Excerpt from When Love Prevails
Relentlessly Robin bumped the brakes to no avail. The jeep was not slowing. She turned her attention to the steering wheel, sharply counteracting each spin to try to regain control of the vehicle. But it did no good. The jeep whizzed over the shoulder of the road and onto the rough terrain of the prairie. Robin found herself being jostled fiercely up and down, while she held tightly to the wheel.
Then everything seemed to happen at once. The sky seemed to open up; gallons of water poured from the angry gray clouds. A burst of lightning split the sky. In the startled second where she was caught off guard, the right front wheel of the jeep plunged into a waiting hole. The vehicle was thrown totally off balance, and Robin found herself being plummeted through the air to the wet ground below. She landed with a smack and lifted her aching head in time to see the runaway jeep finally conic to a stop—upside down with its wheels spinning freely in the air.
"I could have been killed!" she cried, wrapping her shaking arms around herself as she sat alone on the prairie. The tears were running in rivers down her cheeks, but the pouring rain washed them away. And overhead the sky shook with thunder, blazed with sporadic flashes of lightning, and the wind whipped coldly around her ears.
Her shoulders shook with sobs, the impact of the close scrape with death dawning horribly on her. She felt very alone.
But then another rumpling sound reached her desolate ears, the sound of an approaching engine. She attempted to stand, and began to make her wobbly way toward the road that lay almost a hundred yards from her. A long black car came into sight, a welcome vision to her tearful eyes.
It screeched to a halt and the door flew open. The sight of the strong blond man coming close to her was the most beautiful sight she had ever seen.
"Robin, Robin, good heavens, are you all right?" asked Alex. He had torn off his faded denim jacket and now he pulled it gently around Robin's shivering shoulders. The feel of the comforting arm around her back made her blood run warm again in her veins. She buried her wet face in his broad chest and hung onto him with all the strength left in her tired body. He silently held her close.
She could have stayed that way for the rest of her life, she realized suddenly, overwhelmed with a sense of support and protection. She felt safe, unexplainably safe. Somehow the feelings she had for this unpredictable man had been creeping up on her. And standing so close to him, so wet and cold, she realized ashamedly that she was falling in love. Her tears gradually subsided, her shivering ceased. He put his hand under her chin and raised her face. She was so afraid to meet his eyes! She was so afraid that the rush of feeling for him should show.
"Come on, Robin," he said quietly. "Let's get you home so you can dry out. I'll have the men take care of the jeep." He led her to his waiting black car and shut the door behind her.
Her face burned with shame. She had practically thrown herself into his arms a few moments ago, blindly needing him, blindly showing her feelings. And his eyes had looked right into hers, with concern, yes. But not with love.
She remembered Sara's calflike expression as she gazed longingly at Mac in town. Was she, too, as gullible and ridiculous as lovesick Sara?
Robin huddled in the dark corner of the car as the ranch came into sight. Alex let her out by the front door and then went to put the car away. Overhead, the clouds were beginning to clear. The rain had stopped. Such unruly weather they had in the West! It never seemed to do anything halfway. When it was beautiful, it was too gorgeous for words. And when it stormed, well, that was a different story.
Robin had a feeling the man she had just left was something like that. If he loved, she knew he would love wholeheartedly. But what of hate? Could his hatred be so great that his anger could bring him to violence?
She pushed the thought away and entered the low-slung house as a sliver of sunlight began to peer out from the dissipating clouds.