1       Meeting with a Driver



Jim Michaels and Tami Cortez went to meet with the race car driver, Mic Palla, at the race track in Michigan. They were part of Derek’s team. Derek Wright, the Los Angeles investigator, was busy checking out newly-found information regarding the Snake woman poisoner and her deserted island property. Rhonda Peters, another investigator in his office was flying with Derek to Shannen Island in the Caribbean. They were helping the police investigate the Snake woman case. They hoped to find clues at one of her former locations.

Jim and Tami were undercover agents sent to protect Mic and help with the investigation about a milder poisoning hit done to a race car driver. The poison was the same type used by Snake woman. They weren’t sure the Snake woman did this mild a hit because of another case in Miami. Therein, lied the mystery to the poisoning.

Who did what and why? How did the powerhouse racer become someone’s target? Was he supposed to die or not? Who were his enemies?”

At the last minute, Tami brought her sister, Tiare, who recently graduated from the police academy in Miami, along to meet with Mic Palla. Derek agreed that Tiare’s inside information regarding race car drivers would help.

Tiare dated a Texas race car driver for almost a year named Dan Jaehn who was currently a close competitor driver and was working the same races. The race car drivers’ number of wins and racing style matched each other closely on the race car circuit, making them exciting conversation for the media.

Mic was released from the Los Angeles hospital after his close call with death from a dose of African Mamba snake poison and would be racing in the big race in four weeks. His pit crew, team, and cars were ready. The cars still needed to pass final inspections. They moved Mic’s luxury motorhome to the Michigan drivers’ lot location.

Mic and Dan were talking to their separate pit crews at the track when Jim, Tami, and Tiare arrived. They wore clearance badges to access the race track as very important people, so they could complete some media interviews. Their badges also contained special top security privilege which included the track and pit areas.

At the bottom of the stands, Tiare saw her friend, Dan Jaehn. She let Tami know she would meet them later at Mic’s motorhome. She needed to talk to her old friend.

The guard stopped Tiare from entering the pit area. Dan looked up and saw the beautiful young red-haired woman. He noticed her white dress and white hat with red band and four-inch stilettos. Dan waved the guard to let her past the first gate. He headed toward her at a run, picked Tiare up, and twirled her around. Mic saw the commotion and watched the two sophisticated young people.

“Tiare, you are my darling woman.”

She knew he still liked her. She jumped exuberantly in his arms. He held her even tighter as she stilled in his arms. He was delighted.

“All the country stars aren’t as bright as you are in your red shoes. In a heartbeat, I would know you at any distance, because you’re the only woman I know that can glide that way. Let’s not mention the other reason which is that you can swing and stomp to a Texas two-step in stilettos. How are you? Are you here to see me? If so, I’m extremely pleased. This race will be good times again.”

“Hi, Tex, I’m just fine. I did stop by to say hello to my favorite friend but am also here doing some tag-a-long work for my sister which is mainly background research on some of the drivers. Therefore, you will see me on occasion doing interviews. My sister wants to do a magazine article on the thrill of racing. That is why we have the special media badges.”

He took off her hat and kissed her full on the mouth smearing her lipstick a little. Taking out his handkerchief, she helped him wipe it off his face and lips. He kept his arm around her.

“You are the only person whom I will allow to call me Tex and you know it. You must use my real name if you’re sticking around to admire me in the race with the rest of the spectators. I don’t need another tag to my name. Do you require any better tickets? I can get you great seats for future races. How about we go eat dinner this evening?”

“I already made my arrangement for tickets, but thanks anyway. Yes, dinner will be fun. I am hungry for conversation and food. Pick me up at seven at the Canter Hotel. I’ll wait outside with the doorman. But now, I must attend a meeting. You will see me this evening. Oh, and I want a steak dinner with salad plus real expensive red wine. No cheeseburgers and root beer for dinner this time.”

“I know the perfect place” said Dan. “See, I remember you like steak and I’m always a fast learner.”

Tex reluctantly let go of her. Mic, Jim, and Tami left the pit area and walked to the motorhome lot.




Tiare went to the ladies’ room to repair her lipstick. She was here to help her sister out. Having walked through the back gate to the reserved-for-drivers-only section of the motorhome lot, she saw the large haulers for the race cars.

Mic’s sleek black motorhome was in its slot and looked identical to her police file photos. There were bright yellow wheel tracks on the side with his last name “PALLA” in slightly blurred red letters to indicate speed.

This meeting with the super driver should be interesting were her thoughts as she approached the motorhome door. She adjusted her white wide brimmed hat and knocked on the metal frame. She was looking at the bottom of the door, expecting his security people to let her in.

She looked up to see Mic’s dark hazel eyes and medium brown hair looking directly into her gold brown eyes. He saw a sprinkling of freckles that she must have hated. The freckles, he could clearly see, she tried to hide with makeup on her nose, and he noticed the poppy-red lipstick on her full lips. He thought of the phantom red race car. Everything red that she wore started his engine. Mic noticed her tiny waist. He took her hand and helped her up the step, moving her very close to his tall muscled and finely-tuned frame.

“You must be the third powerful wonder woman who is undercover with the police. Rhonda is a doll and very married. I just learned from your beautiful sister, Tami Cortez, that you are Tiare Cruz. You have come to rescue me. I like your name by the way. Isn’t your first name some gardenia flower found in Tahiti or the awesome South Pacific?”

Tiare was interested in a man who knew about flowers. This was something new to her. She knew immediately who the handsome man was in front of her. She thought of him as super, confident, stud-factor, heavily-experienced male. Rhonda had told her to proceed with caution with this race car driver. She was familiar with the type and unafraid to enter the heat.

