Taylor Lucero was blessed with better-than-average looks. In fact, she's gorgeous. Until they know her, people don't realize she has intellectual challenges. Most ignore her, except for the guys lacking integrity. They see a young woman who will fall for their lies. Taylor is stubborn, though, and doesn't understand that men sometimes have less-than-stellar motives for wanting to date her.
Mike Johnson is a college freshman. He meets a beautiful girl while flying to Tucson to enroll in college and wonders what will become of her because she's so vulnerable. They run into each other again, and out of concern for her safety, they become friends. He hopes dating will keep the predators away. He doesn't know any other way to protect her innocence. When they fall in love, tragedy strikes. Mike's response causes his family to shun him, but his unconditional love is what she needs to heal.
Though I hadn't intended to cry, my throat sounded tight and my eyes stung. "I thought you would call me."
"Sorry about that. I've been busy."
I heard a voice from inside the car. "Who's the cute girl? I didn't know you knew any girls around here, cuz. How's about an introduction?"
"We met on the plane to Tucson. She lives a few blocks from here." Mike glanced back at me. "See you around. It's Taylor, right?"
He wasn't even sure of my name? I didn't think he would be like the others. I thought we were friends. "Yeah, it's Taylor. Who's the guy with you?"
"Just my cousin Doug." He leaned closer and said in a whisper, "You don't want to know him. He's too old for you and he won't treat you right. You hear what I'm saying? I'll call you when I get back, okay?"
I bent down so I could see the other guy's face. He was even cuter than Mike in a dark-good-looks sort of way. I decided to pour on the southern girl charm and added more of an accent than usual. "Hey there. Care to give a girl a ride?"
"Seriously? I'll take you on, honey. I love your accent."
Mike cringed and mouthed, "Go home, Taylor."
I ignored him and spoke to Doug. "Can I get a lift home? Or maybe I can just hang out for a bit. I have nothing better to do."
Mike said through stiff lips. "Just. Walk. Home. I promise I'll call you."
I didn't believe him. He'd said it before. So I said, "I forgot how to get there."
The passenger car door opened and Doug hopped out. He opened the back door and said, "Come inside. I'll entertain you since Mike here is playing the good boy."
Flattered by his attention, I shot Mike an annoyed look and smiled at Doug. "Thanks. Don't mind if I do. But I don't want to go home yet. How about I just tag along?"
"We're going apartment hunting. You wouldn't be interested." Mike sounded mad. Oh, well. He should've thought of that before he blew me off.
"Sounds fun to me." I flirted with Doug, who acted like he'd just made it to the highest level of a video game. I could tell he liked me. Maybe Mike would regret not calling me now.
"Hop in, baby. I'll make sure you aren't bored."
Mike shut off the engine. "We're not going anywhere now." He opened the car door and held his keys in his hand.
Doug closed in on me and grabbed my hand, but before he had a chance to pull me into the car, Mike swore and jumped between us.
"Get your hands off her." Mike pointed at his cousin and looked like he was about to jam his keys into Doug's gut.