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Authors: Anya Breton

SweetlyBad

BOOK: SweetlyBad
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Sweetly Bad

Anya
Breton

 

The stand-alone sequel to
Wickedly Good

 

Drew couldn’t imagine anything
worse than being stranded in a two-cellular-bar town with a broken-down Ferrari…until
his mother—his own mother!—marked him as a rogue Air witch and canceled all his
credit cards. Now he’s kill-on-sight in the Underground, and the only person
willing to help him is the curvy human mechanic who towed his car. A strangely
delectable
curvy human mechanic.

The last thing Erica needs is a
yuppie playboy freeloading in her garage. Still, she can’t bring herself to
turn Drew out into the sultry heat, even if he is a bit of an ass. A gorgeous,
incorrigible, everything-your-mother-warned-you-against ass. Soon the heat isn’t
the only thing sultry in the garage and self-control is the last thing on her
mind. They agree to a one-night stand, but Drew’s magical secrets are dangerous—and
catching up to him fast.

 

Inside Scoop:
Hot and
explicit sex with the
right
(plus-sized) woman just might redeem this
bad boy hero.

 

A
Romantica®
paranormal erotic romance
from Ellora’s Cave

Sweetly Bad
Anya Breton

 

Chapter One

 

Erica didn’t know which was
prettier, the Ferrari 458 Spider or the guy slouched pettishly against the
front wheel well. The Ferrari was all sleek lines and Italian styling—a model
of aerodynamic efficiency. Similarly the guy’s blond coif had managed to hold
its artful tousle in the 90-degree temperature. And somehow he looked refreshed
in his tan-striped seersucker pants and blue polo despite the sixty percent
humidity. On the other hand, the Ferrari was smoking. Literally.

Erica never saw supercars in her garage. The modern models
were too well made to break down…and those that did certainly didn’t pass
through Stoddard. What would have made this Italian masterpiece spew gray smoke
out the back?

She popped the door on the tow truck, wincing as the heat
pricked the spot between her shoulder blades. Even in a tank top it was
uncomfortable to be outside. Erica smiled for the customer because he’d been
outside much longer than she had.

With each step she took, more details on man and car became
visible. He was handsome—the kind of handsome that made a woman like Erica
uncomfortable. His blemish-free skin was the same “frost beige” color as the
interior on the Grand Cherokee she had on the hydraulics back at the garage.
Skin like that required either unfair genes or an intense moisturizing regimen.
Given the rest of his put-together appearance, Erica leaned toward a mixture of
both.

The car? Erica would have given twenty bucks simply for the
chance to sit inside the vehicle and run her hands over the dash. Fate had
arranged it so she’d get
paid
to do a whole lot more.

“Hi,” she said to the slouched owner. An amiable smile
stretched across her face. “Rough day to get stranded.”

He lifted his well-formed nose an inch. “Rougher because
I’ve had to wait nearly an hour in this unbearable heat.”

An hour? On what planet did twenty-four minutes equal nearly
an hour? Her hackles rose. And somehow it was
cooler
by his car than it
had been near the truck.

Still, she maintained her pleasant expression as she checked
for any loose or hanging parts on the car. “Any idea what caused the
breakdown?”

“I’d say it had something to do with the
smoke
billowing out the rear.” That flat tone implied he was hot
and
an ass.

Erica maintained her cheer. “Do you have any idea what
caused the smoke?”

“Haven’t a clue.” The direction of his voice implied he was
watching her survey the bottom of the front bumper. “I paid good money to avoid
having to worry about my car.”

He’d paid good money, yes, but everyone ought to worry about
their cars. Especially if they owned a foreign supercar. Then again, as a
mechanic Erica
would
feel that way. From the scraped paint beneath the
front end, it was clear this guy was careless with his costly vehicle.

Erica popped to her feet, scanning the opposite side of the
chassis as she did. A cool breeze lifted the hair off her nape. “Did you hear
any noises prior to the billowing smoke?”

“No.” He flapped his limp hand in the direction of the car’s
rear. “I was driving. I saw smoke. I drove more. The smoke got darker. I kept
driving. The smoke obscured the view. So I stopped. That’s when I noticed the
fire.”


Fire?
” Was he serious?

Hazel irises fixed unblinkingly on her. Either he had
deadpan humor down to a science or he was sincere.

She glanced at the back of the car then at him. “
This
car was on fire?”

The male’s indolent lean against the carbon fiber panel grew
more pronounced as he crossed a pair of fit arms over his equally toned figure.
“There are no other cars here but
this
one.” He bounced his ass off the
panel. “Can we get the thing on the truck so we can get it to the mechanic
sometime today?”

