|Aurora linked her fingers behind Nate’s damp neck and pulled him closer. A quick lick of her lips was all she got before his lips brushed across hers, tender and purposeful. She’d waited—and practised—for this moment for days. For weeks. For what felt like a lifetime. His kiss was everything she desired, and everything she needed, all in one sweet package. She’d got her man, he’d got his girl, and all was perfect with the world again.
He tucked a wisp of hair behind her ear, his focus only on her. She inhaled every scented molecule of race fuel and rubber coming from him. No place on Earth could be as satisfying. Except maybe at home, in her bed, naked in his arms. A perfect ending to the day.
“So, tell me, how do I get you home?” he asked. “Last time I tried this, it didn’t work out so well.”
“Many stops.” She sighed, searching the pit of racers and crew for his little brother, Lucas. He’d know exactly what to do.
Cars were everywhere the eye could see. The grandstand she’d stood in only minutes ago, was desolate, the majority of the spectators already gone. But some, the die-hard fans, mingled in the pit after the race, surrounded by officials, racers, and crew members.
Twenty minutes ago, she’d stopped him from announcing his retirement, something that would harm him in the end. She’d saved him. Standing so close to him, it was hard to believe she’d succeeded in her goal of getting to the track. However, the best part of the day still lay ahead. If only she could find Lucas and they could all get the hell out of there.
“Lucas has the outline for you somewhere. He printed it out before picking me up.”
“There’s an outline?” His laugh was infectious. “What were you two up to that warrants an outline?”
“I’ll tell you all about it someday. First, I want to get you home and peel this race suit off you.”
“Oh, it’ll come off.”
“Can I watch?”
“Anytime you want.” He bent down and kissed her again, the urgency and carnal desire pushing against her.
It warmed her core, igniting embers of lust deep within. They parted, and she took a deep breath, trying to calm her racing heart.
Where is Lucas?
In the sea of people, Lucas was invisible, lost in amongst the hundreds of people.
Racing season was officially over until the spring, and celebrations were in full swing. Music blasted from a portable radio, sitting high on a stack of race tires. Laughter and cheers floated in from all around, and racers paraded around their trophies from the evening’s wins. Although Nate finished first in the final race, Aurora was sure he hadn’t placed top three for the season. He had a rough season in the second half which had been completely her fault, even if Lucas tried to convince her otherwise.
Nate smirked, his dimple deep. “I still can’t believe you’re really here.” His eyes showed his disbelief as they took her in, making her feel naked but desired.
She wanted to assure him that if he blinked she would not vanish, but…in a minute. It had been too long since those eyes were hers. “Well it wasn’t without its challenges, that’s for sure.”
The warmth she’d missed from him she made up for as her arm slipped into the unzipped portion of his race suit and wrapped around his waist. She hadn’t let go of him since he’d parked his race car in his designated spot. Lucas—her best friend—had disappeared quickly, taking the car with him. How sweet of him to load the race car onto the trailer while she and Nate held and kissed each other. Too much time had passed since they’d touched. Too long. The summer of pushing herself to hell and back had paid off. She’d succeeded in stopping his retirement announcement. Perhaps now, she’d finally get her happily ever after.
She rested her head against his sweaty cotton shirt, not caring in the least if it had a bit of a needs-shower-badly smell. She’d almost given up on them, and would take whatever she could get, scents and all. It cemented to her this was no fantasy. This was real. Even in her brightest visions, the smells were vacant, the infectious laughter missing, and the warmth now flooding across her cheeks completely absent. It was only him. At least she wasn’t dreaming. He really stood beside her, his fingers linked in hers, his thumb rubbing the tips of her knuckles.
His free hand rubbed her back, and she melted into him as the gentle pressure along her spine calmed the rush within. His fingers traced back up and danced across the nape of her neck as though they’d done it a million times before. A large inhale of air filled her lungs, and she opened her eyes.
Nate stood there, a huge smile across his face, his eyes reflecting the overhead lights. “You like that?”
“I do,” she said, her voice a whisper. Touch had become her new drug, and she craved it. Getting it from Nate was like getting the purest form of the best drug—euphoric as a little went a long way.
“Lucas,” Nate said, his chest rattling as he spoke. His body shook as he waved.
“There you guys are.” Lucas had his game face on—no smile, all seriousness. His eyes weathered as he glanced from her up to his big brother. “She’s all loaded up.” He produced his keys and dangled them in front of Nate. “Drive my car home, she’s used to that right now. There’s a bag packed in the trunk for you, with a few overnight things.”
It was hard to miss Nate’s blush. He grabbed the car keys and pocketed them.
Lucas laughed. “Aw, c’mon, man. Anyone with half a brain would know you wouldn’t be going home tonight.”
Nate squeezed her, and she couldn’t wait to get him back to her apartment, rip his clothes off and make up for lost time. The thought of waking up in his arms thrilled her.
“Whenever you’re ready,” Lucas said, “I’ll follow behind with the truck and trailer.”
Nate brushed the hair off her face. “When would you like to go?”
Now, ideally. But… It was still a big step. Excited to be at home with Nate, there was still the problem of getting home. He’d drove her three times previously, each with the aid of a mysterious pill that blocked her mind from remembering anything. Her last trip home from the track, with Kaitlyn, she’d be under the influence of a bad combo of prescription drugs. Tonight, she’d be going home un-drugged. “Um… whenever, I guess. I just need to mentally prep myself.”
Nate turned to Lucas. “How long did it take you to come down?”
He rubbed his ear. “Seventy? Seventy-five minutes?” Lucas shifted his focus to her and spoke in her direction. “We stopped twice. Each time was about twenty minutes or so?”
“Something like that.”
Nate’s gaze darted between the two. “Well, it’s almost eleven. At that rate, we won’t be home until twelve thirty.”
She swallowed, loud enough for both brothers to hear.
Lucas rubbed her shoulder. “You’ll do fine.”
She didn’t miss the questioning exchange between the boys. Nate’s brow furrowed in curiosity.
Lucas wore pride like a badge. “I’ll be right behind you.”
“My goal was getting here. I didn’t think about how to get back home.”
Lucas snickered briefly and stepped closer. “I promise, you’ll be fine. Nate can pull over if it gets to be too much. But honestly, you’ll do great.”
He was her security blanket and knew how to interpret her signals. What if Nate didn’t? What if he mistook one, and instead of stopping, he kept going? It was important he understood the outline, so there would be no screw-ups, and no opportunities for the darkness to descend upon her. Sourness pooled in her stomach and involuntary shudders rippled throughout her body.
“Are you really that nervous? Nate can handle this, and you can do this. You’ve trained for this.”
“I don’t know… You know…” Her gaze flickered from Lucas to Nate and back again.