Home > Collision Course (Body Shop Bad Boys #4)(2)

Collision Course (Body Shop Bad Boys #4)(2)
Author: Marie Harte


   A loaded question, because his slow grin widened as he looked her over. Then he turned back to the binder and shook his head. “Nah. I need something original. Do you design bouquets?”

   “Yes.” More comfortable on a professional level, she nodded. “We have some amazing florists and—”

   “No. You. Do you put flowers together?”

   “Yes.”

   “Good. I want you to do it.” He shrugged. “Del, my boss at Webster’s, you remember her?”

   She nodded. How could she forget the woman with such cold gray eyes, tattoo sleeves, and funky ash-blond hair braided in twists? The same woman she’d made friends with not long after meeting. Heck, she’d attended Del’s wedding.

   “She said you were amazing. My sister needs something amazing right now.”

   The flowers were for his sister. Oh man. He’s sexy as sin, he has a body to die for, and now he’s buying flowers for his sister?

   She softened toward him. “Do you know her favorite flower or color? A scent maybe? Did you want sophisticated or simple? How old is she?”

   “Ah, something cool. I don’t know. She’s gonna be twenty-three.” He rattled off a few ideas, and she made quick notes.

   “I can have this for you by…” She paused to check the computer. “Tomorrow. Would that work?”

   “Hell. I really need them today. Her birthday isn’t until Friday, but she got some shitty news, so I wanted to give them to her when I see her later. I’m willing to pay extra, no problem.”

   Adding charming and thoughtful to the Lou List, Joey did her best not to moon over the man and kept a straight face. “Well, if you can wait until the end of the day, I’ll try to fit them in. We close at seven. Is that okay?”

   His face broke out into a relieved smile. “Gracias, Joey. You’re doing me a huge favor.”

   Ignoring his smile, she called on her inner manager. “Well, you’re doing something nice for your sister. And I know all about crappy days.”

   “Yeah?” He leaned closer, and she caught a waft of motor oil and crisp cologne, an odd blend of manly and sexy that nearly knocked her on her ass. “Who tried to ruin your day, sweetheart? I can fix that.”

   She blew out a shaky breath and gave a nervous laugh. “Ah, I just meant I’ve had those kinds of days before. Not now. It’s just a regular Monday for me.” A great Monday, considering her promotion.

   He didn’t blink, and she felt positively hunted.

   “Well, if anyone gives you any trouble, you let me know, and I can talk to them for you. Nobody should mess with a woman as pretty and nice as you.” He stroked her cheek with a rough finger before she could unglue herself from the floor and move away.

   Then he glanced at the clock behind her, straightened, and said something in Spanish. “Sorry, Joey.” Her name on his lips sounded like a caress. “Gotta go. I’ll be back at seven to pick them up, okay? Thanks. I owe you.”

   “You don’t owe me anything. I mean, I’ll probably have to charge you extra for the sudden notice. It’s a rush order,” she blurted, not wanting him to think she was giving him special favors.

   “I’ll pay, no problem.” He slid a card toward her. “My number in case something comes up with the flowers. Or a customer bothers you.” He nodded to it. “You’re a sweetheart. I’ll see you soon.”

   He left, and she could breathe again. Still processing the overwhelming presence that had been Lou Cortez—mechanic, paint expert, and all-around heartthrob—Joey tried to calm her racing heart.

   One of their regulars plunked a few items on the counter, her blue eyes twinkling, her white hair artfully arranged around her face. “Don’t know how you let that one get away. If I was a few years younger, I’d have been all over him.” She waggled her brows. “Then again, he looked like he might be open to an octogenarian with loads of experience. Think he’d mind if you gave me his number?”

   They both laughed, even as Joey tucked the card into her pocket and rang up Mrs. Packard’s items. The thing burned in her pocket, a link to a man she knew better than to step a foot near. She’d throw it away after he picked up his flowers. Joey had made mistakes with a charmer a long time ago, and she had no intention of ever going down that road again.

   * * *

   “Aw. Come on, baby. Don’t be like that.” Silence, then the groveling of a man who’d done wrong echoed through the garage bay, adding a jolt of much-needed humor to Lou’s late Monday misery. Sam continued to apologize into his cell phone. “Okay, okay. I swear I’ll take you to that stupid party. Ivy…” Sam sighed. “Yeah, I know. I’m sorry.”

   Lou snorted. Some men didn’t know a thing about women. Like the dickhead who’d just dumped his younger sister. Lou wanted to bend the guy into a pretzel, and he hadn’t liked the SOB to begin with. Good riddance. Then take his buddy Sam, still groveling into the phone. Before the guy had hooked up with his girlfriend, he couldn’t talk to, compliment, or even look at a woman without sounding like a Neanderthal. Thank God Ivy had managed to kick his ass into gear. Now the giant with a jaw like granite was apologizing—with sincerity.

   Lou glanced out from under the hood of his current project, wishing they weren’t down two mechanics this afternoon. But with one guy helping his mother with something and the other at the dentist, it was up to Lou and Sam to take care of the afternoon schedule. Three rush jobs didn’t help either, but at least oil changes didn’t take as much time as this shitty Chrysler he’d swear was possessed. And, lucky him, its owner had asked for Lou by name.

   Sam finished his phone call and disconnected, tossing his cell on his cluttered workbench. He glanced around, saw that Lou had been listening to every pathetic word he’d uttered, and flushed.

   “Yo, jackass. Get the lead out,” Sam barked. “Del said we have to finish the LeBaron and Grand Am by the end of the day if we want to stick Foley on Blue Altima tomorrow.”

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