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Tornado Allie

By:Shelly Bell

Shelly Bell

Tornado Allie

Chapter One

Covering her mouth with her palm, Allie Schwartz rocked in her seat. If the minivan didn’t stop soon, she’d lose her lunch. Contrary to her best friend Taryn’s insistence her body would acclimate to the endless hours of driving up and down the highways of Oklahoma, her motion sickness had actually grown worse.

Thank goodness it was the last day of vacation.

On the other hand…

Staring at the back of the man behind the wheel, she almost regretted having to leave tomorrow. Five days of lusting over Drake Roberts, Taryn’s older brother and the leader of their storm-chasing tour, and she hadn’t made a single successful move on him.

Not that she hadn’t tried. Sure, they’d discussed the differences between supercell tornadoes and land spouts, and they’d laughed over how they both secretly loved the movie Twister despite its flaws, but when it came down to flirting with the sexy tour guide, she’d found her tongue tied in knots.

Sitting beside her in the second row, Taryn nudged her with an elbow to the ribs. “Great view, huh?”

Still looking at Drake, Allie sighed. “Amazing.”

Her friend laughed. “I meant the one outside this vehicle.” Dropping her voice to a whisper, she added, “He doesn’t do relationships, so he’s perfect for what you’ve got in mind. Are you finally going to get the nerve to ask him?”

Allie cringed, hating that her friend knew her so well. “Don’t you dare,” she said, narrowing her gaze at Taryn. “It would be weird to have sex with my best friend’s brother. Especially since you helped write my naughty list.”

Because Drake had moved away before Allie had known Taryn, they’d never had the chance to meet, but after she’d seen his picture, she’d developed a tiny crush on him.

Six months ago, Allie had beaten her cancer into remission only to almost die from pneumonia. Taryn, rather than cry at the injustice of it all like the rest of her visitors, had given her hope, helping her create two bucket lists.

The first detailed future activities the two of them would do together, including going on a storm-chasing tour with Drake’s company. The second spelled out all those naughty sexual fantasies Allie had always secretly wanted to try. Fantasies she’d pictured trying with a man who looked exactly like Drake.

As soon as she’d gotten out of the hospital, they’d made their reservations for the storm-chasing tour. But she still hadn’t crossed off a single item from her naughty list.

Forcing her attention away from Drake, she stared out her window at the dark clouds hovering over the open field in the distance. She leaned forward in her seat as far as her seat belt would allow. “Is that an anvil at the back of the cloud to the northeast of us?”

“Good spotting, Allie,” Drake said. “We’re going to get a little bit closer to the storm before we get out to take pictures. The radar’s showing a slight rotation, but nothing to indicate the formation of a tornado yet.”

He knew how much observing a tornado meant to her. When he’d asked their tour group why they’d each paid over two thousand dollars to drive in a cramped car for six hours a day on the slim chance they’d see a tornado, she’d parroted everyone else’s answer about experiencing the rush of the chase. Although Taryn hadn’t told him anything about Allie’s medical history, he hadn’t bought her reason and had pulled her aside a few minutes later to ask for the real one. So she’d told him the truth.

Surprising her, Drake hadn’t responded with an “I’m sorry,” as if he’d caused the cancer, a phrase she’d heard umpteen times this past year from everyone from her aunt to the mail man. Instead, he’d hugged her, called her “courageous,” and promised her a tornado.

Even after everything she’d been through, she hadn’t once felt courageous. Until then.

And that was when she’d fallen hard for Drake Roberts.

Their vehicle slowed and veered off the side of the road and then came to a complete stop next to a wheat field. She thanked the stars her lunch wouldn’t make a reappearance, because she may have been out of the dating scene for a while, but she didn’t think getting carsick was the way to impress a guy.

Drake unbuckled his seat belt and shifted in his seat to face them. “This seems like a good area. Why don’t you all take your cameras and get some pictures while I check NOAA for an update and check out the NEXRAD.”

If she hadn’t worked for two years as a scantily clad weather girl for a small television news station, she wouldn’t have had a clue that NOAA stood for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration or that NEXRAD was a network of Doppler radars operated by the National Weather Service. Apparently, the embarrassment of the job had been worth it.