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Authors: Sasha Gold

WRECKER

BOOK: WRECKER
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WRECKER

 

Sasha Gold

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Please note that this is a work of adult fiction and contains graphic descriptions of sexual activity. It is intended for mature readers aged 18 and over.

 

No sexual activity occurs between blood relations, and all persons depicted in this story are 18 years old or older.

 

Chapter 1

Sage Pendleton hopped from foot to foot, trying to get some blood flow back to her near-frozen extremities. A week ago she’d written a paper on hypothermia for a nursing class, never imagining she’d get stranded on a frozen, windy hilltop. The irony didn’t escape her.

Her car had given up on the last hill and now she was stuck in the cold with a smoking engine and a near-dead cell phone.

She jogged in place, wind milled her arms, sang and hummed, careful to keep on the soft shoulder. A few cars whizzed past but no wrecker. No armored knight.

If only she could call someone to come pick her up, but almost everyone she knew in Salinas Pass was either a fellow nursing student or a girl from the strip club where she worked part-time. The nursing friends were at a lake house about an hour away, staying for the weekend. There wasn’t any way she could call them.

Her other friends, the girls from the strip club, weren’t the sort of girls to call if you needed help. Not one of them was dependable in that
call-if-your-car-breaks-down
sort of way.

So she had no choice but to call for a tow, and the only towing company in town was owned by her step-brother. She’d used his name when she called, hoping the after-hours operator might expedite the service, but her chattering teeth made her think the name drop hadn’t helped. Usually she steered clear of her step-brother but she was desperate. Theo Brooks was a man to be avoided. Handsome, muscular, and elusive, he was her nemesis. He owned half of Salinas Pass and made no secret of the fact that he disapproved of his father marrying her mother.

Kicking the tire of her Honda only shot pain up her leg. The agony connected with her spine. She gritted her teeth. She was cold. Miserably cold. And that was
before
the freezing rain started. She cursed her bad luck and thought about Theo.

Anytime she saw him, Theo acted like it was her fault his father had fallen in love with her mother. Sage had just started nursing school and hardly noticed her mother’s new boyfriend until they were engaged. Her mother rarely dated, and hadn’t had a serious love interest since her father died. Her engagement and marriage came as a shock to Sage.

Her earthy, granola-crunching, Birkenstock-wearing mother was suddenly getting highlights and manicures and acting like a love-sick teenager. Her new husband was no better. John bought her a new piece of jewelry every week. He called her
Bunny
and
Baby Cakes
and other nauseating pet names.

After they were married her mom went from working sixty hour weeks as a paralegal, to jetting around the world with John Brooks. This week they were exploring the Aegean on a cruise ship, basking in warm sunshine most likely.

John’s son, Theo, was sex on a stick. At least, that’s what the girls at the strip club called him. What did that expression even mean? She didn’t like things that came on sticks. Corn dogs? She’d never had one… her all-natural mom wouldn’t have them. Lollipops? Sweet and sticky wasn’t really her thing. Shish kabobs? Yeah, they were pretty good. Sex on a stick? She’d never tried it on a stick, or any other way for that matter.

“I’m getting delirious,” she muttered. “Thinking about sex on a stick. Classic sign of confusion. Textbook.”

She snorted at her own joke and thought back to the girls at the club. They gave her unrelenting hell over her hot step-brother. Sage never talked about Theo with anyone. Her crush on Theo was her own private hell and talking about it could only make it worse.

She gritted her teeth. The more she tried not to think about him, the more he muscled his way into her thoughts and dreams. At least when he showed up in her dreams, he was sweet. Sexy. Charming even. He scattered dream kisses across her breasts and elsewhere, but then she’d wake. He would be gone, departing from her fantasy but leaving her in a state of fevered need.

A blast of wind made her whimper as she rubbed her wet arms. She wished she could get back in her car, but if a wrecker came down the highway, it might barrel right past if she didn’t wave it down. She cursed her flimsy nurse’s scrubs. Cotton. Short sleeved. The damp fabric stuck to her and made her feel even colder.


