Some secrets are never meant to be discoveredComputer specialist Lucy Gunter was determined to uncover the blackmailer sending threatening e-mails to a NASCAR driver. She knew that for every dirty little secret, there was always a trail left behind. But exposing the culprit was as difficult as keeping her mind off charismatic Sawyer Branch, whose routine visits to the sick children at the hospital where she worked touched her heart. As she grew closer to Sawyer--and edged closer to the identity of the blackmailer--Lucy sensed that there was far more to Sawyer than met the eye.... Little did she know that Sawyer was hiding something from her--and he'd do almost anything to keep her from finding out!
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June 09, 2008
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Excerpt from Out of Line by Michele Dunaway
"Hi, race fans. I'm Guy Edwards and, along with Malcolm French, we'd like to welcome you to Friday's edition of 'NASCAR A.M.,' live from Richmond. Today teams are busy preparing for tonight's NASCAR Nationwide Series race and tomorrow's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race under the lights."
Malcolm smiled. "One of the main concerns for some teams is how their drivers are doing after four months of racing."
"Dean and Kent Grosso and Justin Murphy are off to a rocky start, especially after all three did not finish in Las Vegas and Murphy took forty-first in California," Guy agreed.
"But the season's still young when it comes to Chase points. Another story continues to be the Branch twins," Malcolm said.
Guy nodded. "Imagine having your own father embezzle tons of money from the family business, leaving you virtually penniless and without a sponsor."
"And if that's not bad enough, every passing week brings you one day closer to publication of your father's mistress's tell-all autobiography," Malcolm added.
"I can't imagine driving with that cloud over my head," Guy continued. "Will, who's usually the more erratic of the twins, has been doing better than Bart, who placed fourth at Martinsville and sixth at Texas but hasn't placed higher than twentieth since."
"With predictions on how the Branch brothers will run in Richmond, we turn to Payton Reese with the story."
The camera panned to Payton. "Thanks, Malcolm. I'm here outside Bart Branch's hauler, where he'll be joining us shortly to comment on his performance...."
As Payton Reese began speaking, Lucy Gunter gave herself a little shake and turned away from the television set in the pediatric-cancer ward visitors' lounge. The TV broadcast to no one in particular--except for Lucy, the room was empty. Tonight, though, the space would be filled as family members of young patients camped out for the night.
The television was on twenty-four-seven.
Not that Lucy cared.
Okay, perhaps that was a big white lie. Despite her recent resolve, she had to admit she was still more than a little interested. NASCAR remained her favorite sport, even before Carolina Panthers football. Give her a Sunday where she had to choose between the two, stock car racing won every time.
She'd been an avid fan ever since her father had taken her to her first race at age eight. That very first autograph from one of her favorite drivers was now preserved in her scrap-book. She'd remembered the awe when he'd signed the photo...just last year she'd met that driver again. Now a racing legend, he'd been equally as kind and his wife equally as sweet when Lucy had spoken with them in the garage area.
At that time Lucy had belonged. She'd been an insider, a race car driver's girlfriend.
But this past February she'd put that lifestyle behind her. She'd broken up with Justin Murphy, driver of the No. 448 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series car for Fulcrum Racing.
She'd tried everything to make their relationship work, but, like trying to manufacture diamonds from coal, her efforts had been futile. Justin had been a round hole to her square peg. They'd had some great times, but long-term they weren't right for each other. Deep down, that eternal love and commitment Lucy wanted hadn't been there.
In her case, that fantasy of marrying a driver and living happily ever after was not meant to be.
So, as for being up close and personal, being in the garage area and smelling the car exhaust, listening to the shouts of crew members and feeling the vibrations of forty-three engines as they roared to life, she'd been there, done that.
Her friend Tanya may have won a driver's heart, but Lucy's reality would be much different.
No matter how much she missed it.
She was trying to put Justin Murphy and NASCAR behind her. She'd limited her involvement to watching races on TV, but sitting at home was a far cry from experiencing the real thing from the pits.
She jutted her chin and fed her dollar into the soda machine, the real reason she'd entered the lounge. She'd always been a survivor. She'd earned a pretty good promotion this past March. She now supervised the entire hospital computer network. She was a problem solver. So while she loved NASCAR and would never give up watching, she was trying to leave her personal involvement where it belonged--the past. Determined, she changed the channel to a game show and strode from the room, cola in hand.
"So that's your brother, huh?" Johnny Blankenship asked.