It’s here, y’all! It’s finally HERE!
Grinding Gears is live and available for you to enjoy. It’s got a hot yummy Texas boy who drives fast cars and it’s got a corporate grind paralegal who needs something new in her life that she isn’t even aware of. It’s a good thing she’s got good friends who love and care for her. This is the second book in my Bad Boys of Racing series, that was never supposed to be a series, but damn, I love writing it. It’s taken me a long time to do so, but I’m happy to be back among my race car drivers. They’re a load of fun.
One thing you may notice about these racing books of mine is that I don’t call them Nascar. I don’t refer to current, real life teams or drivers. That kind of stuff is very sticky and tricky in the legal department. I talk about Daytona and Charlotte. I use some of the rules and regulations. But it’s still a fictional world that I’ve created. For instance, in Grinding Gears, I talk about the Daytona 500, but Jason isn’t driving in it… If you want to get technical, he’s part of what is now the Xfinity series, however, in my book it’s a night race instead of an afternoon race and there is no mention of a sponsor of the race.
I hope you’ll enjoy Alli and Jason’s story and that it’ll rev you up for the next book in the series, Under Caution.
I’ll also be interested if anyone picks up on any of the hints I’ve left in the book…
In the final laps, it’s ALL or NOTHIN’
Jason’s entering his rookie season as a big time stock car driver in the national spotlight, but he’s no stranger to breakneck speeds, sponsor expectations, or the older women who’ve revved his engine since he was a teenager. He’s content to learn and indulge himself in fun until a blind date with a curvy smartass brings his boots to a screechin’ halt.
Alli’s strong, driven, and a recent law school graduate. She’s also on a self-imposed man hiatus. And despite the lure of a sexy, race car drivin’ cowboy, the good intentions of her friends, and an incredible job offer, she’s not giving in to the temptation.
Jason knows he’s got one shot to prove himself to his new owners and his new high profile sponsor on the most famous super speedway of them all and… only one shot to win the heart of the woman he hopes is waiting for him at the finish line.
The apartment complex was silent and the sky was just starting to lighten when Jason pulled into a parking space in front of Alli’s building. After her last text from the night before, he’d called Grant for her address. The other man had laughed when Jason told him what he was planning. He’d been advised to take a large cup of coffee with him as it might get Alli to open the door. He’d also been advised to take a sweet pastry, too. Alli would respond better and more favorably if there was caffeine and sugar involved.
Jason had both with him, along with homemade biscuit sandwiches. Maybe he could woo her with his amazing talent in the kitchen with Southern breakfast foods.
He turned the truck engine off and got out. The small basket containing the food was in the passenger seat and he walked around to get it. He picked up the coffee carrier as well. Grant told him he would likely have to knock for a while. Jason hoped he didn’t wake everyone else up in the process of trying to get her attention. He’d thought about calling, but she’d just tell him not to come.
He climbed the stairs to the second floor, stopped, shifted the contents in his hands and kept climbing up to the third floor. Her place was the first door on the right. He set the basket on the ground and lifted his hand to knock. The door opened before he could make contact with the wood.
“You’re actually here.”
Was she disappointed or surprised? He couldn’t tell. “You’re actually awake.”
“I can’t believe you…” She stopped mid-sentence, her eyes focused on the two cardboard cups in the carrier, and the stern frown she’d worn gave way to anticipation. “Is that coffee? For me?”
She was even prettier without makeup, slightly sleep rumpled. Her hair was piled on top of her head and she wore the cutest penguin motif pajamas. “One of them might be if…”
Her gaze shot up, narrowed as it connected with with his. “If what?”
“If you let me in and if you kiss me on the cheek. You know, to thank me for bringing you coffee.”
“How about I take a cup, say thank you, and send you on your way without you coming in and without me having to kiss you anywhere?”
Jason bit down on the inside of his cheek to keep from laughing. “You suck at negotiating.”
“Deal or not?”
“Not. I’ll just take this extra coffee to work with me. Jake’ll drink it.” He turned to go and made it to the third step down before she made a sound.
“All right, fine. But…” She wagged her finger at him when he reappeared at her door. “But, only one kiss to one cheek and you’re only allowed in for a few minutes.”
“You hand over the coffee first.”
Jason shook his head and held the cups out of reach. “Oh, no ma’am. If I give you the coffee first, you’ll slam the door in my face before I get a foot in. Nope. I come in and then you get coffee.”
