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My life. My way. Until she arrives and shakes my reality to the core.
As a former MC member and the best damn bike mechanic in the state, I’ve turned my back on everything my rich family expects of me. I don’t need their money or their expectations. Screw them all. I’m doing just fine on my own.
Until the day my life changes, and I become a full-time single father to a little girl I hardly know. Her arrival creates a tailspin I don’t know how to correct.
Then I receive an offer I can’t refuse from the billionaire family I detest. I don’t like selling out by being a sex symbol for the family company, but it comes with enough money to give my little girl everything she needs.
And, then there’s my corporate babysitter/boss… wow. Ass, tits, and legs for days.
Maybe I can do this father thing. This corporate thing. This lover thing.
If being this close to my family doesn’t destroy me first.
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My hands moved easily over the motorcycle’s engine. I didn’t have to think as I adjusted one thing, then another. My mind and body went on autopilot. When a bike was in front of me, everything disappeared and I relaxed into my natural rhythm. It allowed me to escape my reality and truly be myself again.
This fix was an easy one, but it was time consuming. I’d been at it all morning and the sun was baking my neck. I could already feel the sunburn setting in. I tightened a few bolts to make sure everything was in its proper place before I wiped my hands and took a step back. I cranked the engine and listened to the beautiful growl as it roared to life. Grinning, I turned it off and pocketed the keys. The bike looked good, but it could do with a quick rub down. I called Jason over and threw my rag at him. He caught it with a grimace.
“What’s up, Sean?” he asked.
“I’m all done here,” I said. “Give it a quick wash. Nothing too fancy. Just wipe her down.”
“Will do,” Jason said with a nod. He went to work immediately as I made my way to the office and disappeared inside.
Jason was new at the shop. He started riding a few months earlier and was still fresh blood. We didn’t let him near the bikes unless he was washing them. He was itching to learn more, but the boss would have kicked my ass if I let him so much as touch an engine.
“Hey Mike,” I said to the bike’s owner. “We’re about done. I got her up and running for you. Should be good to go now.”
“Thanks, Sean,” he said with an approving nod.
“Anytime,” I said. “Jason’s just wiping her down. You’ll be out of here in a few.”
“You know you’re the only person I trust with my bike,” he said. I smiled, but I was sure it looked more like a grimace. This was a compliment I was used to. Almost everyone who came asked for me.
“I get that a lot,” I said. I walked behind the counter and printed out his bill.
“Listen,” Mike said. “Do you ride?”
“Of course,” I said. What kind of question was that?
“What you got?” he asked.
“Harley Dyna,” I said without feeling. I placed his bill on the counter between us and waited for him to pick it up. He didn’t.
“I run an MC up North. Just a few miles out of town. We could use someone like you.”
My head popped up and my eyes focused on his face. I scrutinized his expression, searching for some sign that he was kidding. He stared back at me. There was nothing but sincerity in his eyes. I cleared my throat and looked down at the bill in front of me. I slid it closer to him and fixed him with a pointed look.
“I’ll take that as a no,” he said with a soft chuckle.
“Yup,” I said.
Mike threw a few bills onto the counter and waited for his receipt. I printed it up and handed it to him without a word. When he turned to leave I breathed a sigh of relief, but as he pulled the door open he turned back to face me.
“Listen,” he said. “I don’t know what your hesitation is, but we’re around if you change your mind. We just need a good mechanic. That’s all.”
“I hear you,” I said. “I’m just not interested, Mike. Nothing personal.”
“Alright.” Mike shrugged and stepped outside. The door swung shut behind him and I sunk down onto my stool. I put my head in my hands and breathed slowly.
I knew I had been rude. Mike was a good guy and a great customer. I’d known him for years, but he didn’t know me. Not really. He didn’t know that I’d spent years in a motorcycle club back in Phoenix or that it was the reason I moved to Mesa in the first place. He didn’t know that the club cost me my family, my life, everything. There was no way I could go back to that life. Not now. Not ever.
I checked the clock and saw that it was almost time for lunch. The boss would be here in a few hours and I wanted to make sure I was back before he got there. I stuck my head out into the shop and looked around for Jason.
“Jason!” I called. He ran around the corner quickly. “Hey, I’m getting lunch. Want anything?”
“Nah, I’m good,” he said.
“Don’t touch anything while I’m gone,” I warned. He rolled his eyes and disappeared again.
I tried to push Mike’s offer out of my mind for the rest of the day, but it was no use. I replayed our conversation as I ate lunch and then, again, while I worked on the next bike. When the boss came in and waved a quick hello, I wondered what it would be like to leave this place for good.