Author: Megan Erickson
Publisher: Avon Impulse
Release Date: December 8, 2015
Alex dawn is saying no to men. No to bad relationships, disappointments, and smooth-talkers. Focusing on her family and her job at Payton and Sons Automotive keeps her mind occupied and her heart content. She doesn’t really miss a man’s touch, until one night, one shows up with the body of a god and a voice from her dirtiest dreams.L.M. Spencer is only in Tory, Maryland, to scope out the town as a possible site for one of his company’s hotels. The British businessman didn’t expect his car to break down or to find the hottest little American he’s ever seen holding a tire iron, piercing him with bright blue eyes.They agree to one hot night, one dirty deed to burn out the chemistry between them. But from their first kiss, Alex can’t stop saying yes to this man. And when Spencer’s company threatens everything she cares about, they must make the choice to stand together or apart.
Alex Dawn growled as she tightened the hubcap with the tire iron and thought, for the fifth time, that she should have gone home an hour ago.
But that meant going home to an empty house, which she didn’t think she’d hate but had learned to her supreme horror that she did, in fact, hate living alone.
She’d never lived alone, not ever. First she’d lived with her mom and sister, and then…him…and then again with Ivy and her daughter, Violet. She liked living with Ivy and V, but now they had moved in with Ivy’s boyfriend, so Alex was alone. In that apartment that used to be filled with Ivy’s clothes and Violet’s coloring books.
Alex banged the tool on the rubber of the tire. The thunk was comforting. She did it again, and again, wondering why she was doing this, but couldn’t deny it felt good as hell to get some anger out. Because that’s all she seemed to have lately. Anger. Anger at him and at her life and anger at the fact that she couldn’t seem to be fucking happy.
It was a shitty cycle.
Therapy was helping, a little, but it dredged up old wounds she’d tried to bury for so long. She hated being unhappy. But the more she dwelled on it, the less happy seemed to be within reach. She did like her job, though, so that was something. Working at Payton and Sons Automotive as a mechanic was more home than that empty apartment.
Her phone rang, and she glanced at the caller ID before tucking her phone in between her ear and should. “Hey.”
“What’re you doing?” Ivy’s voice was soothing.
“Working,” Alex answered.
There was a pause, as if Ivy was checking the time. “You’re still at work.”
“Tell her to go the fuck home!” yelled a male voice in the background. Brent Payton. Ivy’s boyfriend and Alex’a coworker.
“Stop swearing,” Ivy muttered, but there was no heat to her words.
Alex smiled. “Tell him I’d stop working if I didn’t have to pick up his slack.”
There was a rustle on the phone and then Brent’s voice was clear. “Seriously, why are you still there?”
Alex shrugged, even though she knew no one could see her. “Why dod you care? I’m getting stuff done so you have less to do tomorrow.” It was Friday and Alex was off the next day, but Brent was on the Saturday shift.
“Alex.” Brent sighed. “Go home.”
Where was home? she wanted to ask. But instead she traced an oil spot on the concrete with her boot. “Yeah, okay. Just so you know, this Jeep here—“
“I’ve been drinking. Leave me a fucking note.”
Alex rolled her eyes. “Fine. Take care of my sister for me.”
Alex was about to hang up when Ivy’s voice cam back on the line. There was a giggle, and Alex was happy for her sister at the same time a pang of envy sliced into her heart. “Alex?”
“Want to come over or something?”
“Nah, that’s okay. You guys have a nice family night or whatever.”
“Alex, you’re family too.”
She was, but Ivy was starting a new family, a nice, perfect nuclear family, and there wasn’t room in that house for a clingy sister. “I know, but I”m cool. Gonna go home and crash.” She’d been reading Ivy’s romance books she’d left behind too.
“Okay, but if you change your mind…”
“Thanks, honey, but I’m fine.”
Ivy sighed. “ ‘K, love you.”
“Love you too.”
Alex shoved her phone back into her pocket and glanced around the garage. She really should go home. The sun was setting, patenting the fall sky in streaks of pink and orange. Hooking her thumbs in her pockets, she walked to the front of the garage,leaned agains the side of the open bay, and gazed at the sky and the Friday night traffic on Main Street in Tory, Maryland.
She tapped the tire iron against her jean-clad thigh, enjoying the breeze on her heated skin and through the thin fabric of her tank top.
Her nerves were jittery, and sometimes she still had the urge to run. To flee. To be far away from him and her past as best as she could. But if she’d learned anything since she moved to Tory, it was that she couldn’t keep running. So she stayed here, where Ivy found the love of her life and where Alex had a good job and could see her niece grow.
