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Authors: Bonnie Edwards

Body Work

BOOK: Body Work
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Body Work

Bonnie Edwards

Published by Bonnie Edwards

Copyright 2013 Bonnie Edwards

Cover Design: Eva Natsumi

 

This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please do so through your retailer’s “lend” function. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please return it and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author. To obtain permission to excerpt portions of the text, please contact the author at
[email protected]

 

All characters in this book are fiction and figments of the author’s imagination.

www.BonnieEdwards.com

 

 

 

For my cohorts, dear friends and fellow Pen Warriors, wonderful women all:

 

The Writers of the Red Door:

EC

Gail

Laura

Vanessa

 

And for my husband, my love, always.

 

 

 

One

 

Kicking the Tires

 

 

Tyce Branton wiped his hands on a rag and settled against the hood of the Cadillac coupe. She had great lines, long and lean, with headlights that could stall a man’s heart. Lines that could make a man’s hands itch.

Maybe it wasn
’t the car that revved him up after all. Maybe it was the woman closing the back kitchen door of her Tudor mansion. Like the Caddy, her color was cream-and-white blonde while the sweep of her long-lined midsection gave her the look of speed, grace, and agility.

She was possessed of a body a man could drive and drive and drive.

Come to Papa.

A
nd she did.

Straight across the courtyard she came. Her long legs eating the ground, hair flying back just enough to show the pink lobes of her ears, the Widow Delaney approached the middle bay of the three
-car garage where Tyce stood.

Much younger than even rumor had it, she was a ripe beauty, made for a man to hold on
to. Stretch out over. Sink into. As he drank in the sight of her purposeful approach, Tyce recognized a familiar swing to her walk. The set of her shoulders and the light, graceful flow of her hands by her thighs reminded him of someone.

He straightened immediately, alert to an inner rhythm he
hadn’t felt in years. As her sandals hit the cobblestones, he felt an answering tattoo in his chest and farther south.

It was as if he
’d seen her walk toward him thousands of times.

But this woman was no recent acquaintance. He
’d never even met the deceased husband. So where and when had he met her?

The sandals she wore had slim straps at the ankles. Thin
, elegant ankles. Rhinestones glittered on the toe straps. Her legs were smooth and shiny like those of a pampered mistress. Arms loose, her gait was easy but determined. Her breasts were high, firm, probably fake, while her head was set in a haughty way that said she was very much the lady of the manor.

Tilted in just that way, her chin spoke of determination and pride.

Word was she’d demanded his personal attention. His hands and no one else’s would do. This bit of information came straight from the law firm that hired him.
No one else’s hands but his
. The lawyer had been adamant. Still, if he’d known this woman before, he couldn’t place her, didn’t know how she’d come to ask for him.

But he was about to find out.

To cover his study he struck a match, held it to the cigarette in his mouth, and kept one eye on the Widow Delaney. From what he’d heard, keeping an eye on the widow was the smartest thing a man could do. The old guy she’d married had been taken for a ride.

He flicked the spent match away, drew on the smoke
, and watched as she stuttered to a stall about five feet away.


Tyce Branton.” Her voice, husky and soft, gave him his answer.

His belly dropped, his heart slipped a gear.

“Lisa Brady.” He said her name as a bald statement, devoid of the shock he felt.


It’s Lisa Delaney now.” After all these years, Lisa Brady was where she wanted to be: which was as far away from where she started as a woman could get.


I wasn’t sure you’d come,” she said. There was warmth in her gaze he didn’t care to see.


I didn’t know it was you.”

She blinked at that and
the warmth cooled to a chill. “I need the best and all reports say that’s you.”

He held up both hands so she could see the grease for herself.
“Yeah, who’d a guessed?”

He watched for the curled lip of disdain he
’d replayed all this time.

It didn
’t come.

She clasped her hands in a gesture he remembered. She was nervous. Afraid he wouldn
’t keep to his contract?

Everyone says Body
Work by Branton makes a difference at auction.” She hesitated, then lifted her chin and went on, “I need all the money I can get. My husband–”


Oh yeah, Harris Delaney.” He cut her off, so she’d know how little he cared. “Real old guy, right? And real rich.” He flicked the cigarette to the cobblestone pavement and turned back to focus on the engine. “I’ve got work to do.”


He was only sixty-seven.” She spoke quietly but not defensively as if even she knew their age difference was indefensible.

He snorted.

“How long will this take?” she asked.

Her soft tone made him want to grind at her little
-girl-lost routine. She’d never lost her way. Not Lisa, not once.


Six to eight weeks. Your husband had a helluva collection, but most of these cars have been sitting too long. The fluids should have been drained and the tires–”


I tried to tell him that, but he always thought he’d drive them someday. Wishful thinking.” She bit her lip, swept her too-blue-to-be-believed gaze to his. “They’ll be worth more if you can get them going.”

Her hesitancy surprised him. She had come all the way from a trailer park near Spokane to horse country just outside Blaine, Washington. Distance was only a small part of the journey. Her path would have taken stamina and determination, not to mention fake tits. Hesitation didn
’t make sense.


This money must be important to you,” he said, “because you know damn well I can get a car to dance if I want it to.” He held up his hands again. “I’m as good as ever.”

She studied his hands;
let her gaze slide across his shoulders and down to his feet. He stepped behind the Caddy’s fender so she wouldn’t notice his erection. His cock must have known Lisa before his eyes had. He’d been at attention since she’d stepped out the kitchen door.


