Asphalt Cowboy's Girl
As soon as he walked into the restaurant, Luke McIntyre’s stomach began to growl, and the sweet smell of Mississippi style barbecue made his mouth water. He really didn’t have time for a sit-down meal, but if he had to eat one more fast-food burger, he was going to hurl.
Joe’s BBQ Pit came highly recommended by many fellow truckers who stopped in Mobile, Alabama. It was by no means fancy, but it was clean and conveniently located next to a truck stop right off the highway. Luke had made several stops here before and he could always count on Joe’s having tasty food and even tastier waitresses. Right now, he would settle for any waitress, tasty or not.
As he stood by the hostess podium, he surveyed the room, but not a single waitress was in sight. Damn, he hoped this didn't take too long. He still had to refuel and try to make it to Louisiana before his drive time ran out. Last time he was here, Marla had been working. They’d hooked up last September and he had very fond memories of her.
Well, maybe not of her, as much as her many talents, especially in bed. While he was not one to go back for seconds, he might consider it with the voluptuous and feisty redhead. Not only was she great in the sack, but she gave the best back rubs. He rubbed the back of his neck, trying to relieve some of the tightness. His tired body sure could use her multi-talented skills right about now.
Of all his prior conquests, Marla would enter his mind from time to time. He liked the fact that when they’d said goodbye, she hadn’t cried or begged him to reconsider. They were both on the same page—absolutely no commitments. They were strictly just two people having fun, and of course, incredible sex.
After waiting for more time than necessary and still no waitress in sight, Luke went ahead and seated himself. He chose the last booth in the back and sat with his back facing the wall. This way he could observe people, although at two o’clock in the afternoon, there were not many patrons to observe. In a booth to his right sat an elderly couple. There was no one seated on his left side, and up front at the counter sat two guys in orange vests.
The elderly couple were no threat to Luke, so he paid them no mind. The two guys sitting at the counter, however, could be another story. They were most likely part of the road crew he passed a half hour ago on Interstate 10. They seemed harmless, and he hoped they would stay that way. On the long list of things he needed today, trouble wasn’t one of them.
People watching was not the only reason he chose to sit in the last booth. This spot gave him the best view of his rig outside, just in case someone decided to mess with it. It had happened several times before, and nowadays he hated leaving it for any length of time. His 2017 Kenworth custom-made sleeper was his pride and joy. It had taken him three years, and several odd and sometimes dangerous jobs, to come up with the hefty down payment he’d needed to buy his very own rig. He was proud to say he did it, he owned his own business, even if his old man didn’t approve.
Impatience had him drumming his fingers along the table edge as once again his stomach rumbled. Damn it, where the fuck is the waitress?
It had been an exhausting run these last few weeks, and he was long overdue for some downtime. One more delivery to California and he would take a week off. Hell, he might even take two.
Since he was going to be on the west coast, maybe he would stay up north and visit Yosemite. That was where he had met Vicky, a sexy park ranger, last year. She’d invited him to stay in her cabin for the weekend. She’d showed him how to properly make a handcuff knot as he’d tied her wrists to the headboard and fucked her senseless. She was a kinky one and loved the BDSM stuff.
Luke wasn’t really into the whole Dom/sub thing, but if some girl got off on his hand slapping her bare ass, he was game. They did have one thing in common—they both liked beautiful women. The best part of that trip had been the outdoor hot tub, when one of her girlfriends had joined them for a little three-way fun.
But then again, he could drive to the coast; Monterey was nice. That was where he’d met Ashley, a college student who was studying whales. They’d spent a few nights talking about whale mating rituals as they’d practiced a few of their own.
Yes, Luke had met his share of women all across the U.S., but the country boy in him still preferred the sweet as honey kisses of a southern girl.
Luke was not ashamed of his promiscuous lifestyle. It is the way he preferred it. He didn’t want an insecure girlfriend wondering if he was being faithful while he was on the road. Worst of all, he didn’t want a wife sitting at home, crying because he was away so much, or kids only seeing their daddy for a few days each month.
“Hey, honey, can I get you something to drink?” The waitress finally came over to take Luke’s order, pulling him from his thoughts. He took in the sight of her. She wasn't bad looking, with her dishwater blonde hair pulled back in a ponytail. The formfitting blue T-shirt she was wearing showed off a narrow waist and a hint of cleavage. She had on a little more makeup than he cared for, but she wasn’t bad looking at all.
She also appeared to be a few years older than his twenty-nine. He would guess her to be in her mid to late thirties. He didn’t mind, though; older women could be fun. It had been his experience that they liked to show him how to please a woman.
The thought amused him. If there was one thing Luke McIntyre was good at, besides driving, it was pleasing women. In fact, he had built up quite the reputation of pleasing many women on his travels.
Luke continued to check her out as she stood there patiently, waiting to take his order. Her name tag read Tina. He’d never been with a Tina before. Maybe she was Marla’s replacement, or at least she could be, if she played her cards right. He could find time for a quickie before he had to leave. The rumbling in his stomach, once again, reminded him that he had other needs to tend to first.