She’d given up hope long ago she’d get the diary tale that seemed to happen for everyone else. And that was okay. She’d hardened and carried a chip on her shoulder that was like an old friend now.
She was about to turn around and close up shop when the sound of a rattling exhaust caught her attention. She turned her head to see a red Mercedes—the source of the sound—making its way down the street. The car turned into the parking lot of Payton and Sons and Alex waiting as it parked in front of her and the driver turned off the engine, which thankfully killed the noise.
Alex glanced at her watch. It was after seven now. Technically the shop closed an hour ago, but she waited for the driver to get out of the car, because it wasn’t like she was in a hurry.
The door opened. A man’s black dress hoe planted on the ground of the parking lot, attached to a gray-panted leg. That leg just…kept going. The man had to be tall as hell, and when he emerged from the car, Alex swallowed. Yes, he was tall. Very tall, probably close to six-four. He wore a gray suit with a white shirt that was unbuttoned at the top and a dark blue tie, loosened so the knot hung off to one side. He slammed the car door shut with a little bit of anger, and Alex jolted at the sound and the force, her body stiffening.
She hated herself a little at her knee-jerk reaction to a big man who was angry.
She squared her shoulders and gripped the tire iron, watching the tall man with dark hair glare at his car with his hands on his lean hips, broad shoulders rising and falling with a heavy sigh.
He speared his fingers through his hair and turned to Alex, opening his mouth to say something but stopping abruptly at the sight of her. He blinked.
She blinked back.
He was about ten feet away, and even from here she could see the brilliant blue of his eyes, the long dark lashes framing them. The little bit of silver peppering his hair at his temple.
He was gorgeous in a clean-cut, serious businessman way. The effortlessly wavy hair, the square jaw, the lips that threatened to open any minute and spit out such words like merger and acquisitions and accounts payable. He looked like he didn’t smile, but scowled from under a heavy brow.
The type of man who’d always looked down his nose at all the Dawn women. Called them easy and white trash under his breath. Yeah, she was judging, but her defence was to judge first. Better to size up who she was dealing with quick than be caught off guard.
Basically, Mercedes Man was the fact opposite of Alex’s type.
She placed the tire iron she was holding and crossed her arms over her chest. With a raised eyebrow, she said, “Having some trouble?”
He blinked again, his hand frozen in his hair. Then he dropped it at his side, the other still on his hip. “Bloody car.”
It was Alex’s turn to be surprised. The guy was British. She’d never met anyone who was British, and she really only heard British accents on TV shows like Game of Thrones and Spartacus, when all the actors had these vague European accents to appear exotic. She grew up in Indiana. Not a hotbed of diversity.
“You guys really say ‘bloody’? Like that’s actually a thing?” she asked—and immediately clamped her hand over her mouth, because the man’s dark eyebrows dipped in a scowl, which still did nothing to lessen his attractiveness.
“Do you Americans really say ‘eye-haw’?” he shot back at her, the last word morphing into what Alex assumed was an attempt at a southern accent.
“You’re officially said that word more than I have in my whole life,” she answered drily.
He paused, like he wasn’t sure whether to laugh or glare. In the end, he went with a glare, along with a muttered, “Well, then, I’ll be sure not to blurt that out at random times.”
“That might be a good rule.” She took a step forward and jerked her chin in the direction of his car. “Need some help?”
“Your bloody roads,” he said. “Can’t go a hundred meters without hitting a pothole, and it’s done a number on my car.” His eyes took in a sweep of the shop. Alex tried not to look at it through this man’s eyes. Everything about him, from his clothes to his car, was sleek and clean and put together. The shop behind her was an older building, with a few—okay, several—cosmetic issues. It smelled like grease, oil, gas, and rubber, and she loved every fucking inch of Payton and Sons. So this guy could sneer at it all he wanted. It was home to her. When that arresting blue gaze returned to hers, his eyes were unreadable. “Can you service a Mercedes?”
Oh, for fuck’s sake. “Uh, yeah, we can service a Mercedes.”
He didn’t flinch at her dry tone or her looks-could-kill laser eyes. The man was made of steel. “I see. Well, then, can you look at it, or do I need to speak to a manager.”
She kinda wanted to punch the guy. “No.”
He stared. “No…you can’t look at it, or no, I don’t need to speak to a manager?”
