“Look,” Jack started over, ignoring Morgan’s mood. “I got you a load. It’s from here in Dallas and back to Haskins Corners by tomorrow night. It’s doable, if you aren’t in the middle of something.”
The middle of something? Morgan thought about Tara and the mess he’d left at her apartment. Yeah. Not in the middle of anything really important. “I can leave now and get back here by tomorrow afternoon.”
“That’s what I told the client.”
Good. That was solved. They talked details for a few more minutes, then, after the call ended, Morgan slipped into the back. He hustled to change into dry clothes then settled behind the wheel.
He needed to get out of here. Going through his checks, he prepared to head out. Between now and the time he returned, he’d come up with a plan. He’d find another place to park. Maybe the woman from the T-shirt stand would call and he’d have another lead. Either way, returning to the diner was not in the cards.
Someone pounded on the side of the truck. Hard. Even fist beats against the metal door. Morgan frowned and reached over to open the passenger door.
Tara stood there, staring at him. She was soaking wet, her hair plastered to her head and around her face. Her eyes looked big and endearing, nearly dragging him in. Her damp clothes clung to places he tried really hard not to look at.
“Are you leaving?” she yelled over the roar of the engine and the pounding rain.
“Yeah.” He wasn’t saying anything else. That’s what had gotten him in trouble earlier.
“Are you coming back?”
He still didn’t speak, not for a long time. Instead, he shrugged and stared straight ahead through the windshield. She didn’t leave. She didn’t get in out of the rain. She simply stood there. He could feel her gaze on him. He was not going to give in, not going to turn and drink in the look of her.
Something must have made her change her mind. Instead of stepping away from the roar of the truck, she curled her hand around the thick, metal handrail and pulled herself up. Before he could think or say anything, she was there, inside the cab. The door slammed with a loud wham.
“Are you going to answer me?”
He clenched his teeth and had to actually fight with himself to stop from looking at her. God, he wanted to haul her close. He knew he had to resist, but what a temptation she was. He ached, resisting. He knew he had to face her, had to look at her, had to tell her the truth and risk—no, probably guarantee—he’d push her away.
“Go home, Tara. Or inside the diner,” he said softly, slowly turning his head to look at her, not moving another muscle of his body except to clench the steering wheel with a death grip. “Just…go inside.”
“Not until you answer me.” She settled into the seat. “Are you coming back?”
The silence was thick. “No. Coming back would be a mistake.”
It took her a while to digest that. “Why?” she finally whispered.
Morgan’s heart sank to somewhere deep in his gut. “That kiss—” He gulped. “Can’t happen again.”
“Why?” she repeated.
He swallowed, not wanting to see the reaction on her face, not wanting to see her hurt, anger or disappointment. He squared his shoulders. The words sat bitter in his stomach before he let them go. “Tara. I’m…married.”
TARA STARED. At the rain on the side window. At the silhouette of the big man who’d touched her so gently a short while ago. The anguish on Morgan’s face cut through the growing shadows.
She curled her hand into a fist. How dare he? The fingers of her other hand closed around the door handle. Icy, cold rain splashed in as she shoved the heavy door open. She didn’t say anything. Neither did he. Climbing down, Tara closed the door, though she wanted to slam it to ease the pain slicing through her entire body.
She ran. Dodging the fat, wet drops as well as the mortification snapping at her heels. After he’d left her apartment, she’d run after him, through the rain, not caring that she was soaked, not caring that she shivered, only needing to catch up to him. Needing to understand what had just happened.
What had she been thinking? She hadn’t. She’d simply reacted, the very thing she’d promised herself she would not do anymore.