“Yeah, darling, I will have a sweet tea, and I already know what I want.” He winked as he handed the menu back to her and leaned back in the bench. He gave her that famous Luke McIntyre smile that had a way of getting the ladies out of their panties.
Luke’s charms didn't go unnoticed by Tina as she smiled and got her order pad ready. Her friend Marla had told her all about the sexy truck driver. She knew it had to be him when she stood by the window, checking him out earlier in the parking lot. Not many fancy trucks come through these parts, and Luke McIntyre’s rig was easy to spot, as well as his Wrangler clad ass.
Marla had told Tina about her wild weekend with Luke. She’d bragged about his impressive package and even more impressive bank account. Long-haul drivers were known for making good money, and by the looks of Luke’s rig, he was loaded. Thoughts of getting sweaty with the hot-as-hell truck driver had her wanting to hurry to get to the restroom to freshen up her makeup and fix her hair.
Maybe he was the asphalt cowboy who would whisk her away from this boring place and bring her along for the ride of her life. She would do just about anything to get the hell out of this town.
“Okay, what will you have?” Tina asked, hoping he would want to have her.
“I will have the barbecue pork sandwich with fries and a green salad with ranch.” He was still checking her out as she wrote down his order, his eyes following her hand as she moved a strand of hair behind her ear. After he ate, he wouldn’t mind nibbling on that ear.
“Coming right up.” She finished jotting down his order and gave him a huge smile as she turned and walked away. She also gave him a little show with her ass, shaking it back and forth for his viewing pleasure.
Luke enjoyed watching her shake her moneymaker, and she fit in those skinny jeans pretty damn good. He loved a woman with a nice ass. No ass, no deal. He didn’t hook up with girls who didn’t have a little padding in the necessary places.
Hopes of getting laid made him smile as he glanced out the window again, just in time to see a state trooper pull up. His smile fell quickly as thoughts of inspections and citations now flooded his mind. He hoped to hell the trooper wasn’t going to be patrolling out there today. He had no time today, or any day, for a routine pull over and logbook check. Luke decided that before heading down the highway, he better double-check everything to make sure it was all in working order. The last thing he needed was a citation.
Luke was keeping his eyes on the trooper when a flash of long brown hair and a pink sundress came into view. The way the girl ran up to the trooper, it was hard to determine if she needed his help or if she was about to attack him. When she finally stopped, Luke had a chance to admire the beautiful view outside.
The afternoon sun was glaring in Luke’s eyes, making it difficult to watch the scene outside. Even with the discomfort, he found it hard to look away. The trooper had his notebook out, writing something as the girl was talking. Maybe she was sweet-talking herself out of a ticket, but Luke didn’t notice a vehicle near them, and the trooper didn’t have his flashing lights on.
A damsel in distress then, and damn, she was rocking that hot pink sundress. It was above her knees, showing off her sexy tanned legs. Then there was that hair, cascading waves of the most gorgeous long brown hair that Luke had ever seen. While he wouldn’t say he had a preference in hair color, he did tend to hook up with quite a few brunettes. He was so turned on by the sight of her that plans of hooking up with Tina soon started fading away.
A feminine girl definitely scored high marks in his book. In that dress, there was no denying she had a sexy body. If only she would turn around so he could see her face. He would bet his next paycheck she was a knockout.
“Oh my God, I am so glad you’re here. You need to hurry. He just took off a few minutes ago. I’m sure if you go right now, you can catch him,” Aimee Jo said breathlessly as she ran from the gas station to the state trooper the second he pulled in next to the restaurant.
“Hold on and calm down, miss,” the trooper said as he barely got out of his car before the girl ran up to him.
“No, see you don’t understand,” Aimee Jo started again. “He … he just took off with … with my car. You have to catch him,” she stammered.
“Miss, you need to calm down,” the trooper patiently repeated. “Do you know the license plate number of the vehicle and can I see your ID please?”
Aimee Jo Elliot stared at the trooper in confusion. How could he be so calm when her world was falling apart? She wanted him after the bastard that stole her car, and she wanted him after him now.
“No, I don’t know my license plate number. Do you know your license plate number?” Aimee Jo countered, her voice a little loud and a lot sarcastic. She wrestled with her wallet, trying to pull out her driver’s license. The damn thing was stuck and nearly impossible to get out of its plastic pocket. The smoldering Alabama heat must have melted the damn thing to her wallet. Frustrated, she was about to give up and just hand over her wallet, when it finally gave and came out. “Here,” she snapped as she handed it to him.
“It’s not necessary to be rude, miss, just a simple yes or no,” the trooper scolded her as he took the license from her hand, looking back and forth at it and her, with a scowl.
“Sorry, sir,” Aimee Jo apologized, remembering her southern manners. Her meemaw would have yanked her ear, if she heard how sassy she was being. She found it hard, however, to remember social graces when she was roasting like a marshmallow in the hot afternoon sun.
