Start Your Engines
Published by: Crimson Romance
Publication date: August 7th 2017
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Buckle up for a race for the championship and the prize of a lifetime in this heartfelt reunion romance.
When racing team director Brad Thomas needs a new driver, his boss insists there’s only one answer: Gabrielle Marquez. The Indycar ace has newly returned to the United States after becoming one of the European circuit’s top drivers. But ten years ago, Gabrielle caused a crash that ended Brad’s racing career and killed their mutual best friend, along with the burgeoning crush they were exploring.
Gabby’s ready to put the past behind her, even though she knows making amends and regaining Brad’s trust won’t be easy. Rebuilding their professional relationship paves the way for healing, and old feelings soon rekindle, but a rival’s dangerous game of sabotage may threaten their team’s chance at the title.
Then an irresistible offers lands on Gabby’s windshield, forcing her to choose between her heart and her hard-fought career. Will achieving her professional dreams mean personal sacrifice?
Sensuality Level: Behind Closed Doors
She moved toward him as a blond woman got out of the SUV and a trio of men in suits stepped from the sedan. One of the men had a phone to his ear. He was probably calling for security. That was good. It meant Brad had a couple of minutes. Maybe.
Gabrielle came closer but stopped ten feet away. “What are you doing here?”
“I came to see you.” He wiped a bead of sweat from his brow.
“Gabrielle, do you need help?” the blonde asked. The woman had something in her hand. Hopefully it wasn’t pepper spray.
“No, I’m okay.” She halved the distance between them. “Am I?” She kept her voice low enough that Brad was the only person who could hear it.
“Yes, totally. I promise.” He held up his hands as if to surrender. “If it’s not too late, there are a couple of things I need to say to you.”
“Really, Brad?” She closed her eyes and massaged her forehead. “I’m about to go in that building behind you and sign a contract that will change my life, and now you want to talk?” She crossed her arms. “What could you possibly have to say?”
His throat was desert dry. It was now or never. Help me, J.P. “For starters, I want to say I’m sorry. You never held anything back from me. Not then and not now. The same can’t be said for me.”
The suits had joined the blonde at the front of the SUV. For the moment, they seemed content to leave this between him and Gabrielle.
“After you got the offer to come here, I was being honest when I said I wanted you to be happy. What I wasn’t honest about was letting you know how much you mean to me. I put together a counter offer. It’s peanuts compared to what these guys are offering you, but I never gave you the chance to look at it.”
Gabrielle put her hand on her hip. “It hurts to be told that now, you know. There was never any ‘please stay.’ It was all, like, ‘Knock them dead, Gabrielle. Send us a picture from Europe.’ After all we’d been through. After all we accomplished. Can you imagine how that felt?”
“No, I can’t.” This was so not going the way he’d hoped. She hadn’t signed, though, so he still had a chance. “All I can say is I’m sorry. If I had the chance to do it over again, I would in a heartbeat. Because you’re the best thing to happen to Gale Force Racing.” He took a deep breath and made sure he had eye contact. “And more importantly, you’re the best thing to happen to me.”
Gabrielle scratched her wrist, right where her tattoo was. She turned and looked at their observers. When they didn’t say anything, she came within an arm’s length of him. “You’re making one heck of a scene, Brad. If you have anything else to say, you better say it now.”
Behind him, a vehicle skidded to a stop, and two doors opened and then shut. A radio crackled to life, but he couldn’t make out the conversation.
“Come back to Fleetwood with me. You’ve made me the happiest man on Earth, and it wasn’t until you left that I realized it. You’re my world, Gabrielle. If you come back with me, I’ll do anything and everything to make you the happiest woman in the world. I know I’m asking you to give up a dream of a lifetime, but maybe together we can make a new dream, our own dream. The two of us. What do you say?”
“You came all this way to ask me this?” She smiled when he nodded. “What if I say no?”
Brad’s blood ran cold, but he wasn’t a quitter. Not anymore. Not after what Gabrielle taught him about perseverance. “Then I’ll say thanks for hearing me out and walk through that gate, and I won’t bother you anymore.”
“No, that’s not it.” With his left hand, he took her right hand so they could see the matching reminders of hope. “You’ve made me a better man than I thought possible. You’ve shown me the light when I thought there was only darkness. You touched my heart and showed me joy I didn’t think could exist. I was broken, and you fixed me.”
Someone was running down the steps of the building. His time was up.
“I love you, Gabrielle. I won’t stop loving you, ever.” He pulled his sketchpad out of his bag and handed her the piece he’d worked on while on the plane. “There’s a piece of land just outside Fleetwood. It would be perfect for a couple starting out. Perfect for us. Please come back with me. Please come home.”
A lifelong resident of the State of Indiana, Jim Cangany is proud to call himself a Hoosier. The youngest of eight children, he grew up in a household full of books and people. Thanks to the influence of his older siblings, Jim gravitated toward fantasy and sci-fi when looking for something to read. He wrote his first story at age fourteen. A school project, The Magic Coin was a fantasy that involved a king, some bad guys, and, not surprisingly, a magical token.
These days, Jim writes romance on the sweet end. If you ask him what is a guy like him is doing writing romance, he'll reply, "Those are the stories in my head." A believer that the world has enough doom and gloom, he likes stories with a happy ending, regardless of genre.
He lives in Indianapolis with his wonderful wife Nancy, sons, Seamus and Aidan, and kitty-cat Maria.
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