It’s that time of year, y’all and I couldn’t be more excited! NASCAR starts this weekend, on Saturday night with the Budweiser Shootout in Daytona. When we lived in Florida, we went almost every year once we realized how much my son loved watching racing on television. We’ve been to several races in Daytona, never the 500. Not yet. I hope one year soon we’ll get to go.

As most of my readers know, I am a big, BIG NASCAR fan. I watch every weekend and when the races are held in Charlotte, we’re there, rain or shine, heat or cold. It’s exhilarating. It’s exhausting. It’s entertaining. It’s research. It’s stress relief. I stand up and scream at the top of my lungs. And that I can give my son those memories, well, I wouldn’t trade that feeling for anything.

On Sundays, throughout the season, I’m going to be posting something about NASCAR. I haven’t figured out what yet and I don’t expect most people to care, but there will be a few who do, and those posts will be for you. And perhaps, I’ll even start posting little tidbits here and there about the next couple of race car books I have in the works… Drive Shaft and Gear Grindin’.

Speakin’ of… How about a few lines now from Drive Shaft (unedited, of course, so please forgive any typos, etc…)

Cam leaned his hip against the side of the stock car and crossed his arms over his chest. She couldn’t get over hot how he was and how damn lucky Lily was to have landed him. Not that Cam wasn’t lucky too, but…

Crapola. What was wrong with her? She was eyeing the older guy and the taken guy. Totally not like her. Totally a sign she needed to get laid.

“You two getting back together?”

“Huh? No,” she answered and judging by the smirk on Cam’s face, a little too vehemently. “We’re just friends.”

“You two hang out a lot still, so…”

“Yeah, no. Just friends.” She took a step back and pointed behind her. “I’m gonna go call him,” she said again. “Sorry to bother y’all.”

“Not bothering me. How about you, Jake? Are you bothered?”

“Nope, not a bit.”

“See, we’re not bothered.”

Jake had come to stand beside Cam and suspicion started to set in. She looked back and forth between the two men. “Okay, well, on that strange note….”

Alli turned around and started walking. She continued to look over her shoulder every couple of steps, though. Both men were staring after her, the oddest looks on their faces.

“You’re here for me.”

That was a voice she hadn’t heard before and it stopped her in her tracks. Alli spun on her heel and looked beyond Cam and Jake in the direction of the back office. She’d helped Lily, Cam, Jake, and Grant get the large warehouse size space set up and knew every inch like the back of her hand. “I’m here…” she paused and took in his long, lean body clad in dark jeans and cowboy boots, and his collar-length shaggy blond hair beneath his cowboy hat. “…for you?” Given his yumminess and the heat spiraling through her body that was just fine with her. A faded red T-shirt stretched across his chest, but not too tightly. There was a little scruff on his chin and he was young, she noted again. Damn good looking from across the room, but too young.

She let her gaze travel from his boots to his hat again. Had she told herself enough times that he was too young for her? The way her belly was doing those funny little swirly-do’s she didn’t think she had. Not near enough.

“Yes, ma’am.” He winked. “Me.”

Alli groaned and the sound echoed around the cavernous room. Oh dear God, he called her ma’am. With a wink. Yep. Way too fucking young. “I don’t understand.” But she was afraid she did. She just needed some clarification before she started plotting Grant’s untimely demise.

Hot Yummy took a few steps toward her and those swirly-do’s in her belly picked up speed. If they kept it up, they were going to end up as a full blown twister. She took an unconscious step back. “Grant set us up? You mean like a…”

“A blind date,” he finished for her.

His smile was sweet, then, patient and when he spoke, his voice was calm, gentle. Alli smiled in spite of herself and in spite of the fact she was gonna kill Grant. Her ex-lover and the very first male best friend she’d ever had. She was gonna kill him.

Hot Yummy was looking at her with that same sweet smile but his eyes were daring her to…to what she didn’t know, but, there was challenge staring back at her.

Normally she would rise to the bait because she could give as good as she got, but not this time. She was… She had too much on her plate and she didn’t need the distraction. “Oh, I’m… He shouldn’t have done that. I’m sorry.”

He shifted and slipped his hands in his back pockets. “Why shouldn’t he?”

“Yeah, why shouldn’t he?”

Alli looked over Hot Yummy’s shoulder. “I don’t need any help from the peanut gallery, thank you.” She coasted a quick glance over the young hunk’s body before meeting his gaze again. “Because I can find my own dates and don’t need his help in doing so.” The retort was a little more biting than she’d intended, but she wouldn’t apologize for it. She’d walked into a situation she wasn’t mentally unprepared for. She didn’t like it.

The man nodded. Man was a bit generous, she thought. He looked like he could still be eighteen, maybe twenty.

“He thought you might like to have a little fun. Said you’ve been pretty busy lately with going back to school and all. Thought we might have some things in common.”

“Yeah well, it’s still none of his concern. I’m sorry to break our blind date, but I just…” She shook her head. “I can’t.”

There, she’d said it. She’d said no even though she’d wanted to say yes in the worst way. She took her keys out of her pocket and started for the door again. Damn Grant for knowing her so well. Damn him for interfering. Damn him for putting a cowboy in front of her. She’d never been with a cowboy.

“Why can’t you?”

“What?” Her mind was already on calling Grant and giving him a piece of her mind. A thank you, as well, but only after a piece of her mind.

“Why can’t you go have a beer with me? Why do you have to break our blind date?”

He was coming closer and man oh man oh man. “Um. Uh…”

 “You’re… I just don’t have the time.”

“Really? You were making the time when you thought you were going out with Grant.”

Crap. He had her there. She couldn’t tell him the real reason though. She wasn’t even sure what the real reason was. “I don’t know you. I don’t know anything about you.”

“Have a beer with me and you can learn all you want or need to know.”

“We’ll vouch for him,” Jake offered. “He works for us.”

“Yeah, he sure does.”

She glared over Hot Yummy’s other shoulder and through clenched teeth, said, “Not helping, Cam.”

“What else, Alli? What other objection do you have?”

Hot Yummy pulled her attention back to him and he was suddenly standing so close, so very close. He smelled like… God, he smelled like Stetson. Her boyfriend in high school wore that cologne. It turned her on so much when she’d bury her face in his neck and… She didn’t even know they still made it.

Looking at him from this close, he didn’t appear as young as she first thought but he was still… “You’re too young.”

“Oh shit, Alli. Not you too with that lame ass argument.”

“Shut up, Cam.”

“Lily tried to pull that crap with me. Don’t listen to her Jason.”

Alli was well aware of the merry-go-round Lily and Cam went on about their age difference. “Shut up, Cam.”

“Yeah, man, don’t listen to her about that age thing. She did date Grant after all and he’s what? A year younger than you?”

Another peanut from the gallery. “Not helping either, Jake.”

Hot Yummy nodded his head and she shook hers.  “Only by a few months, but you do have a point.”

They were ganging up on her. Not the fun sex kind of ganging that three hot stock car guys could give her, if one wasn’t in love with one of her best friends and if the other didn’t have the hots for another best friend, that is.

“No, there is no point to be had.”

“Why not?”

“Because I don’t want to date anyone. I would have gone out tonight with Grant because he’s my friend and friends do that. I’m not looking for a date with –”

“I can be a friend,” Hot Yummy stated matter of factly. “I can be a damn good friend.”

Please enjoy the following song and video by Brad Paisley, called Old Alabama. It features Brad, the band Alabama, Darrell Waltrip, and Jeff Gordon…

Have a great weekend…

~lissa