Home > Collision Course (Body Shop Bad Boys #4)(5)

Collision Course (Body Shop Bad Boys #4)(5)
Author: Marie Harte

   “Fuck off, Hamilton.”

   “Eat shit and die, Cortez.” Sam left, whistling.

   The bastard.

   Noting the time, Lou hustled to finish his last oil change. He cleaned then locked up after himself. Nothing he could do about the bloody bandage or smell of oil coating him like cheap cologne.

   He raced to the flower shop, praying she’d waited an extra ten minutes past closing.

   Not that it mattered. He’d still give Stella a shoulder to cry on, even without the flowers. If Joey had gone home, he’d have to swing by the next day. Or the next. It wasn’t that Lou would resort to harassing the woman. But if she’d just give him a chance to show her how much fun he could be, he knew he’d have a shot at seeing the real Joey Reeves.

   Preferably in just the skin God gave her.

   He groaned, now aroused again, and did his best to think clean thoughts as he motored through traffic to win a certain princesa needing a white knight. Or, at least, a slightly tarnished one.



Chapter 2

   Joey glared at her phone, not pleased to still be stuck hanging around the shop fifteen minutes past closing. She’d already texted her mother, but since Brandon had been invited to dinner with a friend, she didn’t have to pick him up until eight anyway. She would have texted Lou to see what had held him up, but if she did that, he’d have her personal number.

   What to do, what to do… Oh, screw it. Lou Cortez could just—

   A car zoomed into the parking lot in front of the store. A sleek, highly polished, dark-purple muscle car. A Camaro maybe? She had no idea. But the thing had been custom designed for sure. She stared in wonder at the lifelike cobra subtly shimmering on the back side panel before the car turned to park and she couldn’t see the image anymore. Artwork like that had to cost a fortune. No amateur spray painting. Lou’s car would look totally at home at a car show.

   He stepped out in the same jeans and gray tee he’d been wearing earlier, complete with black boots and a black denim jacket. What would look casual on anyone else looked spectacular on Lou. All he needed to turn himself into an advertisement for the ideal man’s man would be a woman on each arm, a beer in hand, and that amazing smile he’d turned on her earlier.

   He hustled up to the front door and knocked, peering inside past the closed sign and tugging at the locked door.

   She sighed, went to the front, and opened the door. “You’re late.” Oh yeah. Manager Joey was sticking to her guns. Joey had no time for those who didn’t stick to her schedule, sexy smile or not.

   He held up his hands in surrender, and she noticed a big bandage on one that hadn’t been there before. “Lo siento. I’m so sorry. Totally my fault, but the sludge in Johnson’s car made the oil take forever to come out. And my boss is a total hardass. If I hadn’t gotten that last oil job done, I’d be working on Blue Altima tomorrow, and that car is straight-up cursed.” He spoke fast, his accent thick.

   “Blue Altima?”

   He shivered. “You have no idea how many fingers, wrists, and arms I’ve busted with that thing.” He held up his bandaged hand. “This is nothing. I’m really, really sorry I’m late. I swear. I broke a few speeding records to get here.”

   Familiar with the city traffic, she well knew it could take twenty minutes to go a mile in this town, even after rush hour on a Monday. She tried to hold onto her mad, but he’d talked so fast and looked so earnest, she couldn’t. “Come on. I’ll get you the flowers.” And then you can leave and not come back.

   Behind her, he seemed to loom. Joey was on the short side, and Lou had to stand a few inches over six feet. He made her feel downright tiny. When she reached the counter, he started to follow her behind it.

   She turned and automatically put a hand out before she could think about it.

   He took an extra step before stopping, so that his warm, broad chest pressed against her palm. He glanced from the contact to her face, his expression impossible to read. But intense seemed to describe it well enough.

   She blew out a breath and quickly lowered her hand. “Nobody goes behind the counter unless Stef says it’s okay.” Stef’s orders, and Joey was nothing if not a stickler for the rules.

   He took a step back and crossed his massive arms over his chest. “Stef?”

   “My boss.” And friend. The woman had taken a chance on a teenager, and unlike Joey’s parents, Stef had never judged her for her choices. “There you go.” She pointed to the flowers she’d put together in a square glass vase, sitting on the back counter.

   “Oh man. Are those for Stella? They’re perfect.”

   Seeing that he made no move to follow her back and that he seemed thrilled with her arrangement, she relaxed. “Purples, whites, and a few sprigs of pink to mix it up. It’s lightly scented, a hint of lavender. You said she’d like that.”

   “Yeah.” He whistled. “This should help ease the sting from the jackass who dumped her.”

   She cringed. “Ouch.”

   He looked back at her and smiled. “Nah. He was a jerk. She’ll be much better off with someone else.” He dug in his back pocket, pulled out his wallet, and slapped a card down. “Whatever it costs, it’s worth it.”

   Joey rang him up, making no mention of the fact she hadn’t charged him extra. As much as he bothered her, she couldn’t hold being a good brother against him. She handed his card back, then waited for him to sign and leave.

   He signed, then handed her back the slip.

   But he didn’t move, didn’t even reach for the bouquet. “So, Joey.”

   Those eyes mesmerized her, and she quickly looked down and fiddled with his ticket. He had that bedroom stare she’d seen before, the one that invited a girl to take all her clothes off, lie back, and wait for the good times to roll. How sad that anytime she saw this man she barely knew, she thought of sex. Talk about needing to get back into the dating scene to cool her jets. Desperation did not a pretty girl make.

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