Erica battled down the rise of irritation. “I am the
mechanic.”

He made a noise that could only be classed a sputter. Erica
had never heard the reaction outside of cartoons. She was certain it was an
insult.

“I see.” He cleared his throat. “In that case, what do you
need from me?”

There’d been no apology for assuming she couldn’t possibly
be a mechanic. But at least he hadn’t verbalized his disbelief. Even better, he
hadn’t demanded she tow him to her rival’s garage. The last thing she needed
was to give her ex more business.

“The keys,” Erica replied. Thinking better of the response,
she added, “Or do you need a ride?”

He pushed off his vehicle, standing to his full height of
just shy of six feet. He shook a slim smartphone at nothing in particular. “I
haven’t been able to get service out…
here
.” The sour emphasis implied it
too was a complaint.

He didn’t like the weather, the location or the company. Was
there anything he did like?

Erica didn’t care. The bill for fixing a flaming Ferrari
ought to keep the shop in the black for several months. He could bitch and moan
all he wanted as long as he didn’t take his car to Jared’s.

She pointed at her truck’s cab. “Come on back where it’s
air-conditioned.”

The suggestion earned Erica her first grateful expression
out of him.

Oh my. Look at that smile.
Definitely unfair genes.

 

Women—Drew liked them more than he liked money. But this
one… He eyed her out of the side mirror.

What was he supposed to make of her?

She’d arrived sweaty, disheveled and with black under her
fingernails. If there was one thing he couldn’t abide, it was dirty
fingernails. Even in a mechanic.

Did she really think she could fix his car?

She opened the driver’s side door, letting all the cool air
out and the humid air in. Drew shifted away from the heat and breathed through
his mouth in case she was ripe. There was nothing worse than the stench of body
odor mixed with oil.

“It’s a good thing a statie drove by or you’d still be
stranded,” she commented once she got the truck on the road.

Drew grunted rather than point out the statie had driven by
an hour ago.

“What with you getting no service and all.”

“Is there service at…the garage?” He had a difficult time
reconciling the idea of her being a mechanic.

She glanced over. At this distance her eyes were a shade
darker than her mocha hair. The mane he suspected fell to the middle of her
back had been pulled up into a messy bun, perhaps in her rush out the door.
With as long as he’d had to wait, she ought to have had time to look
presentable.

“My phone has service at my garage,” she said. “What company
do you use?”

“Company?”

There was a barely perceptible tightening to her lips. She
thought he was an idiot, didn’t she? Not ten minutes in her company and already
she was on the Drew-is-a-dullard bandwagon.

“Who do you pay for your mobile phone?” She’d lengthened the
pauses between her words as if he were slow or special. “Like…I pay Verizon.”

“I have Verizon,” he snapped.

She shot him another glance, her opinion clear in the lift
of her brows. He’d been short. But he didn’t care. She thought he was stupid.
“Then you’ll be able to get service at the garage.”

“Obviously.”

There was a quiet sigh and then she went silent. He pressed
the buttons on his phone every other second to keep the screen alive. The
signal strength bars remained elusive.

His driver decelerated for a treacherous curve on Route 9.
The Ferrari creaked ominously on the back. Maybe she’d crash the thing and then
he’d get a new car using the insurance settlement. He’d had his eye on one of
those Tesla Roadsters.

Drew thumbed the button again. One bar appeared. He dashed
into the contacts list for his mother’s entry. The bar disappeared.

Tease.

Just like that damn woman his brother had stolen from him.

The bar reappeared. Drew waited, daring it to make a repeat
performance. Sure enough, twice more the thing flashed. Two bars appeared.
Zero. One. Three.

He smacked his head against the headrest, staring out the
side window rather than at the phone.

“Service doesn’t become solid until we get into Stoddard,”
she said. “It’s only two bars there but I’ve never had any problems making
calls.”

Stranded in a two-bar town. Did it get any worse? Damn good
thing his mother would fetch him soon.

There was a last hairpin turn and then the tow truck blinker
went on. She turned onto another rural road, heading out where there was surely
no life.

Wait now…that house with the boat in the driveway hinted there
was a nearby pond or lake. Drew spotted the presence of water out his window,
proving his guess. This was probably another of New Hampshire’s many hidden
lake communities, now bustling with fishermen and campers fleeing the sultry
cities.

