Driven to Distraction
by Lori Foster (Goodreads Author) ~ coming November 20, 2018
When desire gets this hot, you’d better buckle up…
Mary Daniels doesn’t let anything get in the way of her job acquiring rare artifacts for her wealthy boss. But this particular obstacle—huge, hard-muscled, unashamedly masculine—is impossible to ignore. Stuck in a cramped car with Brodie Crews for hours en route to their new assignment, Mary feels her carefully crafted persona—and her trademark self-control—is slipping, and she won’t allow it.
Brodie can’t imagine what secret in Mary’s past has left her so buttoned-up, though he’d dearly love to find out. Maybe then she’d trust him enough to explore their explosive chemistry. But he needs this job, so he’ll play by her rules and bide his time…until an enemy determined to outwit them strikes and he needs to get close—in every way—to protect her. Otherwise they could lose much more than a precious collectible. They could lose it all.
Mary Daniels huffed as she continued to climb the rock path on the hillside, her briefcase in hand. Had she known that the Mustang Transport courier service was inaccessible unless a person planned to hike, she wouldn’t have worn one of her nicest blouses. Or a skirt. Or the low-heeled shoes that were now starting to rub her heels raw.
Being short and excessively curvy made it difficult to find clothes that fit in a way to play down her proportions rather than emphasize them. She thought she’d succeeded, but now …
She had the awful suspicion that she’d started to sweat.
Worse, as she looked around at the not-impressive surroundings, she very well might be overdressed.
Tendrils of her hair, always a little frizzy, began to spring loose from her topknot. With the late-morning July sun full on her face, no doubt her freckles showed stark against her flushed skin.
But finally, finally, a building came into view. Granted, it looked more like a garage with an office attached than an elite business, but she went where she was directed, conducting the business assigned to her, with the people her employer chose.
She reached level ground — and froze, stunned.
The building sat to her right, but to her left stood a man, his naked upper body under the hood of a junker as he worked on … well, something. The engine maybe. He wore ridiculously faded jeans that almost fell off his hips, with work boots. Muscles flexed in brawny arms and his broad back glistened in the sunshine.
No man had ever left her breathless, but she’d never seen a man like him before. Suddenly her clothes felt too tight and her lungs seemed to have stopped working.
Behind him, a woman tickled her fingertips down the groove of his spine to those low-slung jeans, across his butt and …
Mary gasped as the woman reached under him for a bold fondle.
A big lazy gray dog, which she hadn’t even noticed, lifted its head and gave one vaguely interested, “Woof.”
The man didn’t appear to notice being sexually stroked in the light of day, out in the yard, while working on a car — but with the dog’s bark he glanced at her and away — and quickly came back for another, more assessing look.
Good Lord. Her heart stalled, then shot into a gallop.
Slowly, he straightened. His dark brown eyes, framed by crazy thick lashes, locked on her. Grease streaked parts of his broad, hairy chest, down solid abs, even across a flat stomach bisected by that same downy hair …
It suddenly struck her where she was looking and she ripped her attention back up to his face.
Though his mouth curled in a sign of amusement, his granite shoulders flexed as if in anger. Without releasing her from his stare, he cleaned his hands on a rag, then swiped a wrist across his forehead beneath a bandana he’d tied around unruly brown hair.
The woman, a stunning blonde in a barely-there sundress, stepped in front of him to ask her, “Who are you?”
Mary stiffened. The woman’s suspicious tone made it clear that she’d intruded on an intimate moment.
An intimate moment, out in the yard of a business, in broad daylight.
Struggling to focus on anything else, Mary noted the dirt racetrack beyond the people. Adjacent to that property she saw a drive that probably wound around the hill and to the main road below — which meant she had parked below and climbed those awful stone stairs for no reason.
Well, really, they needed a sign with some directions for customers.
Movement in the building drew her gaze and she spotted an attractive man — a clean man fully dressed — stepping out from behind a desk.
Thank God. “If you’ll excuse me,” she said to the woman, and hurried to the door.
The gentleman from inside beat her to it, opening the door with a smile. “May I help you?”
“Yes, thank you.” She wanted inside — away from the caveman, the model, and the grueling heat, but he stood there, inadvertently blocking her way. He was as tall as the caveman, not quite as bulky but still very fit, wearing a polo shirt and khakis.
Attractive, yes, but not overwhelmingly so like the other one. “I’m here to discuss business with Brodie Crews.”
The man smiled. He didn’t look like a Neanderthal. He wasn’t covered in grease. And best of all, he wore a respectable amount of clothes.
But he said, “I’m Jack Crews.” Looking beyond her, he said, “Brodie?”
Oh. Oh no. Dread crept over Mary. No, no, no.
The scent of grease and heated male alerted her to his nearness before a rumbling deep voice said from right behind her, “I’m Brodie. What can I do you for?”
At his deliberately misspoken question, little Red whirled, her expression aghast. She looked ready to faint. Or maybe scream.
Odds of her running away were high.
Brodie grinned — then winced at the pain in his head.
Her mouth opened, but nothing came out. She closed it again, breathing deeply from flared nostrils.
Gorgeous mouth, he noticed. Full lips that looked a little pouty when he doubted this woman knew how to pout. As he stared at her, more freckles appeared over the bridge of her narrow, hoity nose. Her eyes were vivid blue, like the midday sky or sapphires or … hell, he was too hungover to pinpoint the exact color of her eyes.
Her hair though, he could nail that: Fire-red. And curly.
His gaze swept over her body quickly, but a glance was all he’d needed to realize she was stacked and doing her best to hide it.
Jack cleared his throat and the woman jumped as if his brother had goosed her. She looked back at Jack with longing, then at Brodie with distaste. “You’re Brodie?”
Never had a woman said his name with such disappointment. True, he wasn’t at his best, but still …
Just then, Gina’s boobs smooshed up against his sweaty back as she draped herself over him, trying to stake a claim.
“Brodie,” she whined in his ear. “About tonight.?”
There’d be no shrugging her off, so he said to Red, “‘scue me a sec,” and turned to walk toward the car. After a smug look shot at Red, Gina came along.
He hadn’t gone far enough away not to be heard, but it was his best stab at compassion. He shoved his hands in the back pockets of his sagging jeans. “I already told you no. No for tonight, no forever. Let it go, okay?”
“No buts. Jack and I share a lot, but not that.”
He heard Red gasp again, heard Jack growl, and then the office door opened. Brodie glanced their way in time to see his brother escorting the scorched redhead inside.
Why the hell did that bug him so much? Because she came here for me.
“Jack was a mistake. I want you, Brodie.”
He rolled his eyes. Now she was insulting his brother? Did the woman not know his feelings on family?
“This isn’t a carnival. You don’t get a ticket for all the rides.” Her pout was deliberate and perfectly practiced. If she hadn’t screwed his brother, he might’ve been interested. “Go home,” he said, a little more gently. “We’re not happening.”
Without bothering to look at Gina again, he turned to Howler. The dog had sprawled in the scant shade of the Mustang, catcher-mitt paws in the air, junk on display, one loose lip drooping down to touch a floppy ear. “C’mon, boy. Let’s go cool off.”