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Authors: Layla Frost

Hyde and Seek

BOOK: Hyde and Seek
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Hyde and

Seek

Layla Frost

 

 

© 2015 Layla Frost

 

 

All Rights Reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and certain other noncommercial uses permitted by copyright law.

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

A giant freakin’ special thanks to:

Everyone on GR that gave me advice, feedback, and encouragement. You all seemed to know when I needed an extra push. Thank you.

My girls, Tina, Jessie, and Lindsay. If you were any more supportive, you’d be my Wonderbra. Thank you for always having my back.

Renee, you helped me take an awesome story and make it a
book
. Your advice, criticism, and encouragement always meant so much to me because it came from the heart. Thank you for your time, honesty, and perspective. And most of all, thank you for the laughs!

Jess, lovely sister of mine. As a kid, I used to see you up on the porch roof, your blond hair blowing around in the breeze. You’d sit out there and read, like it was no biggie that you were so high up on a slanted rooftop. You were the epitome of teenage awesomeness and I wanted to be just like you. In those early days, you made reading
cool
. Years later, you handed me a romance novel and I didn’t put it down until I finished it in the wee hours of the following morning. Thank you for influencing and expanding my love of books. Thank you for being my best friend. Thank you for being
you
.

 

To M—

Without you, I’d have never had the guts to go for this. Thank you for encouraging me, listening to me talk about the characters in my head, and for picking up the slack when I was in this other world. I love you whole bunches.

 

Happy endings don’t always happen.

In fairy tales, the hero and heroine go through obstacles and trials, but their happily ever after always comes. It’s kinda the whole point of the story.

Real life doesn’t offer that same guarantee.

Time passes and the pages turn, but there’s only obstacles and trials, followed by more obstacles and trials with no happily ever after in sight.

Sometimes people never find their grand romance. Sometimes people lose their grand romance before their life is over, leaving them with regrets and heartache.

And sometimes, people lose their lives.

 

Chapter One

Scorching

 

 

“Babe, that van you?”

It had only been me and two guys, who based on their leathers, were most likely guys of the biker variety, in the waiting room. And neither of those dudes struck me as the type to be called ‘babe’ by another dude.

Not that I judge, of course. It just seemed unlikely.

Seeing as I was reading, and lost in my thoughts, I hadn’t even noticed anyone else entering the room until the deep voice called out.

Another quick room sweep out of the corner of my eye confirmed I was the most likely candidate to be called ‘babe’. Probably the only one there with a van, too.

“Babe, van?” he asked again as he turned around and began rifling through papers.

“Um, yeah,” I answered to his back.

It was a back. I’d seen lots of them. Backs were backs, right?

Yeah, no.

This was a
back
. Broad shoulders, and what I was sure were a lot of muscles somehow visible through his dark gray t-shirt. I’d never thought of backs as anything, but this was a
good
one.

“They do the paperwork with you?” he asked, turning back around with a stack of papers.

“Uhh,” I mumbled. They hadn’t. I knew they hadn’t. My brain fully acknowledged no paperwork had been done with me. Getting my mouth to communicate that, however, was not happening. Not once my eyes saw his front. I liked his back, but I liked his front a whole hell of a lot more. So much more, in fact, I couldn’t say the word ‘no’ about some simple paperwork.

There’s a whole lotta other things I wouldn’t say no to either.

Facing away and bent over, I’d noticed he was tall. Straightened up, though, I saw he wasn’t just tall. He was
tall
.

As in
very
.

At five foot four, I was used to looking up at people. Since he was at least a foot taller than me, I could develop a serious crick in my neck from craning my head to look up at him.

It was a sacrifice I was more than willing to make.

Because, along with being tall and built, he was hot. Beyond hot. I don’t think there’s a word to describe what he was. Scorching, maybe, if the heat I was feeling was any indication. His damp, dark blond hair was pulled into a messy knot at the back of his head. It wasn’t very long, probably only around shoulder length.

Since he looked to be in his early thirties, his face had long ago lost any boyishness. Amazing bone structure and hard angles came together in an almost beautiful way if he weren’t so overwhelmingly masculine.

His strong jaw was covered in at least a few days’ worth of stubble. Scruffy stubble that should have screamed “I need a shave!” Instead it beckoned “Run your fingers over me!”

I clenched my fists, fighting the urge to do just that.

The thing that seemed to cut off communication between my brain and my mouth, though, were his eyes. Vibrant green eyes, lined with thick, long lashes. Sexy as hell, they left me mumbling like I didn’t have a brain.

Get it together!
So, he’s tall. And hot. With those green eyes. And those muscles. And… Where was I going with this?

Oh yeah. Get it together!

He shook his head, his eyes shining with amused frustration. “Nope, no paperwork. Not a surprise, they never do anything that even slightly feels like work. Come on up, babe. Let’s take care of this.”

