Contemporary Romantic Suspense
Etopia Press / July 6, 2013
Available at Amazon B & N Kobo All Romance
Fast cars and a smokin' hot passion...
Rex intends to own and drive his own car, but that will cost him millions up front. Last season was a disaster, thanks to a nasty break up, but it taught him a lesson and helped sharpen his focus on what he needed to do: Win every race. And stay away from pretty girls. The last thing he needed was to learn that his new head mechanic, Jimmy James, was the gorgeous redhead pin-up walking around his pit like it was some kind of dance floor.
Gail "Jimmy" James is the first female NASCAR mechanic. As if competing in a man's world isn't tough enough, her bombshell figure bellies her genius IQ, and the pit is no place for either. Nothing Jimmy knew about Rex Henderson the driver prepared her for Rex Henderson the man. But Jimmy has no time to dwell on her feelings as strange mechanical problems curse Rex's car. Whether sabotage or her own mistakes, Jimmy must stay one step ahead of trouble if she's going to keep her job, and keep her driver alive...
“Can I get a picture of you two together?” Victor grasped her shoulder.
His fingers slid down her arm as he coaxed her closer to Winston. She’d love to flatten Victor with a right hook while smiling for the camera. That would be news. She spotted Rex standing to the right of the podium. He chatted like old friends with Dillon while they waited for the final shots. The leather-clad blonde sidled up to Dillon.
A flash went off. “Thanks,” Victor said, but Jimmy ignored him and fixed her attention on the arm the blonde slipped around Dillon’s waist.
The blonde made a show of nuzzling his neck. Jimmy raised a brow, then glanced at Rex. She started at the pain on his face. Every red-blooded woman knew that look. Jimmy focused on the woman. Crystal Sommers. When Rex started doing badly at Watkins Glen, the scuttlebutt was he’s been heartbroken over the blonde. The few photos Jimmy had seen of Rex and Crystal didn’t do her justice. Jimmy hadn’t recognized her when she’d sauntered past earlier.
Jimmy studied her. Even across the room, she could distinguish the brunette eyebrows, a dead blonde-from-a-bottle giveaway. But no man would care. A woman like her could break a heart with her body alone. Good thing looks weren’t everything. Jimmy glanced at Rex. Or were they? So what if she dumped him. Why didn’t he tell her to take a hike?
“Miss James,” Victor said, “do you want to be called Gail or Jimmy?”
“I’ve been called Jimmy since I rebuilt my first Chevy 350 in junior high,” she replied distractedly.
“Did you instigate the name because you don’t want to be singled out as a woman in a man’s world?”
Jimmy slid her attention back to Victor. “Are you implying I’m sexist, Mr. Hernandez?”
He blinked. “What—”
“Cause that’s what it sounds like.”
A glint appeared in his eyes. “No, ma’am. Women are great for the sport.”
Jimmy cast a glance back at Rex. Blast it. Crystal had plastered herself against Dillon’s hips. She flipped her golden tresses back and lowered her eyelashes in Rex’s direction. Couldn’t Rex see that he could do so much better than her?
“Excuse me gentlemen. I’ve got to take care of something.” She started for Rex.
“How about an interview later?” Victor called after her.
Jimmy heard Winston reply, “We can arrange that.”
With practice laps tomorrow and the Shootout the next day, an interview was the last thing she needed. Jimmy dodged a table full of driver’s wives, chattering away. She hadn’t taken her eyes off Rex. He seemed rooted to the floor. Why didn’t he walk away? She skirted the stage and stepped up beside him. He gave her a surprised look as she slid her arm under his.
Jimmy ignored the tension in his body. “Rex, we’ve been looking for you.”
He glanced at their table. “I didn’t see you two arrive.”
She patted his shoulder with her free hand. Crystal cut her a killing glance, and Jimmy said, “Victor’s asking for you.” She turned her gaze on Dillon. “He wants a picture of this year’s Sprint Cup Winner.”
Dillon gave Rex a you must be joking look.
Rex shifted closer to Jimmy and draped an arm around her shoulder. He gave her a squeeze, making her uncomfortably aware of the warmth of his hand.
“This is Gail, my new mechanic.” Rex looked straight at Crystal.
“So you’re the one?” Dillon bust out. “Hot dog. You’re exactly what NASCAR needs.”
Crystal snapped her glare onto Dillon.
“Love your eyebrows, Crystal,” Jimmy said.
Crystal’s head jerked in her direction.
“Come on Rex,” Jimmy said. “Introduce me to the other crew chiefs. Maybe I can wrangle some tricks out of them.” She locked gazes with Crystal. “Unless Crystal already beat me to it.” She shot the blonde an inquiring look as Rex started in the direction of the closest group of crew chiefs.
When they were out of Crystal and Dillon’s earshot, Rex said, “Gail, I—”
“It’s not what you think,” she interrupted. “Don’t sweat it.”
He still had his arm around her waist. Jimmy glanced around the room. Victor Hernandez was staring at them. She shifted to push Rex away, then remembered Crystal. Checkmate.
“What the hell is going on?” Rex demanded. He stopped, forcing her to stop with him.
“You want Crystal to catch on to our charade?” Jimmy demanded.
Rex looked confused.
“Keep glaring at me,” Jimmy berated in a whisper, “and she’ll realize we’re not such good friends.”
Rex did the very thing Jimmy hoped he wouldn’t: he glanced in Crystal’s direction.
Damn, damn, and double damn.
He looked back at her. Something flashed in his eyes, anger, understanding, she couldn’t be sure, and he abruptly pulled her closer.
“Hey—” she began.
“Tut, tut,” he interrupted. “We can’t have Crystal catching on now, can we?”
“This was your idea. Remember?”
“And you’re taking advantage,” Jimmy hissed.
Rex shrugged. “I’m a pig. What can I say?” He started them toward the crew chiefs again.
“You’re messing with the wrong person,” she said under her breath. “I’ll get even.”
Rex laughed. “Just make sure it’s not with the Chevy, and I’ll live with anything you can dish out.”
“We’d better find that photographer,” Jimmy said in a warning tone. “I told your ex-girlfriend he wanted a picture of the next Sprint winner.”
Rex grinned. “You making a prediction?”
Blast him. The man had her and knew it.
They stopped beside the crew chiefs and finally released her.
Rex nodded to the group. “Gentlemen, meet my new head mechanic.” He stepped aside to put a respectable distance between them. “Gail James.”
Thank God Rex moved off. Hopefully Victor hadn’t read too much into the scene.
“Well now,” Victor said, stepping up beside her, “what have we here? Between cuddly rabbits and female mechanics, Rex’s got everyone on the run this season.”
Jimmy closed her eyes. And she had thought she needed a locker room floor to screw things up.
About the Author:
T. C. Archer is comprised of award winning authors Evan Trevane and Shawn M. Casey. They live in the Northeast. Evan has a Ph.D. in electrical engineering, and Shawn is a small business owner. Their collaboration began on a lark with the post WWII film noir story The Pickle My Little Friend, and has evolved into over a dozen works, which includes their new series The Phenom League, and Daphne Du Maurier winner the romantic thriller For His Eyes Only.
Connect with T.C. Archer
Website: http://www.tcarcher.comBlog: http://tcarcher.blogspot.com