It was her last night at Joshua Tree Oasis—a hidden gem in the heart of the Mojave Desert. She’d never felt such serenity—and longing. Why did she have to leave this magical place? And what in the world was he doing in Dubai when she was here in this luxurious wildlife refuge—a vacation retreat that was the ultimate in romance and sensuality?
She buttoned her cozy down jacket as the evening air began its chilly debut. Snuggling into the blue rocker on the porch, she lulled herself back and forth into a farewell lullabye as a covey of quail zip-zipped across the path disappearing behind tableaus of cacti and a large sleeping iguana. Glancing at the matching empty blue rocker next to her the familiar ache returned. What in the world was he doing in Dubai?
Actually, he wondered that, too, as he rubbed his bleary eyes prepared for what looked like miles of corridor from his plane at the Dubai Airport to the awaiting taxis beyond. Hordes of sleeping travelers splayed out on the floor as he worked to step over and around them. The humidity even at 3 a.m. turned his shirt into a sheet of drench. The low hum of civilization—those that were awake—spoke in a background combo of Arabic, Urdu and Hindi. How in the world would he find her? He stopped to scan setting his bag beside him. “Can I help you?” Someone was speaking to him in his language. He turned and found himself startled. She was beautiful and from her voice he thought she might be British. “Yes,” she smiled back, showing a stunning set of sparkling white teeth. “I have come here to find my fortune. I model during the day and am a taxi driver at night. Are you heading for downtown? Let me take you there…” And suddenly, life was beginning to look up. “Miss Britain” would be taking him on a tour he just somehow had a feeling he would never forget. He shoved his Blackberry into his pocket unaware of his assistant’s urgent text to him until much later, “Turn around. You’ve got the wrong desert. She’s in Joshua Tree Oasis.”
“Forget about him,” she told herself as the last of the Joshua Tree Oasis day gathered in shadows around her. “If he really loved me he would have traveled to find me. He would be here.” That’s when she saw someone coming up the road. Grabbing her binoculars she focused in. A man on a horse? What the…? Racing for the front door, she heard him shout out, “Wait! I don’t want to scare you, but I saw your kitchen light and could use some help. My camper just broke down and my horse was freaking out. She gets scared easily. Would you mind calling roadside assistance? I’ll wait outside the gate. Not to worry.” Her breathing calming at last, she finally met his smile and assured him that she would call for help right away. As he tipped his cowboy hat in thanks she suddenly felt like she was in some kind of Gary Cooper movie. And damn didn’t he look very Gary Cooperish at that. The guy was gorgeous. “Uhhh…would you like a cup of coffee while you wait? I could even fill a bowl of water for your horse.” Did she say that out loud? He turned his shiny palomino around and faced her. “Lady, that’s the nicest offer I’ve had in a whole bunch of time. I’d—we’d—be most grateful.” Maybe she could call and find out if she could book a few more days at Joshua Tree Oasis. This desert hideaway was more like dessert for the soul. And it was looking more delicious by the minute.