I"m a tomboy through and through. But when the man of my dreams walks through my door, I want to be all woman. But that"s not how I roll".
Skirts and dresses, makeup and perfume. Things I knew nothing about. With my red hair and lanky body, I was just one of the guys. The "cool" girl they hung out with but rarely dated seriously. Not that I had time for relationships anymore. Ever since my grandad passed, I"d been working day and night to try and salvage the failing locksmith business he"d spent his lifetime building.
Then he walked in. Abbot Cartwright. Childhood friend. Collector of many women. I hadn"t seen him since he was thirteen.
He grew up good.
He also liked to play games. Games I was willing to be a part of, at first. Then things started getting serious"and illegal…
I had feelings and morals.
Abbot didn"t have either.
He needed my expertise, and I needed his commitment.
Seemed neither of us was going to get one without the other. And I was getting too old to play games.Books in Series:Cartwright Brothers Series by Lilliana AndersonBooks by Author:Lilliana Anderson Books
Cartwright Property Management
Grind. Grind. Grind.
Holding the tiny brass key in front of me, I inspected the cuts and compared it to the original.
This was what my life had been reduced to. Copying keys and engraving pet collars to make ends meet. It was the twenty-first century, so why was it still difficult to make it in a male-dominated industry"
Things were so much easier when my grandfather was alive.
You know, I really hated making my business woes about gender, but what else explained it" As locksmiths, our business had thrived with Pop at the helm. Now that he was gone, I barely got a call out, and I didn"t have a clue what I was doing wrong. I was good at my job. I could re-key a lock in minutes, break into your locked car when you lost your keys and even get a safe open that you couldn"t remember the combination for. I had skills, dammit. I just needed some decent work.
Picking up another blank key, I inserted it into the vice and reset the grinder, ready to make a second copy. I hated that my phone"which rang all the time when Pop was alive"barely rang anymore. Was it so hard to believe that I was as capable as the man who trained me" It seriously did my head in. But I"d prove I could do this. A savvy advertising campaign would get things back on track"when I found some work to pay for one.
Just as I gripped the handle and started the grinder, the bell above the door jingled happily, contrasting my frustrated thoughts.
"Won"t be a minute," I said, glancing up from my work before finding myself frozen in place, my mouth hanging open.
I may have started drooling. Hell, my eyes might have bugged out of my head and made that hubba-hubba sound like a cartoon character.
If I was a gif, I"d be Adam Sandler going "So. Hot."
Standing at the counter was this ridiculously sexy, all-of-my-erotic-dreams-come-true man. Dark hair, blue eyes, skin so golden brown it made my mouth water and my fingers tingle. Easily in his thirties, based on the laughter lines around his eyes, he was tall"crazy tall, which was awesome when I was over six foot myself"with broad shoulders and a slim waist. Bulges in all the right places, and just enough mischief in his expression to keep a girl on her toes. This man was grade-A eye candy. And he looked a little familiar.
As I mentally undressed the sun-kissed god at my counter, I also tried to place where I"d seen that face before. Being in a small country town, we didn"t get a lot of models or TV personalities around here, so I didn"t think that was it. I didn"t go to school with him, there had never been anyone as drop-dead gorgeous as him at Rochester High, and he was too built to be someone I"d met via triathlons. The answer was tapping at my mind if I could just"my grip slipped in my distraction, the key jamming hard against the grinder. "Shit!" Sparks flew up in the air with an accompanying eeeee-owww sound. "Fuck!"
Not my finest moment.
The guy chuckled as I leapt back and shut the machine off, dusting my hands over the front of my work overalls to check for singes. None. Thank God.
"You know, I"ve heard of sparks flying when people meet, but I"ve never actually seen it before," he said with a shit-eating grin. He"s funny too.
Based on the heat pumping out of my cheeks, it seemed my face was about as red as my hair. I was going to die from embarrassment.
"Yeah, well, now you have," I replied, trying to sound cool as I removed my safety glasses and ran my hand over the length of my long braid to make sure my hair wasn"t on fire. "What can I do for you""
His clear blue eyes gave me the once-over but showed little interest of a sexual nature, telling me his thoughts weren"t anywhere near the gutter like mine were. It was the unfortunate curse of the tomboy. In my thirty-eight years on this earth, I"d never done cute or pretty. I dressed more for comfort than for display purposes. And on top of that, I had a very athletic build, helped along by the fact I competed in triathlons for fun. There were times when I was mistaken for a teenage boy"but I blamed the man bun fashion trend for that one.
"I"m looking for Trevor," Bronze god said when he"d finished mentally placing me in his friend zone.
"Trevor isn"t available, but I can help you." Trevor was my grandad. Trev to those who knew him.
Squinting with one eye, he somehow managed to scrunch only half of his face up while still maintaining his good looks. "I really need Trev. When he gets in, can you tell him Jasmine stopped by" He"ll know who you mean."