Elena shook out her curls as she got out of the shower, even before she enveloped her luscious body with a towel. The sunlight streamed through the tiny window in the bathroom and she knew it was going to be one of those incredible days. She let her hair air dry and headed into her bedroom, where her faded jeans and print tee-shirt waited. After running the towel over her body, she reached into her bureau for her light blue bra and panty set.

Should she wear them? She had to go to the community service center to do cleanup chores. Royal the foreman would be waiting for her and damn, she didn't want to be late because he might write her up for it. She sighed, remembering when he had threatened to do that just last week because her mind hadn't been on her work. But it was his own damn fault because her eyes had been on his jeans which sculpted so nicely around his ass. Royal had a lot of nice looking muscles having worked hard outdoors in all types of climates and settings his thirty some years on this planet but his ass, definitely something she wanted to grab hold of before she rode him or he rode her.

Didn't make any difference in her sultry daydreams, she wove to pass the hot summer days away.

His abs were hard enough to bounce a quarter off of, no doubt. His back muscles, nice and tight and muscles roped his arms. His face had been chiseled out of rock, sharply lined in a way more ruggedly feral than handsome. Royal wouldn't win any beauty contests, not with the jagged line of silver that curled around one of his eyes and with his shadow, but his eyes pierced periwinkle blue and his mouth curved into a sexy smile on rare occasions.

Just one smile her way had been enough for her to notice a delicious wetness between her thighs, dampening her panties. But he didn't smile that often.

No, instead he was a taskmaster who barked orders to her, mostly to sweep floors and clean out closets that held an inventory of items that had once been useful but were now discarded relics. Meanwhile, Royal would be hanging around shooting the breeze to the one woman who had caught his attention.

Lynette Powers, who had been in Elena's high school class a couple years ago and had made her life miserable. She and her crew of followers had made it their mission to taunt those deemed inferior to them including Elena who had grown up on the other side of town near the river bank. Her family hadn't had much so she hadn't worn new clothes to school like Lynette and her set, which haunted the strip mall shops that catered to those who lived near the foothills.

Well Lynette liked to drive fast cars and her daddy had brought her a beaut of a Porsche She looked so damn smart in her designer jeans and her finely cut sweaters which she wore around town even when she hadn't been zooming through the network of roads in and out of town, kicking up dust. Royal spent time with her and Elena had been sure they were sleeping together but that Lynette probably hid the affair from her parents, who were Wyatt and Sophia Powers One of the town's prominent couples whose names were written up in gold trim inside the blue book that detailed the only people in Wild Forks who mattered.

After all, Royal wasn't the kind of guy you brought home to your parents, not if your father owned nearly every financial institution in the county. No, what Lynette's father wanted for her was a match that he and her future father in law would concoct over brandy and cigars that would bring more status and wealth into both families. If her father even knew that she was spreading her legs for Royal…he'd be run out of Wild Forks on what were left of his legs after a couple of thugs working for Wyatt took a crow bar to them.

But there was no telling Royal that…something about Lynette intoxicated him, maybe it had been her unattainability to most men in his class, maybe it had been the danger he put himself in just to be close…men were all damn fools after all.

Still, Elena kind of liked this particular fool…when he wasn't bossing her around the work assignment.

She sighed, looking at her clock and deciding after putting her hair in a pony tail and grabbing her cap, that it was time to get running.

Royal watched as Lynette pulled her car out of the driveway and took off down the street, probably heading out of town to do some shopping. .

Now he had thought of all the ways to get out of it even though he knew he should have accepted it. Lynette was what was called a high stepping filly, regally bred and aware of it with every move that she made. Even when they had hit the sheets, she had made him aware of that too.

And she didn't ride him much different than she drove her car. Elegant and proper more than down and dirty. In fact she had retreated to the bathroom to clean up right after he had climaxed inside a condom and left him to do the same, within seconds of extricating himself from his embrace.

But Lynette, if he hung around with her, he might be able to make more out of his life than just serving as a construction foreman, his current career move. Maybe he could own his own operation some day, becoming an architect maybe, and take on some wealthy clientele.

If he wanted to stay in the construction industry at all.

Elena had parked her car in the parking lot and then rushed to the center, passing one of Lynette's friends who flashed her a snooty look as she passed, Elena could feel the chill but then that wasn't an unusual experience to have with Lynette's crowd. She continued onward, her hands in her pockets until she looked up and saw Royal leaning against the wall, lean but muscled, down to his thighs encased in denim.