If you need anything be sure to call Theo
,” her mother said just as she left for the airport.

Theo was loading his father’s luggage and caught her eye over the top of the car. His look was part threat, part invitation.

Call Theo
? Not likely. He demanded she have coffee with him once a week when her mother was traveling. He claimed he needed to keep an eye on her and for that privilege she got to get up an hour and a half early on Thursday mornings. The one time she’d forgotten he’d strolled into her Anatomy class to check on her.

Dressed in boots, jeans and a cowboy hat, he was more than a little out of place in the room of nursing students. He ambled into the lecture hall, five minutes before class and sat down in the chair beside her. He left when class began but only after she assured him she was fine and that she hadn’t remembered their appointment at the coffee shop. He’d made quite the impression with the other students. They said things under their breath when he strolled out of the lecture hall.


Liam Hemsworth… on steroids
.”

“Invite me for coffee… I won’t stand you up.”

Boundaries. The man didn’t seem to know about them. He was ex-military. That was about all she knew about him. Maybe all former soldiers acted like they could come and go as they pleased.

Headlights lit the top of the hill. The beams sliced the darkness and Sage stopped jogging in place. The truck materialized on the crest and motored down the dip in the highway. The engine was low, deep and powerful.

“Please,” she whispered. “Save me.”

The truck dipped at the lowest point of the road and then gunned as it climbed the hill. A wreath of lights lined the roof. It
looked
like a wrecker. She held her breath and silently prayed that her knight had arrived.

“Get me out of this cold,” she whispered, “before I die.”

The truck slowed and pulled onto the soft shoulder in front of her car. The door opened and the man that got out was tall and broad and looked like he was about as big as a bear. In the dark, she could only make out his size, none of his features. He wore a heavy coat and cowboy hat. As soon as he began walking towards her she knew her rescuer was the last person she expected. It was Theo, the big boss man himself.

“Theo,” she whispered.

He stopped a few feet away. “Evenin’” he said, his voice rough and deep.

“I’m sorry for all the trouble.” Her voice cracked and she cleared her throat. “The dispatcher said it was after hours and it might take some time to get a driver out. I mentioned I knew you. It didn’t occur to me that
you
actually drove the wreckers.”

He turned and began walking back to his truck. “Need anything out of your car? Your purse or whatever.”

Shit
… She grabbed her overnight bag, her school backpack and purse, then she hurried to the running truck.

He waited beside the passenger door and opened it for her. She climbed in and put her seatbelt on. He took off his jacket and put it over her. The gesture stunned her. The flannel lining was warm from his body and the heat seeped into her chilled skin. She shuddered with a mixture of pleasure and relief.

In the dim glow of the cab’s light, she could see he wasn’t happy with her. His brow was furrowed and his mouth a grim line. It wasn’t too far off from his usual expression, yet there was something different about him.

Dressed in a crisp, button-down shirt, opened at the collar, he looked handsome as ever. A few rain drops clung to the brim of his hat. She knew that underneath his Stetson, his hair was cropped short, a remnant of his military years. Even though he was only thirty-one, ten years older than her, he had a dusting of grey at the temples.

Water dripped down the back of her neck and trickled the length of her spine. The bone-chilling cold, the potent attraction he kindled inside her, the menace of his steady gaze, they all combined to make her tremble.

“Are you going to give me the family rate, Theo?” She tried to sound light-hearted but her voice shook. He didn’t smile or show any sign of being amused.
Great
. He might actually charge her full price for towing her car. What did that sort of thing even cost?

He growled softly. Narrowed his eyes. “Why didn’t you wait in your car?”

“I didn’t know if you’d see me.”

“When you’re waiting for assistance, you’re supposed to put your hazards on and wait inside your vehicle.”

