Title: Braking Hard
Author: Gloria Joynt-Lang
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Gage O'Neill is an all-around nice guy and an Adonis in coveralls. With a thriving automotive business, a gorgeous girlfriend, and his ADHD under control, life is pretty incredible. But when he loses a loved one, Gage's perfect world unravels. Prone to bad choices, he's desperate to quell his rash behavior. Thankfully, hiring a curvy mechanic is the one impulsive decision he's gotten right.
Eden Sampario is destitute as a result of a confrontation turned violent with her former employer. When Gage mistakenly offers her a job, she readily accepts. But soon, she wonders if she made the right decision. Resisting her sexy boss proves more challenging than an engine rebuild. Her only other option? Give in to temptation and risk not only her career but also her heart.
Welcome to Big C's automotive shop, a place where more than cars overheat.
“Elroy’s wake was difficult. His death hit you hard.”
“Yes,” he said, relieved she understood his garble. His style of communication wasn’t flawed. He just needed the right people to understand him—like the woman in front of him. He considered hiring her but quickly dismissed the idea. His employees counted on him to make sound business decisions. Big C’s liquidation wouldn’t just mess up his life. It would also affect others.
“It’s been five months,” he explained, focusing on the grime between his nails. “People tell me it gets better with time. I hope they’re right.”
“I could see how much he meant to you.” Her voice softened. “I’m…”
When she hesitated, he lifted his head.
As soon as their eyes met, she continued, resuming a business tone. “I’m sorry I overstepped that night. I hope it won’t be a problem.”
He wasn’t sure, but it felt as if she was apologizing for the hug. Consoling a man who lost a loved one was a kind gesture, but, somehow, she seemed ashamed.
“I don’t want you to have the wrong impression,” she tried to clarify.
Still unsure, he remained silent, hoping she’d spell it out.
“I want this interview with Mr. O’Neill to go well. I need this job.”
Cut by the desperation in her voice, he again realized she had no idea who he was.
“What do you mean by the wrong impression?” he pressed, trying to get answers while avoiding his own shame.
“It’s stupid. Forget I said it.”
He kept mum and rubbed the stubble on his chin, trying to figure her out.
“I’m nervous,” she admitted. “I didn’t mean to imply a problem between us, but I’d appreciate you not mentioning that night to any of the guys who happen to work here. I don’t want them—”
“Aw,” he interrupted. “You don’t want them to assume you offer free hugs to men in parking lots?”
Her face flushed. He wasn’t sure if she was angry or embarrassed. Either way, he felt like a jackass for making the ill-humored remark. The same comment he reprimanded his cousin for on the night he first met her.
“I’m not looking, nor want, to find a man.”
“So why here?” he asked, feeling like a coward for prolonging the inevitable.
“I’m sorry, I forgot your name.”
“Gage,” he responded, knowing he had never told her.
“Well, Gage, I need a job,” she answered curtly.
“But why Storm Harbor? You’re not from the area, are you?” He knew the answer to the latter but wanted her to reveal what drew her to the business Elroy built.
“No, I drove out from Eugene. But Storm Harbor looks like a nice community,” she added with enthusiasm.
He hardly blamed her for the evasive response, for he didn’t ask the right question.
He decided on a more direct approach. “Eden, that night, I couldn’t take my eyes off of you,” he blurted as his legs pulsated beneath the desk.
Her friendly demeanor vanished.
“No,” he exclaimed, realizing she misinterpreted. “I didn’t mean it that way. I saw your grief.” Thankful, he avoided saying he felt her grief. Definitely creepy, although accurate. “It’s why I followed you into the parking lot,” he added, rushing to get it all out.
Her chair scraped across the floor as she pushed herself back and stood.
“Sorry, that didn’t come out right. Please,” he begged, “let me explain.”
She gave a hesitant nod, layered with a thick warning in her eyes. This was his last chance to get it right.
“I was in shock. Still am, I guess. I hadn’t expected Elroy to…” He couldn’t say the word. “Losing someone you love hurts. A hurt I can’t even describe. It overwhelmed me. I hated being at that wake, yet I’d hate myself more if I wasn’t there. My sorrow surpassed any logical thought, and honestly, I’m not always the most logical person.” He stopped babbling and studied her for a moment. “I don’t need to tell you about grief, do I?”
He waited for her to speak. All he heard was his pulse thumping. “The people in that bar missed Elroy. He meant a lot to this community. But Elroy wasn’t just…” A lump formed in his throat, forcing him to swallow before proceeding. “The man was like a father, and when I saw you, I got the feeling Elroy and you shared something special.” Her eyes widened.
He winced. If there had been duct tape nearby, he would have considered ripping a strip to place over his mouth. He rolled his shoulders, pleading for the tension in his body to disappear. “I’m trying to find out how you knew Elroy. I’m sorry if it sounds like I’m implying—”
“No, we weren’t lovers.”
Buy Links (including Goodreads):
Grab your copy for only 99 cents!
What makes your featured book a must-read?
Braking Hard is a fast-paced, engaging, and funny romance with a close and compassionate look at ADHD and grief.
Enter to win a $15 Amazon gift card:
Open Internationally. You must have a valid Amazon US or Amazon Canada account to win.
Runs March 10 – March 21, 2022.
Winner will be drawn on March 22, 2022.
Gloria Joynt-Lang was born in France and raised in various locales throughout Canada. Before she started writing contemporary romance, she worked in the criminal justice system—technically spending time behind bars.
As a Canadian, she’s fanatic about hockey, poutine, and apologizing.
She currently resides in rural Alberta with her husband and their two dogs.
Social Media Links: