Home > Collision Course (Body Shop Bad Boys #4)

Collision Course (Body Shop Bad Boys #4)
Author: Marie Harte

Chapter 1

   “Two dozen red roses and I’m sorry I screwed your sister?” Josephine “Joey” Reeves stared at the thirtysomething guy in front of her counter, thinking she must have misheard him.

   “Yeah, that doesn’t sound so good.” He sighed, finger-combed back his trendy bangs, and frowned. “I was going to go with ‘Sorry I fucked your sister,’ but that’s a little crude. Probably just ‘I slept with your sister,’ right? That’s better.”

   She blinked, wondering at his level of stupidity. “Um, well, how about ending at just ‘I’m sorry’?”

   He considered that and nodded. “Hey, yeah. That’ll work. Do I need to sign the card? Maybe you could write that for me. My handwriting sucks.”

   So does your ability to be in a committed relationship. Joey shrugged. “It’s your call. But if it were me, I’d prefer a note from the person who’s sorry, not from the woman selling him flowers.”

   Her customer brightened and chose a note card from the stack on the counter. “Good call. Hey, add another dozen while you’re at it. She loves roses.”

   Joey tallied up the order while he signed the card, then took it from him. The guy really did have crappy handwriting. After he paid and left, she tucked the note into the folder of orders due to go out in another hour. For a Monday afternoon, the day had gone as expected and then some. The store hadn’t been chock-full of customers, but it hadn’t been empty either. Late spring in Seattle had most people out and about working on their gardens, not inside shopping for hothouse blooms.

   Still, enough anniversaries, birthdays, and relationship disasters had brought a consistent flow of customers into S&J Floral to make Stef, Joey’s boss, more than happy.

   Joey hummed as she organized, thrilled that she’d gotten the hoped-for promotion to manager that morning. She’d worked her butt off for it, and that diligence had paid off. She wanted to sing and dance, proclaim her triumph to the masses.

   Except it was just her, Tonya in the back putting together floral arrangements, and a random half-dozen shoppers perusing the store. It had been Joey’s idea to add some upscale gifts to their merchandise. Buying teddy bears, pretty glass ornaments, and knickknacks went hand in hand with buying flowers. S&J had seen a boost in revenue since last December when they’d implemented the big change.

   Thank God it had worked. Joey appreciated Stef taking a risk by believing in her. And now…a promotion to manager and a $50K salary! With this money, she and Brandon could finally move out of her parents’ place and start fresh, away from the history of mistakes her family never let her forget. She couldn’t wait to tell her best friend Becky the good news.

   Determined to start over again, Joey dug into her orders and updated delivery times, getting in touch with their new delivery guy, a cute twenty-year-old who’d no doubt soon be rolling in tips.

   “Well, hello there.”

   She glanced up from the counter and froze.

   “You work here?” A large grin creased a face she’d tried hard to forget.

   The man who’d been haunting her sleep, who’d dogged her through a wedding and sizzled her already-frazzled nerves, looked even better in the hard light of day.

   “H-hello.” She coughed, trying to hide the fact that her voice shook. When she could breathe without hyperventilating, she said, “Sorry. What can I do for you today?”

   The look he shot her had her ovaries doing somersaults and her brain shutting clean off.

   The first time she’d seen him had been on a visit to her first wedding client ever, and she’d been floored. The guys who worked at Webster’s Garage all looked larger than life, covered in tattoos, muscles, and that indefinable sense of danger they wore like a second skin. But it had been this guy. Webster’s paint specialist. The tall Latin lover with dark-brown eyes and lips made for kissing, who had snared her.

   He had a way of raising one brow in question or command that turned her entire body into his personal cheering section.

   “…for some flowers. I dunno. Something that looks like I put thought into it?”

   Focus, Joey. Be professional. This isn’t personal. Don’t get all gooey on the man. “Ah, budget?”

   He sighed. “For Stella, it has to be decent. Girl is like a human calculator when it comes to anything with value. If I skimp, she’ll know,” he said, still grinning. He took the binder she slid to him and leafed through the floral selections. “I’m Lou Cortez, by the way.”

   “I remember.” He’d only introduced himself once, months ago in the garage while she’d been going over flower choices with his boss. But Joey had never forgotten those broad shoulders, chiseled chin, or bright white smile. Wow, was he too hot to handle.

   She’d kept her distance—or at least tried to. She’d been invited to the wedding, having become friends with the bride. Of course, all the woman’s employees had been invited as well. Joey had done her best to steer clear of the man women seemed to drool over. Talk about trouble she didn’t need.

   She realized he’d stopped looking through the binder and was staring straight at her. More like through her. Wow. How did he do that? Bring so much concentration and intensity, she felt as if his gaze reached out and wrapped around her, holding her still?

   And why, when confronted with all that masculinity, did she want to stammer and obey any darn thing he said? She had to force herself to be strong, to speak. But she just stared, mute, at so much male prettiness.

   His smile deepened. “And your name would be…?” God, a dimple appeared on his left cheek.

   A dimple. Kill me now. Breathe, dummy. You can handle this. It’s business. “Oh, right. I’m Joey.”

   “You don’t look like a Joey,” he murmured.

   Her heart raced, and she forced herself to maintain eye contact. “Short for Josephine. So the flowers. Did you find anything you like?”

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