He fought in wars. She plays with pretty flowers. Do opposites really attract?
Tulle and Tulips, Book 2
Jace Nichols has moved to Miami and is going after his dream job as his first step in beginning a new phase of his life. On his way to the interview he sees a woman being attacked. Although he doesn’t have time to help her, and the detour will cost him the one-shot-only interview, a sense of duty has been drilled so deeply into him that he can’t ignore her distress.
Misty Morgan disgraced her family, especially her mother, by ignoring family expectations. Instead of the family filled with snobby children they wanted for her, she’s become a wedding floral coordinator. She’s used to men hitting on her, but when a surly man with a hook instead of an arm rescues her she’s not sure what to think of his anger. It’s as if he blames her for the attack, but she can only be grateful to him. He saved her and her Louboutin shoes that had fallen off during her struggles.
Jace never expected a second chance at the interview he missed while saving a flaky woman, but when the call came he jumped. After the interview, he again meets the woman he’d saved and learns she was partly responsible for his second chance. Sparks fly as their tempers ignite. As Jace and Misty learn there’s more to each other than the surface indicates they begin to embrace their broiling passion. Can they overcome their prejudices to make room for love?
Jace Nichols rolled his bike to a stop at a red light. A bikini bared woman in the convertible next to him smiled as she scanned his body. Her smile faltered and her gaze shifted away when she saw his left arm. She faced forward and fidgeted until the light switched to green. With Miami’s morning sun sautéing her exposed skin, she floored the gas.
The Miami masses were as predictable in clothing as their reactions were to what they viewed as an imperfection or weakness.
Refusing to be bothered by the woman’s closed-mind, Jace continued toward his job interview. Blue Chip Technologies had a reputation for giving people a chance when others wouldn’t. Once. He’d moved to Miami for the opportunity to work with Blue Chip. The position he was applying for promised to be a challenging one, as the company was moving into higher level stages of overhauling their security. Desire to win the job, the first since being discharged from service, pounded his insides while the sun pummeled his leather jacket and black jeans he’d change out of before his appointment.
He just hoped Blue Chip’s CEO, Trevor Masters, was better than the woman in the convertible. After thirty-five regimented years, Jace was comfortable with his status quo, but he hoped Masters was comfortable enough to see beyond a surface image.
A couple blocks from Blue Chip Technologies, Jace noticed a curvy woman with slender legs showcased by a mid-thigh mini skirt being followed on the sidewalk lined with palm trees to his right. Pretty enough. Asking for trouble dressed like that. The kind of trouble she’d get from the jittery man following her at a shrinking distance. She’d exited the coffee shop with her head down and her attention captured by her phone. She was completely unaware of her surroundings.
Jace looked for space to maneuver around the traffic that had thickened the closer he got to downtown, but he was trapped in his spot. Unable to accelerate, he could only watch as the man grew closer and closer to the woman who was approaching a darkened entrance to a parking garage.
Jace’s heart sped with every point his odometer dropped. He couldn’t abandon the bike in the middle of traffic, but the double back wheels made jumping onto the curb without damage to the bike impossible. He was blocked.
She was vulnerable.
Her short blonde hair and smooth skin wrapped in a suit that was both professional and sexy contorted into an ugly image in his head. Instead of her beauty he saw a bruised blonde with dirty, ripped clothes lying on the ground. If she was lucky she would only have her money taken. If she wasn’t…
He’d witnessed and lived through more unlucky than lucky moments.
He checked his watch. Damn. He’d have to interview in jeans, yet he couldn’t ignore the possibilities before him.
He honked, but went ignored.
“Hey!” He yelled, but not one of the people on the sidewalk looked his way.
He whistled loudly and yelled and pointed toward the woman.
One person looked his way, saw his hand and turned with a shake of their head. Dumbasses.
The man was inches away from the woman as she began to cross the darkness. He grabbed her in a tight hold and muffled her at once. Her phone flew from her hand. She flung her coffee into her attacker’s face, but he held tight. A stiletto heel fell off between the attacker’s shuffling feet. Only Jace paid them any attention.
The man pulled her into the garage. His hand at her stomach tugged at her top. Her struggles earned her a ripped blouse, but no freedom.
Despite how badly Jace needed to be on time for his interview, and knowing his tardiness would cost him the opportunity he’d hoped for, he couldn’t ignore the woman in need. He yanked the front wheel of his bike to the right and gunned the gas. The wheel wells of his back tires scraped noisily as he squeezed the too wide Harley through two palm trees.
The few people in the way jumped aside, suddenly caring about their surroundings when they were the ones in jeopardy. No doubt one of them would call 9-1-1 to report the maniac on his bike. At least it meant action was being taken.
Driving as quickly as safely possible with the remaining pedestrians diving out of his way, his heart rate and time slowed the more he pushed to get to the woman. Each face he passed was etched in his mind along with every detail of the attacker and the woman he had targeted.
It had always been the same. The higher the stress in a situation the calmer his body and mind became until he captured the details as effectively as a video camera. This clip included subtle pings of stop lights, upset pedestrians and the hum of his bike motor zipping by the otherwise slow moving traffic.
He bent low and grabbed the fallen shoe as he turned into the darkness the man had dragged his victim into. He busted through the single-board serving as a gate. May as well leave the cops a sign.
The people he sought were nowhere in sight. Jace pulled into the first spot and shut off the motor. Listening close he pocketed his keys, tucked her heel into the back waist of his jeans and moved toward the closest and darkest point of the garage.
The feminine curse came quiet and tense from just ahead. A grunt followed, but Jace wasn’t sure if it was from the woman or her attacker. He quickened his pace, staying aware of everything to ensure he wasn’t caught by a second attacker. It wouldn’t be the first time thugs worked in groups.
“Stay still and give me your money, bitch.”
Jace’s eyes had adjusted to the darkness.
The woman’s back was pressed to the man’s chest. He pinned her against him with one arm and with the free hand fished around in the small purse she’d hung across her chest. She used her hands to claw and slap at him. A couple of times she landed a firm grip and almost managed to jerk herself free.
“You’d have an easier time if you’d just learn to pick pockets or steal purses and run.” The woman debated the harsh sounding creep with a logic rarely found in dire situations.
Damn if it didn’t make Jace smile a little as he closed the remaining distance. “The lady has a point.”
The attacker’s head jerked up. The woman took the distraction as an opportunity. She grabbed again at the hand holding her and wrenched herself free.
She stumbled out of her remaining shoe before hustling away.
Her attacker turned on Jace. “You should mind your own business.”
“It would be easier for you.”
They began circling each other. The other man was wary, but his body shook with withdrawal jitters. The stench of booze at eight in the morning should be shocking. Jace had seen worse. He rolled his shoulders back and moved in. The man came at him with his fists flying.