“Neither.” She gestured toward the unlit sign in the window of the office. “We’re closed.” Maybe she would have stayed open if anyone but this guy had pulled into the parking lot.
He sighed and ran his hands over his face and up into his hair, tugging on the dark strands before dropping his arms to his sides. “Fuck,” he muttered, turning his glare back onto the car.
She stuck her hands in her pockets. “Look, I’ll make sure the guys coming in tomorrow look at it, but that’s all I can promise.”
After a silent thirty seconds, he nodded. “That’ll have to do then.”
She took a step forward. “I’m Alex, by the way.”
His gaze dipped down her body for one minute before locking eyes with her. “Spencer.”
That name. So British and posh and everything Alex wasn’t. “Do you need a ride somewhere?” She should just make him figure it out on his own since he was kind of a jerk, but she could always use some karma points. And it wasn’t like Tory had a taxi service.
“I’m at the Tory Inn.”
“I know where that is. I can give you a ride, if you want.”
He studied her again, and she wondered what he thought of her. She was dirty after a long day at work, but she always wore a full face of makeup and red lipstick. He had hated it, but she didn’t wear it for him.
“Okay, yes,” Spencer said with a nod, his tone brusque. “I’d like that. Thank you.” His last two words were tacked on, like an afterthought.
Don’t hurt yourself thanking me. “I’m going to close up the shop, so you can get your things and I’ll meet you at my truck.” She pointed to her old Ford in the corner of the lot. His eyes followed her finger, and then he gave a short nod.
“Give me ten,” she said.
It really only took her five minutes to close up the shop, but she needed some time to gain her bearings. She could feel his judgment of her and her workplace on her skin like ants. She wanted to get home and shower and forget about this uppity Brit. Why had she offered hm a ride home? Stupid, stupid Alex.
Also, why did he have to be hot?
When she approached her truck, he was standing by the passenger door, head bent, a lock of dark hair falling onto his forehead as he tapped away at his phone. As her footsteps approached, he looked up. he held a fancy-looking bag, the strap crossed over his chest.
“That all you have?” she asked.
He nodded and his head swivelled as he looked p and down Main Street. He sighed, and for the first time since she’d met him, his severed face softened. “Look, I’m sorry. I’ve had a site day, and I was an arse. Can I buy you dinner or a drink to make up for it?”
Alex hesitated. No, no, just say no. But he was looking at her with a somewhat eager expression, and she was starving. A free mea. While looking at hot guy. Hopefully he kept his mouth shut. “There’s a little place down the street, serves burgers and beer.”
As they got into the truck and she put on her seat belt, she said, “But you don’t have to pay—”
She tried not to think about how she liked the way he said her name, drawing out the first syllable and emphasizing the x. “Sure, okay,” she said as she baked out of the parking lot, glancing at him as she did.
He smiled them. A smile that transformed his surly face into…something gorgeous. Spectacular. Like he belonged in some period film with a cravat, sipping champagne. She tried not to think about how his smile made her feel, even as the warmth spread down to her toes. He was just a hot guy, and she’d been around hot dudes before. Hell, she worked with some. So why couldn’t she quit perving on this one? Especially because he’d already shown he could be an asshole. God, was that who she was? A woman who was doomed to always want to bone jerks?
Spencer’s name was probably something like Spencer Addington IV, and he probably had a distant relative of royalty. Surely, his family played polo or cricket or whatever they did over there in Britain.
Either way, despite the way his eyes lingered on her lips and the way his long tapped fingers rested on his thigh, he wasn’t her type.
Hell, she didn’t have a type anymore.
Being alone was lonely, but at least it was safe.
About the Author
Megan Erickson grew up in a family that averages 5’5” on a good day and started writing to create characters who could reach the top kitchen shelf.She’s got a couple tattoos, has a thing for gladiators and has been called a crazy cat lady. After working as a journalist for years, she decided she liked creating her own endings better and switched back to fiction.She lives in Pennsylvania with her husband, two kids and two cats. And no, she still can’t reach the stupid top shelf.
Praise for Megan Erickson
“A super sweet, extra sexy second chance romance that will have you laughing out loud and needing a minute to cool off. Dirty Thoughts is right!”
—Jay Crownover, New York Times bestselling author
“Megan Erickson ratchets up the romance and sizzle in her sexy new series. The Mechanics of Love will rev readers’ hearts.”
—Jennifer Ryan, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author
“Megan Erickson writes hot, hot, HOT stories packed with emotion and humor. You’re going to want to read everything she’s ever written!”
—Sophie Jordan, USA Today bestselling author