As a boy, Mick Ambrose fell in love with cars. Now he owns and operates an auto restoration shop specializing in all things American Muscle. When the black 1969 Camaro Z28 he years ago dubbed Onyx pulls into his garage, Mick forgets his first love in favor of her driver, Logan Gregg. Mick’s interested and cruises Logan at a speed worthy of the car he drives.
Logan Gregg’s plan to avoid entanglements in his life drives away when he stops at American Muscle to ask a few questions about restoring the Z28 he inherited from his uncle. The owner of the shop is smooth as a well-tuned V-8 engine and twice as hot. Logan is quick to shift gears and take a closer look at Mick Ambrose and the road ahead. When Mick wants to get too close, too fast, Logan backs off. His past holds painful memories he can’t escape and the tattoos on his arms aren’t just for decoration.
Working on the Z28 brings the men closer, but Mick makes a mistake when he confesses his knowledge of the past Logan wants to keep buried. Mick knows a man has to settle his past to step into his future, but Logan’s unconvinced. To slay his personal demon, he’ll first have to look it in the eye.
Genres: Gay/Contemporary/Exhibitionism/Public Places
Heat Level: 3
Length: Novella (28k words)
Read a short excerpt...
...Logan stared at me for the longest ten seconds of my life. He slumped against the Camaro and banged his head on the edge of the hood.
The man had a truly extensive knowledge of all words profane in the English language. I put my hands on my hips.
“You want me to see if you’re bleeding?”
He glared at me, so I shrugged and went back to removing the battery I’d loaned him. I sensed him watching me, but I didn’t say anything. I hoped he would speak and he finally did.
“I’m sorry, Mick.”
I set the battery on the cart and picked up the new one. “You said that already.”
“I meant it both times, okay?”
What did he expect me to say? What should I say? I tightened down the battery cables. “Start the car so we can check this out.”
The Camaro started with a roar. The lights flashed, then the turn signals. I closed the hood and made a swiping motion across my throat and the powerful engine stilled. He sat in the car, head down. I climbed into the passenger seat and slid it back to get comfortable. Logan glanced at me.
“Wanna go get a beer?”
“Maybe later after we talk. What kind of money do you want to spend on this car?”
“The money isn’t the problem. It’s me and people.”
I should have pounced on that, but I let it go in the hope it would drive him nuts if I didn’t. I’d allow him to think himself in circles until he had to explain what he meant to keep his brain from overheating. Maybe it was time to test the water with him. I put my hand on his knee. The corner of his mouth twitched.
“Is that hand how you’re gonna come on to me?”
My heart beat faster. He hadn’t brushed me away. “It’s less of a start than I’d like.”
He sighed. “I’m not a good risk, Mick. I might wake up tomorrow and decide Warren County is no longer my home.”
Who hadn’t thought of chucking it all and walking away? I had, many times. No one was immune to the lure of a fresh start free of the baggage of family, ex-lovers and mountains of mistakes. It was more difficult to stay put and re-invent oneself, and some people didn’t have the strength for it. Some had been beaten down too much by circumstances. I couldn’t say that to him for fear he’d realize I knew about him, and judged him, which I didn’t.
“So sell me the car today. I’ll pay cash.”
Very slowly, Logan turned his head and looked at me, one eyebrow raised. “Seriously? You really need to learn how to cruise a guy because, friend, you suck at it.”
“Who says I’m cruising you?”
“That hand sneaking up my thigh.”
I stopped and patted his leg. “I notice you didn’t tell me to quit.”
His troubled blue gaze held mine. “Ever done something you know is a mistake before you did it?”
Logan leaned toward me as his right hand slid behind me to grasp the back of my neck. Surprise snapped through me followed by a jolt of electricity as his soft lips touched mine in the sweetest kiss I’d ever been given...