© 2021 by Sara Leanne Adams
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or used in any manner without the express written permission of the publisher except for the use of brief quotations in a book review.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.
Warning: this book contains sexual content not suitable for persons under 18 years of age.
I scrolled through my playlist, selecting Jason Aldean’s version of Amarillo Sky as I approached the Texas State Line. Amarillo was still an hour away, but I felt like listening to the song now.
People don’t believe me when I say I love country music. Apparently, one’s choice in music should match their physical appearance. I look like a biker, so therefore I should listen to heavy metal or classic rock, and drive a Harley.
I hate the majority of the people I meet. That’s just how I am. My tolerance level for other human’s bullshit is pretty nonexistent. It’d be a cold day in hell before I changed my life to conform to a stereotype.
I have no issues with who I see in the mirror. My head is shaved because I’m going bald. I keep a thick goatee and a long beard to make up for the hair that’s missing on my head. What can I say? I like hair on my body. I’m a man. Men are supposed to be hairy. You won’t catch me shaving my pits or my chest. Now, I do believe in manscaping down below. That’s just good hygiene and common courtesy to my lady friends.
My tattoos don’t have any deep, sentimental story behind them. They’re just pictures of things I like. Plain and simple. I’m not a sentimental guy.
Streaks of orange and yellow painted the predawn sky, the darkness slowly lifting as the sun crept up over the flat Texas landscape. Barren fucking landscape. There was literally nothing out there but open fields and wind turbines.
And a girl with her thumb stuck out.
What the fuck? Was she looking to get raped and murdered?
I slowed down, my headlights illuminating the airhead with the death wish. And a pair of the sexiest legs I’d ever seen, encased in cowboy boots and disappearing beneath a denim skirt that was way too short. Her blouse was tied in a knot at the bottom, revealing a flat belly, her ample breasts spilling out the open buttons at the top. Long, golden hair blew around her heart-shaped face.
She stepped back from the shoulder, shaking her head as she waved me off. “I’ll wait for the next car!” she yelled when I rolled down the passenger window.
“The next person who stops will probably be a serial killer.”
“I’ll take my chances.”
“I’m harmless, sweetheart,” I said. “I can’t leave you out here alone. There’s too many psychos out there, just waiting to stumble upon a foolish young girl who is stupid enough to hitchhike.”
“I’m pretty sure that’s exactly what a serial killer would say,” she laughed. “And it’s not you that’s the problem. Your aura is clear. It’s your car that’s freaking me out.”
“I don’t have any dead bodies back there, if that’s what you’re worried about.”
“Why are you driving a hearse?”
“Hop in and I’ll tell you.”
She glanced down the empty highway, sighing heavily as she reached for the door handle. My senses were momentarily overwhelmed with the smell of mint and soap, mixed with a slight hint of flowery perfume or deodorant.
“Axel Kramer,” I said, extending my hand.
She accepted my handshake, meeting my gaze head on, her bright blue eyes snapping with moxie. “Dallas Austin.”
“You’re Dallas Austin from Texas?”
“Okay then,” I chuckled. “I guess it’s probably smart not to tell a stranger your real name.”
“That is my real name.”
She grabbed her backpack from the floor, rooting through it to produce a sparkly pink wallet covered in rhinestones.
“How old are you?” I sighed, second guessing my decision to pick her up as I envisioned getting arrested for having a minor in my hearse.
“Twenty-one,” she announced, holding up her passport.
I snatched it from her fingers. “Your name is actually Dallas Austin?”
“Yep,” she muttered. “I’m the youngest of twelve kids. By the time I was born, I guess my folks were plum out of name ideas.”
“Dallas is a nice name,” I said. “But when your last name is Austin, well, I think I’d probably pick something different.”
“It is what it is,” she said with a shrug, popping a stick of gum in her mouth. “You wanna a piece?”
“No, thanks.” I put the car in gear and headed down the interstate. “Where are you heading, sweetheart?”
“Gonna have to be a bit more specific.”
“I’m going to Tampa, so I can take you that far.”
“What’s in Miami?”
“You’re hitchhiking to Florida to go on a cruise?”
“No. I’m gonna work on one.”
“Yup. Are you gonna tell me why you’re driving a hearse to Tampa?”
“I work for a funeral home. A very prominent Los Angeles resident passed away in Florida. He was afraid of flying, so his nut job wife doesn’t want his body shipped back by air. She wants him to have one last road trip across the country.”
“That’s fucked up.”
“Some people have more money than brains.”
“How’d you get roped into doing the trip?”
“My boss also has more money than brains. The dearly departed man was a close friend of his. He gave me the company credit card, told me to eat wherever I want and stay in a nice hotel every night.”
“That seems like a good deal.”
“The trip down is nice for sure. But the trip back will be a bitch.”
“It’s thirty-six hours from Tampa back to LA. I can’t exactly stop at a hotel for the night and leave a dead body in the car.”
“Because there are rules you have to follow when transporting human remains.”
“I’m no geography expert, but wouldn’t it be faster to cut across south Texas?”
“I will on the way back. But I wanted to take a different route down, take my time and get lots of rest. I’m only driving six or seven hours a day.”
“Where are you staying tonight?”
“Lake Murray, Oklahoma.”
“How old are you, Axel?”
“Yikes. That sucks.”
“They say forty is the new thirty.”
She laughed and shook her head. “Whatever helps you sleep at night, old man.”
“Do you want to walk to Florida?”
“Sorry,” she muttered, turning her head to stare out the window.
“Is that the famous Cadillac Ranch?” I asked when I noticed a bunch of cars standing upright out in the field.
“Yes,” she sighed, rolling her eyes.
“That place will be packed later. Always is. Every fucking day.”
“You’ve got a potty mouth, Dallas Austin.”
“You got a problem with that, Axel Kramer?”
“I’m not your dad. Why the fuck would I care?”
She leaned forward, pulling her ringing phone from the front pocket of her backpack. I stared straight ahead, trying not to listen to her conversation. We were on the outskirts of Amarillo, and the traffic was starting to pick up.
“A dude in a hearse picked me up. He’s heading to Tampa.”
“Nope. His aura is clear.”
I sensed her eyes on me. “Take a picture, sweetheart. It’ll last longer.”
Fuck. Why did I pick up a child from the side of the road?
Because you’re a nice guy, and you know what could’ve happened to her if you didn’t rescue her. And she’s not a child. Far from it. She’s twenty-one. One hundred percent legal pussy.
I returned my attention to the road, pushing any and all thoughts related to her pussy from my mind before my cock got any ideas. She was way too young. Probably a virgin. And even if she wasn’t, she definitely wouldn’t be up for a romp in the sheets with a guy like me.
She continued with her conversation, smacking on her gum while she stared out the window.
“No. He’s old.”
“He’s got a long beard and tattoos.”
“I know. I already thought about that.”
“Stop. You have such a dirty mind.”
“Do you think he’s mad?”
“Grandad will probably have a stroke.”
“She’d probably be happy to finally be rid of him.”
“Oh, he’ll definitely be pissed. Maybe he’ll have a stroke. Or a massive heart attack. Either way, the world would be a better place.”
I rubbed my beard, my brain working hard to decipher the conversation. What was this girl running away from? Who was she talking to? And most importantly, why the fuck did I care?