Aimee Carson How to Win the Dating War

ISBN 13: 9780373528929

How to Win the Dating War

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9780373528929: How to Win the Dating War
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Cutter Thompson—Miami's hottest ex-race car driver—believes that action always speaks louder than words. Participating in a celebrity dating competition, where his every text is analyzed to death, is his worst nightmare!

Divorcee Jessica Wilson has built her life—and her dating service!—on the premise that communication is the key to happiness. Cutter might not think he needs her help to flirt successfully, but her professional radar says otherwise....

But this battle of the sexes gets complicated by an intense, sizzling attraction! Will it be game, set and...match made in heaven?

"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.

About the Author:

The summer she turned eleven Aimee left the children's section of the library, entered an aisle full of Mills and Boon, and pulled out a book. That story started a love affair that has followed her from her childhood in Florida to Alaska, Seattle, and finally South Dakota.
She now counts herself lucky to be a part of Harlequin/Mills and Boon's family of authors.

www.aimeecarson.com

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

Maneuvering tools while lying on his back wasn't easy with the relentless stabbing in his chest, and when the wrench slipped, Cutter's hand plowed into the drive shaft. Pain smashed, and the underside of his '71 Barracuda was lit with stars.

"Damn." The muttered word was lost in the rock music wailing in his garage.

Blood dripped from his knuckles onto his T-shirt. He shifted to the right, and his ribs screamed in protest, eliciting a groan of agony as he pulled a rag from the pocket of his jeans, wrapping it around his hand. His chest still sent crippling signals, but—on the good side—the sting in his fingers now took precedence over the two-month-old, lingering ache in his left arm.

Because Cutter Thompson, former number-one driver in the American Stock Car Auto Racing circuit, never did anything half-assed. Even screwing up. He'd ended his career in style, flipping his car and sliding across the finish line on his roof before crashing into a wall.

Pain he was used to. And even if crawling beneath the belly of the 'Cuda went against the doctor's orders, Cutter was going to complete this project even if it killed him.

The music cut off, Bruce Springsteen's voice dying mid-verse, and a pair of high-heeled sandals tapped their way across the concrete toward the 'Cuda. Cinnamon-colored toenails. Nice ankles. Slender, shapely calves. Too bad the rest was blocked by the bottom of the car. The fine-looking legs were most likely encased in a skirt. From this angle, if he rolled his creeper forward, he'd get an eyeful.

And you could tell a lot about a woman by the underwear she wore.

With a delicate squat, knees together, the owner of the legs leaned low until her face appeared beneath the car. Dark, exotic eyes. Glossy, chestnut-colored hair.

"Hello, Mr. Thompson." Her voice was smooth. Warm. Like heated honey. Her smile genuinely bright. The kind of enthusiasm that should be illegal. "Welcome back to Miami."

Welcome home, Thompson. Like a careerending injury at thirty was a blessing.

Cutter stared at the lady. "You interrupted Springsteen."

Her smile didn't budge. "I'm Jessica Wilson." She paused. "Did you get my messages?"

Jessica Wilson. The crazy lady who wouldn't take no for an answer. "All five of them," he said dryly. He turned his attention back to his work, his tone dismissive, his words designed to send her away for good. "i'm not interested in a publicity stunt," he said firmly. He wasn't interested in publicity, period.

He used to like it. Hell, he'd lived for it. And his fans had been fiercely loyal, following him around the circuit and supporting him unconditionally. Sticking with him through thick and thin. The kinds of things parents usually did.

Except for his.

And now what was he supposed to say to the press? Awesome wreck, huh? And how about that stellar suspension the officials had slapped on him? 'Course, that was before anyone knew his split-second decision had cost him more than separated ribs, a fractured arm and a humdinger of a concussion. It had cost him a career.

Pain of a different sort pierced the base of his skull, and regret hollowed out his stomach. Cutter gripped the wrench, awkwardly wrestling with the bolt again. He'd had to go and ruin his dominant hand, too.

Slowly he became aware the lady was still here, as if waiting for him to change his mind. Some people were too persistent for their own good. He tried again. "I'm busy."

"How long have you been working on the car?"

He frowned, thrown by the change in topic. "Fourteen years."

"So fifteen more minutes of a delay won't be too inconvenient?"

Amused, he rolled his head to stare at her. He was trying to be rude and get rid of Little Ms. Sunshine. Why was she still being so friendly? Her eyes were wide. Luminous. The color of melted chocolate. Cutter lowered the wrench warily. "Inconvenient enough."

"As I explained in my messages, the Brice Foundation wants you for their annual charity auction," she went on, obviously undaunted by his attitude. "We need a fifth celebrity to round out our list."

"Five celebrities gullible enough to participate will be hard to find."

She ignored his comment and went on. "I think your participation would generate a lot of excitement, especially as a native Miamian and a national hero."

