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Excerpt: Tempting As Sin

Excerpt: Tempting As Sin

Book 2: Sinful, Montana

Rafe Blackstone wasn’t a prima donna, dammit. He could handle real life just fine.

You tell yourself that, mate. The windshield wipers of the Hyundai were working their hardest, but they couldn’t keep up with the sheets of rain battering the SUV, which meant that he couldn’t see a thing. He followed their motion with his eyes anyway and turned the radio up another notch, because it was preferable to the alternative: wondering whether his emergency flashers were doing the business and contemplating a possibly fiery death on the shoulder of a San Francisco freeway.

If these were his final minutes on Earth, he should be thinking something of a more elevated nature. Reflections on whether he’d made the best use of his time on Earth—the answer was probably “no”—or perhaps fond thoughts of his family. Instead, he sat in drenched jeans in a crippled SUV, his body rocked by the windblast from each much-too-close bus and tractor-trailer, listened to a bloke who’d clearly been smoking too much telling him that he shouldn’t worry, he should be happy, and wondered just how long the car rental firm’s roadside assistance could possibly take. It had been forty-five minutes already.

Bugger that. Time to summon a little more Aussie bloke and a lot less pampered actor. He stabbed at the radio’s preset button, got a blast of eighties pop, and reached over for his laptop bag. Which was why he jumped at the flash of orange light and the knock at the window. Not because he was freaked out.

He took a moment, called on a decade of being cool for a living, and then rolled the window down.

A fluorescent yellow rain jacket and trousers ringed with reflective stripes, a red ball cap with Bayside Automotive spelled out in white, and a stolid face fringed by brown beard. The bloke had to yell some to be heard over the rain and the roar of passing traffic. “Hey, pal,” he said. “Looks like you’ve got a problem.”

“Yeah,” Rafe said. The tow truck was behind him, its lights flashing reassuringly, warding off his violent death until another day. “You could say that. I heard a clunk. Had just enough power to get to the shoulder, and then she died.”

“Uh-huh,” Ball Cap said. “See, you got your driveshaft lying under the truck. U-joint’s broke, probably. Can’t go anywhere like that.”

Rafe hauled on his patience hard. “Thanks. I saw that when I got out.”

“They’re on their way with a new car,” his new mate said. “They told me to hustle, even. You’re lucky. It can take a lot longer than this. Come sit in the truck, though, while I get ‘er hooked up. Safer.” He peered at Rafe more closely. “Wait. You’re kidding me. You’re what’s his name. The Beast, from those Urban Decay movies. Aren’t you? You have to be. You got those eyes and all.”

Rafe considered denying it, but it wasn’t going to work, not while he was still sporting the Beast’s trademark shaggy dark hair and scruff of black beard, because he’d come riding to his big brother’s rescue in the middle of filming. Denial would be a dick move anyway, after the bloke had come out in the rain.

He should’ve gone with the driver and limo. Sometimes, trying not to be an entitled bastard didn’t work out so well.

Material, he told himself, as he always did when things got dicey. Also: life. Aloud, he said, “Guilty,” grabbed his bags from the back seat, and stepped out into the deluge, where he was instantly drenched in a spray of water and blasted with the horn of another tractor-trailer. And did not jump.

His rescuer led the way to the safer side of the freeway’s shoulder and opened the passenger door of the tow truck, its roof lights turning the sheets of rain a ghastly orange. “My kid loves all that stuff,” he informed Rafe. “We should do a selfie. He’d go crazy. And hey. Get this.” His genial face shifted into a snarl. ‘I don’t have a problem. You have a problem.’ Then he laughed again and said, “Except right now, you actually do. I won’t tell my kid, though. I’ll tell him you were cool.”

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