A Meeting of Souls – Installment #12
This is the twelfth installment of A Meeting of Souls – A Tale from the Wasteland. The read the story from the beginning, start here.
If you enjoy this story and would like to own a copy of your very own, you can purchase it from Amazon/Kindle here and Barnes & Noble/Nook here. The e-book includes a full-color cover and a special, steamy, NSFW bonus chapter at the end of the story that won’t be included on the blog. Every romance needs a “happy ending,” right?
The sun was just peeking up over the horizon when the truck ran out of gas.
Zinara had been torn between wanting to circle back to the slaver camp to find her rescuer and wanting to put as much distance between her and the men who’d abducted her as she could. He’d said he had a motorcycle nearby. Surely he would make it back there and catch up to her, right? Unless he’d been caught, which would mean he would need her help. She was terrified to return to the camp, but she couldn’t just abandon him after all he’d risked to save her.
She’d just made the decision to turn around and go back for him when the truck sputtered a few times, died, and lurched to a halt. She tried starting it again, but when that failed she slammed her hand down on the steering wheel in frustration, struggling not to succumb to the panic and dread threatening to engulf her. She pushed her hair back out of her eyes, trying to decide what to do next, when her fingertips brushed against the slave collar still fastened around her neck, reminding her of the bolt cutters her rescuer said he had on his bike. Christ, she didn’t even know his name! And to thank him for rescuing her, she’d panicked and left him behind.
She opened the door of the truck and climbed down. Walking around the truck, she found a fuel tank on each side, but had no idea whether they were connected and could see no way to toggle between them. Maybe there was a switch inside the cab somewhere.
The sun was definitely up now, making it easier for Zinara to see as she rummaged around under the dashboard of the truck, but she knew that meant it would be easier for her to be spotted in the flat, open desert. When the search of the dashboard and under the seats proved fruitless, she pulled the back of the seat forward and found a pile of clothing. Halfway down the pile she found her skirt and boots, which she hastily pulled on, happy to be free of the smelly, scratchy wool blanket poncho, but her shirt and jacket were nowhere to be found. She tied the corners of the larger shawl around her back and neck in a sort of halter top and had just starting searching for the switch for the fuel tanks again when she heard the distinct rumble of a motorcycle off in the distance.
Peering through the back window, she could see a rider approaching from behind her on the road, moving fast and headed directly for her. She slunk down out of the cab of the truck and crouched behind the front wheel, keeping the truck between her and the rider and clutching the little baseball bat in her hand. Although she prayed that it was her rescuer, she wanted to stay out of sight until she could be sure.
The motorcycle pulled up to the driver side door, idled for a moment, then started around the front of the truck. Zinara waited until the rider came into view before she stood up, catching him by surprise. He had just enough time to turn and face her when she launched herself at him, throwing her arms around his neck.
“Oh thank God, it’s you!” she cried as she hugged him, threatening to topple both of them over. “One of the slaver guys found me in the truck. I didn’t know where the bike was. I panicked.”
“It’s okay, you did the right thing,” he said pulling back from her embrace to look into her eyes. “Are you alright?”
“I’m fine, but the truck is out of gas. It has dual tanks, but I can’t find the switch.”
“We don’t need it. We’ll make better time on the bike.” He dismounted and rummaged around in a saddlebag, finding his bolt cutters. He drew near to Zinara and she turned her head, exposing her neck to give him better access to the padlock on her collar. “Hold still. I don’t want to hurt you,” he murmured.
She reached up and grabbed the collar with both hands to keep it from moving. “I trust you,” she said. The padlock came free with one quick snip and she ripped the collar away, flinging it behind her and rubbing at the raw skin on her neck.
Lash stowed the bolt cutters and turned back to her. “You found your clothes?”
“Some of them, anyway. My jacket’s missing.”
He shrugged out of his leather jacket with a wince and stepped close, pulling it around her. “Here,” he said. “It gets cold on the bike.” His hands lingered on her shoulders and Zinara could feel the heat from his body, dangerously close. She tilted her head up to look into his eyes, yearning for his kiss, and he obliged her, his lips first brushing hers lightly, almost tentatively, before his mouth devoured hers. She slid her arms around his waist, pressing herself against him, wanting the kiss to go on forever.
A distant buzzing broke the spell, and he swore under his breath, pulling away from her reluctantly. He swung his leg over the bike and started it, and Zinara climbed on, pressing herself against his back with her arms wrapped tightly around his waist. “Hang on,” he called over his shoulder as they sped away toward the City, their pursuers just visible in the distance.