The sound of my heels clicking on the linoleum echoed in the room. I cursed my decision to wear them. High heels, in general, weren’t known for being easy to walk in. Four-inch ones, especially. Heels with jello knees forced me to focus extra hard on the simple task of putting one foot in front of the other.

I’d already mumbled like an idiot. I didn’t need to fall on my face like one.

I reached the counter, staying upright the whole time, and silently congratulated myself. When I looked up at him, his gaze was intense as he looked through me. And I mean
through
. Into my mind, my soul. I was sure he was sifting through my deepest and darkest secrets.

What he found must have bored him because his eyes quickly lost their intensity. Using a pen, he tapped a beat on the counter. “Name?”

“Piper,” I breathed. Yup, I breathed it. My voice came out soft, airy, and slightly raspy. I internally shook my head, attempting to lift the fog.

Way to go, Piper. You remembered your name, and were even able to talk this time. Now let’s see if we can’t start sounding less like a wannabe phone sex operator, hmm?

“Yeah, definitely no paperwork with that name. Last name?”

“Skye.” I spelled it out while he wrote.

“Piper Skye.” My name rolled off his tongue like it was one he’d said often. His lip quirked up. “I like it.”

I liked my name. I always had. Hearing his deep, gravelly voice rumble my name, though, made me
love
it. I found myself wondering how it would sound if we were doing other things, none of which were appropriate to be thinking about.

My cheeks flushed and I tried again to clear the mental fog. “Thanks.”

“What’s going on with the van, babe?”

I liked the way he said my name, but I really liked it when he called me babe. I knew he probably called every chick that, but that didn’t mean it wasn’t hot.

“It needs to be colder in the back.”

“Air not workin’?” He raised his eyebrow. “Why’d you come here for a repair?”

Hyde was a body and custom job shop, not a regular garage. I, along with most everyone, knew that. It wasn’t where you came for an oil change and a tire rotation. Hyde was where you brought a sweet ride you wanted made sweeter.

“Um, no, it works. It works great but it needs to be colder. I use the van for work and my stuff keeps melting in the back.”

“What type of stuff—” he started before being interrupted by a golden god entering the room.

“Jake, dude, you will not believe the sweet piece I had last night…” His words trailed off when he saw me. “Sorry, didn’t know you were busy,” he said to Jake, though he was definitely still looking at me. “Hey. Kase.” He extended his hand.

Since he was only an inch or two shorter than Jake, I still had to crane my neck to look up at him. It was not a hardship. His dark hair hung in dreads past his shoulders, and his groomed facial hair was slightly longer than Jake’s scruff.

I was sure he had to be wearing color contacts because no one had eyes like his. They were the most startling crystal blue I’d ever seen. Rimmed with black lashes and his golden skin, they stood out in sharp contrast.

Starting from his fingers up, intricate ink covered his arms, small patches of tanned skin peeking through here and there.

His skin tone and dark hair hinted at some exotic heritage, but I couldn’t put my finger on it.

But I’d totally be willing to try. Finger, hand, tongue, whatever.

“Piper.” I reached my hand to meet his. I smiled, unsurprised by his sudden personality change. I knew I came across to most as more conservative, shy, and quiet. My real friends knew that couldn’t be further from the truth, but I was only that close with a handful of people.

My general vibe screamed ‘introvert!’

Actually, I don’t think you can scream introvert, but it definitely mumbled it.

I understood his thinking. I was in a body shop waiting room in four-inch heels, stockings with the seam up the back, and a white fitted blouse tucked into a pale pink pencil skirt. My black hair was pulled back in a neat twist. I knew I looked conservative, uptight, and very out of place.

However, I’d come straight from a meeting at the bank that had been unexpectedly moved up. And, unfortunately, meetings at the bank require you to look conservative, uptight, and very
in
place there.

It’d been a minor miracle I was able to get my van into Hyde. I wasn’t about to cancel just because I was in a skirt.

Kase lifted his chin. “Nice to meet you. Sorry about that. I, uh, I didn’t know there were customers here.”

I fought the urge to laugh. He came through the garage, which meant he saw vehicles there. He had to have guessed there were people waiting, and he was talking loud enough that I had no doubt the bikers against the far wall heard.

“Seriously, not an issue,” I said. “Congrats on the sweet piece.”

Kase’s smile turned sheepish before I was distracted by a throat being cleared. The throat of a very tall, very hot, impatient man.

“Kase, if you’re done, you got work to do,” Jake said, glaring at Kase.

Kase grinned at me, unfazed by Jake’s look. “Nice to meet you, Piper. Let me know if you need anything.”

I returned his smile. “Thanks.”

As Kase left, Jake turned back to me and began tapping his pen to a fast beat. “So, coolin’ in the back, got it. Anythin’ else?”

BOOK: Hyde and Seek
13.05Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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