“Hello,” she said with a voice like melodies coming from a harp, and he’d know. His momma played that instrument all her life. He grew up on classical music. Didn’t mean he liked it, but he was familiar with it.
Grunting because she took him by surprise, and Brent didn’t like surprises, he waved a hand at her car. “Got stuck, huh?”
She nodded, her eyes darting back to the engine. They were green eyes, wide, open, innocent and polished, like two spheres of jade set in a freckled, porcelain face. Even with the sinful flaws of the scars, she was a beautiful lady...a full bottom lip, a perky nose, and a petite, fragile frame. Brent experienced an unwelcome sense of protectiveness for her, and he didn’t even know her name.
“I think it finally died on me,” she said, staring down at her broken vehicle with helplessness.
“Did you call a tow?”
She laughed, and the sound filled him from the marrow out. “I don’t have a cell phone,” she said.
That surprised him...again. “No cell phone? That’s unusual in this day.”
“Money has been a little tight for me lately,” she commented, kicking the tire of her dilapidated car as to fortify her point. She raised those jade eyes to him. “Do you mind if I use yours? I’ll pay you for the charges, of course.”
At that, Brent grinned and shifted his weight to one leg. “Didn’t you say you were short on money?”
She blinked rapidly and looked off down the road in the direction she’d been heading. “I’ve recently received a few extra dollars.”
Now, normally, something like that would please a person. Extra money was always a good thing, but she said it as if her few extra dollars came with a death sentence.
“No charge,” he said, unclipping his phone from his belt and handing it to her. She reached out her left hand and more scars defected it. Brent wondered if that whole side of her body was covered with them.
“Thank you,” she murmured and made her call. Brent walked around to the front of her car and peeked under the hood as she talked to a towing company. He wasn’t a prime mechanic by no means, but he figured pretty quickly her problem. Oil splatters dotted the entire engine, and it looked as though most of the hoses were just about rotted through. There was no saving this heap of junk.
She ended her call and handed over his phone again. “Thank you,” she said again. “It was very nice of you to help me out.” Brent lowered the hood and watched as she retrieved her purse from the inside, leaving the keys in the ignition. Then she nodded and started to walk.
“Hey, aren’t you going to wait for the tow truck?”
She paused and licked her bottom lip. “Um...no. I don’t really care what happens to it.” She looked up at the darkening sky. A spring rain was coming. Brent could smell the extra moisture in the air. “I’m meeting someone, so I need to get going.”
“You’re gonna walk?” He glanced down at her shoes. She wore plain black heels that had seen better days, but they were still heels nonetheless.
“It’s not far,” she commented. “Thank you again.” And she walked away, stumbling on the gravel alongside the road. Brent frowned at her. She obviously didn’t want to wait for a ride to wherever she was going, but he wasn’t in the habit of playing taxi with his deputy’s cruiser.
Still...his momma raised him better. Florence Poole had a sixth sense when it came to her children’s going ons. Even if no one else knew he ignored this deserted woman, his momma would find out. And that won’t be a pretty conversation.
Brent exhaled heavily. Already, she managed to cover a lot of ground while he stood there like a lump on a log and deliberated. He got back in his car and drove up to her. She slowed down as he rolled down the passenger window. “Can I give you a lift?” he asked. She bent to peer through the window at him.