A smokin’ hot new series from Marie Harte featuring tough-guy mechanics and the women who jump-start their hearts.
GET TO KNOW THE BODY SHOP BAD BOYS
Johnny, Foley, Sam, and Lou are the rough and tumble mechanics of Webster’s Garage. These reformed bad boys are used to living fast, but it’s the women in their lives who take them from zero to sixty in a heartbeat.
Johnny Devlin’s a charmer with a checkered past. He’s had his eye on scorching-hot bartender Lara Valley for ages, but she’s rejected him more than once. That doesn’t mean he won’t come to her aid when some dirtbag mauls her. When she asks him on a date as a no-strings-attached thank you, he can’t say no. And then he’s saying nothing but hell, yes.
PURCHASE TEST DRIVE NOW!
When they left the car, the wind picked up, and she wished she’d brought a heavier jacket. So unnerved by his presence, she’d grabbed the first thing she’d found in the closet.
“Cold? Here. Let me help.” Johnny hugged her to him, and the subtle scent of his cologne, which had driven her crazy all evening, hit her hard. “Stay close to me, and I’ll keep you warm.”
She felt his smile against her hair. “Is that a line?”
“Why? Is it working?”
“Not yet. But if it gets any colder out here, it might.”
He laughed as they walked into the movie theater. After she purchased the horror film tickets, he grabbed her by the hand and squeezed. “Thank God. I thought for a minute there Alfred’s Three Loves might have swayed you.”
“No way. I’m not into period pieces.” She made a face. “But I can do horror.” She just had to say it. “I’m on a date with you, aren’t I?”
“Ha-ha. Very funny.” He swatted her on the ass, and she warmed all over. “After you.” He motioned for her to precede him.
To her surprise, she enjoyed the frightfest. She jumped at all the right parts and laughed when he did the same. Unlike most guys, he didn’t try to act macho. He had fun, made her laugh, and turned her on without trying. He was just so…Johnny.
They exited the theater amidst chatter about the excessive gore in the movie. “Wasn’t that great?” she gushed.
“A little over the top when the doll started bleeding from every orifice, don’t you think?”
“I thought that made her seem more real.”
He snorted. “Yeah. Dolls that bleed black and screech about demonic possession are so lifelike.”
He dragged her with him out of the way of a throng of theatergoers exiting from another movie. The multiplex had been packed, and she felt the crush as they moved toward the building’s exit.
“Thanks,” she said, breathless, as the wall of the corridor braced her back.
Then his mouth was on hers, a whisper of a kiss full of heat and desire. It was gone before she could blink, and she could only stare up at him, wanting more.
“I’ve been dying to do that all evening. And, well, a guy can only take so much temptation.”
“Temptation?” she echoed weakly.
“Yeah.” He sighed. “You loved a demonic doll. I mean, you hate baseball, but you loved Suzy Oozy—she of the hellish diapers and acidic eats-through-anything vomit.”
She nodded, still dazed. “I know, right? Great stuff.”
He chuckled and moved closer, away from the crowd pushing through the complex.
“Problem is I really liked Suzy. Now I’m going to have to hide my niece’s baby-cries-a lot doll the next time I see it. Talk about super creepy.” She rubbed her lips, staring at his, still reeling from that kiss.
“You say creepy, then you touch your mouth where I kissed you. I’m sensing a correlation.”
“Big word for a self-proclaimed knuckle-dragger—wasn’t that what you called your friends at Ray’s the other night?”
“Well, them, sure. But I’m more advanced than that. I can even spell correlation.” He paused. “With a dictionary.”
She was enthralled with him, despite being on her guard not to be. “How are you so much fun? Is this part of your shtick?”
He frowned. “My what?”
“Your shtick. Your routine. Do you get your dates laughing so hard that they don’t notice when you have them half-undressed?”
“Now, Lara. They always know when they’re getting naked with me. How could you think otherwise? I have standards, you know.”
He looked wounded, and she laughed and let him pull her along with the crowd. He kept his hand around hers, even when they left the theater, and she didn’t pull away.
“So, batting cages?” he asked hopefully as they found the car.
She groaned. “No thank you.”
He shrugged. “Your loss.”
He looked pained. “That’s basketball.”
“Whatever. I’m not a fan of either sport.”
She laughed at him. “I was kidding. Kareem Abdul Jabbar played for the Lakers from ’79 to ’85. Do you know what pro team he started with?”
“Do you?” He opened the car door for her, then circled to the driver side.
“The Milwaukee Bucks in 1969.”
“Okay, I’m impressed. That almost makes up for not liking baseball.”
She got into the car with him and confessed, “I only know that because my dad used to force me to watch old games with him when I was a kid. The basketball I could tolerate, but show me a Mets game, and I want to throw up. I think my head might spin too, worse than Suzy’s did for sure.” She sat with him in the quiet of the moment, wondering if she’d gone too far. Vomit wasn’t exactly sexy. “Um, not that sitting in absolute silence with you isn’t awkward or anything—”
“Glad to hear it.”
“—but if we’re not going to do the baseball thing, what did you have in mind? And don’t even think of suggesting we go back to your place.” She liked that neither of them had yet mentioned just ending the date. It was only a little after ten on a Friday night. Early by anyone’s standards.
“Well then. Take the wind out of my sails, why don’t you?” He blew out a breath. “Fine. We’ll go to yours.”
He started the car and drove out of the lot. “Exactly. Great minds think alike.”
Her heart pounded. “Exactly what are we thinking?”
“That we’ll hang out at your place, where you’ll practice more nursing on me. You can examine my pitiful bruised cheek, you know, the one I got rescuing a damsel in distress?”
“Going to milk that for all it’s worth, aren’t you?”
“Hell yeah. I figure if I remind you enough, you might take pity on me and let me kiss you again.”
About Marie Harte:
Caffeine addict, boy referee, and romance aficionado, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author MARIE HARTE is a confessed bibliophile and devotee of action movies. Whether hiking or biking around town, or hanging at the local tea shop, she’s constantly plotting to give everyone a happily ever after. She lives in in Central Oregon.
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