She sucked in her breath because when he turned around and saw her there, he'd probably bark an order at her soon enough. Royal was forbidden to women like her, because his eyes were looking upward the ladder at the next rung to grab hold of even if right now it meant sliding between the waxed legs of the ice princess.

Elena was no angel herself but she didn't have a chance growing up. Her mother had brought a litany of her boyfriends into her home and they lasted until they started looking at Elena too long. Not that her mother cared that her lovers were lusting after her daughter but because she thought that Elena must have been doing something to attract them.

But what was there to like about pushing a chair against the door knob of your bedroom door because more than one inebriated or just horny guy had wandered there one night after her mother passed out. Elena had been felt up inside the bathroom when one of her mom's boyfriends had slid in the partly open door and come up behind her to encase her breasts in his sweaty palms. She could see him in the cracked mirror and definitely feel him sliding his hands underneath her pajama top to pinch her nipples.

She had pushed him off of her and ran out of there, hiding in her bedroom. Her mother had knocked on her bedroom door to leave her boyfriends alone and get into the kitchen to cook up some breakfast for them.

And then there had been Tex….

But before she could think about that guy, Royal turned around and saw her and sure enough, he didn't look friendly.

"You're late Elena…"

She tossed her ponytail back.

"I'm here aren't I?"

He folded his arms.

"You know they could revoke your probation if you don't report in on time."

She bit her lip. Oh yeah, the probation deal, she had gotten 200 community service hours for vandalizing Tex's car with some spray paint. She didn't have the money to pay for the damages so she was working it off by putting hours at the Center, until she cleared her debt.

"I'm only five minutes late."

He sighed, shaking his head.

"You know if you hadn't dinged that guy's car you wouldn't be here…you'd be out with your friends at the mall."

She snorted.

"I don't have any friends…and I don't go to malls," she said, "Actually my father was a builder before he died and he taught me a lot…some of which I remember."

He seemed surprised to hear that because they never sat back and compared life stories. He made assumptions about her that were mostly wrong and she admired his how his ass fit in his jeans, and that nice bulge up front, the one her fingers itched to touch.

"I didn't know that."

"Of course not…you think I'm some dumb chick who doesn't know anything," she said, "not like your girlfriend back there."

"Lynette..She's the daughter of my boss."

Elena shot him a look.

"Yeah right…I seen you together…or rather I heard you inside the Center once."

If that bothered him, he didn't let on but she remembered what it had been like to walk into the barn and hear noises in an old classroom which she at first thought had been made by some kids who'd wandered in.

Until she remembered that it was early morning and then she had heard a woman's voice, a whisper really, then a moan.

"I heard you ask her to take you in deeper…somewhere…was it her mouth or her…"

He sighed, shaking his head.

"Elena…what the two of us do together is our business, not anyone else's."

She snorted.

"Then find a motel…or maybe she can invite you in her bedroom suite up at the manor."

He looked away when she said that and she almost regretted her words. But not quite. Royal needed to know the score with women liked Lynette and think about it before going any further down that path.

She started to walk away to grab some old rags and cleaner to clean up some dirt which was much better than listening to it.

"Later," was all she said figuring she had used up enough words on him.

Royal watched her go, dressed in her uniform of faded jeans and a shirt, looking unassuming, Elena never looked like she wanted to draw attention to herself. She had been assigned to work under him by the community service center which handled all alternative sentencing. All he knew was that she had copped a plea to vandalism which would remain on her record until she completed some probation and paid the restitution fine through her community service.

She didn't appear violent or particularly high strung nor did she wear an attitude with him, which was different than what he expected. After all, he had seen photos of the dude's car that got smashed. One of her mother's live in boyfriends. But she had proven to be spirited though not in a malicious way, just because it seemed like part of her nature, much like her wildly curly dark hair and her hazel eyes with hints of emerald when they lit up. Her oval shaped face, strongly lined with a pair of full lips that curled into a nice smile when she allowed them.

Her body, curved mightily beneath her work clothes, her legs tapered off nicely into her work boots. But her clothes were well worn, like his own and her hands were callused, so he knew she had worked hard someplace.

His jeans had tightened when he watched her walk away from him, because he had thought what she'd look like without clothes, her breasts swaying gently as she walked and her ass, ripe and full.

