Snow drifted from the leaden sky, huge flakes splattering against the
windshield like squashed bugs. Terrific. This day just kept getting better and

It never snowed in Dehradun. Well, almost never. The thought of balmy days
lounging beneath a magnolia tree had been the main reason Swara Galodia had
deserted the slushy streets and frigid temperatures of Kolkata to spend the
holidays with her old college roommate. That and the fact that she’d been forced
to close The Shore Way, her advertising agency, for seven excruciatingly long
days. When she’d suggested forgoing the traditional week off, her senior staff
assured her morale would not be improved by such an action. If their incredulous
expressions were any indication, the result would be a full-blown insurrection.
She glanced down at the glowing gas pump on the gage of her rental sedan
and bit her lip. If she didn’t stop soon, she’d find herself stranded. Up ahead, the
vague outlines of buildings appeared through the gloom. Thank heavens. It didn’t
look like much of a town, just a wide spot in the road with a gas station. Maybe
she could get a cup of coffee while they filled her tank. Both she and the car
needed fuel for the drive ahead. She pulled up before the pumps and opened the
car door. A gust of cold wind, damp with snow, slapped her in the face. Huddling
into the soft folds of her cashmere sweater, she hurried across the oil-stained
pavement, detoured around a big yellow tow truck parked smack in front of the
building, and entered the convenience store attached to the open garage bay.
Bad coffee beat no coffee at all.

The swinging door slapped shut behind her. A dark haired, pimple-faced teen
sat on a stool behind a counter cluttered with racks of Swara bars and bags of
chips. She headed for the coffee maker and poured dark liquid into a Styrofoam
cup. Adding a packet of sugar, she carried it to the counter.
“Can I pay for this with my gas?”

The boy snapped his gum. “Sure, but the pump ain’t runnin’.”
Taking a deep breath, she held back a sharp retort and spoke in a level voice.
“It will be as soon as someone pumps my gas.”
“Lady, we don’t pump the gas. You do.”
Every other gas station she’d stopped at in small towns provided old-fashioned
full service. Why did this one have to be modernized? Maybe she could sweet talk
him. “It’s snowing.”

She took another breath. The kid probably wasn’t a Mensa member. “Surely
someone here can pump my gas. For a tip?”
He snorted. “Ain’t no one here but me and Sanskar.”
It seemed obvious the boy wasn’t going to get off his butt. “Maybe this Sanskar
person can do it.”
Behind the teen, the door opened, and a man stepped through from the garage
bay. He reminded Swara of the guy on those old Marlborough billboards, broad
shoulders beneath a denim jacket and long legs encased in faded jeans. Little lines
fanned out from eyes the color of a summer sky. His hard jaw, covered with a
day’s growth of stubble, was set at a stubborn angle. Firm lips curved in the barest
hint of a smile as he regarded her from beneath overlong sandy blond hair. She
guessed he was in his early to mid thirties, maybe a couple years older than she
was. A hottie to be sure, but as different from the men she occasionally dated as a
no-tell motel was from the five star accommodations she favored.
“Did I hear my name?”

The boy grinned. “This lady, here, wants you to pump her gas.”
Swara watched his gaze skim over her, from the top of her mink brown hair
pulled back and fastened with a gold clip, down the length of her moss green
sweater to the short skirt beneath, ending with a study of her black leather boots
with three inch spike heels. He rolled his eyes.
Angry heat crept up her neck. Turning on her heel, she spoke over her
shoulder. “Forget it. I’ll do it myself.”
“Hey, don’t be in such a rush. I don’t mind pumping your gas.”
Pride urged her to march out the door, but the snow falling steadily convinced
her otherwise. “I would appreciate it. I’m not dressed for a snowstorm.”
“You don’t say.”

Gritting her teeth, she watched him walk toward her car. Jeans had rarely
looked so fine. But a superb a*s didn’t make up for a sarcastic personality. She
sipped the steaming coffee and made a face. The motor oil in the rack by the grimy
window probably tasted better.
A few minutes later, the boy said, “Your tank is full. With the coffee, it comes
to Rs.1097.50.”

