Authors: Ambrielle Kirk
By Ambrielle Kirk
Copyright © 2012, Ambrielle Kirk
Shawn Morgan looked up from the temperature controls on the dashboard just in time to see the traffic light change from yellow to red. He slammed on brakes and the car jolted to a stop past the white line. As he waited for the lights to change again, he drummed his fingers on the steering wheel. The August heat was smoldering, and he longed to be free of his work shirt and slacks.
It was hotter than a sauna in this car. Even turning the A/C dial to the coolest setting did nothing to help the heat wave. He dreaded his decision to venture to the other side of town, but he was too close to his destination to turn around now. What had he been thinking? He was supposed to be at home in front of the big screen enjoying a cold one. It should have been enough that he’d worked nearly sixty hours this week. Exhaustion had set in hours ago and he’d only had one slice of pizza for lunch. That’s what he got for being a workaholic.
He pulled his car into an empty parking space on the furthest side of Reilly’s Automotive. The car repair shop was surprisingly busy despite the rather compact building that housed the operations. What he expected was a small Mom and Pops storefront with minimal activities. There were a number of customers in the store and vehicles being repaired in the shop. True to the business statement on this potential client’s application, it looked as though the Reilly business was booming.
Shawn took one last sip of his now lukewarm bottled water before exiting his Hummer. Just as he closed the door, a man in blue greased smeared overalls rounded the corner with two tires propped up on his shoulders. The repairman whistled as he approached Shawn.
“Hello, sir. How can we help you?”
He’d been trying to contact the owner of the shop for almost a week now about the proposal they’d sent his bank, all to no avail. Although, he didn’t want to seem desperate by stopping by without an appointment. “What about an A/C check?”
The repairman nodded. “We close in about an hour, but I think we can manage that. Let’s have Daniel check you in.”
Shawn followed him inside and a refreshing gust of cool air fanned his face. The place had better air conditioning than his ride. The building was a bit aged, but he commended the owner for keeping a cleanly appearance. Yet the interior was rather drab with its chalkboard black walls and metal-like furniture. The repairman led him to the counter where a guy was waiting and disappeared in the back.
Daniel didn’t look a day over twenty-one. He handed a customer what looked like a receipt and a set of keys, then turned his attention to Shawn. “Ronald says you need an A/C inspection.”
“If you can squeeze one more customer in…” Shawn said. “If not, I can come back tomorrow.”
“We’re just about done for the day, but we’ll take care of you.”
As Daniel typed his information into the computer, he glanced around. On the other side, there was a waiting room where a couple of customers sat. He recognized the news anchor’s voice from the evening news, so the object of interest seemed to be a television. A snack and drink machine, as well as an arcade game sat off in another corner of the room.
“Your keys?” Daniel held his hand outstretched.
Shawn dug in his back pocket and handed over his keys. “Is your owner around?”
“I might be able to help you with something. What do you need?”
He shook his head. “I need to speak to your owner if he’s around. Nothing bad. I just have a couple questions about his business.”
Daniel gave him a once over before giving a curt reply. “She might be busy, but I’ll let her know.”
The guy gave him an annoyed look. “Yeah. She.” He turned and disappeared through the same door as the repairman did earlier.
Shawn ventured over to the waiting room and took a seat. He felt mildly out of place in his business shirt and slacks. As soon as he’d escaped the tedious day at the bank, he’d ditched his tie. The decision to visit Reilly’s today was a split second one. For the next two evenings he’d be busy helping his parents move into their new place. This might have been the only chance this month to meet with this business owner.
He took out his phone and brought up his task line for next week. The event he’d dreaded for several months filled this weekend’s schedule. Something like a high school reunion should have been the center of his attention, but it wasn’t. Who cared about reuniting with people he saw too many times than he cared for already? At the last reunion, hardly anything at all had changed about his classmates. This time may have been different, but he still detested this event. If Troy, an old pal of his, hadn’t insisted that he be there, he’d have no guilt about ditching this one.
Hardly anything at all had changed about him. He was still the same old guy from high school. Wasn’t he? He may have been popular back then, but when it came to his personal life, he kept a low key lifestyle. Most of his classmates were probably married by now. Yet, he was still a certified bachelor. And he liked it that way.
Half an hour passed before he realized he’d seen an entire re-run of an old sitcom and he was alone in the waiting room. He got up and ventured into the main area, where he saw Daniel sitting behind the counter texting away on a smartphone. Although, the Open sign was now facing in the store, indicating that the guy had closed up shop already. It explained why he was the only one in the waiting area.
Shawn approached the counter. “Was your owner available?”
Daniel looked surprised. “No, she’s busy. She doesn’t remember making any appointments. Are you trying to sell us something? Because if you are—”
“I’m not trying to sell anything. This is business related. I’ve been trying to reach the owner by phone for some time.”
“I’ll be right back, sir,” he said.
Shawn felt like a pest all of a sudden. But why should he? It was the owner of Reilly’s Automotive that contacted him about possible investments. A call would have been nice to save him from nearly suffering a massive heat stroke on the way here if they had changed their mind.
Daniel came back into the main area of the store, held the door open, and gestured into the car shop. “Alex is on the far end.”
Good grief. If his truck wasn’t being repaired, he never would have waited this long.
Shawn walked past a row of mechanic stations toward the other end of the shop. He passed the repair man who greeted him earlier outside, who was still whistling a tune.
The hood to his black Hummer was propped up, but no one was in view. He recalled that an Alex Reilly had signed the documents in the file he’d been assigned. When he reached the last station, there was still no mechanic—or any sign of Alex in view. A clanking noise on the other side of his car caught his attention. He walked around to the other side.