He forced those thoughts out of his head because he knew he was treading on dangerous ground. He had a role to play in this temporary working relationship with Elena and that didn't include screwing the hired help. Not that he hadn't thought about it quite a bit lately…What it'd be like to feel those luscious lips wearing just a hint of gloss on his mouth, or even better wrapped around his dick, as he sunk slowly inside her mouth while her hands were cupping his ass pulling him closer to her.

Lynette didn't like sucking dick. She had done it once to make him happy and then spit out his semen, in a towel she kept with her.

Royal sighed watching Elena disappear into the barn and went back to his own work. Getting his mind off of where it had no business going and on some of the more mundane tasks he had to do this morning.

Elena scrubbed the window sills and saw the rags come up dark, from all the dirt and grime that had accumulated there. The Center had fallen into disuse for a few years until funding had been donated by the Powers and the deal had been worked out with the court systems to recruit volunteers from those with community service to work off.

Delinquents like her.

Not that she minded all that much because she remembered all the hours she had spent at the Center as a child, sitting at tables getting paint on her hands, while she worked on crafts and scrapes on her knees from running around in the playground. As she grew up, there were times spent with her friends, who'd smoke cigarettes, passing one around while they hung out behind the building. But that grew boring after a while and she had gone inside to sit on the fringes of a class on spinning tie-dyed shirts or making paintings out of sand dyed an array of stunning colors.

But now the Center had been closed for a few years and much of the furniture that hadn't been put in storage had been covered with dusty tarps and some mice had made a home for themselves in one of the cupboards under the sink in the kitchen. A lot of the work had been done and the place was starting to shape up…and a lot of that was due to Royal, she had to admit.

Though she was loathe doing that concerning the way he cracked the whip with his work crews. She stopped scrubbing for a minute, to rub her arm muscles, which had tensed up from the exercise, and the way the sunlight breached the window, with only a semblance of heat, it felt nice on her skin.

In the afternoon, it would get stifling hot inside the building because the air conditioner hadn't been the first item on the list of repairs. Royal had put fans throughout the building but they mainly circulated hot stale air. Luckily at least the man had enough of a clue to provide them with plenty of bottled drinking water.

The work was tedious in its repetition so her mind often wandered. ..away from her home life which she didn't like thinking about and now that she had turned 18, she could get her own place maybe…if she could get a job once she got this off of her record. If she could find one considering the recession had bit down hard on Wild Forks and hadn't let go yet.

Sighing, she tore her mind away from those thoughts and focused on Royal…because as dictatorial as he had proven to be…he came in awfully nice wrapping. And she was more than curious about what it'd be like to unwrap him… Probably much different than it had been with Tex who she had been with…twice before the asshole had said he had to leave to return to his…wife in Amarillo.

Her mother had nearly taken a skillet to him but Elena had settled for his car because he had said all those words to her…when he had peeled her clothes right off of her as she stood still for him. He had bruised her mouth with his kisses, filled the air with intoxicating scents, intermingling tobacco, mint with something much more primal. When he had taken her that first time on the couch, she'd been a virgin and her mother had been working late that night. She'd never known what it would be like to have a man actually inside of her, or at least a piece of him…that her leg muscles would ache to the point of spasm from when he'd pushed them apart to allow him to slide between them. That his hands were so rough from outdoor living when they caressed her…down there, not nearly long enough to do her any good before he thrust his erection inside of her.

And talk about hurting, man it had burned her when he had pushed his way inside of her pussy. A sharpness to it that almost made her cry out even as her eyes dripped moisture but then it hadn't been so bad, and Tex had whispered to her that it would only get better each time. She hoped so because she had felt raw in between her thighs for a couple days afterward…he had left whisker burns on her breasts where he had nuzzled them.

He hadn't worn anything and after he pushed her into the cushions with his weight and the thrusts that sent him deeper inside of her, he had gone rigid just before warm fluid spurted inside her.

She knew then that she could have gotten pregnant but it had all happened so fast, she hadn't thought to ask but next time he came to her for release, she told him to sheathe up first. Her mother had her by accident and made her know it every day of her life back to her earliest memories…she wasn't about to relive her mother's own mistakes.

"Hey there, how's your work coming along?"

Elena looked up and saw Royal leaning against the door jamb watching her, making her mouth water because she couldn't help herself. After all, what woman would look at him and not want him?