She paid with a credit card and took a five hundred rupee note out of her wallet. After
signing the receipt, she left the store, dropping the cup of coffee in the trash can by
the door. Blinking against the falling snow, she approached the man scraping snow
off the windshield of her rental car and held out a hand with the folded bill in it.
“Thanks, I appreciate the help.”
He stared down at her. “How about I give you a tip instead. This storm is
supposed to get worse. Highway patrol is advising motorists to stay off the roads.
There’s a motel about two blocks up the street. Get yourself a room for the night.”
Blood pounded behind her temples at his big strong man is smarter than the
dumb little lady tone. When her male colleagues spoke to her that way, she wanted
to… She closed her eyes for a moment and shoved the five back in her purse.
“I’m afraid I have a plane to catch.”
“In Dehradun?”

She opened the car door. “That’s right.”
His gaze drifted to her bare left hand. “Let me guess. You went home to your
family for Christmas, and your boyfriend is chomping at the bit, waiting for your
return. No man is worth risking your life. Change your flight.”
“If I were you, I wouldn’t quit my day job. Your fortune telling skills are

A wide grin stretched across his face, revealing even white teeth. There was
something familiar about that smile… She shook her head. The man was a
complete stranger. He probably looked like some bit actor she’d seen in a movie.
“Well, at least I won’t be the one scraping you off the pavement. My shift’s
nearly over.”
She raised one brow. “I don’t understand.”
He jerked a thumb over his shoulder. “I drive the tow truck.”
It figured. “Thanks for the vote of confidence.” She slid onto the car seat and
slammed the door. Pulling out of the gas station, she glanced into the rearview
mirror. Mr. Hottie Sanskar Whoever stood with his arms crossed over his chest,
watching as she drove into the blinding snow.

Swara tried her cell phone again. No service. Which was worse? Being
stranded in the middle of a snowstorm or having help arrive in the form of an
arrogant tow truck driver. Go away.
But the flashing lights grew closer.
She sucked in a breath. I can deal with this. Glancing through the fogged up
window, she couldn’t make out much except the flashing yellow lights growing
brighter in her rearview mirror.

The truck pulled to a stop behind her. A door swung open, and a husky
masculine form emerged. It was him. Okay, she admitted feeling a certain amount
of relief. The snow showed no sign of letting up. She was stuck on a dark country
road…alone. Her cell phone had no reception.
Just her luck. In the middle of nowhere, and her knight in shining armor
arrived in a tow truck. God only knew how he’d found her.
Her plan to wake up in her own bed in Kolkata had taken a detour when her
car skidded off the icy road. Her hands hurt from her panicked grip on the wheel.
Her legs still trembled from the car spinning like a crazed toy top. Her life flashed
before her eyes in those brief moments. The last thing she needed to hear was I
told you so.

Neck craned, her gaze followed him as he walked up to the side of her car.
The snow swirled around him as he knocked on the window. With the greatest
reluctance, she clicked the button to lower it.
“You okay?” he asked, leaning down to eye level.
Looking up into his simmering blue eyes, she felt anything but okay. She
pushed back her unruly hair and nodded. “It’s Sanskar, right?”
“Yeah, Sanskar…Kumar.”
“It was only…no one has treated the roads yet…I hit a patch of ice and
skidded into the bank.” Annoyed at the flustered quaver in her voice, she fumbled
for words. “Do you think you could help me back onto the road? The plow should
be by soon…”

“Lady, you do realize you’re in Dehradun. There aren’t any snowplows here. Haven’t seen this much snow in more than twenty years, certainly not in
the ten I’ve lived here.”
He stepped back and opened her door. “Let’s get you out of there.”
The wind whipped through her as she stepped into the snow. Turning her head
against the blast, her body fell back. Two strong hands caught her. In one swift
movement, he swept her into his arms.
“I can walk,” she protested.
“Not in those boots.”
She didn’t argue, and her grip tightened on his jacket. Amazement at the
warm, sultry feeling encompassing her left her speechless. She’d never been
carried. For that matter, she couldn’t remember ever feeling so safe in anyone’s
arms. What that said about her love life…
Before she had time to dwell on it, he helped her up through the driver’s side
door of his truck. Ducking, she slid onto the seat.
And froze. Two enormous dark eyes stared at her. A scream choked in her