She pouted and crossed her arms over her chest. “You don’t trust me? I’m hurt Jason.”
“You’ll get over it. Let me in. It’s cold out here.”
Alli stood back and made a grand, sweeping gesture for Jason to enter her apartment. It was blessedly warm. The coffee was out of his hands and into hers, then into her kitchen before he even knew she’d closed the door. “Hey.”
“Hey,” she called back.
Jason laughed and looked around the large open space of Alli’s living and dining room. It was a long room to the right of the small foyer, decorated in warm reds, browns, and blues. It hadn’t been at all what he was expecting her home to look, or feel like. It was comfortable, homey. The couch was plush and looked like suede. Dark red wood end tables flanked it and a single overstuffed chair. Her square dining table, book shelves, dining chairs, and coffee table were all the same shade of wood. Something about the space reminded him of home, of what home should feel like.
“You like it?” she asked from behind him.
He hadn’t heard her come back into the room and he spun to face her. “Yes, I do. Very much.”
“Not what you expected, huh?”
“No, it’s completely different than what I pictured, but somehow, it fits you. Granted, a side of you I haven’t seen, but it fits, I think.”
“I like it. It makes me feel warm. I love fashion and makeup and all things girl, except furniture, it seems. Here.” She held out a cup to him, the coffee having been poured from the cardboard cups into ceramic mugs. “When at home, coffee should be drunk from a proper coffee cup, not from paper.”
“Good motto. I don’t know anything about fashion. You look good to me. Pajamas or business clothes and I bet in jeans and a tight shirt, you look good enough to eat.” He lifted his cup to her in a mock toast and took a swallow. Her eyes were wide and round at his statement and he guessed that might be a good thing. She had the most genuine expressions. She wasn’t trying to play coy or be a brat for the attention. He could really take her off guard and it would show on her face. “Now, about the kiss you owe me.”
“W-what about it?”
She walked toward the chair and he followed, doing a piss poor job of keeping his gaze on the back of her head instead of on her ass. He’d seen some good ones in his young life, but hers got a rise out of him in a way no others had that he could remember. “What about it? Well, for starters, you still owe it to me.”
“And I’ll give it. You didn’t say it had to be today anyway. Or right now. You just said you wanted a kiss on the cheek.”
She curled up in the cushions of the chair and Jason did his best to hide his disappointment that she didn’t sit with him on the couch. “I said I wanted a kiss as a thank you for bringing you coffee.”
“But you didn’t say when you wanted it.”
“Now would have been a good assumption.”
“Oh, I don’t make assumptions.”
“Liar.” He chuckled. “You so do make assumptions.”
Alli shook her head, then took a sip of coffee. She inclined her head in his direction when she lowered the mug.
“What’s in the basket?”
“Changing the subject? Not very fair.”
“I never said I play fair.”
“What kind of breakfast?”
“Good stuff.” He set his coffee down on the end table and peeled back the tea towel. It probably looked odd for a man like him to be carrying a basket of food, but it was something his mom had taught him. Never show up empty handed and always make sure what you show up with looks nice. “Let me see. There’s a piece of coffee cake, cinnamon. I love cinnamon. There’s a blueberry scone, which I’m told is delicious. And the best part? My homemade biscuits with sausage, egg, and cheese.”
Alli’s stomach grumbled and she curled up tighter in the chair. “Homemade? You mean…?”
He nodded emphatically. “In an oven, even. My mom’s recipe.”
Alli’s eyes grew wide. “Wait a second. Homemade? From scratch homemade? You made them? Not just opened up a can and plopped them on a cookie sheet?”
“From scratch.” Heat crept up his neck and he had to force himself to keep looking at her. “No big deal.”
“It’s a very big deal, Jason. Oh my god. You made me biscuits. And brought me coffee.”
Her voice was filled with such awe and surprise. Her cheeks turned a bright shade of pink and the lines around her eyes softened. He’d touched her and something inside him loosened and opened up. “I’m glad you’re happy that I did.”
“I can’t remember the last time anyone made me breakfast. You must have gotten up really early.”
“No earlier than normal. I’m usually up around five. I made the biscuit dough last night before I went to bed. It didn’t take anything to cook the sausage and eggs while the biscuits baked. The coffee shop was on the way.”
“Why? Why would you do this?”
Click on one of the buttons (I’ll add Nook and Kobo links as soon as they become available) above to purchase the book to find out what happens next…
Now, it’s time for me to head out for my release day coffee!