The alternator that had been in my hands fell hard onto my foot the moment I noticed Blake standing in the open bay door. As the expletive tore through the shop, I wasn’t sure if my outburst was because my throbbing toe made it painfully obvious that I’d neglected to wear my steel-toed shoes or the sight of the person who stood in front of me.
For two years, Blake had been delivering parts to Hard and Fast, the shop I ran with Lincoln, a guy who never lost sight of the humor in his name and the fact he worked on cars. If I didn’t know any better, I’d swear he took up mechanic work simply because he found it funny. I, however, always had a kinship with cars. Cars were such woefully misunderstood machines. So often customers thought their cars were simply to get them from point A to point B. To me they were chrome pieces of majesty with personalities just as diverse as the people who drove them. Occasionally I ran across a car and driver who fit so well together that it was a beautiful thing.
A beautiful thing, just like the man who took a step into the shop, closer to me, with a shy smile etched onto his lips. That smile was sexy as hell and he didn’t even realize it. Everything about him was sexy. Sure, he wasn’t my normal type—too scrawny, too breakable—and the work clothes, a red shirt with his name embroidered on it over the top of black pants, were less than attractive. Still, despite it all, something about him called to me, stirring up every emotion I normally allowed to lie dormant. I wasn’t an emotional kind of guy, except when it came to Blake.
His shaggy, sandy-blond hair covered his eyes and a deep tan highlighted his sharp cheekbones. He had a baby face; hell, compared to me he was a baby. Still, that silky-smooth face called out to be kissed without mercy.
I wanted to be the one to do just that.
He pushed the hair out of his eyes. The chocolate-brown pools that hid underneath were visible for a brief moment before gravity won the battle and his hair fell right back to where it started.
His constant battle with his hair was one of those things I had always adored about him. Every time he ran his hands through his hair, I couldn’t help the twinge of jealousy I felt. I wanted to be the one to unearth those eyes that matched the shade of my morning coffee.
I was pretty sure Blake didn’t know anything about my feelings for him, and that was for the best. For the sake of both our jobs, I kept my emotions in check, burying feelings as deep as I possibly could. The last thing I wanted to do was have my way with him and then have things go south. They always went south for me—and then I’d be stuck having awkward encounters with him every day, or even worse, he’d leave and I’d have to get used to a new delivery driver. Neither situation was appealing so I did what I had to do to maintain the status quo. I even kept my thoughts about him secret from my best friend, Lydia. I already knew my obsession with her employee was taboo; I didn’t need to give her the chance to mock me for it, too.
My tongue flicked out of my mouth and wet my lips as I limped toward him. My toe was screaming at me; I was pretty sure I’d broken the damn thing.
It was a small price to pay for a few minutes with Blake.
He handed me a piece of paper and a pen. While my left hand flew across the page, leaving my illegible mark, he set the alternator down on the workbench right next to a set of eight orange spark plug wires. He shoved his hands in his pockets and rocked back and forth on the balls of his feet. Over the years, I had come to learn that was his nervous habit, not the hair thing. He stopped doing it around me ages ago so I knew there was trouble behind those eyes.
“Something eating you, Blake?”
He shook his head. “It’s, um, just nice to see you.”
My lips curled into a half smile. “You see me all the time.” I reached out and felt his forehead. Shivers of excitement ran up my arm from where I made contact. I pulled my hand back but my fingers felt cold and empty as soon as they were no longer on his skin. “Are you sure you’re okay? Feverish? Do we need to call 911?”
“Yeah, I’m fine.” He stopped and his brown eyes looked up and to the left. He was searching for something to say. After a few moments of tense silence, he said, “Are you going to give me that defective alternator or is Lyd going to have to charge you for the replacement when I get back?”
It was not what he’d wanted to say, I could tell.
“Couldn’t I just beg her not to do it?”
He laughed. “I suggest you work on your puppy dog eyes and begging skills.”
“I have no puppy dog eyes.”
“Do I need to teach you how to do this?” He tilted his head to the side and gave me the most adorable eyes I’d ever seen, straight out of a Disney movie. I took a step forward, itching for the second time since he showed up to pull him to me and kiss those tempting lips. As I had done countless times before, I had to remind myself that wasn’t going to happen. It couldn’t happen.
Damned if I didn’t want it to. I bit my bottom lip so hard the taste of copper filled my mouth.
The boy made me bleed with just a look. What else was he capable of doing to me? My dick twitched at the thought.
For the sake of the business over my own long-standing wanton desires, I shoved the thoughts to the recesses of my mind. I picked the alternator up off the floor, spinning the pulley around in my hands. I swapped it out with the shiny new one he’d brought and shoved the white box, now covered in my greasy fingerprints, back into his hands. He placed his fingers over the dark marks I’d left behind and I sighed. That would likely be the closest I’d ever come to holding his hand.
That was a shame, really.
If I ever had the chance to hold him, I’d make sure he didn’t want me to let him go.
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