Cutter's gut clenched. "You've got the wrong guy."

No heroes here. Not anymore. That had ended with his self-destructing, split-second decision on the track. But if she was looking for a night of sex, the fulfillment of a few fantasies, then he was the man for her. Doubtful she was. And right now he wasn't interested in involvement of any kind, in bed or out. "My answer is still no."

She stared at him with those big, Bambi, don't-shoot-me eyes. It had to be an uncomfortable position, balancing on the balls of her feet with her chest against her thighs, her head hanging low enough to look under the bottom of the car. But her voice remained patient. "Will you please just hear me out?"

Damn, she wasn't going to go away.

With a frustrated groan, Cutter rubbed a hand down his face. He needed peace. He needed The Boss blaring on the stereo, drowning out the turmoil in his head. And he needed to get the 'Cuda up and running. But he wouldn't get any closer to accomplishing these if the lady didn't leave. Though, much longer in that position and she'd pass out from a lack of blood flow to her brain. At least then he could haul her out of his garage.

But no matter how much he wanted her to go away, he couldn't let a person continue to hold this discussion while impersonating a contortionist. Even if his chest hadn't recovered from the effort it had taken to climb beneath the car in the first place, even if moving would bring more pain, he had to convince her to leave from a standing position.

With a forced sigh and a grunt of agony, he gripped the chassis of the 'Cuda and pulled the creeper on out from beneath the car, wheels squeaking as he went. He rolled off, his ribs screeching louder in protest, and he sucked in a breath...and got hit with her delicate scent. Sweet, yet sensual, infused with a hint of spice. A lot like her voice.

When he finally managed to straighten up, he got a view of her willowy body wrapped in a cool sundress the color of the sky in springtime. Silk clung to her hips and thighs.

Her shoulder-length dark hair framed a delicate face that housed beautiful brown eyes. Classy. Feminine. A girly girl through and through. The visual was almost worth the excruciating pain that now pounded his ribs.

Almost.

She sent him another smile and nodded toward his car. "Fourteen years is a long time. It looks like it still needs a lot of work."

Cutter's eyebrows pulled together. Sweet or not, no one was allowed to dis his 'Cuda. "Engine's almost fixed." Mostly because when the doctor had delivered the bad news, Cutter had dragged the vehicle out of storage and given himself until the end of the month to get it done. Better than dwelling on his messed-up life. "Be ready for a test run any day now."

She peered in the window. "But there's only a backseat."

"I kissed my first girlfriend there. Happens to be my favorite spot. Just a few more technicalities to take care of."

"Hmmm," she murmured. Stepping back, she glanced at the concrete blocks the car was perched on. "Are tires considered a technicality, too?"

He quirked an eyebrow, amused by her dry tone. "I'll get to it. I've been busy." Busy racing. Ruining a career.

A scowl threatened. Couldn't a man retreat to his garage for a little one-on-one time with his car without a cheerful, pushy woman tracking him down? Maybe if he looked busy she'd go away now.

He rounded the car to where the hood was propped open and twisted off the oil cap. With the clap of heels, she appeared beside him. Ignoring her proximity, and after pulling out the dipstick, he used the rag wrapped around his mashed knuckles to check the level.

She peered around his right shoulder. "Plenty of oil," she said, sounding amused. "Though I doubt you'd lose much since the car doesn't run."

Busted. Not too girly a girly girl. "Can't be too careful."

"Words to live by, Mr. Thompson."

"Precisely." Though not exactly his motto until recently. With a self-chastising grunt, he shoved the oil stick back with more force than necessary. "No publicity stunts for me."

"It's for a good cause."

"Always is."

"You haven't even heard the details."

"Don't need to." Refusing to look at her, he screwed the oil cap on. "I'm not doing it."

She placed her hands on the car frame and leaned close, her evocative scent enveloping him. "The Brice Foundation does the kind of work you and your sponsors have always supported in the past. I know if you hear the details, you'll agree."

The optimistic little lady sounded so sure of herself. Cutter straightened and placed his hands on the frame beside hers, finally meeting her face-to-face. Her olive skin tone suggested a distant Mediterranean ancestor somewhere. Even features. High cheekbones. Full mouth, but not too lush. Nice. "I don't have sponsors anymore." He raised an eyebrow to bring his point home. "And you don't know anything about me."

"You started in the ASCAR truck series at seventeen. Two years later you were dubbed someone to watch by Top Speed magazine." Her wide, deep-brown eyes held his. "You burst into the stock car series and blazed your way to the top. You're known for your cutting words and for being fearless on the track, earning you the nickname the Wildcard. You've held the number-one rank for the past six years...

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Aimee Carson
Published by Harlequin Presents (2012)
ISBN 10: 0373528922 ISBN 13: 9780373528929
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