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Driven to Love

Stock car driver Jamie Lynn Thompson relies on her instincts and lightning-fast reactions every day, but discovering her fianc� harbors a secret plan guaranteed to destroy her life and running for her life seconds before her wedding is scheduled to begin is a race she didn't plan to enter. Her action propels her into the back seat of the waiting limousine and into the middle of limousine driver Cord Mason's chaotic life, but the chaos is a better option than allowing her ex-fianc� to ruin the life she's worked to build. Jamie realizes all choices aren't black and white when she falls in love with the chauffeur, then learns he supports her ex-fiancee's goals for their small town. Her passion for Cord is rivaled by her desire to save the town she loves. Knowing she must lose one to keep the other forces Jamie Lynn to look to her past to find her future.

A Hard Shell Word Factory Release

Denise Meyers

     Denise Meyers started writing professionally about ten years ago, publishing how-to and destination articles in various recreational and travel magazines, then expanded into short romantic fiction and articles, and novel-length contemporary romance. Her debut novel, Driven To Love, is available here. Her publishing credits include Writer's Digest, Woman's World, The Star, The Sun, and Byline Magazines. She's a member of Romance Writers of America and is the past president of Pennwriters, Inc.


"In her first novel-length romance, Ms. Meyers has taken on an out-of-the-ordinary plot issue: the plight of business development where developers meet townsfolk head on and are at odds over whose needs are greatest and whose well being is best served. Ms. Meyers has also given her readers an out-of-the-ordinary heroine with real hopes, dreams and fears and a hero who's at total odds with her. What is it they say about opposites attracting? But Jamie and Cord really aren't so opposite. Both are stubborn and determined and eventually willing to take the risks necessary to protect their lives and their hearts. Anyone familiar with this author's short romantic stories will be delighted to finally get a taste for a fully developed plot with believable characters that touch your heart. Driven to Love is available in both eBook and print to please fans of both formats. Get yourself a copy today and sit back with a tall glass of lemonade for a truly enjoyable session of reading."

Marilyn Puett -- Writers Unlimited Reviewer

"Denise Meyers takes her readers on a fast paced ride, finding friendship, trust and love along the way, in her dynamic book, Driven to Love! All I can say is hold on tight and watch out for the curves in this tender contemporary romance! I recommend you rev up your engines readers, and get your own copy of Driven to Love by Denise Meyers!"

Donna -- eCataRomance Reviews

4 out of 5 arrows

"Take one race car-driver heroine who owns a choice piece of property in a small town. Add to that one hero who owns a limo service. Add a developer who wants to bring a casino to said small town. Oh, and did I mention said developer tried to marry the heroine for her property? Or that the hero lost a best friend to a racing accident? Ms. Meyers starts her book off with a bang and keeps up the pace throughout the course of the book. On our scale of 1 to 5 arrows, I'm giving Driven to Love 4. Cupid would be thrilled."


Chapter One

"I HONESTLY CAN'T BELIEVE you're marrying that twit."

"I have to. Marriage the only way to get what I want from her. I asked you to be my best man because I trust you to keep your mouth shut."

Jamie's Thompson's hands tightened around her bouquet as she recognized the voices of her fianc, Jack Drysdale, and his best man, Ryan Taft. The underlying sneer in Jack's tone chilled her to the bone in spite of the oppressive heat in the small room.

She moved closer to the open window behind the pastor's desk. Dressing in the pastor's study had been her idea. She'd held her ground even though Jack had urged her to wear her gown to the church, claiming he didn't want to wait one minute longer than necessary to marry her.

Ryan groaned. "I'm almost sorry I agreed to this charade. I know what you want, but I still don't think marrying her is the way to get it."

"You're wrong, Ryan. Jamie's property is worth whatever it takes. I'm building a casino in Hartland come hell or high water, but she's reluctant to sell to the corporation."

"How will marrying her change that?"

"Jamie wants to be a mother more than she wants that garage. I plan to use that as leverage to convince her to sell."

Jamie's bouquet dropped to the floor as she covered her mouth to stifle an angry cry.

"And you think that will work?" Ryan asked.

Jack cleared his throat. "I hope so. My only other option is to let the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority condemn the land so I can buy it. I know they'd find in my favor, but I hate to involve them because I'll lose months of decent construction weather while they consider my request."

"Good point."

Jamie clenched her fists. "That's not all you'd lose, you creep," she whispered as she moved closer to the open window.

"Lost time isn't the only reason I hate to drag the CRDA into this. The whole damn town thinks the world of Jamie. Hartland isn't Atlantic City. Most of my work force will consist of the local citizens. I don't need animosity right off the bat.

"I still can't believe she agreed to marry you. How did you convince her? Didn't she object to your, ah, line of work?"

Jack's mocking laugh filled the study. "She thinks I'm just a real estate broker for the corporation, not the actual owner. No one knows about my other connections. I've managed to keep the whole town in the dark."

Jamie's knees buckled and she fought a wave of dizziness as the room swirled around her. Her tongue burned from the bile rising in her throat. She gripped the window sash until her knuckles turned white then kicked her bouquet across the polished floor as fury replaced shock.

"You may think you fooled the whole town, Jack Drysdale, but I've got news for you," she whispered. She jerked her train into both arms, and ran out of the study and down the short hall toward the back door of the church.

The thought of Jack seeing her flight increased her pace as she rounded the side of the building and raced across the front yard to the waiting limousine. She opened the back door and dragged her bulky dress into the car, choking back a sob as she collapsed against the seat.

