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Authors: Megan Isaacs

Beautiful storm (page 3)

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What I really struggle to comprehend is why I don’t find his strong approach threatening, especially with Mac’s behaviour being the way it is. But I don’t.

If any other man had approached me in the same manner, I would’ve been appalled. Maybe they would’ve gotten a slap across the face. I certainly would have given them a mouthful. So why not him?

It’s that bloody book. I shrug the episode off and put on my big girl knickers and professional face as I enter Noah’s office.

IENTER MYoffice with the gorgeous Lizzie. My heart thuds hard in my chest.

What in the hell was that, apart from inappropriate behaviour and a court case waiting to happen?

I’m pretty sure my brain has fucked off. I’ve never, and I meannever,reacted to any woman like that. I’m all for women’s rights and all that namby-pamby shit. Why couldn’t I stop myself? I’ve never felt a draw like it. It’s almost primal.

There’s no mistaking her body’s reaction to me, a sexy pink tinge creeping up her cheeks, her pupils dilated. I’m desperate to slide my hand around her waist and glide down between her legs. My fingers itch in anticipation and I rub them down my thighs to try to eradicate the sensation. I need to get a grip. On the way past my desk, I grab a cricket bat and ball from the spare seat, and place them in the corner of the room.

“Take a seat.” I gesture towards the chair I’ve just cleared.

“You play cricket?” She looks surprised.

“Yeah, out in the car park. It’s more of a toss around on weekends because the other businesses aren’t in. It loosens the muscles when you’ve been under a hood all day.”

“Is that not a little crazy?” She glances around at all the glass, her eyes wide.

“I’ll admit we’ve smashed the windows a few times.” I give her a mischievous grin. “On the plus side, I now have an awesome relationship with the local glazier who keeps the right size panels in stock, just in case.”

This makes her laugh a little. The sweet sound courses through my body and shoots straight to my cock, which twitches in its confines, begging to be set free.

As she sits down, I study her. She’s delicate or maybe wounded. There’s sadness surrounding her, and her grey eyes are dull, no spark in them whatsoever. Someone has sucked the life right out of her, and fuck me if I don’t want to kill the bastard who did it. I can guess she’s been fucked over by a boyfriend or husband. Perhaps something along the lines of catching him shagging her best friend. That’s the usual MO for arseholes like me.

At least I never promise anything; it only causes hassle in the long run. I’m upfront with my expectations. One night, and no one gets hurt. But for some reason an overwhelming need to protect her stirs in me. I shake my head, the movement barely perceptible.

I’m not that guy.

It’s probably some bloke like me she needs protecting from.

My cock strains hard against my button-fly, no doubt leaving a nice imprint. It’s excruciating, and taking all I have not to hiss through the pain. I try to shift inconspicuously, so I don’t draw attention to my situation.

Lizzie gazes at me with a concerned expression on her face, her head tilted to one side. “Are you okay? You look like you’re uncomfortable.”

It’s obvious my inconspicuous shifting wasn’t very inconspicuous.Shit. I feel like I’ve been caught with my hand in the cookie jar, and the heat of embarrassment rises on my face. What the fuck? I don’t think I’ve blushed since I was sixteen and got caught wanking. There are some things a mum should never see.

I clear my throat. “Er, yeah. I’m fine. This seat’s just a little uncomfortable, that’s all. I keep meaning to order a new chair. I just haven’t gotten around to it yet.”

A flicker of disbelief passes through her eyes. “Oh, okay. Well, do you want to move the interview to another room, or perhaps get another chair?” Her tone remains neutral, but her eyes are alight with amusement, those golden flecks finally flaring like sunrays. It’s a sight to behold.

“No, no, I’ll be fine. So, Ms. Ryder, what do you want to know?”

My business tone shuts the light off in her eyes, and I could kick myself. I only used it to hide the awkwardness I’m not used to feeling. Her professional persona slides into place as well, sort of like a curtain call. A little piece of me feels almost like it’s died with the loss. I try to shake the feeling as Lizzie begins to speak.

“I hope you don’t mind if I record the interview, it just makes things easier.” Her tone has hardened and her eyes are flat again, giving no indication as to what’s going on inside her head.

“No, I don’t mind in the slightest. I sort of expected it. Personally, I wouldn’t know where to start with one of those things,” and I wave a hand towards her Dictaphone, “but fill your boots.”

“When I did my research on you, I noticed you seemed to be a bit of a technophobe. You have no online presence at all.” Her eyes flick to mine, and then back down to the task of setting up the device.

I resist the urge to shift in my seat again, uncomfortable for different reasons. I don’t like people looking into my personal shit. You never know what they might find, and some things I prefer to keep private. Like my previous occupation. Lizzie glances at me with curiosity. I take in her expression, pleased when I read in her face it’s the technology thing she can’t fathom, not me.

With silent relief, I answer her unspoken question. “Yeah, I’m no good with computers, just not my thing. Every time I touch one, something goes wrong. So I just leave well enough alone.”

Lizzie continues with her interview. I go through details of my business from start-up to now, my love for cars, why I specialise in American muscle, my favourite car, and how I learnt my trade. For the most part, I manage to avoid answering anything with substance, just enough so she thinks she has an answer.

She’s good at her job though, thorough and enthusiastic, and a little fire comes back to her eyes. It’s obvious she loves what she does, and it’s a pleasure to spectate. As she moves through the interview, I find my thoughts shifting to how I’m going to see her again. I feel like I’m back in high school, but there’s just the two of us, so I can’t get someone to pull the ‘my mate fancies your mate’ tactic.

