It's that time again for me to share a chapter from one of my works in progress, and this time, I'm doing Torque and Izzy's story, which is coming out July 5th. You can preorder it here.
NOTE: This book is still being edited, so this is subject to change and more than likely contains some typos and grammar issues that I've missed. This is a copyrighted work and cannot be used in any way, including copying, downloading, or uploading to another site.
So without further ado, here's your chance to see what kind of sparks are about to fly between these two mechanics.
Men are assholes.
I try not to scowl as I walk down the mildly crowded sidewalks towards the final shop on my list to try today. This town isn’t really overflowing with mechanic shops, but every single one of them seems to be sexist. Is this place stuck in the fifties or something? Has no one heard of a female mechanic before? Are we that rare?
Apparently around here I am.
Hopefully, the next shop will be better. The one I just left basically laughed in my face and told me to go back to school and get my typing skills up to par because the only thing they would hire me for was to sit behind a desk and look pretty. So had the one before that, and the one before that, and the one before that.
It’s times like these that I really wonder if I made the right decision in moving here. I needed to get away from the life I had before, and this seemed like a good place to start. It’s a decently sized city, but not too big or too crowded, along with affordable apartments.
The place I’m renting now is bigger than the one I had back home, and while it might not be new or top of the line, it’s my own and I can live there comfortably on the savings I have for a while before I need to make some hard decisions.
Still, I want a job in my field, and I’m not about to settle for one behind a desk because I have tits and a vagina. My instructors at the college I graduated from warned me that it wouldn’t be easy, but I’m no quitter.
I didn’t quit when Billy Wheeler told me I wouldn’t be able to climb to the top of the climbing wall faster than him in fifth grade. I didn’t quit when my high school bullies threw me in a locker and trapped me there for hours. I also didn’t quit when every single man stared at me in confusion when I walked into class the first day.
I graduated at the top of my class, with the fastest time on record to rebuild an engine and the admiration of my instructors. Though I didn’t miss the fact that the jealousy and pure male affront from my classmates almost stifled the room when that little fact was announced. The girl beat them, and they weren’t going to have it.
So when it came time to find a job, I was only able to get a spot in town that basically made me the whipping girl for the others in the shop. Which included two of my former classmates. They enjoyed the hell out of sabotaging me, throwing me under the bus when they did shit wrong, and even the one time they tried to make it sound like I had damaged a customer’s car when I hadn’t even been in that day.
That was a close call, but that was the final straw. I packed up and left after my two weeks, and I haven’t looked back. Now, I’m wondering if I might have been a bit too rash in that decision, but again, I’m not a quitter. I’ll figure it out.
I’m brought abruptly out of my thoughts when I suddenly bump into someone. “Oof,” the breath from my lung rushes out.
“Oh, honey, I’m so sorry,” the woman in front of me says, caramel eyes wide and apologetic. “I wasn’t watching where I was going. Are you alright?” She reaches out to rub my smarting shoulder.
I give her an easy smile. “No harm done. I was thinking and not watching where I was going either.”
The woman in front of me smiles. “I guess since we bumped into each other, it’s only polite to exchange names. I’m Rose Fox.” She holds out her hand to me.
I shift the resume to my other hand and shake hers. “I’m Izzy Mills.”
“Pretty name,” she says warmly. “Are you new to town?”
I nod. “Just moved here last week.” I hold up the resume with a wane smile. “Applying to a few places but so far no such luck.”
“What kind of job are you looking for?” she asks, eyes sharpening.
“I’m a mechanic.”
Rose blinks at me and then grins wide, making her entire face brighten. “That’s wonderful!” she cries excitedly. “Can I see your resume?”
Stupidly, I hand it to her. As she looks it over, I silently berate myself. She’s a damn stranger, Izzy. She could be just trying to lure you in, mug you, and try to take your wallet. I eye the woman closer, committing her to memory, just to be safe.
