Dusted Star (Masters Of The Prairie Winds Club #10)

By: Avery Gale


LAKYN CURSED THE piece of shit rental she’d driven halfway across the country. The car looked great when she’d picked it up, but she quickly discovered a great-looking exterior didn’t mean it was solid on the inside. There’s some irony for you! Hell, you’d think I’d have already figured that out. She swore the only thing her parents ever agreed on was that she was their best bet for fame and fortune… evidently, it didn’t matter if they were only living vicariously.

Her older brother, Cooper was the only reason her parents hadn’t managed to spend every nickel she’d ever earned. Seven years her senior, Cooper had been as gifted academically as she’d been physically. He’d called his parents bluff when he had been twelve, threatening to turn them into the authorities if they didn’t establish a trust fund for her earnings. Cooper had accused them of blatantly exploiting their only daughter and threatened to go to the local paper as well. Their parents had known he wasn’t bluffing and reluctantly established a trust to manage her six-figure income.

She’d heard the story so many times, it was easy to take his remarkable behavior for granted, but anyone who knew her brother now wouldn’t be surprised to learn he’d been resourceful enough to make good on his threats. The simple fact was Cooper had always been more of a parent to her than their actual parents.

When they died in a small plane crash a few weeks before her seventeenth birthday, Cooper had, somehow, persuaded his commanding officer to send him home for an unprecedented extended leave. Her brother arrived in time to make all the arrangements for the funerals and then somehow Cooper had managed to persuade Uncle Sam to let him stay long enough to act as her guardian until she could be declared a legal adult by the courts.

The irony was she’d already been living on her own in New York City for almost a year when her parents passed. They’d happily rented her a small apartment and stepped aside, content spending the money she sent them each month. Lakyn had worked seven days a week, so there hadn’t been any real need for their parental guidance, but she’d still felt the loss to the bottom of her soul when they died.

After living independently for so long, it had seemed more than a little odd to be forced to wait for the court to tell her she was capable of doing what she’d already been doing for almost a full year. As it turned out, the bigger irony was, in the end, the court had been the only one who considered her an adult.

Cooper had a micromanaged her career and safety from the other side of the globe. He’d helped her renegotiate her modeling and acting contracts, and she’d continually been astonished at how easily her manager had bowed to Cooper’s decisions. The asshole’s percentage was cut almost in half, but her earning potential was so much higher, she knew he’d seen a substantial increase in his bottom line.

She often wondered why she continued paying Reggie when she and her brother had done a better job, and Cooper was rarely in the country. Even though the entire process was exasperating at times, she’d never questioned her brother’s motives. Cooper was the one person who loved her unconditionally… he always had, but Lakyn would be the first to admit, there were times, his unrealistically high expectations were tough to live up to.

Groaning when the car shuddered with what Lakyn feared was a death rattle, she pulled onto the shoulder of the road, just as all the electronics blinked out. Thank God she was on flat ground because as it turned out, her knowledge of cars was seriously lacking. Who the hell knew you lost the power steering and brakes when the vehicles’ brain short-circuited. Don’t be a dork, girl. You haven’t even seen an ant hill for over an hour. Flat doesn’t begin to describe this highway. Well, fuck a duck, now I’m talking to myself.

According to her phone’s mapping app, she was really close to her destination. Really close. She’d just lock up the car and walk. Lakyn wasn’t afraid of walking. She walked all the time in the city, and since she hadn’t met any cars for a while, it didn’t seem likely her luggage was in any great danger of being stolen.

When the car rocked to the side from the wind, she shuddered and pulled her jacket from the backseat. She watched as what looked like a small bush rolled across the highway and made a mental note to avoid playing any game with Mother Nature that would make her a pin in some crazy cosmic bowling match. Taking a last look in the mirror, Lakyn smoothed her hair before opening the car door. How bad could it be?

Chapter One

IT WAS OFFICIAL, Lakyn had lost her ever-loving mind. Dropping to knees, she cursed the day she’d read her first erotic novel. How could one damned hot story lead to her death by sand-blasting? It defied logic.