This Time, Forever

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Authors: Pamela Britton
to the fact that Marley had flown in to be with Linc before and after the race. It was a simple matter to get there via a commercial flight. Simpler still to keep to herself in Linc’s motor home. As it turned out, it was a good thing she’d made the trip. Linc had wrecked early in the race. He’d managed to limp home in second-to-last place and so, fortunately, Marley had been around to distract him.
    â€œMaybe I’m pregnant,” Marley quipped, not because she was serious—they were taking precautions—but because she enjoyed the momentary look of horror on her brother’s face.
    â€œYou’re kidding, right?” he asked, his blue eyes widening.
    Marley shook her head. “When would I have time to get pregnant?” she asked.
    Gil’s face immediately softened.
    â€œBesides, you need to be dating someone before you can get pregnant.”
    It was a blatant attempt to throw him off target, and it worked. “You’re right,” he said. “You really don’t have much of a social life.” He cocked his head sideways. “Why is that?”
    â€œBecause you keep me too busy for that.”
    He stared at her, a perplexed look on his face. “Do I?” he asked.
    â€œYou do,” she said. “But I guess that’s partly my fault. I could back off my work schedule if I got serious about a guy.” It was the perfect opportunity to feel Gil out, to see if he’d mind her dating Linc and so she said, “How would you feel about me dating someone in the industry?”
    â€œAre you?” he asked.
    She nibbled her lip for a moment.
    â€œNo,” she said quickly. “Of course not. I hardly have the time.”
    But she hated…she absolutely hated to lie.
    â€œSo this is a hypothetical question?” he asked.
    She nodded.
    â€œI guess it depends on the man. And if I thought he was good enough for you.”
    She smiled weakly. Would he think Linc was good enough for her? He’d hired him as a driver and so he must respect him on some level. She almost told him then…almost. Something held her back because deep down inside there was a part of her that worried…what if it didn’t work out? What if she told her brother everything and in the end Linc broke her heart? And God forbid their mother ever find out. It was bad enough Marley actually worked for a living…at least in her mother’s eyes. Heaven help them all if Marley dated a grease monkey. That’s how her mother would see Linc, no matter his actual job. What would happen when the truth came out?
    She didn’t want to find out.
    â€œThen I guess I’ll have to pick the right man,” she said absently.
    She had a feeling her brother knew something was afoot. Intelligent, highly educated, he didn’t get to the top of the NASCAR game by being stupid. So she wasn’t surprised when he came forward, rested his hands against the front of her desk. “If you have someone in mind,” he said, “be careful, little sis. Some guys might want to use you to get close to me.”
    She drew back in surprise. Was that what Linc was doing? Was he using her to solidify his place at Double S Racing?
    No.
    That was ridiculous.
    â€œYou know how it is,” he said. “Some men will do whatever they can to get to the top and so I’ll be honest. If you dated someone within the NASCAR industry, it’d have to be someone pretty high up. Someone already well established.”
    Marley gulped. She didn’t live with her head in the sand by any means. She was trying to be realistic where Linc was concerned, but she just didn’t see him as the type that would use her. Not like that. Maybe that was naive, but she’d like to think she was a good judge of character.
    â€œWell then, you’ll be relieved to know you have nothing to worry about.” She almost added that she wasn’t dating a driver, but she

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