I’d put her at five-seven, with long dark hair that she has pulled back into a simple braid at the nape of her neck. The only thing that gives away her age is the laugh lines around the corner of her eyes, otherwise, I wouldn’t put her a day over forty. The woman has some seriously awesome genes, and I kind of want to hate her for it, but can’t when she lifts her head and beams at me. Her arms are covered in tattoos, and the thick-strapped tank-top she’s wearing sports a logo on it of two skulls and a sword between them.
“You are exactly what we need,” she says happily.
“Ah, who?” I ask, trying not to wince at how dumb I sound right now.
“My son runs our mechanic shop and we’re looking for a new mechanic,” she explains. “You have enough experience that you know what you’re doing from what I see on your resume, but you’re also young enough to keep learning. How old are you, Izzy?”
“And you’ve been out of school a year?” I nod. “See? You’re not set in your ways yet, and that means you’ll be able to handle a lot more thrown at you. The shop is full of hard-headed men, but I’m sure you’re used to that in this profession.”
“You have no idea,” I reply drily before I can stop myself. I wince. “Shit, I didn’t mean to say that out loud.”
Rose snickers. “Never be afraid to speak your mind, honey, because otherwise people will try and walk all over you. Let me just get a pen and paper and I’ll write down the address and the note I want you to give to Torque. He’ll still want to do an interview, of course, but I have no doubt that you’ll fit right in. And if he gives him a hard time, you call me. I’ll straighten him out.”
I blink at her. “I’m sorry,” I manage to get out, “but are you offering me a job? Me? A complete stranger that you bumped into on the street?”
Rose gives me a warm smile that has the tension in my shoulders easing. “In my world, you figure out people’s measure quickly enough. You’re not running away screaming, you haven’t looked twice at my tattoos, or my cut, and you got an air about that’s both badass bitch, along with sweet. It’s an intriguing mix. I guess the question is whether you care about working for an MC.”
“MC? As in Motorcycle Club?” I look at the leather covering her shoulders and torso again, noting the Old Lady patch on the front.
She nods, watching me carefully. “That a problem for you?”
I shake my head. “We had a club back home, but they were mostly just ones that wanted to ride together. They didn’t have a clubhouse or anything.”
“And you know how to work on motorcycles too?”
“I did a bit in school, but not much since. Still, I did well on figuring it out, so I’m sure I can with a little training and guidance,” I answer honestly.
Rose smiles at me. “Good enough for me.” She reaches into her bag and pulls out a pen and a scrap piece of paper. She scribbles on it for a minute and then folds it and hands it to me. “You take that down to that address on the front and give that and your resume to Torque and he’ll get you set up.”
“Ah, thank you,” I say, taking it and my resume back from her. “I really appreciate you giving me a chance.”
She grins at me. “Honey, we need more women doing the jobs that men seem to think that they are the only capable ones of doing. Once you’re all settled in, I’ll be by and we’ll get to know each other better.”
“I’d like that,” I say with a genuine smile. This woman is seriously awesome, and I can already tell I’m going to like her. “And thank you again. You won’t regret it.”
“I know I won’t,” she replies confidently. “Now I have to go and find that man of mine before he starts sending out a search party for me. Any other time I might make him wait, but I have plans for him tonight,” she says with a wicked grin and a wink.
I laugh. “Get it, girl.”
“Oh, and I put my number on that paper too, so if you run into any trouble, you just give me a call.” Then she pats my shoulder and heads off, hips swaying, and a grin on her face.
Damn. This has to be some kind of dumb luck or something.
I look at the address on the piece of paper, plug it into my phone, and follow the directions to the shop. The Devil’s Garage is situated just outside of the downtown core, and when I look around I see a few different industrial-sized buildings, but also a mixture of apartment buildings. It also just so happens to be pretty close to my place a few blocks over. Much more convenient than the other spots I tried. I wonder how I missed it.
I walk into the parking lot, seeing the garage is quite large, with four bays, and separate office space. I head for the glass door, nerves building in my belly. When I walk inside, it’s big and spacious, with a large counter, an equally large waiting area with leather couches, and a coffee area. Behind the counter is a large mural that matches the one that was on Rose’s shirt but with a bit of a twist. Instead of a sword in between, it’s a wrench and some gears. It’s a neat design and matches the theme if that’s what they were going for.
