Title The Finish Line
Author Leslie Scott
Genre New Adult Romance
Publisher The Wild Rose Press
Another night at the races is more than burnt rubber with a hit of nitrous. For one young woman, it's navigating trauma, love, and loss in the stifling Texas heat under the watchful gaze of her brother’s best friend and reigning King of the Streets, Jordan Slater. Home in Arkadia again, Raelynn Casey starts to heal from a terrible incident at college. She finds love in Jordan, a member of her brother’s circle of racing buddies. When another in the racing circle, the guy who took her to her high school prom, exposes his feelings for Raelynn, tragedy erupts like a tank of race fuel. Guilt, remorse, and pain must be overcome before Raelynn and Jordan can race to The Finish Line.
I was laughing with a customer when Jordan made his appearance. I was still smiling when I turned to see who had come in, jangling the bells that hung on the door. I’d lost track of time, got busy enough that I’d finally stopped thinking about those two nitrous bottles sitting on the counter. My smile slipped away. There was a sharp, stabbing pain in my soul as his face hardened at the sight of me. I was almost sick.
I fought to keep myself professional, acknowledged him with a crisp wave of my hand, and tried not to call for Hadley. I can handle him myself.
He leaned against the counter as I finished with my customer. From the corner of my eye I could see the easy confidence in his stance, the heavy muscle that could move as quick as a cat if provoked. He was relaxed, at ease, as if he had nothing in the world to fear. I should envy that, instead I found myself remembering the way his lips slid against mine, the sheer strength of his body when I’d been pressed against him.
My cheeks burned pink as Jordan replaced my happy customer. His presence knocked me so left of center, that I fumbled with the paper as I tore off his sale receipt. I mentally cursed him for making me tremble, for leaving me so flustered I couldn’t think. This wasn’t like me, I wasn’t the girl that went all jittery because the guy she liked was standing right in front of her. Damn him. Damn him for making me that girl, time and again.
I refused to admit I was afraid he’d be angry with me.
The fear didn’t leave me worried that he’d physically hurt me. No, I feared that when I looked at him, I’d see the same look I’d seen in his eyes when he’d told me to go that day. I couldn’t bear it twice in one lifetime.
I gathered the bottles with trembling hands and spoke to the counter, hating myself for the way my voice cracked. “Did you leave the empties in the back with Aiden?”
“Are you going to look at me?” The tone in his voice was placating, calmed enough that I brought my gaze to his, curious as to what I would see there in place of the anger I’d feared.
“Ow, crap!” I banged my leg on the counter, the metal cylinder I’d been carrying slipping from my grasp.
Proving how fast the bulk of him could move, Jordan was suddenly around the counter kneeling in front of me. The dropped bottle cradled in his hands. It never hit the ground.
“Thanks.” I tried to look away, but I couldn’t.
His face wasn’t hard and unforgiving as I feared it would be. Instead, it was as calm as his voice. It was his eyes that threw me off. The rejection I’d feared wasn’t visible.
His eyes were darker than a moonless night and teeming with something I couldn’t place. It was an emotion that terrified me more than the violence I’d seen in his eyes on race night, more than the rejection I’d been so afraid of.
“That left a mark.” Carefully, he set the bottle on the ground and reached for my leg. The warm pad of his thumb brushed across the scrape at the bottom of my knee. Every part of my being responded to the simple touch. My trembling hands fisted to still the rapid beating of my heart. The tenderness in his voice was one reserved for someone cherished. I had to close my eyes against the feeling it brought to my chest. If I could have, I’d have crossed my legs against the way his voice rumbled right through me, steeping me in forbidden arousal. “Put something on that.”
“And the other bottle.” I managed to pass it to him as he stood. I took a step back when he stepped closer to me. I felt it, I know he did too, that magnetic pull that always seemed to be there when we stood too close. “Now you’re running away from me?” His voice was strained. Was it pain I heard, rejection even? Surely not, not from the almighty Jordan Slater.
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Leslie spends most days attempting to wrangle the voices in her head and often wishes she could clone herself so that their stories get told faster. She loves words, romance, and characters that feel like family and spends almost all of her free time with her own family; including a boisterous eleven-year-old that she homeschools and an assorted cast of rescue pets. She lives her own happily ever after with her soul mate and best friend in the northern part of Alabama and hopes you enjoy reading her stories as much as she enjoys writing them.
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