People called me a fast woman—not because I slept around—because I broke men’s hearts on the racetrack when I beat them.
While climbing up stock car’s highest level of racing, I learned three truths: Adrenaline was my drug of choice, wearing a pair of heels was a form of torture, and I didn’t have time for distractions—especially from men.
I had one goal—a Cup Series contract—and it was within my reach. Until Grady McBane cut me off—sending me, and my dreams, into a tailspin.
His damn smile, his charm, his talent… his touch. Damn hormones overrode my focus.
The moment the beautiful, spitfire CJ Lomax tripped into my arms, it felt right.
Then Karma stepped in and laughed—Redeeming my reputation meant ruining her dream.
Even though I needed the contract to salvage my career, I found myself chasing her instead of racing her. Her focus, her sass, her grit…her passion. I wanted it—I want her.
Could we cross the finish line without wrecking each other’s hearts?
Strap in… it’s a hell of a ride.
CJ returned with a piece of chocolate pie on her plate but pulled up short when she noted the solemnity of the table and everyone throwing furtive glances toward her.
“Is there something wrong with my pie?” It was the first time I heard her southern twang.
I studied her concerned expression before quickly digging my fork into the chocolate pie Andy put in front of me.
I wasn’t giving much thought to eating it, just doing it to ease her worry. But when the chocolate sweetness smoothly awakened my taste buds. I fell back in my chair, closed my eyes in bliss, and groaned—loudly. “Oh, my God…CJ.”
When I settled back down to Earth and focused on CJ, she resembled a virgin at a Magic Mike show. Her cheeks were crimson and her eyes as wide as saucers. The silence was thick among those at the table as their eyes bounced between us.
Sass tried valiantly to hold it in, but the laugh burst from him. Harper’s followed. Gus covertly studied CJ out of the corner of his eye and then glared at me.
What did I do?
Harper gave me a knowing smile—well, maybe the groan was a bit much.
“What?” I asked. “This pie is amazing!”
CJ seemed to have trouble swallowing.
“You okay over there, CJ?” Harper said. “Gus, you may want to give CJ some breathing room. I think it’s been a while since she’s heard a man groan her name.”
If it were possible, I think CJ turned even redder. That was until she picked up the plate of the pie as if she were going to throw it at Harper. Gus caught her arm and took the plate.
“Easy, killer,” Gus whispered. “No need to waste good pie.”
CJ—she actually began to smile. First at Harper, then Gus, and then at me. I was trapped. Her smile was everything. It transformed her and mesmerized me. Her face softened, her eyes brightened, her lips…God, her lips…
CJ’s body began to shake. She was laughing and it was as if the heavens opened.
It was beautiful.
I did that—even if it was unintentional. I made her laugh. It was the best rush I’d had in…awhile. It was better than when I opened up the engine and slingshotted through the first banked turn.
I wanted to do it again.
Harper and CJ had the entire table laughing. I joined in.
I felt at home with these people. I just met them yesterday, and already I was at home with them.
In all honesty, some of them would probably hate me by the end of the season—including the captivating, complex woman whose laugh I was fixated on.
But tonight, the cool, spring, lake weather in the dimming evening, surrounded by people who genuinely liked each other and who seemed like family—I wanted to be part of it.
Laralyn Doran is a multi-award winning writer of fun, contemporary romance, and dark, urban fantasy romance. Her latest manuscript, “A Fast Woman” is an enemies-to-lovers racing romance, set to release in the fall of 2020 and will be the first in the “Driven Women” series. In 2019, “A Fast Woman” was awarded The Writer Award, given by the Land of Enchantment Romance Authors (LERA).
Laralyn is a proud special needs mom, and an autism and dyslexia awareness advocate.
She lives in Maryland and is a member of Romance Writers of America, Central Pennsylvania Romance Writers, Washington Romance Writers, and other affiliate chapters, where she met some amazing and supportive authors who have had the patience of saints and given her more than one kick in the backside.