Snowbound Sweetheart. Judy Christenberry

Snowbound Sweetheart - Judy Christenberry

Скачать книгу
own dream.

      Staring out the window, he realized the snow was getting thicker. “Can you still see well enough to keep going? Maybe we should stop while we can still find a hotel and wait until morning.” He didn’t want to do that, but he also didn’t want to become a frozen Popsicle on the side of the road.

      “No, I want to keep going. I have snow tires on my car.” She leaned forward to concentrate on her driving, and Gil figured she’d be sore before too long. The tension would make her ache.

      He said nothing. She’d probably offer to dump him out on the closest sidewalk if he protested. And he had to admit they could still maneuver fairly well. But he wasn’t sure how long that would be true.

      An hour later, they were still struggling along, the snow several inches deep. He’d pulled his sheepskin-lined jacket into the front seat and draped it over himself. Lindsay, though occasionally shivering, said nothing.

      He felt like a cur, sitting back and warm while she shivered and drove through the storm, but he’d offered to drive. And he’d asked her about her coat. And she’d responded to both those questions with a snarl.

      So he kept quiet.

      “I’m sure we’ll be clear of the snow if we can just get to St. Louis,” she said suddenly.

      “I won’t argue with that,” he agreed, but he had his doubts about making it that far.

      “Or even Springfield,” she added, sending him a hopeful look.

      He stared straight ahead. Then they passed a sign showing an exit for a town named Pontiac. “How far is Pontiac from Springfield?”

      “I’m—I’m not sure.”

      He opened the glove compartment and took out the larger map covering the Midwest. After a brief calculation, he looked at her. “I believe it’s over eighty miles.”

      She pressed her lips tightly together and said nothing.

      Neither did he, but he didn’t think they’d make it eighty miles before midnight. Not when they were only going about fifteen miles an hour.

      Finally, he said, “I’m willing to pull over and find a place to stay to wait this out, whenever you’re ready. You know we’re not going to be able to drive straight through at this rate.”

      She shook her head. “We’ll be able to go a lot faster as soon as we outrun the snowstorm.”

      Stubborn woman. He couldn’t argue with her statement. In fact, he totally agreed with her. The disagreement came in exactly when they’d outrun the snowstorm.

      “Mind if I turn on the radio?” he asked. “We might get some weather news.”

      “No, of course not. That’s a good idea.” She reached for the radio herself.

      “I’ll handle the radio, since you’re driving.” He thought he’d put that tactfully, and her hand returned to the steering wheel, leaving it to him to find a station.

      “This is a weather bulletin,” the announcer said. “Forecasters say the storm will still intensify for the next few hours. However, the snow should taper off by morning.”

      “By morning!” Lindsay exclaimed.

      Gil said nothing. He didn’t think urging Lindsay to give up would be effective. The hardheaded woman would probably refuse to do so because she didn’t want to give in to a man’s advice. He understood a woman’s resistance to male domination, but not in the face of common sense.

      “Lindsay, the snow’s almost half a foot deep now. We’re not going to be able to go much farther. Don’t you want to look for shelter while we can?” he finally asked.

      She said nothing, leaning farther over the steering wheel, her gaze glued to the road in front of them.

      Gil sighed.

      Abruptly, she put on her blinker light, taking him by surprise. “You’re stopping?” he asked.

      Though her face remained grim, she nodded. “There’s a small town here, according to that sign. I guess we’d better stop while we can.”

      “Good thinking,” he agreed, as if it had been her idea. He didn’t care who got credit for stopping, as long as they did so.

      The exit road was downhill and they skidded several times negotiating it. When they reached the bottom, they discovered another sign, pointing out that the small town they’d sought was another four miles down the road.

      “Rats!” Lindsay exclaimed, frowning fiercely.

      “We can make it,” Gil assured her. Four miles on level road would be a hell of a lot better than trying to go uphill to get back on the freeway.

      “We don’t have much choice,” she muttered, not looking at him.

      “Want me to drive?”

      She glared at him. “No.”

      He drew a deep breath and leaned back, trying to give the impression of complete relaxation.

      Half an hour later, they reached the city limits of Witherspoon.

      “Where is it?” Lindsay demanded in frustration.

      “I think I see a few buildings. Keep going.”

      He was right. They discovered a filling station, obviously shut down, a Dairy Queen, no lights on, a couple of houses and finally the red fluorescent light appeared through the snow, flashing OTEL.

      “I think we can assume that should say motel,” he said with a chuckle.

      “I hope you’re right.” She turned off the road into the parking lot.

      Gil studied as much as he could see of the motel and figured they’d be lucky to get a room. The parking lot was almost full.

      “There’s the office,” he said, pointing to their right.

      She eased the car through the crunchy snow and stopped as close to the office door as she could.

      “If you’d like, I’ll go see what they’ve got available. I’ve already got my coat out,” he offered, careful to couch his idea as a suggestion.

      “Thank you. I’d appreciate it.”

      Surprised by her acquiescence without argument, he hurriedly got out into the storm before she could change her mind.

      The cold sting of the snow attacked his exposed skin as he hurried toward the door, trying not to slip.

      As soon as he got inside, closing the door behind him, he shook off the snow that covered him and stepped to the counter.

      No one appeared to be on duty, but there was a button to push for assistance. After he’d followed directions, he heard footsteps. Then, a door behind the counter opened and an elderly man appeared.

      “Evening. Didn’t hear anyone arrive. Sorry to keep you waiting,” he said, a genial smile on his face. “We don’t usually do this much business.”

      Gil would guess not. So far he hadn’t seen anything in Witherspoon that would attract travelers. Of course, he hadn’t seen much in the snowstorm, so he could be wrong.

      “You’re in luck,” the man said. “I’ve got one room left. You want it?”

      Gil frowned. “Only one room? We need two.”

      “Sorry, young man. But one’s all I got. If you don’t want it, someone else will probably come along.”

      Gil felt sure he was right. “Is there another motel in town?”

      “Nope. This is it.”

      The sound of another vehicle on the road just barely penetrated the room above the sound of the wind. Gil didn’t want to do any more driving in the storm. He hurriedly agreed to the one room,

Скачать книгу