congratulations to Marie Harte on the release of her newest book Test Drive, the first book in the Body Shop Bad Boys series, which releases on June 7. Enter the Rafflecopter at the end of the post for a chance to win a copy of the book.
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.
Enjoy an excerpt:
He grinned and waited while she opened her door. He noticed she locked it behind them, and he approved. A woman couldn’t be too careful, especially after dealing with assholes like Ron. And speaking of which…
“So have you heard from Ron since?”
“Nope, and I like it that way just fine.” She dropped her purse and hung up her jacket in the closet. Then she motioned for his, so he took it off and handed it to her. “You want something to drink?”
“What do you have?”
“Beer and water. I ran out of milk this morning.”
Another thing they had in common. A tendency to put off grocery shopping. “How about a beer?”
“Good choice.” He watched her putter in the kitchen, giving new testament to the term domestic goddess. That shoulder-baring sweater was driving him crazy with the need to pull the rest of it down. Anything to expose the creamy wealth of her breasts.
She handed him a beer and had one for herself, which he liked. She must trust him a little if she finally didn’t mind drinking with him. “Wait here.” She returned with a ratty deck of cards. “I deal.”
“I’m a guest. Shouldn’t I get to choose?” he asked as they settled at the kitchen table.
She shuffled the deck. “You’re shifty. I’ve seen you at darts.”
“That was sheer skill.”
“According to Foley, you must have stepped over the line a few times to get closer.”
He snorted. “Please. Foley’s muscles get in the way of his aim. And his brain.”
“I’m a precision kind of guy.” He let her ponder that one while he studied her face and, a bit more subtly, her breasts.
She glanced up but only saw him gazing innocently at her face. “Precision guy. Uh-huh. You’re shifty. I’m dealing.” She focused on the cards again.
Man, she was clever. Saw right through him. Brains always impressed the hell out of him, but wrapped in a package like hers, he had a hard time thinking about anything but making sweet love to Lara.
She kept her eyes on the cards. “And quit staring at me like I’m a lame bunny and you’re a big bad wolf.”
“Please. I can feel your pretty eyeballs all over me, Prince Charming. Drink your beer and be good, or your ass is out of here early.”
She sounded as if she meant it. The fact she’d make him work to earn her, perversely made him want to try harder. It’s like she’s playing me, and I’m letting her.
He frowned. Was she? Was this all a game to her? Had she sensed the depth of his attraction and meant to use herself as bait? The way Amber had always been able to get what she wanted out of his father? Like dancing on a pole for money, she’d danced around Jack Devlin for affection. Then once she’d gotten it, she’d walked away without a backward glance, uncaring that she’d left more than one broken heart behind.
The sad thing was that his father continued to repeat the pattern. At least Johnny knew better.
Lara set down the cards. “I was kidding, Johnny. I mean, I don’t think you’re looking at me like that. It was a joke.”
The vulnerability in her eyes touched him. No, Lara wasn’t into games. Not like that. And man, did that make him want her more—and not just for sex.
Emotional asswipe. Grow a pair, Devlin. He could almost hear Lou mocking him. He cleared his throat and felt his cheeks heat. “If you can’t feel me looking at you like that, I must be doing it wrong.”
She gave a relieved laugh and finished dealing the cards.
He spent the next forty-five minutes playing a kid’s game, when he could have been maneuvering his way into her bedroom. That he hadn’t tried to, that he’d enjoyed himself with her, trading barbs and just soaking up her company, told him more than anything that his interest in her meant something.
At first, all he’d wanted was to do her, to conquer the unattainable female. And sure, that was immature and beneath him, but he’d been a few years younger. Before he’d recognized that dimple she wore when she was happy. Or how her eyes turned a shade darker before she’d lay into a guy with a smart-ass remark, then laugh with rich enjoyment. Before he’d known she’d taste like heaven and addict him from one simple kiss. Now he wanted—he didn’t know what he wanted, but it wasn’t just sex. When was the last time he’d hung out with a woman for fun, no expectation of a fuck afterward?
Sure he wanted one. But tonight felt magical. He had no intention of ruining it. The only matter on his mind was how to get a second date with the sexy woman.
“War,” he said, pleased when two jacks popped up.
“Oh man.” She glanced from her pathetic card to his pile. “I have just enough. One card left…” She waited for him, and they turned their last cards over together.
His ace to her two of spades.
“That’s just sad.” He shook his head, flipped over her cards, and saw he’d won a face card and a few number cards. “I won the queen.” If only.
She frowned. “You must have cheated.”
“For almost an hour? If I’d wanted to win that bad, I wouldn’t have stretched this out for so long.” He stood and stretched. “Ah, that feels good. Bathroom?”
She nodded to the hall and warned, “You’d better put the seat down when you’re done, or I’ll tell everyone you made a move on me and I laughed at your tiny pride and joy.”
“Now we both know that’s a lie. Tiny. Right.” Johnny had no problem when it came to confidence in his body. He laughed his way into the bathroom and came back to see her sitting on the couch, nursing a second beer. He’d already had two and had stopped himself from having any more. He did have to drive tonight. Unfortunately.
He joined her on the couch and turned to face her instead of dragging her into his lap. “There’s something we need to get clear.”
He fucking loved that challenging light in her eyes. Antagonizing yet playful. “Yeah, oh. That comment you made about me enjoying the stripper lifestyle.”
“Do tell.” She set her beer down.
“It’s more a lifestyle proclivity than a fetish for strippers.”
“You are just whipping out the big words right and left,” she teased. “But color me intrigued. How is it a ‘lifestyle proclivity’?”
“Simple. My dad has always had a thing for strippers. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate a good athlete.”
“I’ll bet you do.”
“But I grew up around ‘Daddy’s friends’ and saw most of them as mother figures.” Before they’d inevitably take off. “What can I say? My dad is fascinated with ti—ah, with breasts.”
Her lips quirked.
“Trust me when I say the glamour of naked breasts lost its luster years ago. Strippers are just hard-working women who happen to take their clothes off for a living. Pretty, sure. But a naked woman is just a naked woman.”
“Um, yeah, that’s the point.”
“No, it’s not.” He started to get annoyed. “I’m trying to tell you that I can look at a woman and see more than her body. I’m not all about tits and ass and nothing else,” he growled, disappointed Lara didn’t seem to understand him. “Knowing what they go through just to make a living has shown me they’re more than—”
She cut him off by knocking him flat back against the couch.
Her eyes narrowed, and she maneuvered him so he lay under her. Shocked, he let her move him around like a puppet, wondering what came next. A punch? A kiss? Praying for the latter, he lay still. Then she kissed the breath out of him.
And his entire world spun out of control.
About the Author: 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.