[chapter one]

Disclaimer: If you've heard of them, I don't own them. Everything else is mine, so no stealing, pretty please. ;-)


Dale Earnhardt Jr slumped further down into the soft couch as he listened to Leno's opening monologue, his knee bouncing up and down nervously. He'd been on Jay Leno's show before, but he always got nervous a few minutes before he stepped on stage and shook his hand.

Hell, he still got nervous every time he had to speak in front of a crowd.

He hated sitting in this green room, waiting to be called. It made the nerves worse - it was one thing to be interviewed after jumping out of a car, or during a taped interview, but this was sort of live. If he sounded like a dumbass, there was no excuse.

As he picked at a stray thread at the hem of his baggy jeans, he saw a pair of spectacular looking legs walk briskly into the room. His head snapped up and surveyed the tall, lithe, statuesque blonde who had just swept into the room. He immediately straightened and cleared his throat.

She gave him a cursory glance, then went back to studying the pile of notes she carried in her hand.

"Miss Bickley, you'll be the second guest. We'll give you a five minute warning, and then you'll be introduced after the commercial break." A production assistant explained, and the tall blonde nodded absently.

"Thank you." She said, her voice deep and husky.

Deep and husky and sexy, Junior thought with a predatory grin. He stood and took a step toward her. "Hi. I'm Dale Earnhardt Junior." He said, extending his hand warmly.

She gave him a tight smile. "Alana Bickley. Not to be rude, but I really want to review this before I'm called onstage."

Junior took a step back, curious. Usually he got a bit more of a reaction than that. Giving her his biggest, brightest smile, he tried again. "Don't you know who I am?" He said, his voice light and joking.

She slowly turned her head and look at him for a long moment, making Junior feel entirely too much like a bug trapped under a microscope. "Why do you feel the need to justify your fame when you don't get the reaction you expect?" She asked, her voice measured and serious.

Junior blinked a few times, taken aback. "Used to it, I guess."

She nodded slowly. "That's very sad for you."

Junior sat back down, unable to utter another word.

This chick was clearly not only in a different league, but a different universe from the women he was attracted to. He didn't even want to know her name or what she did for a living, or why she was on Leno's show. He didn't even want to share the room with her anymore, she was so snooty.

Glad that was cleared up quickly, he thought, forgetting to be nervous as his two minute warning for stage was called.

chapter two