The auction’s in six weeks, not eight,” she said, with a curt nod. “We’ll ship them individually if we have to, but I need as many there as you can have ready.”

He knew the auction she meant. It cost five figures just to get in
. Only serious buyers allowed. “That’s what your lawyer said.”


Oh.” She crossed her arms, lifting her breasts. The soft jiggle looked too natural to be silicone. He had an instant memory flash of burying his lips between those smooth mounds. The skin there had tasted like raspberries and cream and smelled like heaven. A heaven she’d defended with every fiber of her being.

His hand tightened on the Cadillac
’s fender.


The others are in the warehouse at the far end of the property.” She released her arms, setting off another jiggle. With one elegant flick of the wrist she pointed at the crank sticking out from the front of the chassis. “What are you doing with this?”


All the fluids have been replaced. Now I have to turn the engine over. That’s what the crank is for.”


You mean like in old movies?” The ingenuousness in her expression pissed him off, reminded him of the old Lisa. The guileless girl he remembered. The girl he’d been so wrong about.

She
’d put on one hell of an act. An act that had got her here, living in a fifteen-room Tudor mansion complete with triple-car garage, pool and courtyard. The high gates that enclosed the mini-estate required logins and passwords.

The best way to burn pissed
-off energy was physical activity. He stepped to the front of the car, grabbed the crank and shoved it down. The first turn for compression, the second for ignition.

The engine turned over and caught, just the way it should. His spurt of anger was gone. He wiped his palms on his overalls before settling them on the front fender. A beautiful purr rumbled beneath his hands as he listened for any sound out of synch.

“I wouldn’t have thought a Cadillac would have a crank.” She interrupted his enjoyment of the moment.


Before 1930 they had cranks for backup. In 1912 they installed the first automatic starter motor.”

She moved up beside him and peered at the working motor. Her perfume blended with the sweet scent of oil and other lubricants giving him a sharp reminder of where each of them lived. He stepped back, pissed off all over again.

“What’s next?” She asked.


I’ll let it run for a while, then drain the fluids.”


But you just put them in.” She glanced at the sweat on his neck and forehead. He stepped back, out of sniffing range. Damn it! Now he was worrying about honest sweat when what he really wanted was to smear her with it. Slide up and down her pearly expensive scented skin and put his sweat all over her.

Some women liked men who worked with their hands. The lawyer
’s insistence rang through his mind once again.
It had been Lisa who insisted it be his hands and no one else’s. She was slumming.


These lubricants will pick up dirt and grit that settled in the moving parts,” he explained with less patience than he’d have used with anyone else. “We’ll flush that all out and lubricate again.”


Then we can sell the car?”


You keep asking me questions, this will take longer.” He was brusque because he kept catching glimpses of the girl she’d been and he didn’t want to. Her curiosity had driven him batty then too. The woman she’d become had no business being this curious. This woman had already learned everything she needed to get by.


Humor me.” Her chin rose and he could have sworn she turned up her nose.


There are a few other things to do like replace the batteries, check the brakes and electrical systems. Each car should take a day or two.”

She frowned at the news. “
Do you need help?”


I’ve got a helper.” He leaned over to watch the engine, accidentally brushing against her arm. She shifted away fast.


Who?”


My nephew, Jason. He’s a good kid.”


Jenny’s little boy?” The surprise in her voice showed the passage of time had escaped her notice.


It’s been years, Lisa. Kids grow up.”


Yes, we all do.” Her voice went cool again, so haughty he wanted to slide one hand up her thigh while the other scooped her breasts out of her bra. See if she remembered where she came from. See if she was still happy with his hands-on service.

She stepped back suddenly as if she
’d read his mind, which wouldn’t surprise him. He’d never been one to hide his thoughts. Getting down and dirty with Lisa Brady again would change the mood of this whole job. This time, he’d keep his head.


Don’t hesitate to ask for anything you need.” Her cadence was brisk now: the lady of the manor to the hired help.

He grunted, not wanting to think about need. This close her skin was luminescent, smoother looking than he remembered. Her hair was lighter too. Thin streaks of blond expertly blended with the deeper gold he recalled
. Her jaw was straight and sharp, more angular.


The pool house is through that door on the other side.” She indicated the back wall of the garage. “Feel free to use the shower in there if you’d like,” she said.

Which told him he stunk up the place. Not that he cared.

He did the only thing he could think of that would make her understand he was the one with the real control here. Fancy houses and large bank balances didn’t make a whit of difference when a woman wanted a man’s hands.

He slid the tip of his finger along the delicate line of her jaw. She was soft, so damn soft he wanted to trace every inch of her. Scorched by the heat he felt burn up from his gut to his fingertip, he pulled his hand away.

A slight shake of her head told him to keep his distance. He couldn’t move away if he wanted to. It was all he could do to let his hand fall to his side. “You’re thinner,” he said.

She looked him in the eye, not scared, but calculat
ing. Cold. “Better food.”

She walked away, not bo
thering to turn back to speak. “My lawyer will see to your bill.”

He watched one fine example of ass stroll across the courtyard and escape through the kitchen door. There was something in the sway of flesh, the jiggly perfection that made him think she was laughing.
At him.
Keeping his head became the name of the game.

BOOK: Body Work
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