Author: Brenda Murphy
Publisher: NineStar Press
Release Date: November 6, 2017
Heat Level: 3 - Some Sex
Genre: Contemporary, romance, contemporary, BDSM, PTSD, ex-military, sports, vacation, Italy
Goodreads - https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36394332-one
SynopsisFast cars, motorcycles, and one-night stands have been Mac’s life since she left the military. Bitter over a lost love and never one to gamble, she ends potential relationships with surgical precision to avoid another heartache. After her flight to Italy is delayed by a wicked storm, she intervenes when a drunk passenger threatens the desk agent.
Impressed with her courage, fellow passenger Lana Baroni offers to buy her a drink. One coffee and an upgrade later, they spend the fight to Italy talking cars and racing. When a sightseeing date with Lana turns into an afternoon tryst, Mac has to choose: hit the brakes or roll the throttle and risk everything to win Lana’s love.
Brenda Murphy © 2017
All Rights Reserved
“Come on, Mac. The pool is going to be shut down. When would be a better time to go?”
Mac sat back in her chair and peeled the label off her beer bottle. “It’d be crazy expensive. Easy for you to talk but I’m on my own.”
Nicole sipped her wine. Mr. Nips meowed loudly and jumped into Nicole’s lap. He rubbed his head on Nicole’s chin, making her spill her wine.
Mac laughed and handed Nicole a napkin. “So, how’s it going with Virginia? You guys good?”
“Thanks.” Nicole wiped her chin and pushed the cat to the floor. “Better than good. She’s everything. It’s incredible.” Nicole’s cheeks were bright red. “I’m picking her up from the airport tonight.” She took a sip of her wine. “I wish you’d find someone, Mac. You deserve to be happy.”
Mac snorted. Happy. What does that even mean? “I’m happy. Enough.” She shifted in her seat, causing her ring of keys to jingle. Liar. A disgruntled Mr. Nips batted at her keys, making them jingle again.
“You have to do this.” Nicole reached out and touched Mac’s hand. “I wouldn’t be picking up Virginia if you hadn’t pushed me to talk to her. This time it’s me to you. Fuck you if you don’t take this trip.”
Mac set her beer down. “I’ll think about it.” She stood up and finished her beer in two long swallows before she tossed the bottle into the recycle bin. She bent down and rubbed Mr. Nips between his ears. “See you tomorrow. Don’t let your girlfriend make you late again.”
Nicole blushed and rolled her eyes. “Yes, Mac.”
Mac let herself out. She took the stairs down two at a time. She stepped over her bike, turned the key, and kicked the engine over. The low rumble between her legs was satisfying and comforting. She checked the time on her phone. Home? The bar? She took the long way home, tearing through the dark night trying to go fast enough to outrun the relentless sadness chasing her.
The airport was hot and sticky. Mac wiped at the back of her neck with her kerchief before stuffing it back in her pocket. She checked the information board. “DELAYED” flashed by her flight number and she stifled a groan. After loitering in the airport bookshop, she settled on a copy of Motor Sport magazine and a pack of mints. She walked back to her gate. A group of disgruntled travelers in suits was packed around the desk haranguing the gate agent. Mac pressed her lips together. Her tolerance for self-important businessmen was low on a good day. And with the possibility of a long weather delay, she looked for a seat as far from the desk as she could find. She found an empty row of seats and sat down. Mac tucked her daypack between her feet before she pulled out her phone to check the weather. The line of thunderstorms delaying her flight shone bright red with bands of yellow and dark green on the weather app radar.
“Excuse me. Would you watch my bag? I need to visit the ladies’. I don’t want to drag it with me.”
Mac looked up from her phone. A tall woman in a black cotton knit dress stood in front of her. Her eyebrows were delicately arched and she spoke with the barest hint of an accent. Pale blue eyes and a quiet smile graced her face.
The woman placed her monogrammed black leather bag next to Mac’s boot and held Mac’s gaze.
Exquisite. The bag and the woman. “I’d be happy to.” Mac stuffed her phone in her pocket. Her beat-up day bag looked even worse resting on the floor next to the woman’s bespoke luggage. She watched the woman as she wove through the crowd. Her sandy brown hair brushed her shoulders as she strode to the bathroom, graceful in a pair of black pumps. Who wears pumps on a plane? Mac looked at the rows of travelers seated behind and in front of her and the empty seats around her. She peeked at the luggage tag attached to the woman’s carry-on bag and read it. Lana Baroni. Name’s as fancy as her bag. Why me?
Her black T-shirt, biker boots, and jeans were unique among the crowd. Most of the other travelers were dressed in baggy shorts and running shoes, track suits or yoga pants and T-shirts, except for the cool kids in skinny jeans and Chucks. Don’t make a big deal out of it. The woman walked back through the crowd, full-figured and elegant. Mac was mesmerized watching her as she approached. Her long black dress flowed around her legs, the knee-length slit in the skirt showing off an occasional glimpse of her long legs. Damn. As good coming as going. Mac sat up straighter in her seat.
