction. "And this is Elisa and Daisy Elizabeth." Brant nodded at them. "The EMTs will take good care of you."
"We'll be in here if you need anything," Gaven said. "Y'all don't need an audience."
"Thank you." Elisa peeled her daughter from around her neck and set her in her lap.
The EMTs hurried into the bay, and Tucker stepped out of the way to let them do their job.
While one of them took her temperature and blood pressure, the older one asked, "Have you eaten anything today?"
"Black coffee. Guess that doesn't count, does it?"
He shook his head, then tipped his chin toward her daughter. "Has she?"
"Of course," she snapped.
"So you fed her, but not yourself."
Jaw set stubbornly, she nodded.
"Any chance you're diabetic?"
"No." Instinctively, her hand flew to her forehead. "No," she repeated, praying it was true.
Heat raced up her face. "No."
Alarmed, she met his eyes. "No, why?"
"Your pulse is way higher than it should be."
"Of course it is. I fainted."
As he asked his thousand questions, Elisa, more than a little self-conscious, kept her eyes averted from the man who'd rescued her. Thank God he'd been fast on his feet. She'd never, ever fainted. But she had today, and he'd saved her from hitting the floor, saved her from some nasty bruises at best, a broken bone or concussion at worst.
And he'd taken care of Daisy. Sort of. All things considered, this stern looking guy had been a real blessing. With her unconscious, God only knew what would have happened if he hadn't been here, if she hadn't stopped outside his shop.
The mechanic didn't look very happy about any of it, though. In truth, he looked like a guy who'd far prefer a black hat to the white one she'd forced on him. The man was all rough and tumble, his chiseled face stern and covered in dark stubble. A faded black T-shirt and worn black jeans hugged a body that advertised he'd act first and ask questions later.
She could practically read his thoughts. Of all the gin joints, in all the towns, in all the world...she passes out in mine
This excerpt ends on page 12 of the paperback edition.
Monday we begin the book Scandalous by Minerva Spencer.