Clara Sinclair has learned to live one lonely day at a time. It was the only way she managed to survive her husband's death in World War II and raise their young son alone. But now she's at a loss as to how to handle the defiant teenager he has become, even as she struggles to keep her family financially afloat. She's fresh out of ways to turn her luck around-until a daring stranger's unexpected kindness sparks hope she hasn't felt in a long time . . .
Drake McCoy lives for risk, speed, and putting his incredible drag racing skills to the test. One night in this quiet rural town is all he needs to win a big score and be on his way . . . until he meets Clara. Drawn in by her quiet strength and her beauty, Drake is tempted to become someone he never imagined-a family man.
But a vicious and unseen enemy is closing in fast, throwing Drake and Clara's fragile future into a dangerous tailspin. Can their love survive?
In the years since the war had ended, Clara had met other veterans: soldiers, sailors, and pilots, men who had once been Joe’s age, men like Drake who’d fought for their nation and for freedom. When they’d earned their victory, bleeding and dying on foreign soil, they had returned to their former lives, to children, to wives, to their homes and businesses, putting all they’d seen behind them. Most were restrained when they spoke about it, choosing their words carefully, just as Drake had done. They were heroes, yet humble.
The two of them walked beneath the moon as it slowly traced its arc across the sky, surrounded by an endless number of twinkling stars. It didn’t take long for Clara to be put at ease, relaxed in Drake’s company. He told her about where he had grown up, about how different the flat farmland of Iowa was from Sunset. They shared jokes, tried to remember the lyrics to a song that had been popular when they were younger, and wondered whether it was birds or bats they saw swooping between the trees. It was so easy for her to be with him, watching how he smiled beneath the streetlights, hearing the joy in his voice; Clara found herself smiling and laughing right along with him, captivated by the stranger who had unexpectedly entered her life. But that was the thing; it didn’t feel like Drake was a stranger. Being with him, listening to him talk, sharing his company, was comfortable, as easy as if she had known him for years. At the same time, it was exhilarating, exciting, something different from the everyday doldrums her widowed life had become. She was having such a good time that she was surprised when Drake stopped back in front of her house.
“Here we are,” he said.
Gently, he reached out and took her hand in his own; it was the first time he’d touched her all night. Clara allowed it, his skin warm against hers, welcoming. She looked up into his eyes.
“I had a nice time tonight,” he said.
Drake smiled a bit sheepishly. “I suppose this is as good of a time as any to admit that I wasn’t completely truthful earlier.”
“About what?” Clara asked.
“I didn’t really stop by to check on your truck.” He paused, his eyes roaming across her face. “I came by because I couldn’t bear the thought of never seeing you again.”
Clara’s pulse quickened.
“All afternoon, I couldn’t get you out of my head,” he continued, inching closer, his free hand reaching out to remove a few strands of hair from her face, his thumb sliding softly across her cheekbone. “I kept thinking about where you were, what you were doing. So I decided to come looking for you, to see you again. I thought about all the things we might say. The laughs we might share. By the time I knocked on your door, I had it all played out in my mind.”
“Was it what you thought it would be?” Clara asked, her voice little more than a whisper.
Drake shook his head. “It was better.”
About the Author
Dorothy Garlock is the author of over 50 novels that have sold over 15 million copies and are published in 15 languages. She lives in Iowa.