Slow Burn (MF)

The Blake Boys 7

Etopia Press

Heat Rating: Sensual
Word Count: 36,403
0 Ratings (0.0)

Tyler Blake is making quite a name for himself in the racing circuit and has everything he’s ever wanted—fame, the support of his family, and hot women clamoring for his attention. But he can’t get a certain bookseller out of his head. The passionate night he spent with Michelle Bradley on the eve of his brother’s wedding still haunts him. He’s too busy living the dream to want commitment, but when he hears Michelle is seeing someone, it bothers him more than he’s willing to admit.

Michelle Bradley is making some major changes in her life. Fed up with months of pursuing the elusive Tyler Blake, she’s ready to throw in the towel. The night she spent with Tyler might as well never have happened, because he doesn’t seem to know she’s alive. But when a cooking class inspires Michelle to funnel her passion into the fine art of cuisine, she finds a new outlet: writing a food blog. Until a glimpse of Tyler on television kissing a woman after a big win sends her into a tizzy. With the help of the Blake women, Michelle kidnaps Tyler and takes him to a secluded cabin so they can have it out once and for all. She hopes the fabulous meal she’s prepared will entice him to stay, at least long enough for dessert…

Slow Burn (MF)
0 Ratings (0.0)

Slow Burn (MF)

The Blake Boys 7

Etopia Press

Heat Rating: Sensual
Word Count: 36,403
0 Ratings (0.0)
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Excerpt

