Hart's Victory

Hart's Victory by Michele Dunaway Read Free Book Online

Book: Hart's Victory by Michele Dunaway Read Free Book Online
Authors: Michele Dunaway
the urge to roll her eyes. Few people who didn’t deal with chronic diseases knew how to handle cancer, much less talk about the disease. So that’s why it didn’t surprise her when Hart effectively changed the subject. What did surprise her, though, was how Hart chose to do it.

    “So tell me Charlie, aside from your health, what’s the one thing you wish you had but you don’t?”

    Charlie stopped for a moment and glanced into Hart’s eyes. With them facing each other, Kellie could see that Hart dwarfed Charlie by about ten inches, meaning that Hart was about five ten. She was five six.

    Hart grinned and waved his finger at Charlie, a teasing gesture. “You see. It is a very good question.”

    Charlie broke into a wide smile as he realized Hart was playing with him. “Yeah, it is, isn’t it?” he asked.

    Hart reached up and gave Charlie a gentle high-five. “Tell you what,” Hart said, “I’ll give you until tomorrow to figure out your answer. You can tell me when you come by for your family session. Fair?”

    “Fair,” Charlie said, his expression incredulous at having been singled out by his favorite driver.

    Kellie found herself clenching her fists. Hart’s attention to her son was above and beyond what was necessary. She frowned. His interest would destroy the illusion. The fantasy. The joke.

    “I’ve got one of my show cars here,” Hart was saying. “You’ll get a chance to sit in it tomorrow and you can tell me after that.”

    “Show cars?” Charlie asked.

    “Those are specific cars that we bring to events like this. We build at least two show cars per year, usually from retired race cars that I haven’t wrecked. These cars have engines, gauges and race seats, but they aren’t made for the track anymore. They do run and are drivable, but not at 180 miles per hour.”

    “Oh.” Charlie seemed impressed. “I didn’t know there were different types of cars.”

    “Neither did I until I was about your age, and I grew up with racing. I always thought racing was driving one car around the track and praying you didn’t hit anything. Even with the Car of Tomorrow, I could have up to fifteen in the shop back home, a lot of them built just to race on certain tracks. When we go to the track, we take a specific car and a backup in case we wreck during qualifying.”

    “Fifteen cars. Wow. I just want to turn sixteen so I can get my license and drive any old car. I think I’m ready to take the test, but Mom won’t even let me get my permit until I’m officially sixteen.”

    “I remember those days. You know it’s eighteen to get a NASCAR racing license,” Hart said.

    “I didn’t know that, either,” Charlie admitted. “I’ve been studying the driver’s manual daily, though. I’m hoping that I’ll be well enough for lessons in July. You have to let me then, Mom.”

    “So have you ever seen a race shop?” Hart asked when Kellie didn’t answer.

    “No,” Charlie replied. “I’m new to the sport. My grandma’s a huge fan and she hooked me late last year during the Chase for the Cup. We watch the races together every time they’re on. She lives with us now, so it’s a weekend ritual. I guess she’s watching without me, though, this time.”

    They’d reached the campfire, and seeing Hart, the camp director waved him over. “Looks like I’m wanted,” Hart said. “Remember, when you stop by tomorrow, I want you to tell me what your wish is.”

    “Okay,” Charlie answered. “I will.”

    “See you tomorrow, then,” Hart said, and he strode off. Kellie tracked his movements, her mind churning over what had just occurred. Surely Hart couldn’t be serious? Of all the campers here this weekend, he had to single out Charlie? Because of a question?

    “Can you believe it, Mom?” Charlie asked.

    “No,” she said honestly. The whole night had a rather surreal aspect to it.

    Brad Muldoon and his family approached. “Hey, Charlie, were you just talking with

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