Great. A lecture. Just what she
didn’t
feel like hearing. He shut the door and headed to the back of the truck to load her car. She closed her eyes and tilted her head back. Her little car would ride back to town on top of his huge wrecker. She groaned. The evening was getting better and better.

Ever since her mother married John Brooks, her life had been one challenge after another. Everyone in Salinas Pass assumed her mother was a gold-digger. Mean words, accusations, endless innuendo, it all stung. John was very kind and had offered to help her with school but she refused even though her crappy living situation was getting worse by the minute. She didn’t want people to have another reason to say unkind things about her or her mother.

At the beginning of school she’d looked for roommates and ended up with Ashley and Olivia, two girls she’d met at orientation. What started out as a wonderful living arrangement had gone South. Fast. Both girls found it easier, more fun and more profitable to strip rather than go to class. After their first thousand dollar night they quit school.

Tonight her two roommates were having a party with friends from the club. It would be a madhouse. The last time they invited friends over, Sage had been cornered by the strip club manager, Trey, in her own bedroom. A week before that Trey had helped her out, giving her an under the table loan of five thousand dollars that she used to buy her now-dead car. Trey had given her the money like it was no big deal, and then a week later he expected the first installment. The douchebag.

He had followed her into her bedroom and forced a kiss on her, a disgusting, slobbery kiss. She shoved him away and he left, calling her a frozen bitch and wandering off to find a girl who liked a “hard fuck” or could at least show a little gratitude. Since then she’d added a lock to her door, one she’d definitely be using tonight.

The sound of chains drew her from her thoughts and she looked out the window behind her. Theo already had her Honda on the bed of the truck and he was using chains to cinch the car down. She bit her lip, wondering what it was going to cost her to repair the fourteen year old car.

“Ka-ching, ka-ching,” she muttered.

Even though Sage didn’t care for her roommates jobs, she was hardly in a position to judge. She’d started working there too, tending bar, not dancing. The decision was an easy one when her carburetor went out last month. She’d been working as a receptionist at an after-hours clinic. It paid ten dollars an hour. The bartending paid, on average, twenty an hour. She’d only been there three and a half weeks, and already had enough money saved for her next semester’s text books.

The men who came into the club usually gave her big tips, but they harassed her about being a bartender instead of a dancer. Yeah, that was more money. Ashley sometimes brought home even more than a grand in a single night. She’d sit on the couch in the den, counting her money, messy piles of tens and twenties.


Need a loan, Nurse Pendleton
?” she liked to gloat.

One more semester. If the car could make it till May, she could say good-bye to her crappy car and her crappy job and best of all her crappy roommates. Once she had a nursing job at the hospital all this would be a memory.

Theo got into the truck, took off his hat and tossed it in the back of the cab. He snapped the light off and pulled out onto the road, doing a U-turn in the middle of the deserted highway.

“Thank you,” she said quietly. “For the coat.”

He nodded.

“I didn’t know that you drive the trucks. I thought you had a law degree. From the military or something. The Marines. Hoo-ra, right?”

He scrubbed his hand across his face and remained quiet for a moment longer. She cringed. Why was she always such an idiot around Theo? Either she babbled or she said nothing. She pulled his coat around her tighter, relishing the warmth and the scent,
his
scent.

The truck cab was a much more intimate setting than the coffee shop, just the two of them and the hum of the diesel engine. When he started talking, she almost jumped out of her skin.

“I used to be a lawyer and a Marine,” he said. “I worked for JAG. When I was stationed in the Middle East, I was at the wrong place at the wrong time. I’m not really sure, because I don’t remember anything. After I got patched up, the Navy said, ‘Thanks a lot, see ya later.’ I came home, and my wife told me the same thing, minus the ‘thanks a lot.’ Now I don’t practice law anymore. I buy and sell companies. Body shops, car rentals, a tire store, two wrecker services. Other stuff.”

BOOK: WRECKER
6.56Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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