Reckless Passion

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Authors: Stephanie James
your present frame of mind."
    Dara refused to look at him, her eyes following the waitress as the woman returned to the table with coffee.
    "At least she isn't staring at your outfit," Yale observed quietly when they were alone.
    "She's probably been on duty since midnight. You see a little of everything sooner or later on that shift," Dara explained woodenly, sipping her coffee with care.
    "How do you know?" Yale sounded mildly surprised.
    "Because I've worked it." She shrugged, still refusing to glance in his direction.
    "You've worked in a place like this?"
    "Every summer while I was in college," she explained shortly, not particularly interested in pursuing the conversation.
    "No kidding? What else have you done? I think you said something last night about only recently having become a stockbroker."
    Dara favored him with a baleful gaze at that question. "Why do you want to know?"
    He shrugged, lifting his coffee cup and eyeing her over the rim. "I suppose I'm kind of curious."
    “Take a tip from me. Curiosity doesn't pay," she retorted flatly.
    One amber brow went up. "We are singing a different tune this morning, aren't we?"
    Dara gritted her teeth, about to dredge up a scathing reply when a deep, cheerfully rumbling male voice interrupted the conversation.
    "Excuse me, folks, but the little lady in green wouldn't happen to be a stockbroker by any chance, would she?"
    Dara glanced up, startled, to find a huge, friendly-looking man in his mid-forties staring down at her with smiling gray eyes. He reminded her a lot of Hank Bonner in his choice of a size thirty-four belt for a waistline considerably larger. The man was dressed in a plaid flannel shirt and faded jeans. He had longdistance trucker written all over him.
    "May I ask who wants to know?" Yale's question was polite, but there was a firmness to it that drew the man's respectful attention.
    "Sam's the name. Sam Tyler," he said at once, extending a wide paw of a hand to shake Yale's. "And I'll bet your name's Ransom, right?"
    "You seem to know a great deal more about us than we know about you," Yale pointed out with a deliberate smile.
    "There couldn't be two ladies in green at this particular truck stop on this particular morning. Mind if I join you for a cup? Hank Bonner's the source of my information, by the way."
    "I see," Yale said slowly, speculatively. "Sit down, by all means. Where did you ran into Hank?"
    "Having coffee a ways down the line. He knew I was headin ' north and asked me to deliver a message if I found you two at this café. Also suggested you might be needing a ride into Eugene!"
    "That was thoughtful of him," Dara said quickly, wondering why Yale seemed a little aloof. She had been wondering how they were going to get home.
    "He also said to tell you the hand was doing fine," Sam added with a smile.
    "I'm glad. What was the message?" Dara asked encouragingly. Yale seemed a little more relaxed now.
    "Well, I guess I'd have to say that's a tad more serious...." The big trucker's gaze sobered and he turned to face Yale.
    "Trouble?" Yale's eyes were cool and more alert than the situation seemed to call for, Dara decided.
    "A little, I reckon. Hank said he mentioned his, uh, special cargo to you?"
    "He did," Yale said briefly, ignoring Dara's frown.
    She glanced from one man to the other, perplexed. "What are you talking about? What 'special cargo'?"
    A silent look passed between the two men. The sort of Do-we-tell-the-little-lady-about-this-or- not? glance that was enough to boil a woman's blood. And Dara was already on a high simmer.
    Yale considered the relentless expression in the gray-green ice of her eyes and appeared to come to a reluctant decision.
    "A short while before we met Hank last night he stumbled across something unexpected being shipped in his truck. Something which had been taped to the cab in an inconspicuous place by someone who apparently intended to retrieve it later. Probably after Hank had obligingly brought it down from

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