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Driven (Page 93)

His smile is wide and authentic, and I feel a pang deep down in my heart when I see it. If he is this passionate and his face lights up so easily with this sport that he obviously loves, I can’t help but wonder how he’ll be like when he finally finds and accepts love from someone. My heart twists at the notion that it won’t be with me. I push the errant thought from my head, but it stays at the edge of my conscious as I watch the fervent emotions play over his face.

The flurry dies down some as the crew moves on to their individual tasks. Several of the people that Colton is speaking to back off and busy themselves with something in the engine at the back of the car. It is just Colton and the man from the club, and I can see an easy camaraderie between the two of them as they talk.

Davis motions for the boys to come in closer and enter the garage and they quietly follow in line trying to stay out of the way. I remain rooted in my spot choosing to watch from afar. At a safe distance from his inexplicable hold on me. Colton notices the intrusion into the garage and looks up from his conversation, giving the boys a wide, unfiltered smile. He waits until they approach and speaks. “So what did you think, guys?”

All of them shout out words at once ranging from awesome to cool to unbelievable. He unzips his fire suit and pulls his arms out of the sleeves, letting them fall and hang below his waist. His shirt, darkened with sweat, clings to the defined muscles of his chest. The sight of him like this, sexy as hell, pulls at every part deep within me.

“I’m so glad you guys liked it! Now, this here,” he says putting his arm around the man from the club, “is one of the most important people out here. More important than me,” he kids. “None of this,” he gestures to the garage around them, “would run so smoothly if it weren’t for him. This is Beckett Daniels, my crew chief.”

The boys say individual hellos to him and he smiles back at them. Ricky throws out a question and Beckett smiles broadly, motioning the boys over to the car to look at something. Colton stays where he is and watches the boys follow. He rolls his shoulders and takes another long drink before looking up and around the garage. I feel that sudden crackle of electricity when his eyes meet mine, and that slow lazy grin turns up the corners of his mouth, his dimple deepening. He looks like sex; hot, sweaty, disheveled, and mouthwateringly irresistible. He looks back at Beckett to make sure that things are okay before sauntering over to me.

“Well, hello there.” I can’t help the smile that forms on my lips when I speak to him.

“Still think I’m faking it?”

“No,” I laugh freely as he stops in front of me.

“Well, as long as you’re not, then I’m doing my job correctly,” he quips suggestively reaching out a hand to tug on an errant curl.

I just shake my head at him with a soft smile on my face before taking a deep breath. Faking it is definitely a not a necessity when it comes to Colton in the bedroom. We stare at each other, the activity of the garage buzzing around us while we remain static. Entranced in one another.

“You looked good out there, Ace.” I finally manage to say, breaking our silence.

He takes another drink of his Gatorade. “You know nothing about racing, do you?” he laughs as I shake my head laughing with him. “Didn’t think so, but thanks for the compliment.”

“But I have watched it with my brother before, and the boys obviously were googling all about it to make sure they knew as much as possible,” I shrug, glancing over his shoulder to check on the kids. “So, Wood huh?”

He smiles shyly at me. “It’s not what you’re thinking. It’s an old nickname.” I raise eyebrows at him, amusement on my face. “When I first started racing, someone called me Hollywood. The name stuck. Has been shortened to Wood over time. Anyone who calls me it has been around a long time.” He looks back at Beckett for a beat, “Is someone I trust.”

“Don’t let the press get a hold of that or they’d have a field day with it.”

“Believe me, I know,” he laughs.

We both turn our heads as Shane’s laughter fills the garage. Beckett has his arm around his shoulder and is laughing with him while Davis is lifting Ricky into the seat of the car to sit for a picture. “Thank you so much, Colton. For making them feel special for a day.” He turns from watching the boys to look back at me. “For everything. I can’t begin to tell you how much it means to the boys.”

A dark look flashes across his face. “It’s not a big deal,” he shrugs it off, picking at the label on the Gatorade bottle. “I understand that need more than most.” He shifts his attention back to the boys who are alternately getting their chance to sit in the car and get their picture taken. We watch them for a few moments, Colton taking his hat off of his head and running his hands through his hair. I watch him out of the corner of my eye as he looks at his watch and then turns his attention back to the boys.

Tawny’s words ring in my ears. Two months, tops. What if she’s right? Even if whatever we have lasts three or four months, I know it won’t be enough. I don’t think any amount of time will be enough to love someone like Colton. He is one of those guys who consumes every part of you. Makes you whole when you never thought you were incomplete to begin with. Gives you strength and makes you weak all at the same time. I know I am capable of loving him like that—like he deserves—but I know I will never get the chance. Tawny may be a catty bitch, but she knows him way better than I do. Between her words, Colton’s own admissions, my Google search, and my own intuition, I just know that I will end up being destroyed if I allow myself to fall in love with Colton. And I just can’t allow that to happen to myself. The rise might be more than fun, but the devastation after the fall will break me. In one way or another, Tawny’s gotten her point across.

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