The Ferrari creaked several more times through the
thirty-mile-an-hour curves. But rather than crash into an RV, thus earning him
his Tesla, the driver safely arrived at a garage labeled Pearce Auto-body.
Maybe this Pearce would know more about Ferrari fires than his
tow-truck-attendant-slash-mechanic did.

She popped the door. Humidity dampened his seersucker pants
once more.

“You’ll probably want to head into the office,” she said
from outside the truck. “It’s air-conditioned.”

She held up her keys like a ball. He extended his palm
though he doubted she’d be able to hit it from this distance. A half-second
later the keys were airborne, careening for him. Drew lifted an eyebrow when
they landed nicely in his hand.

“Softball pitcher all through high school,” she said, replying
to his unvoiced question. “The office is over there on the right.”

She left him in the relative comfort of her cooler
“office”—a room with two molded plastic chairs in a hue reminiscent of the
Cookie Monster. The focal point was a chipped, U-shaped Formica counter in a
complementary shade of citrus. He’d stand rather than subject his rear to
whatever crawled all over the chairs.

Two bars of service were steady on the phone just as she’d
said. He scrolled his contacts until he reached
Amanda Haizea
. Drew
tapped a foot against the age-stained linoleum while he waited for the ringback
to begin. Twice he checked to make sure the phone hadn’t dropped his call.
Finally the telltale ring beeped in his ear.

“You’ve reached Amanda Haizea,” his mother’s recorded
message said. “I’m away from the phone. Please leave a message and I will get
back to you as soon as possible.”

The voice mail buzzed. “It’s Drew. My car broke down in the
middle of West…Egypt.” He sent a guilty glance at the glass as if the mechanic
might have heard him nearly deriding her hometown. “I need you or Ellen to come
pick me up. Call me back. I’ll try Ellen if I haven’t heard from you in five
minutes.”

Five minutes would feel like an eternity. But his mother
wouldn’t be pleased if he didn’t give her a chance to get in touch.

Drew turned his attention to the windows for something to
pass the time. The mechanic worked the levers on her contraption with
efficiency he hadn’t noted out on the road. Then again, Drew’s nose had been
pressed to his phone from the moment he’d sat in her truck. Her care with the
car was unfortunate. He’d hoped for at least a dent…anything to take the focus
off him when the insurance company called.

One minute down.

Drew focused on the mechanic’s ass as she bent to the Ferrari’s
front end. That curvy derrière stretched out the seat of her skinny jeans.
Drew’s dick stirred. He looked away, face warming for a reason he’d rather not
acknowledge.

Two minutes down.

The mechanic slipped into the driver’s seat. Drew lifted his
chin for a better look at what she did inside the cabin. She hopped out and
came around to the front, where she set her palms to the hood.

And then she
pushed
.

Drew made it halfway to the door before he realized what
he’d been doing. Had he been about to help push his car in 101-degree weather?
No. She could do it on her own. It was what she was paid to do. Besides, the
thing must be light because she’d already gone half the distance.

Three minutes down.

The garage door creaked as if it were closing. His mocha-haired
mechanic rushed it, ducking beneath Indiana Jones style. All she was missing
was a nearly crushed fedora. Drew’s lips twitched at the thought of her
wielding a whip. His dick woke again.

He jabbed his finger at the phone’s screen. Four minutes down.

The woman disappeared into the tow truck once again. Drew
noted the hour. Shit. He wasn’t going to make it home in time. Had he set the
date with Jennifer G or Jennifer H? Phones ought to be able to help with that
sort of thing.

Oh! They
could
. Drew thumbed through his recent
calls, picking out the last received call from a Jennifer
J
as the
mechanic pushed open her glass door, letting in another gust of searing heat.
She opened her mouth as if to speak but, noting the phone set to his ear,
closed it again. She went to do whatever it was women did behind counters at
garages.

“Hello?” Jennifer J greeted him.

“Hi, babe,” he said. “I’ve had a bit of car trouble. I’m not
going to make it back to meet you.”

Five minutes down.

Drew had an idea. “How about you meet me out here? I’ll
treat us to a room.”

Silence. Drew checked the phone yet again to make sure it
hadn’t dropped the call. The digits ticked by.

“Jen?”

“Jenn
y
,” she said with frosty emphasis on the final
syllable. “I’m Jenny. You’re thinking of Jen Harris.”

With no fewer than three Jennifers in the Manchester greater
Aer coven, Drew couldn’t keep track of which went by what moniker. He should
have stuck with terms of endearment instead. “So sorry, babe. What do you say
about coming for a visit? There’s a lake out here—”

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