Tom Cullen
Pádraic Delaney
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Racer (Real #7)(11)
Author: Katy Evans

Apparently he now travels the country, looking for races, and keeping some home races very tight and secretive.

All I know is that this guy is not just a star, he’s a comet, someone with rare talent that is near impossible to find. Sometimes there are drivers that when you watch them drive, you know they are destined for greatness. This guy is one of them. Sometimes, some people just have it, and it hangs over them like a bright light that makes everyone else stop and take notice.

But does he have it to shine in F1?

He’s ballsy. A little bit of extra ball, but that makes a good driver, and he’s so damn smart and fast. If he did this with a mustang … but am I really thinking of putting this guy behind the wheel of one of my father’s cars?

Yes. Yes I am.

But for a hot little second I wonder if I’m thinking with my brain or with whatever’s tingling between my legs.

Before I know it, I call the concierge and say my friend Racer Tate’s family is staying here and I need to return his cell phone. They give me the room number, and nervously, I dial. Hoping he’ll be there.

His sister’s voice answers.

“Yea?”

“Is … Racer available?”

She groans and I hear her march across the room and whisper out in a hiss, “One of your damn groupies.”

“Why the fuck did you say I was here, Jesus,” he growls in complaint, picking up the phone. “Yeah?” He sounds exasperated.

“Racer?”

There’s a silence.

“Where are you?” he husks out.

“I … um …”

“Give me your room number,” he growls quietly into the receiver.

“No. If I give it to you, you’ll spend the night, and that can’t happen. I’ve had time to … collect myself.” I exhale.

Silence. Then, “It’ll take me one second to uncollect you, Lana.”

Oh god. This man will be the total explosion of my ovaries.

“That’s why I won’t tell you and even if you found out, I’m not opening the bolt so don’t even try,” I warn, still feeling hot inside and unable to quench the way my hormones respond to his voice on the other end of the line.

“I want to talk to you seriously,” I add. “There’s a … I’ve been in town before. I knew someone who lived here. Would you meet me at the museum of Seth Rothschild tomorrow morning?”

“I’ll be there,” he growls.

Lana

I tossed and flipped around in bed like a worm, unable to find sleep. I guzzle down two cups of coffee as I shower and dress the next morning, nervous about what I’m going to do.

Slipping into a pair of jeans and a navy-blue T-shirt, I pull my hair back in a ponytail and reach for my purse. There, beneath it, is my IndyCar drivers list. I pick it up and read the name he wrote on it.

Racer

Tate

I exhale, fold it in four, and tuck it into my bag.

Am I really doing this?

I march out of the room and take the elevator downstairs, keeping my eye out for his family. But they’re nowhere in sight.

Racer Tate may be a very hot, very male guy, but my personal crazy reactions for him don’t need to get in the way of business.

In fact I won’t let them.

My dad, his dream, comes above it all. It has for a long time, and the more time passes, the more important it becomes.

I drive with this new determination to the Seth Rothschild Hall. It’s a small museum that was made for one of our pilots. It sells F1 memorabilia, and offers coffee and “cars”—which means everyone can bring their cars into the parking lot on Saturdays for what feels like an adult show-and-tell.

There’s a gazillion cars parked there, but no red, banged-up mustang.

I’m hurrying inside and hoping to head to the ladies’ room to be sure I look my best when I spot a tall, dark-haired guy inside the main hall display. He’s looking at a trophy. The trophy Seth won for us, a long time ago.

He lifts his head towards me as if there’s some sort of built-in alarm inside of him to alert him that I’d arrived.

I’d arrived and was standing a few feet away, staring at him.

Our eyes meet—and his eyes slide from mine toward the wall behind the trophy, where a photograph of HW Racing Team hangs. Framed in black oak, my father, brothers, Seth, and I stand with his trophy. All of us smiling. I was about eighteen then … it was our first year racing, and the first smile I’d felt on my face since David died.

I watch the expression on Racer’s face as he seems to register what he’s seeing, and then one of his eyebrows starts to rise, ever so slowly, as his gaze slides to lock on mine.

I approach with a very fast-pounding heart, and all the nerves in the whole goddamned world.

“What is this?” he asks.

My flesh pebbles.

It’s his damn voice.

I can’t help it.

I feel myself tremble inside, when I start to wonder; what if he’s not interested? What if he’s not the one we need?

My fingers feel quivery as I point to the image, and then trophy case. My voice is surprisingly level, as firm as I can make it.

“That’s my dad, that’s our team, and that’s the last trophy we’ve ever won since we started racing. Third place in the last race of the season. My family’s dream is to win the Formula One championship, and you’re the only one who can help us achieve this.”

Racer leans back on his heels, crossing his arms and frowning as he listens. Today he’s wearing shorts which display his muscled legs and calves, a form-fitting Under Armour T-shirt on his muscular chest, and his hair looks extra messed-up and is standing up cutely on the top of his gorgeous head.

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