“Yes, my name is Tiare Cruz and you are Mic Palla. The name on your wonder throne is visible. Or should we call it coach? I’m surprised you know the flower. You must have traveled to the famous islands frequently. You don’t look like you need rescuing for the moment. I was told you are a powerhouse in a race and an evil poisoner’s personal toy. I’m sorry about the poison part. No one needs that in their life.”

Mic smiled. He more than liked her first name. Her name was unusual like her. He also knew it closely matched the word tiara. She was impressed with his name on the motorhome. He did acknowledge that his rig was impressive. It was worth every penny if either his motorhome or his charisma caught her attention. She looked like a fun person.  He was bored with the track girls that flocked around his race car. This girl had substance, not to mention class. He loved class. His last five wives were classy until they left him.

He could just see his lawyer shaking his head at the speed with which he connected with women. Mic didn’t care. Money was secondary. Magic was standing in front of him. Racing and women were number one. The order flipped with the breeze. It was a love-love relationship. His lawyer only saw the love-hate stuff. Mic knew there was more. He wouldn’t miss a heartbeat in the love-capture zone. He noted that she was worried about his welfare. Caring was a good sign.

“I’ve been to Bora Bora a couple times on my honeymoons, which I’m sure those pieces of information are in your files. But I prefer the island of Moorea instead. Its beauty and heart shape pull a person into mystery and excitement. I like the original name of the island which is Aimeo. I do need rescuing all the time. Plus, I know that I’m a powerhouse in a race and elsewhere. I’m very good at a lot of things as you will certainly find out.”

“Ah, yes, perhaps Aimeo is the mysterious magical place like the island someone named Bali Hai.”             Tiare was staying away from the other things he was good at.

Then he stepped back to let her pass, smelling her sweet fragrant cologne, which did have a hint of gardenia and watched her silky auburn red hair swing. Her hair reminded him of liquid brandy in a crystal decanter. The swirl with brandy was part of the flavor enhancement. Mic knew this investigation was going to ramp up. He saw only an open track with illuminated green lights and a checkered flag at the very end.

Mic grinned. He loved stilettos and all gorgeous-figured women. This Tiare person had both those going for her. She would be more than one of the perks of his job. He hoped she was going to stick around the tracks and not leave after Michigan.

He wanted to take her to a French Polynesian island.

Mic responded, “Yes, definitely Bali Hai.” While thinking to himself, he would have included at the end of the sentence, “and the Tiare flower.”

He didn’t know her or what else she did for fun, but he would immediately find out. She was from Miami and those women enjoyed fun. He worried because Miami was overflowing with wannabe jocks and rich millionaires. She probably knew some of those men. That meant experienced, plus she was a cop. His game would need to be better.

Mic was thinking dinner this evening would be excellent. He was good at manipulation and games. The race car track was always a new one to work his skills. Mic figured Dan already asked her out on a date, and he would have one of his security men cancel that one. He would collect this gorgeous woman at her hotel, drive his sports car to a nice restaurant, and take her to dinner.

He knew Dan would be more than pissed when he found out later about the botched dinner with a friend. He could handle Dan. Tiare may also be upset. The red hair worried him a little bit. He wasn’t sure he could handle her.

If the media saw them, it would be a circus. Their pictures would be in the paper. The paper would fuel Dan’s competitive hatred even more toward him. Mic thought about it a moment and smiled. He didn’t care about Dan. “Bumped off the track again. I know you hate to lose your slot. That’s why they call it a race.”

Now, love, there was always the beginning part. In a race, there was the beginning to every piece in the chain. Who didn’t want the beginning part? Revving engines, squealing tires, and smoke. Then there was the speed. Afterwards, the win-win part. It was like eating the icing on a cake first and then the wonderful chocolate ganache or strawberry filling at the winner’s circle.

New love or new beginnings held tastes that filled one’s senses, not to mention charm and mystery. This young woman was worth the trouble. She looked like love extraordinaire and endless possibilities. Mic could see themselves flying down the road flipping over the backroads airborne on occasion when the road dipped. Every curve of her body was committed to memory like each turn in the track. He knew her like he did his well-tuned race car which he handled with expert skill.

His past visions of their encounter hadn’t impaired his keen sense of competition. He checked her smooth fingers when he helped her up the step and noticed no rings. When she had kissed Dan, he became intrigued. There was more than his heart racing. He was going to have dinner with her and no one was going to get in his way.

Tiare and the rest of Derek’s team left the motorhome. Mic was alone but decided to go back to the pit. Mic stopped himself from singing a song he wrote a long time ago. There was a reason to rewrite the words now that he met Tiare. He whistled the tune instead as he walked past Dan in the bleachers.

Dan frowned, stopped, and watched Mic walking backwards up the steps. Then Dan ran into a little old lady. Dan apologized profusely and signed another autograph on the woman’s lace handkerchief. Dan hurried off.

Mic disappeared down the long corridor. Dan figured that Mic was up to something but couldn’t figure out what changed today. He was stumped and disturbed.

Mic totally forgot about the poisoner and his near escape from death. All he could see was Dan’s face of consternation when Mic peeked around the corner. Mic could feel the lift of excitement. Dan was clueless. Mic did another little circular dance and walked backwards again. The steps were a perfect imitation of his prior drill. It was a good thing the little old lady hadn’t seen Mic. She would have thought all the young drivers at this track were weird and a little looney.

“I feel like a renegade. Rivalry is very rejuvenating, and the night was still young. Both concepts were better to look forward to than any Zen experience.    “I wonder if she likes massage,” said Mic to the air. His feelings and thoughts flashed. He was already racing the track of new experiences. His past difficulties with women were forgotten.