Right now the place is empty of people, and no one waiting at the desk. I walk up to it and look behind, towards where a hallway leads towards what I assume is the back offices. To my left is another short hallway with a large metal door that I figure leads to the bays.
“Hello?” I call, listening for any kind of noise.
Within seconds, a chair from the back office area scrapes on the concrete floor and I hear heavy footsteps coming towards me. I straighten my shoulders, put a polite, friendly smile on my face, just as the hottest man I’ve ever seen emerges from the hallway.
He’s over six feet, with dark hair and striking blue eyes that land on me and flicker over me with what looks like appreciation. His beard is cropped close to his chin, and shows off full lips that remind me immediately of Rose. He has on a pair of coveralls that are a little worse for wear, but to be expected with this kind of job and has a name badge calling him Torque on the front. His shirt sleeves cover to his wrists, but I see some ink peaking out on both arms as he moves.
“Something I can help you with?” he asks, his voice a low rumbly sound that has my stomach tightening. Oooh boy, that sound is going to be front and center in my fantasies.
“Hi, I’m Izzy,” I say, reaching out to offer my hand. He takes it and gives a quick shake, his palm warm against mine. “I spoke with your mother and she said you have a position open and told me to bring my resume to you. Oh, and a note from her as well,” I add, as I hold out both pieces of paper to him.
Torque’s eyes go from warm to annoyed in an instant, taking both pieces of paper and setting them on the counter, not bothering to look at them. “Well, my mother doesn’t run this shop, honey, I do,” he says coolly. “And we’re not looking for a receptionist right now. Though you’re pretty enough.”
I stiffen, annoyance flaring inside me. God, he’s just like every other bastard around here. “No I’m—”
“Look,” he says curtly, “I’m sure you’re great and all that, and my mother has been trying to set my brother and I up for weeks now that my baby brother is all shacked up, but I’m not interested. I mean, sure, I’m good with a roll in the hay, but I don’t have time for a relationship or a woman nagging at me.” He gives me another quick once over. “You’re hot, baby, and I have no doubt that I could have you under me and screaming my name in no time, but I’m not looking for much else.”
I’m surprised I don’t break into tiny little pieces with how stiff I feel. I give him a cold look. “If you would bother to read my resume,” I reply tightly, “you would see I’m not a receptionist. I’m a mechanic.”
He gives a sharp laugh, like I’ve told some sort of great big joke. “You?” he snickers. “Nice try, babe. Wow, you women really are getting desperate now in your schemes to land one of us.”
This asshole is about to get a boot up the ass, but Rose’s face flashes in my mind, and I don’t really want to piss her off by beating her son. Fuck this. “First off, I’m not your babe,” I snarl, losing every last ounce of professionalism, “second, I am a mechanic. I graduated from one of the best colleges in Missouri, at the top of my class. Third, I wouldn’t sleep with you if you had a twelve-inch dick, a forked tongue, and the ability to find the clit and G-Spot on the first try. All of you bastards are alike. You see a pretty face and you don’t look past anything else. Well, fuck you. I feel sorry for your mother, because she must not realize what a sexist asshole she’s got for a son.”
Without another word, I spin on my heel and storm out. I don’t stop going until I get back to my apartment, slamming the door and collapsing on the couch, breathing hard and trying not to cry.
God, I made a mistake coming here. I made a mistake in my career too if this is all that awaits me. I don’t need or want special treatment, but I want someone to not look at my blonde hair and blue eyes and see a bimbo. I’m smart as hell, and I work harder than any man out there to be what I know I can be.
I take a deep breath and clench my shaking hands. There’s no point in being upset, I tell myself. It’s done, and I need to move on. I have one more shop I need to check out, and while the reputation isn’t the best online, it’s my only option.
I grab the last of my resumes off the table, scan it once more, and then head back out the door. I’m not a quitter, and I’m going to make a name for myself, no matter how hard I need to crawl, fight, and bleed for it.
And screw anyone who tries to stand in my way.