Aimee Jo watched him writing down her information. At least that big hat gave him some relief, even though she always thought they looked rather silly. She took a deep breath to calm her nerves, but it didn’t help. Can’t he write any faster? She changed hands as she continued to try to shield her unprotected eyes from the blinding sun. Why did she leave her brand-new sunglasses on the seat of the car?
And the heat, it had to be the hottest day on record, and she could feel the sweat building behind the back of her neck. She needed to pull her thick hair up and get some relief. She didn’t even want to know what she looked like right about now.
“What are the color, make, and model of the vehicle?” the trooper asked as he finally handed the license back to her.
Aimee Jo hesitated as she was distracted by her reflection in the trooper’s mirrored shades. It helped confirm that she was indeed looking like a hot mess.
“It’s a dark blue 2010 Nissan Altima, and no, sir, I don’t remember my license plate number.” Hell, in this heat, she was lucky to remember her own name. If she didn’t get relief soon, she was going to have a heatstroke. This so-called plan of hers was definitely off to a shitty start.
Her car was her one-way ticket to pursue her dream and now it was gone. Aimee Jo felt that any moment now she would start crying. Her whole life was in that car. Now, someone had run off with it, leaving her stranded in, of all places, a truck stop in Mobile, Alabama. She had been driving since early this morning but wanted to be closer to Texas before she stopped for the night. If they didn’t find her car, what was she going to do?
She only went inside the gas station to use the restroom and grab a Coke and a candy bar. She didn’t even get the chance to buy the much-needed caffeine and sugar. She had been in line at the register when she watched her car burning out of the parking lot.
“Did you see the person in the car? Was it a male or a female? One or two people?” he asked.
The trooper’s questions, the sweltering heat, and her extreme caffeine withdrawal were creating one hell of a headache for Aimee Jo. She rubbed at her temples, hoping for some relief, because her Tylenol was also in the damn car.
“No, sir, it all happened so fast. I didn’t get a good look at anyone.” Aimee Jo watched as the trooper continued writing and answering calls from his dispatcher. Her aggravation stirred up again. It didn’t appear to her that he was in any rush to get out there and look for her car. Didn’t he understand this was a matter of life or death?
Her stolen car was not her only worry. She’d left something else very valuable in there—five thousand dollars in cash. It was all the money she had and it was tucked safely inside her suitcase, cleverly hidden in a large box of tampons. She just hoped and prayed that whoever stole her car wouldn’t find the cash.
Right now, all she had was her wallet, cell phone, keys, and the clothes on her back. Everything else, everything she could quickly throw in the car, was still in there, heading for God knows where.
“I have the report and we have a call out in the area. It is probably some damn fools out joyriding. We’ll do our best to get your car back, miss. Where can we contact you at?” The trooper put away his pad and opened his car door.
“That’s just it, sir, I wasn’t intending on staying here. I’m headed for California. I guess you could call my cell.” Aimee Jo could feel the tears building in the corners of her eyes, ready to fall any second now as she gave the trooper her phone number.
The trooper felt sorry for the girl. Earlier, when he checked her license, he discovered she was twenty-two, the same age as his own daughter, who was home from college. What the hell was she doing driving to California by herself, anyway? He would never let his baby girl do that, he thought to himself as he finished up his notes.
“Okay, then. Here’s my card. I’m Trooper Stephens.” He held the card out to her as she went ahead and took it. “Just stay here and have a nice lunch at the diner inside. Joe has the best barbecue this side of the Mississippi,” he bragged.
“I’m not hungry,” Aimee Jo replied, the thought of food right now making her nauseous. She carefully tucked his card in her wallet. She appreciated how kind he was being to her, almost fatherly. She felt bad about being so sassy earlier.
“Well, at least go have a tall glass of sweet tea and get out of this oven. It sure is a hot one today. I will come find you here, when we know something,” he said before climbing back inside his vehicle and backing out of the parking lot, leaving Aimee Jo, once again, alone with her troubles.
“Like I have a choice,” Aimee Jo mumbled under her breath, as she watched him drive away. Damn it, what was she going to do now? She was nowhere near where she needed to be. She glanced at her phone. What was the point? She had no one she could call. She was alone and stranded at a truck stop.
Sweat continued to build up on the back of her neck, and she would give anything for a hair scrunchy right about now. Her hair felt like it weighed a ton as it continued to soak up perspiration. One of the first things she was going to do was find a hairdresser when she reached California. She had been dying to have one of those shorter, stylish haircuts but her meemaw begged her not to cut her hair, so she had waited. If she continued to stand out here, she would probably melt in this summer heat.
She glanced over at the restaurant entrance. She might as well head over and wait for news. Hopefully, it was cooler in there than it was outside. She wasn’t hungry, but an ice-cold Coke was sounding really good right about now. Maybe it would help dull the pounding in her head.