“Thank you.” The woman sat down, choosing the seat next to Mac over the numerous empty seats on either side of her. Mac inhaled her perfume, appreciating the subtle spicy scent of ginger and cedarwood the woman wore.
“You’re welcome. Are you on this flight?” Mac turned to look into her eyes. Cornflower. That’s the color of her eyes. Cornflower blue.
“Yes. Trying to get home.” She shifted to face Mac, her knee brushing against Mac’s thigh before she straightened out her legs and sat back in her seat.
“Moltrasio, but I have some business in Milan beforehand. And you?”
“I live here but I’m trying to get to Monza.”
“For the Grand Prix, yes?”
“Yes. How’d ya know? You psychic?”
“This.” She tapped the magazine in Mac’s lap.
Mac smiled and searched for something else to say. I could listen to her talk all day. “You follow Formula One?”
“You could say that.” Her mouth quirked up on one side. “Did they say how long before we board?”
“Nah, our plane had to land in Norfolk. The storms have grounded everyone.”
The woman frowned and pulled an e-reader from her bag. Mac took the clue and slid back in her seat and opened her magazine. The images of the drivers and cars sent a thrill through her. She flipped through it, trying to envision how it would be watching the race in person. She remembered the first time her dad took her to a race. They were standing on the concrete apron of the grandstands at the half-mile track in Richmond when the drivers started their engines. Mac’s dad had boosted her up on his shoulders to see over the crowd. The scent of his drugstore aftershave and cigarette smoke blended with the smell of fuel and sweat and adrenaline that was NASCAR. She shivered remembering the way her body vibrated with the roar of the engines. She traced her fingers over the images of the cars on the page. This is for you, Dad. And me.
The storm raged outside. Rain and small hailstones hit and splattered against the glass wall behind them as dark clouds shadowed the waiting area. Mac tried to focus on her magazine but the hint of cedarwood and ginger perfume from the woman next to her wove its way into her thoughts. She shifted in her seat, careful to not bump the woman sitting next to her. Once she’d pushed her earbuds in she swiped to her favorite playlist and turned it up to drown out the sounds of the rain and hail.
She kept her head down and watched the woman from under her lashes. Late thirties early forties. Money. Class. The woman was solidly built and broad shouldered. Her dress was short-sleeved and displayed her well-muscled arms. Swimmer? Tennis player? Mac was a woman of few words but in this moment with this woman she had so many she wanted to say.
THEY STOOD ON the sidewalk, close but not touching. Lana reached over to hold Mac’s hand, her long fingers cool in Mac’s sweaty palm. She gripped Mac’s hand, her fingers loose and relaxed. “What are you doing tomorrow?”
Mac raised her shoulders and let them fall. “Dunno. I have a list of things I should see from my friends and a guidebook. “
“Would you like company? I have some time before things get crazy.”
Yesyesyes. Play it cool. Fuck it, be honest. No lines. She deserves better. Be better.
“I’d love to spend more time with you.” Mac gave Lana’s hand a small squeeze and her pulse quickened when the barest hint of a blush spread across Lana’s face. The quick squeeze of her fingers on Mac’s hand kindled the spark of want and hope in Mac’s chest into a roaring flame. Lana’s limousine turned the corner, its headlights illuminating the street and
sidewalk. Mac turned to face Lana. She tugged on her hand and pulled her closer. Now. Kiss her now. No. Don’t. Don’t fuck it up.
Lana rested her hand on Mac’s chest, her fingers wide. She looked into Mac’s face. Heat like a smoldering fire burned in Lana’s eyes. Mac trembled. Lana looked down before she leaned forward, pressing the length of her body against Mac and kissed her softly on the cheek. Mac swallowed hard. The sound of tires on pavement announced her car’s arrival. Mac froze. No no no. Why didn’t I kiss her? Damn car. They broke apart as the car glided to the curb. Lana trailed her fingers down Mac’s shirt, stopping short of her belt buckle before she stepped off the curb.
She looked back at Mac over her shoulder with her hand on the car door handle. “Tomorrow then? Nine?”
“Sure.” Mac stuffed her hands in her pockets.
“See ya.” Mac stood in the cool night air and watched the car pull away. She touched the spot on her cheek where Lana’s lips had been. Geez, I haven’t been this unsure since high school. Or turned on. Damn it.
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Meet the Author
Brenda Murphy writes short fiction and novels. She loves tattoos and sideshows, and yes, those are her monkeys. When she is not swilling gallons of hot tea and writing, she wrangles two kids, two dogs, and one unrepentant parrot. She writes about life, books, and writing on her blog Writing While Distracted.
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