The driver's eyes asked a million questions as he turned to stare at her, but she didn't have time to explain.

"Quick, get me out of here."

"It's customary to wait for the groom."

A quick glance through the rear window revealed an empty church yard. Shivering with relief, she slipped her veil from its pins and let it fall.

"He isn't coming. Just drive." She clenched her icy fists in her lap. The soft silk against her hands increased her rage. Weeks of planning her wedding down to the tiniest detail had been for nothing. She'd compiled lists and more lists, allowing for any unforeseen circumstance.

Anything but no wedding.

The driver shrugged. "Do you still want me to take you to the Hartland Inn?"

Jamie sighed. He couldn't be serious. "Why would I want to go to my wedding reception?"

He lifted a sheet of paper. "Don't ask me. My dispatch order reads pick up a couple at the church and go to the Hartland Inn, return in four hours and drive them to the airport."

"Your order's wrong." Her voice cracked. "I can't go to the Inn now."

"So where do you want to go?"

Couldn't he see how upset she was? Why did he have to keep asking questions? "I don't know. Anywhere. Just get me out of here before someone sees us."

His fingers drummed the leather steering wheel cover as the long white car eased away from the curb into the light traffic. "Lady, I need a destination. I can't just drive off into the sunset."

"I wish you could." She closed her eyes and willed her mind to work. Jack would be looking for her in minutes if he wasn't already.

"Any ideas yet?"

What had he said about that dispatch order? Relief swept over her as she remembered. "Yes, take me to the airport. Hawaii is the last place anyone will look for me now."

Trying to ignore the bitter taste in her mouth, she reached for her purse. Her hand landed on the empty seat beside her and she groaned. No purse. No money, no credit cards, no identification. She'd left it all behind when she'd fled.

"Okay, I'll have you there in about ninety minutes."

Defeated, Jamie collapsed into the butter-soft upholstery.

"Forget the airport. I don't have my ticket."

The car screeched to a stop and the driver's gaze met hers in the rear view mirror. The glare from his steel blue eyes pinned her against the soft seat and his exasperated sigh matched the expression on his face.

"Lady, I don't know what your story is and I really don't want to." Each word was slow and deliberate, as though he was speaking to a small child. "I have to drop you off somewhere. I have another wedding at four, and you can't be sitting in the back of my car when I show up to pick up the bride and groom."

She cringed at the word groom. "I left my purse at the church. I don't have my ticket or any money."

His eyes widened. "You what?"

"I left my purse at the church," she repeated. Her voice broke. "I can't go home and I can't afford to go anywhere else. Please help me."

"How am I supposed to do that?"

"I don't know."

He pulled back onto the road with a sigh. Her anxiety increased as they circled the four main blocks of Hartland three times with no apparent destination. He wouldn't just stop the car and order her to get out, would he?

The line of traffic behind them grew as they approached the edge of town a fourth time. Muttering something Jamie couldn't hear, the driver turned up a side street and pulled into the driveway of a large two-story house.

Toys and bicycles covered the yard. A tangle of small bodies, arms, and legs rolled in a heap with a huge puppy.

The chauffeur turned the key and the car's engine stopped. "This is the best idea I can think of. My sister and her husband bought this place about three months ago. Carrie will know what to do. She has an answer for everything."

"Your sister bought the old Johnson house?"

"That's what I said. I helped them move and fell in love with Hartland. I moved to town and bought the limo business last month when I learned a developer plans to build a casino here."

Jamie shuddered when he mentioned the casino. Tears stung her eyes again, but she fought them as the tangle of arms and legs separated into three little boys who squealed with delight as the driver stepped from the car.

"Uncle Cord, Uncle Cord!" They raced across the yard, short legs pumping, and flung themselves at him. The smallest child climbed up his legs, wrinkling his uniform.

Cord? His unusual name reminded Jamie of the neat stacks of wood on her aunt and uncle's farm.

Another boy crawled through the open driver's door. "Hey, Uncle Cord, did you get married?" he asked, staring at Jamie.

The third child reached in and blew the horn. The earsplitting noise intensified Jamie's headache.

"Joey, get away from that horn." Cord took the culprit's hand off the wheel, then peeled the smaller child from his leg.

The puppy squatted and christened his shoe as the boys yelled.

Jamie bit her lip to hide a smile, her first in hours.

"Where's your mom?" Cord asked, trying to nudge the puppy away gently with his foot.

"I'm right here."

Jamie stared as a jean-clad girl with a jet black ponytail ran down the porch steps. The unmistakable family resemblance caught Jamie's eye. The woman and boys all shared Cord's dark curly hair and startling deep blue eyes. She looked positively tiny next to her brother, who reminded Jamie of a small mountain.

"What's all the commotion?"

"Mom, Uncle Cord got married," one of the boys shouted.

The woman's chin dropped. "Uncle Cord did what?"

Jamie racked her brain for something to say to clear up the misunderstanding, but Cord spoke before she could form a suitable explanation.

"Calm down, Carrie." A mischievous grin flitted across his face as he stepped back toward the limousine.

Carrie's voice rose. "Don't tell me to calm down! If you got married without inviting me to your wedding, I swear I'll throttle you."

Jamie decided the situation had gone far enough. She reached for the door handle, but Cord leaned against the door and blocked her in. She got the feeling he was deliberately tormenting his sister.