Copyright 2021 Claire WilderAs it turned out, work kept me busy enough all day that I didn’t have time to think much about Dean at all. Or at least, not much. I still felt the littlest fluttering in my stomach when I thought about tonight—he was going to come by the motel at seven-thirty and take me on a little tour of his hometown. It almost felt like a date. Except that it was my buddy, Dean. But those thoughts only happened a few times that day. Most of the time, I concentrated on working my ass off. By the time the closing time rolled around, I was shocked at where the day had gone. John gave me a begrudging nod as he left. He’d nitpicked my work all day, but before clocking out, he actually said, “You’re better than the last kid by a mile,” which I took to be the highest compliment. Freddie showed me how to lock up, which I’d be doing on my own a couple days a week, and then, mercifully, I was on my own. Throughout the day, a couple of drivers had come by to practice on the oval, and each time, I’d looked up longingly at the sound of them but turned quickly back to whatever engine I was working on. It was imperative I showed Colin what I could do. Now, with the track silent, I stood next to one of the nicer cars parked outside in the lot. I looked around. The place was completely deserted, and I happened to have the keys Freddie had handed me. The keyring in my hand, I knew, contained the key for this particular car. I’d seen Freddie drive it around front earlier. Colin had said I wasn’t supposed to go anywhere near the oval. But he didn’t say anything about not test driving any of the cars. I knew I was interpreting his words more liberally than his intention, but I was a grown adult, damn it. And what harm would there be in taking it in a circle around the lot? Just slipping behind the wheel made adrenaline shoot through my stomach. When I turned it on, I was nearly sick. For a moment, the adrenaline running through me went cold and slick. What the hell was I doing? I’d never actually gotten this close to my dream of racing cars before. I’d driven nice cars in my career, sure. I’d topped the speed limit on the highway a hundred times over. But actually sitting in a street stock car with my hands wrapped around the wheel, my foot on the gas, the stick in neutral… I wondered for the first time if this dream of mine was really mine or something I’d cooked up to show everyone how tough I was. No. This was mine. It had to be. Checking to make sure the car was in neutral, I revved the engine. It roared under me, making me laugh with the thrill of it. I did it again. Man, this felt better than sex. Not quite, but in the moment, it felt close. Then I chickened out. I cut the engine and got out, slamming the car door behind me. Then I raised my fists in mock triumph, imagining the crowd screaming around me. I even made the sound I used to make as a kid playing with my brothers. Then someone clapped behind me. I couldn’t help it, I yelped. Whirling around, my ponytail hit me in the eye just like it had the last time I was caught out here. “Shit!” I swore, both at the sting in my eye and the mortification at getting caught by the boss playing make-believe. But when I blinked, I saw it wasn’t Colin. The figure before me was tall. Broad across the shoulders. Covered in tattoos. Looking at me with a grin that made my insides melt into taffy. Dean.
About Claire WilderI write steamy lakeside romance novels (and the occasional sweet & sexy short story). When I’m not writing I’m either reading, taking long walks by the ocean (which I consider a giant lake!), or frolicking in the trees with my husband and three kids. Follow: Facebook | Instagram | Pinterest | Goodreads | BookBub | Amazon | Website | Newsletter | Reader Group | Linktr.ee|
About The Blue Collar Romance SeriesEscape to Oak Bend where blue-collar hotties work hard and love even harder. From broody carpenters to sexy electricians, these eight standalones are packed with small town feels, heat, and heartwarming happily ever afters. Enjoy your favorite tropes written by an amazing group of authors: Jaymee Jacobs, Alexa Rivers, Evelyn Sola, Kate Carley, Tracy Broemmer, Mila Nicks, Claire Wilder, and Moni Boyce. Fall head over heels for swoon-worthy book boyfriends who aren’t afraid of a little hard work for that happily ever after.
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