Chapter One

Tyler Blake glanced in the rearview mirror. The competition was trailing closely behind as he zoomed around the track in his blue and white race car, number nineteen. There were five laps to go and he was holding steady in third place, but there was still a chance he could pull it off. That’s what he loved about racing, there were no certain victories until you crossed that finish line. He checked his levels and remained focused on the steady hum of the engine. With two more laps to go, he saw a fractional opening as he made his way out of the turn. He stepped on the gas and advanced, taking the second position by a hair. He pushed the car to make this last effort, but he was confident it could take the pressure. He had a hell of a pit crew, after all. The final lap was approaching. He gave it one last push and took the lead. The checkered flag waved him to victory. Tyler could see his whole family hooting and hollering in the distance. They were there for moral support but Blake Enterprises was also his biggest sponsor. The company logo was proudly plastered on the hood of the car, a testament to their support of his dream. It was a bit surprising how the family did a complete one eighty about his career choice. He had his sister-in-law Morgan to thank for that. She’d championed his hobby to the rest of the family, and eventually they’d welcomed the idea of him making this a profession. Ty Blake Racing, Inc. was formed one night at his parents’ kitchen table when the brothers sat down and helped him come up with a business plan. The rush of pushing the limits of the machine was titillating, but having the support of all the Blakes, including a trademark nod from his dad John Jacob, felt pretty damn good too. The day would have been even better if Michelle were there, but the high-strung bookstore-manager-turned-food-enthusiast wasn’t talking to him these days. She had turned down his invitation to come to the race and had told him to stick it where the sun don’t shine. She had an undeniable fire about her that was adorable, even when she thought she was being tough. He’d been thinking about her a lot lately, more than he’d ever thought about another woman. The flirtation with her—his sister-in-law Morgan’s best friend—had been innocent fun at first, but it had turned passionate the night before Seth and Morgan’s wedding at the ranch. That night had turned out to be the best night of his life. Which was why he high-tailed it off the ranch to Philadelphia. When Michelle told him she’d been dating some yoga instructor named Finn, the thought that someone could actually take her away hit him like a ton of bricks. He went to have a chat with the guy and informed him that it would be better for his health if he stayed away from her. The pit crewed rushed him as soon as he pulled back the safety flap of the car. Tyler stood on the edge of the window and threw his hands up in victory. The crowd went wild as cameras furiously captured his crowning moment. He jumped down and took a photo with his pit crew. He’d set out to do something, and he’d succeeded through perseverance and hard work. Having his family there made it all the more special. He continued to wave to the crowd as team members steered him toward the winner’s circle, where a racing official was waiting to give him a huge trophy. His mind raced, trying to think of something elegant to say. There were expectations when a Blake man was in front of the camera, and he wanted to do his family proud. He’d been coached by his brothers the past few months on how to give a good interview. As he made his way to the podium to speak to the announcer, he was caught off guard when delicate fingers gripped the collar of his racing suit and yanked him down. One whiff of that cotton candy perfume and he knew it was Jeannie, the groupie who’d been hanging out at the track the last month. Normally she would have been just his type, but a certain woman who currently hated his guts had him second guessing his taste in women. Jeannie pulled him close and planted a big kiss on him on national television. He hoped like hell Michelle wasn’t watching. * * * Michelle Bradley’s finger hovered over the enter key on the keyboard. It was time to post her weekly recipe on her food blog, The Novel Foodie, and she thought the Love ’Em and Leave ’Em Peach Cobbler was fitting for the mood. Every time she thought of Tyler Blake, she wished he were there so she could mush the delicious dessert right in his face. She started the blog when she returned from Morgan and Seth’s wedding in Texas, as a way to exorcise Tyler from her system, but it became a chronicle of her new-found interest in cooking. She posted a new recipe and photo every week along with anecdotes about her life at the bookstore. “Done and done.” She closed the lid of her laptop, crossed it off her things to do list, then padded into the kitchen to make some hot tea. Everything else on it would have to wait. December in Philadelphia always brought out her need to hibernate, so she decided to skip the Christmas shopping plans and hunker down on her couch for the rest of the day. She placed her Santa mug on the coffee table and pulled her hair into a messy bun, hoping to crack the spine of a few new books she’d been dying to read. Her new reading glasses were sitting on the table mocking her, a tell-tale sign that old age was creeping up on her. Today was Tyler’s big race and she was conflicted about watching it. She’d turned down his half-assed, last-minute invitation to go to the race with the Blakes. Why should she change her weekend plans for a late invite? Knowing him, if she’d gone he probably would have ditched the race altogether and fled town again. They had been playing this maddening game of cat and mouse for three years, and after that intense, passionate night together on the eve of Morgan and Seth’s wedding, she’d thought they were making progress. After talking for hours, they’d gone down to the stables and had talked some more before they made love. Tyler had never been so open and sweet. He’d come close before when she visited for Jake’s first birthday party. That’s when it hit her that Tyler was different when he was at the ranch. When he was home, he was Tyler Blake, not that jet-setting idiot that roamed around the world looking for good times and infamy. It had been wonderful. Then he’d bolted from the ranch without so much as a goodbye. She couldn’t take any more of his shenanigans. One minute he was running from her like she had a disease, the next he was accosting her new boyfriend, Finn, in yoga class in a jealous rage. Finn had been so flustered he thought it would be best if they didn’t see each other anymore. Good riddance. What woman in her right mind wanted a man who scared that easily? Finn did leave her with something to ponder. No matter how sophomoric Tyler’s behavior, it was obvious he cared about her. She turned on the television and reluctantly found the channel covering Tyler’s race. She hated seeing him whip around the track like a madman. Why did he have to go flying around like that? Because he was an immature action junky who lived to torment her. And just think—she could be down there right now seeing the race live, but she’d declined his half-assed invitation. He crossed the finish line and the announcer declared Tyler the winner. She was happy for him, realizing his dream despite the danger, and the night before each race, she’d say a prayer that he’d come back in one piece. When he climbed out of his car, her throat went dry. Why did he have to look so incredible in that racing suit today? Those mischievous green eyes sparkled and he needed a shave. He had that gruff, sexy look down to a science. Tyler got ready to speak to the announcer when a cheap floozy rushed him and planted a big wet kiss on his lips. At first it didn’t seem like he was into it, but when he didn’t pull away after three Mississippis, Michelle threw a candy cane at the television. “Why do I bother?” she mumbled as she turned off the TV and went into the kitchen to check on the salmon she had in the oven. “Because you’re an idiot, that’s why.” The sound of the text message alert on her cell phone pierced the quiet space. It could only be an eye witness to the smooch from hell. Michelle bit her lip, determined not to cry over Tyler Blake anymore. She’d had enough of him. It was time to move on.

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