Available February 3, 2012...
Danny Wilson and his 1955 Thunderbird disappear one hour after his wedding to Nina Kirkland. When Peter Shayne finds Danny’s driver’s license concealed in the trunk of his new car, he offers Nina fresh lines of inquiry. She learns Danny planned to escape his domineering mother for a life of his own choosing. Nina doubts her own judgment. If she was so wrong about Danny, can she believe this new man in her life? Against the background of exotic cars and an antique auto museum, she searches for clues. She must learn what happened when Danny walked away from the wedding. Then she can trust her growing attraction to Peter. Is Danny hiding from a marriage he didn't want? Or is there a more sinister explanation? Peter vows to help the girl he loves, even if he might lose her. Only then will they know: Is Nina married or not?
Peter didn’t believe the speed Nina held as she pushed the car into the final straight-away—she powered the vehicle across the finish line and stopped exactly on the final mark. Peter had no doubts that Nina had made a run that would hold up across the remaining drivers.
“I guess I’m not going to give you back the entry fee after all.” The laughter in her voice bubbled through her words.
“Where in the hell did you learn to drive like that, young lady?”
She shook back the curls that tumbled around her face. “When I was twelve, my uncle taught me to drive and let me practice in his parking lot. By the time I was old enough to get my license, I could drive anything I could get to run.”
“Some teacher, this uncle of yours.”
“You may have heard of him. Eldon Lassiter?”
“The race driver?” Peter stared at the girl beside him.“And you asked to drive my car? Why? If you wanted to drive, I’ll bet any person here would be glad to have Eldon Lassiter’s niece put hands to the wheel.”
Nina turned to look at the yellow paint casting back the rays of afternoon sun. “No, I didn’t just want to drive. I wanted to drive your car, this car.”
The hint of tears darkened Nina’s eyes. Peter sensed the pain surrounding her as if a murky wave had dimmed the lights inside her. “I don’t understand, Nina. This car? Why?”
“I asked you if Danny Wilson sold it to you. You said no, but I know this is Danny’s car. I can’t prove it, but I know it. I drove it often enough.” She took a step back. “Danny is, or maybe was, my husband. For about an hour. Right after the wedding, he went to get the car, his yellow Thunderbird, so we could leave on our wedding trip. I saw him through the window of the church parlor. He waved, so jaunty, so happy, and I waved back. But Danny never came back to the church. He and the car vanished. Until today there’s never been a trace.” Her voice stopped as if she had no words, no strength left.
She looked up at Peter, her eyes a light year from where they stood. “Thank you. I’m glad I could win for you… well, not just for you. Mostly one more time for Danny.” She put the keys into his hand, turned, and walked into the crowd. Before he could answer, Nina’s lanky figure became part of the milling swarm pushing forward to see the car that took the prize.