Cupid Scores

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Meghan's heart pounded within her chest, her breath coming out like frosted crystals in the night air as her bare feet slapped the pavement. Panic rose inside her and she promised herself a good cry when she reached safety.

She didn't know whether to circle back and get her purse and clothes or keep going. She was freezing as she ran butt naked down Main Street, glancing over her shoulder every few minutes.

"For someone with a Mensa IQ, you're not very smart," she scolded herself out loud.

Amazing how quickly you sobered when faced with life and death consequences. If she didn't have frostbite from this little escapade, it would be a miracle. Her keys, her wallet, everything was in the park.

Her condo was a mile away. She had to keep moving toward her home and hope she could find the hidden spare key.

Headlights turned down the street, and even knowing the leaves were gone from the shrubs, she dove behind the scraggly bushes, crouching, hiding, praying it wasn't the sheriff.

A red Corvette screamed by and she rose from the bushes. Suddenly, the car slammed on the brakes, squealing the tires, and the back-up lights come on.

Crap, she'd been seen. She started running. Maybe if she just kept going, they would leave her alone.

The car pulled up alongside her and the window came down. She glanced over and her heart sank like the Titanic into the cold sea. Closing her eyes, she groaned. As if her luck couldn't get any worse tonight, Max Vandenberg smiled at her.

"Darlin', it's a little chilly to be out streaking. You okay?"

A tremor tried to work its way down her frozen spine, creating a ripple of heat and awareness.

"I'm perfectly fine," she retorted, continuing to run with her arms crossed over her breasts, her pride refusing to admit she needed help. Part of her wished he would go away. The rational, sane part of her screamed get in his car.

"Out for a midnight Cupid stroll," she said shivering.

He started laughing. "You did the Cupid dance. And if I was a betting man, I'd say the law showed up."

What could she say. The worst night of her life had just taken a turn into complete disaster. If that damn statue thought this was funny, she'd personally knock down the God of Love. She slowed from running to walking. It wasn't like Max hadn't seen her without clothes before.

"Get in the car," he said. "I'll take you home."

"What? Give up my midnight stroll?" She didn't want to crawl into that fancy car with her ex-high school boyfriend.

"Meghan, I know you're not stupid. And if anyone else comes along and sees the school librarian walking down the street naked, I think you'll be looking for a new profession. Get in the damn car."

The sound of a vehicle motor sent her fear soaring and she knew she had no choice. Jerking open the door of the Corvette, she hopped into the sports car, her heart pounding nearly out of her chest. Close...way too close.

"As much as I hate to cover up all those luscious curves, I think you need my coat. Don't want the cops seeing a naked woman in my car and ruining my reputation."

He handed her his jacket and she gladly slipped it on. The smell of Max wafted around her and memories of the two of them surged through her, but she halted the memory tape before it reached the good parts.

He turned up the heater and she sighed with relief. Though she still hated Max, at this moment, he was a welcome sight. He put the car in drive and they pulled away just as the sheriff passed them going the other direction with Taylor in the backseat.

"Oh no, he caught Taylor," she said watching the car.

"Wow. Public indecency is not a charge you want on your record," he said.

Her chest ached for her friend. How could a night so full of fun turn so bad?

"Where did you leave your clothes?" he asked, watching the cop in his rearview mirror to make certain he continued down the road.

"My purse, my phone, my keys, my clothes, everything is on a bench in the city square," she said, knowing he would tease her about tonight's escapade.

He grinned. "You were doing the Cupid dance. Hey, if you're desperate for a boyfriend, I'm available."

Shaking her head, she grimaced, hating being in this position with him. "Been there, done that, and got the T-shirt along with a broken heart."

With a shrug, he smiled. "Second time around could be better than the first."

"Just take me home," she demanded, wondering why he would consider dating her again. He'd been the one who left for college hating her. And she'd been angry with him as well.

"Do you want me to go back and try to find your stuff?" he asked.

She wanted her things in a bad way, but she feared the sheriff would catch them. As the school librarian, she couldn't be caught.

"I don't think this car can be obscure. And I doubt the sheriff would leave my things in the park. But drive by and see if they're still there. I'll slump down in the seat," she said, thinking she was risking everything after getting away, but willing to gamble it all for the return of her purse.

The car's engine roared in the night as he turned it around in the middle of the street, headed toward the park and that damn superstition that created this mess.

Slowly, he drove through the square and Meghan resisted flipping off the God of Love. She'd let herself be convinced to dance nude around a piece of rock that supposedly would find her true love. Landing in jail was more likely.

Instead, it had cost her dignity. Her reputation was on the line and possibly her job.

"Stupid statue," she muttered, trying to see her clothes as she peered out the window from the floor board. "They're gone."

With a sigh, she shook her head wondering if she needed to cancel her credit cards and phone, and have new locks installed on her condominium.

"What now? Do you have your keys to your condo?"

"If I can find the extra key without my neighbors calling the sheriff," she said.

"Where do you keep it?" he asked. "I'll find it while you wait in the car. Then I'll bring your robe out and you can put that on before you go into the house."

She frowned as she gazed at the man she'd loved passionately in high school. The man she'd given her virginity and heart until a costly mistake. "Why are you being so nice? You hate me."

He shrugged. "I'm a nice guy. I'm rescuing a damsel in distress."

Oh God. Now she would be beholding to him.

Punching the gas, he sped through the streets of town in the direction of her condo.

"How do you know where I live?" she asked.

He flashed that million-dollar smile the cameras loved. The very grin that drew her to him, making her breathing rapid. "Looked you up when I first moved back to Cupid. Wanted to make certain I didn't buy real estate in the same area as you."

"Ha! Like I could afford even a tenth of what you can."

"Probably not."

He being worth millions, she'd been shocked when Max returned to Cupid.

"So tell me the real reason you looked me up."

"Because I wanted to learn where you lived. So when I asked you out to dinner, I'd know where to pick you up. Only you keep saying no. After tonight, I think you owe me a date."

Meghan cursed. Yes, he'd asked her out several times at school, but she'd told him she had plans, she was busy. Anything to keep him from coming back into her life.

Now, everything she feared was happening all because of that damn statue in the square. And she owed him at least one date, but no more. While they were dating, he'd run when she needed him the most and she wasn't going to give him a second chance to show her he couldn't be counted on in a crisis. She was done with Max Vandenberg, football superstar.