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Former cheerleader Daisy Lee Monroe returns to her hometown of Lovett, Texas, to rock the world of Jackson Lamont Parrish--the bad boy she left behind--in this sassy, hot, and hilarious treat from the RITA( Award-winning author. Original.
Daisy's Back in Town
Heat waves drifted across the concrete as the '63Thunderbird slid from the shadow of the garage.Her big V8 and Holley two-barrels purred like a satisfiedwoman, all warm and sexy and throaty. Thehot Texas sun made a hundred little bursts of lightwithin her wire wheels, slid along the chrome fins,and poured over the glistening black paint. Theowner watched as she rolled toward him, and hesmiled in appreciation. Several months ago, theSports Roadster had been little more than a home formice. Now fully restored to her former glory, shewas dazzling -- a reminder of a time when Detroithad been more interested in cracking sixty in eightseconds than miles per gallon, safety features, orwhere to put the cup holder.
Jackson Lamott Parrish sat within the red leatherinterior of the big T-Bird, one wrist hanging over thered steering wheel. The light caught in his thick brown hair, and fine lines creased the corners of hisgreen eyes as he lowered his lids against the blindingsun. He revved the big engine one last time, tookhis hand from the steering wheel, and shoved herinto park. He swung the door open, and the sole ofhis cowboy boot hit the pavement. In one smoothmotion, he stood and the owner of the restoredRoadster stepped forward and handed him a check.Jack glanced at it, noted that all the zeros were in theright places, then folded it in half. He slipped it intothe breast pocket of his white dress shirt.
"Enjoy," he said, then turned and walked into theshop. He moved passed a nineteen-seventy 'Cuda440-6, its huge Hemi engine suspended from acherry picker. Over the sounds of air compressorsand power tools, Jack's younger brother, Billy, calledout to a mechanic beneath a '59 Dodge CustomRoyal Lancer.
The space just vacated by the T-bird would be filledthe next day with a nineteen-fifty-four Corvette. Thesports classic had been found in a dilapidated garagein Southern California, and Jack had flown out threedays ago to take a look at it. When he discovered ithad only forty thousand original miles and all thenumbers matched, he bought it for eight grand on thespot. Once fully restored, the 'Vette would bring tentimes that. When it came to restoring vintage cars,Parrish American Classics was the best. Everyoneknew it.
Ground-pounding, ear-assaulting muscle carswere in the Parrish boys' blood. Since they'd takentheir first steps, Jack and Billy had worked in theirdaddy's garage. They'd yanked their first engine before either of them had grown their short-and-curlies.They could tell a 260 V8 from a 289 withtheir eyes closed and could rebuild fuel injectors intheir sleep. Proud native sons of Lovett, Texas, populationnineteen thousand three, the Parrish boyshad grown up loving football, cold beer, and tearingup asphalt on the flat open roads -- usually whilesome big-haired, loose-moraled female repaired herlipstick in the rearview mirror.
The boys had been raised in a small three-bedroomhouse behind the garage. The originalshop was gone now. Torn down and replaced by abigger, more modern space with eight bays. Theyard behind the garage had been cleaned up. Theold cars and junked parts had been towed awaylong ago.
The house was the same, though. Same roses theirmama had planted, same patches of dirt and grassbeneath the towering elm. Same concrete porch andthe same screen door that needed a good dose ofWD40. The house had just been given a fresh coat ofpaint, inside and out. The same white color as before.The only real difference was that Jack nowlived there alone.
Seven years ago, Billy had married Rhonda Valenciaand had happily given up his wild ways for domesticbliss. As far as anyone in town could recall,Jack had never been tempted to give up his wildways. As far as they knew, he'd never met a womanwho'd made him want a one-on-one. Aforever.
But they didn't know everything.
Jack made his way to his office at the rear of thegarage and closed the door. He stuck the check in a desk drawer and pulled out his chair. Before he'dpurchased the '54 Corvette, he'd searched out herhistory then flown to California to inspect her tomake sure there wasn't any serious damage to thestructural integrity of the car. Searching the historyof a vehicle, finding replacement parts, and restoringit, compelled him and kept at him until the vehiclewas once again perfect. Fixed. Better. Whole.
Penny Kribs, Jack's secretary, walked into his officeand handed him the day's mail. "I'm leaving toget my hair done," she reminded him.
Jack looked up at the wispy black pile on top ofPenny's head. He'd gone through all twelve years ofschool with Penny, and he'd played on the footballteam with her husband, Leon.
He rose and set the mail on his desk. "You goin' toget yourself beautiful for me?"
She had rings on just about every finger and longpink nails that curled like claws. He'd often wonderedhow she typed without hitting extra keys ormanaged to put on all that mascara without pokingout an eye. He didn't even want to think about herwrapping her hand around Leon's johnson. Thethought sent a shiver down his backside.
"Of course," she said through a smile. "You knowyou've always been my first love."
Yeah, he knew. In the third grade, Penny'd toldhim she loved him then she'd kicked him in the shinwith her black patent leather shoes ...
Excerpted from Daisy's Back in Town by Rachel Gibson All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.