Today, for your viewing pleasure, is an excerpt of 'A Heapin' Helping of Three Cross Faith. This is the first of a series of books about cowboys who sing and love Jesus.
Niki Daniels is hurt when a taxi hits her from behind. Little does she know, the customer is none other than her new client, Austin Cole. He's a Christian praise singer, and she's just been named his manager.
Austin demands that everyone working with him are Christian, so Niki makes a point to hide the fact that God abandoned her years ago, and she's turned away from Him.
Austin used to be a neurosurgeon, but gave it up when his wife was killed. He is now a rancher in a tiny town south of Midland, Texas, where he lives with his young daughter. His goal is to change lives and turn souls toward God with his music.
Since Niki is his client and patient, he negotiates bringing her to his home, questioning her lack of faith and secret past.
Metal crashed metal. Niki Daniel's head smashed into the steering wheel, her car leaping forward toward the busy intersection. She snapped back into her seat, feeling like she'd just been thrown around like a rag doll.
Horns honked when the light turned green, but she wasn't going anywhere. Niki stayed still until the excruciating pain in her head finally reached her brain. Her car door opened, but she didn't care. Instead, she closed her eyes, trying to figure out what had just happened.
"Are you okay, ma'am?" The male southern drawl made her want to turn to look, but she hesitated because of the throbbing pain in her head. "Ma'am? Can you hear me?"
A hand touched her shoulder. She opened her eyes and moved her head an inch to the left to see his face. "Who are you?"
"I should be asking you that, because you look so familiar." The man was adorable, with bright blue eyes, strong muscular features, and a Stetson hat covering part of his wavy brown hair. "What's your name?"
"Let me think for a moment." She raised her hand, feeling the pain from a bump forming on her forehead. "Niki Daniels. Yeah, that's it."
"Are ya sure?"
She inched her hand over to the passenger's side, turning her head a bit. Sudden agony seared through her neck, making her wince, but she succeeded in pulling her purse to her lap. Her wallet lay on the top, so she grabbed it and opened it to her license, registration, and insurance card.
The man glanced down at the license then back at her face. "Yes, you're Nicole Daniels. I bet your nickname is Niki. Do you know where you live?" He covered the license with his hand as she closed her eyes.
"New York City. I live in Queens and I'm heading to work. I think I'm in Manhattan." Sirens sounded closer to the car. "I'm going to be late for a meeting." As nausea passed through her, she sucked in a deep breath to stop it from continuing. Mind over matter worked, she kept telling herself.
"I don't think you're goin' anywhere." He moved his hand to the back of her neck. "Does that hurt?"
"It doesn't feel great, but I think I'll live."
He kept moving his hand down her spine, inching her whole body forward while holding her head and neck in line. He asked her how it felt with each touch, finally telling her to move her feet.
"I'm fine," she said. "I just bumped my head and I really have to get to work."
The sirens stopped and within a minute, a police officer approached her car. "Are you injured?" he asked her.
"I'm fine. I have to get to work, so can we move this along?"
Stetson Man stood up, his hands flying to his hips as he faced the cop. "She has a head injury. I think she may have whiplash as well."
"What happened?" the officer asked Stetson Man.
He turned and pointed behind him. "I just got out of the taxi way back there when it took off at full speed toward the red light and hit her. She was stopped at the light. She needs medical attention."
"No, I'm fine," Niki said.
The officer wrote down the information while an ambulance pulled up to the scene and an EMT approached her car. "Are there injuries here?"
Niki took a deep breath and stared forward, still shaken. "No. I don't need any help. I have to get to my meeting right there and I don't want to be late." She pointed at the building in front of her, remembering where she worked. "Am I allowed to go?"
"Not until you sign this." The EMT thrust a release form into her hand. She couldn't lower her head or concentrate very well on it, so she just signed it, hoping it wasn't anything she'd regret later.
Stetson Man knelt beside her. "I think this is a mistake, Blondie. You could have a number of medical problems."
"I'm fine and my name's not Blondie."
"I like that name." She could hear the smile in his voice, but didn't want to turn to look as he continued. "You have long golden blonde hair and blue eyes, making Blondie a great nickname. It really fits you."
Niki touched her forehead and stared at her steering wheel. "I'm wondering why my seatbelt didn't hold me back."
Stetson Man leaned toward her ear. "You weren't wearing one," he whispered.
"But I put it on…didn't I?" She turned her head to see his face, grimacing from the pain in her neck. She reached up and grabbed it, hoping the action would take the pain away.
"Unless the seatbelt released, I'd say no. I can take you to the hospital if ya want."
"No, I'm fine, but thanks for your help."
The officer returned to the car, still writing.
"I need to get to work," Niki said to the officer, not turning toward him. "Can I go yet?"
"Sure." The officer handed her the cards from her wallet. "We'll be in touch."
"How's the man who hit me?"
"He's headed for the hospital," Stetson Man said. "Can I get your phone number so I can make sure you're okay later today?"
What was wrong with this man? Didn't he know it was New York? People didn't help strangers. "No, that's fine." She didn't trust him or any man. She also didn't like being the center of attention. "Thanks anyway."
The officer handed her an accident report, they finished their business, and Niki closed her door. After she drove to the parking garage next to her building and pulled into her assigned spot, she rested her head on the back of her seat, feeling awful. There was no way she'd make it through the day, so she'd have to fake it somehow.
Book 1: A Heapin' Helping of Three Cross Faith
Book 2: Touching the Love of a Texas Sunset
Book 3: Teach Me to Love
Series of Three Cross Faith books here.
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Have a great weekend and God bless you!