The lower half of a pair of legs stuck out from under his car. They were bare, smooth, and shapely. They belonged to a woman…and they were sexy as hell. His gut twisted causing what seemed like a flurry of butterflies to awaken. The brown tone of her legs looked like the mocha he treated himself to every so often. A pair of black working boots adorned the woman’s small feet.
He cleared his throat. “Hello.”
A small hand reached out from under the car to grab a screwdriver. “One minute please.”
The voice was low and sexy, and he craned his neck trying to see the woman under the car. “Ah, sure.” He was at a loss for words. Never in his thirty-three years had he witnessed a woman doing anything under the hood of a car. Let alone, his truck. “You umm…you need some help down there?”
He thought he heard her chuckle. More of her legs came into view. The thighs were bare as well, with patches of black grease smudged on the skin. With legs that long, she had to be taller than most women he knew. She slid out from under the car, her entire body coming into his view. His breath hitched in his throat on first sight. Beautiful. It was the first thought that came to his mind. Her clothes and appearance were disheveled in every way with lubricant marks everywhere, but something allowed him to see past that image.
Her features were delicate and pretty. Her body was shapely and long. The cut-off jeans and ribbed tank top showed off all her assets.
She stood and gave him a silent once over as well. “You wanted to see me?”
Her chest rose and fell and her plump breasts pushed against the front of her shirt. He could see the outline of her red bra, and he followed the outline of her curves with his gaze, admiring the way the top of her jeaned shorts hugged her tiny waist. Her hips were pleasingly curvaceous.
Shawn swallowed as he wondered what type of panties she wore. They were red, of course. The same color as the bra peeking out from her shirt. She was sexy as hell, grease smudges and all. He bit at his bottom lip and blinked in an attempt to clear the inappropriate thoughts from his head. “Yes…” He’d forgotten what he’d want to say. “Is this your shop?”
He looked away and around her shop. Undressing a potential client with his eyes was not going to earn him any business.
“It is.” She turned and walked over to a shop table.
Damn, her ass looked squeezable and delectable in her shorts. Shawn’s neck heated and his body grew warmer. It felt like he was back in his hot car again. Only he remained rooted to the ground, entranced by this beauty.
She picked up a towel and wiped her hands on it, then turned and glanced at him. Her gaze swept over him head to toe, and she didn’t look shy about it either.
“You look familiar,” she said, between squinted eyes.
He only wished he knew her from somewhere, but nothing rang a bell. “I get around.” He resented the geeky chuckle that came afterward. He was acting like an awkward school boy. Out of place, was the only feeling that could describe his situation. Here he stood, a beautiful woman working on his car, and he’d forgotten why he’d requested her in the first place.
“You needed an AC system flush and some freon. That was all.”
He nodded. “Of course. Yes I knew that.”
Shawn followed her as she walked over to the front of his truck. When she reached for the hood, he grabbed for it before she did. “I’ve got that.” He slammed it shut.
“Your tire pressure was a little low according to the manufacturer’s standards. Ronald took care of that. We suggest you have them rotated with your next oil change to even out the wear and tear.”
Shawn nodded again. “Yeah, I kinda knew that too.”
She laughed softly, and the beautiful tone carried throughout the shop. “So, what else do you know?”
Her question caught him off guard. Grinning he glanced down at the cemented floors. “I knew that I needed some work done on my truck.”
When he glanced up, the corners of her lips began to turn up. Her teeth were perfect white, and her grin was priceless.
“Lights out, Alex! I’m clocking out!” Daniel hollered from the entrance to the building. “See ya later, Ronald.”
“Yo! Lock the shed, will ya?” Ronald shouted back. “I’m staying behind with Alex.”
Shawn could tell that they were close-nit friends. Or maybe family. Alex? Was that her name? When he turned to speak to her again, she’d walked several feet away from him.
“What else can we do for you?” she asked.
“Is this your business?”
“Yes it is.” She made a few notes on a clipboard on the shop table.
“You’re looking at her.”
“You…own the shop?” He couldn’t hide his doubtful tone. This surprised him and intrigued him at the same time.
“Yes, I’m a mechanic. What’s wrong?” She shrugged. “Don’t think a woman can own anything?”
“No, no, I just…”
“Shawn Morgan, I know all too well what kind of a man you are.”
He took a step back at the mention of his name. She didn’t sound too thrilled about her realization. “How do you know me?”
She turned around and faced him, tilting her cute chin up. “President of your junior and senior class at Mitchell High. Voted most likely to succeed. Who doesn’t know you?”
“Alex…” He shook his head, but the name did not ring a bell. Damn it! Why didn’t he recognize her?
“Alexia Reilly is my real name.”
“Alexia,” he whispered, then assessed her again. He tried to put her name to the faces of past classmates, but could not. There was no way he could have missed her. Her blunt bangs brushed the tops of her eyebrows and her hair was tightly pulled back in a ponytail. A few wisps of hair fell down over the sides of her face. She had a one distinct dimple on her right cheek and a cute button nose. She was just too good looking to miss. No, good looking was an under-statement. Gorgeous was more like it.
She arched a perfect eyebrow. “It’s obvious that you don’t know me.”
“You went to Mitchell High?”
“See? You don’t remember me.” She tore a single paper from the pad, and handed it to him. “Here are your service details. Would you like to pay now or do you want to be invoiced?”
He took the paper and followed her toward the entrance to the store. It didn’t do him any good that his attention kept drifting to her slim hourglass figure. She dressed down like a young teenager, but there was no mistaken that she was definitely all woman and grown up.