I’m lost in thought when her silken voice pulls me back to the here and now. “Noah?”

My gaze flicks to her patiently waiting face. “Sorry, what was the question?”

A shy smile tugs at the corners of her lips and pulls at something in my chest.

“I was asking about your motorbike. What is it? I don’t know much about them, and yours, well, let’s just say it’s gorgeous.”

I give her my full megawatt smile. She’s asked about my bike, and I fucking love my bike. “She’s a Ducati Streetfighter, goes zero to sixty in 2.9 seconds, and a top speed of a hundred and fifty-four miles per hour. She’s not a heavyweight, but she still needs muscle to handle her.”

I sound like a tosser referring to my bike as a ‘she,’ but anything that goes between my legs is of the female species, therefore, the bike’s a girl. And Lizzie seems very fucking interested in my bike. I guess this could be the excuse to keep her here a little longer; at least then I can figure out a way to see her again.

“You ever been on a bike, Lizzie?”

She drops her head a little. “No. I haven’t.”

Her captivating eyes flick to mine and hold my gaze. An odd but fleeting feeling passes over me. I tear my eyes away and a mischievous grin spreads across my face. “We’ll correct that right now.”

Lizzie stares at me like a rabbit caught in the headlights, completely startled, but mesmerised all at once.

“Now?” Her gaze darts from me to the door, as her eyes widen.

I unfold myself from my chair and stalk around to her, “Yes, Lizzie. Now.” My voice deepens when the vision of her riding pillion, with her legs wrapped tightly around me, plays in my imagination. I stare down at her with intent, and at the same time, hold out my hand. She hesitates, indecision flashes over her face, but then she reaches for me and I help her to her feet.

As soon as my skin touches hers, the feeling of complete peace washes over me. I drop her hand like it’s burned me. The only place I’ve ever come close to feeling like that is on my bike. I feel like I’ve been thrown a googly. Her quizzical eyes examine me and I’m thankful when she doesn’t say anything.

I indicate towards my office door. “Come on then.”

She clutches her jacket and bag against her, and walks alongside me. As we leave my office, I notice Spud, my brother-in-law and friend, has arrived and already has his head buried in a blue Ford Mustang.

“Spud?”

He glances up at me, a smile spreading across his face. “Hey, bud. How’s it going?”

As he puts down his tools and notices Lizzie at my side, his smile widens. When I glare at him with a warning, his eyes register in surprise, but he says nothing, and I let out a low breath.

“Great, mate. Cheers. This is Lizzie; she’s doing the interview I told you about forNitrousmagazine.”

He nods in recognition and turns to Lizzie. “Good to meet you, Lizzie. I hope we’re meeting your expectations, and the boss is looking after you?” Spud wipes his hands down his shirt and extends one for her to shake.

“Actually, the boss here”—she aims a thumb in my direction—“is taking me out on his bike. I’ve never ridden one, and apparently that needs rectifying.”

Spud’s eyes expand into saucers. I never take women out on my bike. Ever.

“Cool. Well, enjoy.” Spud speaks to Lizzie but keeps his inquisitive gaze fixed on me.

As I guide Lizzie over to the reception area Spud turns away, a shit-eating grin plastered on his face. I grab a spare helmet and pass it over to Lizzie.

“Here, hold this a minute. I’ve just got to go get my helmet and jacket from the back office.” I turn on my heel and stride off in search of my things.

The back office is the only room not viewable from the workshop. As I enter, I turn and quietly close the door. Leaning back against it, I let my head drop back with a satisfying thud. What is it about this woman that’s affecting me so hard? What makes her so different from the others? I can’t figure it out. Many women have tried, and failed, to attract my attention for more than a couple of hours. Shit, sometimes just minutes. But this woman isn’t even trying and she has it, undivided. And for some crazy reason I want more time with her.

I take in a deep breath and let it out. I can’t take long, but I need a little timeout to gain some perspective and restraint, which seems to vanish into thin air around the woman waiting for me. Running my hand through my hair, I give one last deep sigh, then grab my gear, a spare jacket, and head back out into the workshop.

I take the chance to observe Lizzie without her knowledge, and the sight has me stopping in my tracks. She’s fucking stunning and totally oblivious, which just enhances her beauty. She stands with her fingers curled tight around the helmet I gave her, shifting her weight from foot to foot. Nervousness rolls off of her. Caramel hair falls around her shoulders, itching for me to grab it. I flex my fingers in response.

I take a look over at Spud. He’s watching the scene before him play out from the corner of his eye. His blue eyes meet mine, the shit-eating grin still on his face as he winks at me and turns away. Smirking at Spud’s reaction, I stride back over to Lizzie.

“Apprehensive?” I tilt my head and study her, waiting for her answer.

“Terrified would probably be a better word to use.”

I can’t help but laugh at her dry response. “Here.” I pass her the spare jacket. “Your coat isn’t suitable for riding on the back of a bike. I know it’s mild out, but the wind will still whip through it. Just leave your things here. We won’t be long.” I point back in Spud’s direction as I wink at her. “He’ll be here all day.”

Nodding her thanks, she places the helmet and her belongings down on a side bench. She buries herself inside my jacket, and it strikes me how good she looks engulfed by it. Rubbing a hand over the back of my neck, I try to pull myself together. She’s just a woman, it’s not like I haven’t come across the species before.

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