She just wanted a piece of him, not a lifelong commitment or anything like that. She wasn't her mother after all, looking to men for happiness or security. But men like him didn't look around him, they just looked upward and that meant that women liked Lynette rocked their worlds.

She shot him a look that she felt should wither him but it didn't.

"Just dandy…how's this thing you got going with what's her name?"

He didn't get upset or tell her to mind her own business, he just smiled, his eyes dancing with amusement most likely at her expense.

"Ah, why are you asking," he said, "Is this work that boring or is it your life?"

She folded her arms and stared at him.

"I just think that guys like you should stick to what you know and it's not women like her who dally around with guys like you while they're waiting for their daddies arranging their marriages like business mergers."

He just stared at her.

"Wow…that's really something Elena…did you work on that all morning?"

Her cheeks flushed.

"No…I just know the rules of what it means to live here that's all," she said, "and you should too."

He just laughed and shook his head at her.

"Like the one you broke with one of your mama's live in lovers," he said, "After all, why else would you smash his car?"

Her mouth dropped.

"How do you…oh yeah, I'm sure you have a copy of the file..."

He stroked his jaw line with a thumb.

"Saw the photos…very impressive but you wound up working all your time here to pay it off."

She shrugged.

"It was worth it…guy was a jerk."

He digested that and then looked at her carefully.

"So you fucked him and then he left you, right?"

Now her skin really began to flush to a rosy pink.

"No, he fucked me a couple of times and decided to go back to his wife," she said, "My mama kicked him out, with his toothbrush and razor."

He furrowed his brow.

"I don't think that's included in the report. Did your mother ever find out that he bedded her daughter?"

Elena shook her head.

"Nah…and since she chased him with a skillet, I wasn't going to share that information."

"Good thinking…well why he wouldn't leave…he'd gotten his fill of the both of you and his wife could have ruined him in court."

"What are you going to do when she's had her fill of you?"

He just looked at her.

"My, you're saucy for someone who's court mandated to do community service under me."

She returned to scrubbing her window.

"You're so right. Maybe you should just let me finish my work so you don't need to write me up to the courts."

He shook his head again.

"I thought I was going to have trouble with you when I saw you," he said, "but I guess I underestimated how much."

She sighed.

"I'm doing my work aren't I and I've noticed that you've given me the grimiest jobs not that I mind. Makes the days go faster."

He nodded.

"Well thank goodness for small favors then."

He walked away then and returned to whatever he'd been doing before he came to check up on her. She admired his ass as he walked away. The kind of muscles a guy didn't buy from a gym, but got through working the same hard day over and over for years. So Royal might dip into the pool of wealth for some action but he'd earned his own way.

She'd love it if he dipped that wick of his into her but she'd have to settle for some idle daydreaming instead.

Royal sat under the grand oak tree in front of the Center, the one which had sprouted huge branches that sprawled over its roof. Any one of which would take down a chunk of roof if it broke off for some reason and fell. He had warned the Powers about that but they had just shrugged it off.

Pretty stupid considering Wild Forks sat smack in the middle of Tornado Alley. Not that there had been any significant twisters lately but they were always living on borrowed time. They struck targets apparently at random, devastating someone's house while sparing the one next to it…but the Center remained a vulnerable target. He looked up at the sky…which barely broke its bright blueness with a wisp of a cloud but all that could change in a flash. Texan weather proved to be mercurial in the summer months and despite the fair weather, the next storm could blow in within five minutes and send a torrent of rain to flood stream banks and hail that could dent cars.

Royal figured that some people were just like storms, unpredictable in nature and filled with pent up energy just waiting to be unleashed like one particular woman he knew. Elena had given off that about her as soon as he met her, her lovely eyes stormy and her expression tense beneath her careful smile. She'd worn a dress at that first meeting after her court appointed lawyer told her it'd make a better impression on him but all he'd thought about was what it'd be like to slowly slide the hem of that dress up her muscled legs, until his hands cupped her ass, pulling her closer to him. What it'd be like to slip his fingers underneath her panties to caress her lips, guarding access to her, stroking her gently at first to hear her cry out before thrusting a finger up inside of her moist tightness.

He didn't sit there fantasizing about fingering every woman who worked in the program but Elena had been very different, inside of her there'd been some part of her he'd wanted to know better. He didn't understand it even though he'd fucked his share of women and thought one wasn't really so much different than the next. But he wanted her even as he kept telling himself to stay away

After all, he was her supervisor on her community service stint, nothing more than that.

