Over a dune, affectionately called a hit, a rider on a dirt bike capped the rise, soaring twelve feet or more into the air. Like a choreographed move, his lithe body parted from the Honda 250 CR, hands gripped tightly on the handlebars, his legs extended above his head as he performed the death-defying Kiss of Death.
Silence reigned. Gasps of awe and appreciation replaced it.
While Drew Thompson watched the crazy bastard in the distance, he held his breath along with hundreds of people perched on the edges of their all-terrain vehicles’ seats in the Imperial Dunes in Glamis, California. Mouths hung agape. All eyes pinned on the sonofabitch to see if he’d land the motorcycle or be gifted with a soil sample. A face full of sand would be more than the idiot could hope for with a stunt like that.
Fully decked out in matching red, black and yellow Fox riding gear, including helmet and gloves, the rider brought the heavy bike down like a pro. The audience exploded with applause. The air in Drew’s lungs released in one gush as his knees hugged the quad, the four-wheel all-terrain vehicle of choice for most of those watching the display.
The rider was good, but reckless. They were twenty miles away from medical assistance. The on-site services wouldn’t cut it for a serious injury. In a desolate area like Glamis, whenever the beating sounds of a helicopter’s rotor could be heard, you knew it was a bad accident.
Drew shook his head and looked at his college buddy straddling this year’s newest Polaris quad. “Crazy bastard,” Drew said aloud this time.
Josh Davis leaned over and whacked Drew hard on the back. “Isn’t that what this weekend is all about? Getting crazy?” His mischievous grin from childhood hadn’t changed.
As if to corroborate his comment, a busty blonde climbed up on the seat of a sand rail and quickly removed her jersey, waving it to get the rider’s attention. The vehicle, equipped with a heavy-gauge roll cage, swayed as she jumped up and down, shaking her naked breasts in front of everyone. The dirt bike rider ignored the display and sped by.
Extended nipples displayed the woman’s excitement and desire to meet the rider. The sexy way her body moved, the sensual smile on her face screamed, “Take me”. Whatever her intentions, she had the crowd in an uproar.
What could he say? He was a man and, like any red-blooded male within eyeshot, blood rushed to his groin. It had been a while since he’d gotten laid. Where he’d been stationed the last three years you didn’t dare touch a woman, nor had he wanted to.
The material of his riding pants tightened across his lap. He shifted his hips to accommodate the growing sensation. When the blonde cupped herself, her thumbs playing across the hard nubs of her breasts, he sucked in a tight breath. His balls drew painfully against his body.
His eyes closed for a second as he saw Zoë’s face. The tilt of her small nose, the sprinkle of freckles hidden beneath skin so soft he could have held her forever. But he hadn’t. Instead he’d left her behind to pursue his career, or at least that’s what he kept telling himself.
“Come to Mommy, sweetie,” the blonde atop the sand rail cooed, gaining Drew’s attention again. His eyes opened.
Josh cocked his head in the direction of the woman flaunting herself. “Like I said, let’s get crazy. And perhaps laid?” He wiggled his brows.
Drew had no doubt that Josh would be stripped and rode hard before the night was over. He was a chick magnet. His golden hair and movie-star good looks drove women wild. But that rich, dark tan was from the Arizona sun, not California. Drew achieved his in the deserts of Iraq. He pushed his fingers through his wavy black hair and stood, stretching his legs on the quad’s foot pegs.
Damn. It felt good to be back in the States after three years in that Godforsaken country. INN, International Network News, had contracted him to photograph the war against terrorism. As he had expected, the job had furthered his career, but cost him more than the new position in Arizona was worth.
He didn’t sleep well at night. More often than not he awoke to chills and fevers. More importantly, he’d lost the one person who had really meant something to him.
He blew out a small breath of disgust. If only he’d had foresight and a little more courage.
The scent of dust