Heart Racer
Philanthropist of the Year, and though she is as rich as anyone here, she doesn’t act like it. They think of her as a possible princess championing the poor. Does she know that?”
    “No.”
    “And you have no desire to tell her?”
    “I will tell her…when she needs to know.” In the back of his mind, he knew that he was making the same mistake again, protecting himself at the cost of Bobby. But he just could not help doing it. The same unspoken fear was inside Leandro, protecting a small part of him to make sure it survived if the people he loved did not end up loving him back.
    ****
    The ride back home was spent in tense silence even though Leandro kept her close, their fingers entwined on his lap, her head against his chest and his arm around hers. All the while, she wondered why he wasn’t trying to kiss her.
    When Leandro’s chauffeur-driven car parked in front of her dorm, she blurted out, “Leandro, about what you said—”
    His lips covered hers.
    There was the kiss she was waiting for, but before she could think about what it meant, the kiss was already over, Leandro lifting his head to tell her quietly, “I don’t want you to feel pressured about returning the words. I just want you to know that I find you beautiful in every way.”

Chapter Twelve
     
    The crowd was wild and uncontrollable, a monster consisting of hundreds of heartbeats that craved the excitement of a forbidden race.
    Leandro had invited her yesterday to accompany him as his date to tonight’s event but Bobby refused, knowing there was something else she had to do. She felt so guilty and unfair about Leandro having said the words and her not saying it back. She wanted to. How she wanted to, but Bobby had to be sure it was the real thing this time.
    The race was kicking off at a warehouse along one of Florida’s interstate highways. The thought of Leandro racing on a motorbike – illegally – on a public highway was more than enough to make Bobby want to throw up. The fact that he indeed participated in a few such events when he was in Greece still gave her nightmares from time to time. Bobby could only be thankful that he had now “retired” and was content to sponsor such races.
    Bleachers had been set up for the spectators and Bobby managed to find herself a spot at the very top where she could see everything. Strobe lights beamed different shades of light on the bikers and the ground while heavy rock and roll music roared out of the speakers.  
    Everyone was in a mood to party, but all Bobby could do was eye the twenty-foot tall ramp in front of the crowd nervously.
    Seeing how Bobby was looking at the stunt area, Kellion said sympathetically, “I know it looks suicidal, but he’s a pro when it comes to these stunts.”
    “But it’s so dangerous,” she mumbled.
    “He’s got this, I promise.”
    Bobby shook her head. “I just don’t get why you guys have to do this. I mean, the biking stuff and all? And if you really want to race so badly, why do you have to do it illegally ?”
    “There’s a freedom when riding a bike that you can’t get from racing a car…any kind of car.” He tried to search for the right words to explain his connection and every biker’s connection to his bike. “It’s more intimate, like the bike becoming a part of you, an extension of your limb. That’s why it feels like I’ve lost an arm if my bike gets damaged and it’s my fault.”
    “But what about the people who care about you and—”
    Kellion smiled. “I know what you mean, and it’s not like that here in Florida. In Greece, the guys are insane there – they absolutely have no rules and that’s why Leandro’s accident happened. But here in Florida, Helios is in control and he runs a pretty tight ship. We’ve got everything the big leagues have except the license. And that we don’t want. When you go pro, the money sharks come in and make things boring. But when it’s underground, we make the rules.”
    “So it’s

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