Elena had eaten her lunch out on the back steps of the Center just some leftovers she had tossed together before her mother woke up. She knew when she returned home that her mama's latest boyfriend would be laying back on the couch drinking a cold beer. Her mama would be working as a secretary at a real estate office that hadn't seen much business in the past year. It kept her busy and it brought home a paycheck at least as long as it remained open.

The sun baked down on the town as it always did this time of year but the breeze hinted of rain later on, by evening. Not that late afternoon thunderstorms were uncommon in these parts, intense but never lasted very long.

It would break up the monotony of the day but as she crumpled up her bag and tossed it into the trash bin, she looked around her knowing the streets were quiet because most of the people had gone inside to escape the daily heat.

She entered back into the building and returned to the old community room that she had been cleaning earlier and headed to the closet which when she opened it, a musty smell maybe of mothballs rushed out of its confinement towards her. As her eyes adjusted, she looked around and saw sealed boxes stacked together, next to the odd lamp or book shelf. She blew a tendril of hair out of her way and settled down to figure out what to do with the boxes.

As she opened one of them up and saw the worn books stacked neatly inside, she picked up one of them to take a look. On its dog eared cover, were a man and woman clutching each other while in what looked to be a typhoon on a ship. Romances definitely weren't her thing because why read it, when you could live it cause there were plenty of horny guys standing around including those in between work to keep any woman busy.

If she wasn't choosy of course, she added.

But none of them were Royal and none of them were the man she wanted.

Royal had been cleaning out the basement which hadn't been opened up in some years he could tell by the stale air that hit him when he'd opened the door. He'd cleared out most of the boxes and saw that there had been some furniture in a separate smaller room that almost resembled a bunker.

A place where people retreated to when a tornado warning had been issued and people were instructed to take cover quickly. The Powers had instructed him offhandedly to make sure there were supplies there in case that became necessary while the center was operational to reduce their civil liability of course. So he'd gone out and done that with a check they had given him.

He had put in some mattresses on the floor and some blankets in the corner, which looked fairly clean. Some beanbag chairs that had been in storage for years still appeared okay and some electric lanterns and batteries, as well as water and nonperishable food were in a cabinet.

Anything that would get a group of people through the few hours that they might have to take cover. Better to be safe than sorry, he thought.

He returned up stairs and went to the kitchen to rinse the dust off of his hands and get a bottle of soda in the frig. As he took the cap off of and took a swallow, he looked outside and saw that the sky had changed markedly. Darkened clouds had pushed away the blue sky and the branches of the trees were blowing wildly.

Royal walked to the door out onto the stoop and noticed that dampness saturated the air, and he felt the hairs on his body tingle. Damn, the weather in these parts never let you forget that it could change in a moment's turn. He ran out of the room and that's when he heard the static of the radio turned on the room next door.

"There's a tornado…in effect for ….county and south-eastern…county…Funnel clouds have been spotted…"

But Royal didn't remain still enough to listen.


He called her name as he searched the building for her.

She stuck her head out of the closet where she had been working just as he raced into the room.

"What's going on?"

He sighed.

"Tornado warning in effect…"


She had been about to say that the weather had been hot and steamy just a while ago…but she felt the heaviness of the air even inside the building. She shot up on her feet.

"Where's the storm cellar in this place anyway?"

"In the kitchen…"

They headed there just as the wind began to pick up even more and they could hear something banging outside. Once in the kitchen, Royal opened the door and they both descended into the basement as the lights began to flicker.

"Are we going to be in the dark?"

"No…there are lanterns down there…"

"Good because I hate darkness…"

They walked into the room in the back where he had just fixed up the storm shelter.

"How long do you think it will be?"

He went to grab for a lantern just as the power flickered out.

"Could be a couple hours or so before it'll be safe to go outside…"

She just nodded, and pulled her hair back, before sitting down on one of the beanbag chairs.

"Nice…I head these were big back in the day…"

He shrugged.

"We could be dodging debris outside…at least it's safe in here…"

But as they sat together, he lit a couple of lanterns which illuminated the room…she looked over at him as he sat there watching her…her blood becoming as charged as the storm outside. She licked her lips…as the adrenalin from rushing to safety started to ebb…her body to relax.

She was safe…wasn't she? At least from the storm outside but what about the one inside with her?

Now, it was just the two of them all alone…with the rest of the world somewhere far away.