“That’s Major. He won’t hurt you as long as you don’t try to take his seat. He
likes the window. Don’t touch anything. I’ll take a look at your car.”
Touch anything? She couldn’t move! He’d left her alone with a dog, a huge
dog. No, it was too big for a dog. A wolf. He’d left her alone with a wolf. She
jumped when the door slammed shut behind her. Heart pounding, she glanced
sideways at the animal. Where had she heard to never look a dog straight in the
eyes? His ears weren’t back; his hair wasn’t raised. The large, brown canine gave
her a goofy grin. Was he actually smiling? He thrust his head toward her.
Oh, my God, I’m going to die!
The door flew open. “Not good news. Your front axle is bent. You won’t be
going anywhere anytime soon.”

Swara leaped against his snow-covered chest.
“Whoa there. Easy, lady. The worst Major will do is douse you with his
Was he kidding? Did he really not know he’d left her with a…a…monster?
Sanskar hopped in and scooted her over into the middle, close to the brute that
didn’t move, guarding his spot by the window.
“See? A big teddy bear. He’s a lab. Most labs are docile, friendly sorts, and
Major is no exception.”
“Sure, friendly.”
“You can let go of my arm.”
She released her hold. Heat crept up her neck. “I’m sorry.” She took a breath.
“Thank you. I don’t know what I would have done if you hadn’t come along.
But…” She took another breath. “Any idea how I’m supposed to make my flight?
Do you know someone who can give me a ride to Atlanta?”
A cocky grin emerged, and gorgeous blue eyes gleamed with suppressed
amusement. Was he laughing at her?
“Look, lady—”

“Swara,” she offered.
“Look, Swara. I realize you’re experiencing tunnel vision at the moment, but
you need to look at the larger picture. You like to be in control. Don’t like to be
told what to do. But let me give you a couple of facts. Your car is inoperable.
There isn’t a rental place for miles. I’m one hundred percent positive there are no
flights leaving Dehradun. Not tonight. Even if you could make it to the airport,
which you can’t, you’d be stuck. No one in their right mind is out driving in this.
We don’t sand the roads around here, nor do we have snowplows.
“You’re lucky I headed home when I did. Right after you left the station, the
electricity went out. The phones lines are down, and we have crappy cell reception
under the best of circumstances.”
Her blood pressure rose. No one spoke to her like that. Ever. She couldn’t let
people talk down to her and expect to run a successful business. Oh, Lord, were
those tears welling in her eyes? Another unwritten rule: never let anyone move her
to emotions. A sign of certain weakness. She’d learned that lesson a long time ago.
The weak didn’t succeed. And she wanted—no, needed—to succeed.
“Just take me back to that motel you mentioned. I won’t bother you further.”
“Afraid I can’t do that.”

“You’re kidding, right? This is a joke?”
“No joke, lady. With all the wind, snow, and ice, a huge tree fell a couple
miles back, right after I passed. Lucky it didn’t hit me. We won’t be going back to
Elridge tonight. Fulton is another twelve miles up the road, and it’s even smaller.
Doesn’t have a motel.”
Swara stared at him, fear edging down her spine. “Then what am I going to

“Only thing to do now is get out of this weather. I’ll hook up your car and get
it off the road. There’s no point in towing it anywhere until I can take it back to
the station. My house is up the road a ways. It’s not fancy, but you’ll be warm and
dry. I give you my word, as soon as the weather clears, I’ll take you to Dehradun main city…… Now, it’s been a long day.”
He didn’t say another word, just put the truck in gear.

Credit to: JANPA