Home > Crank (The Gibson Boys #1)(9)

Crank (The Gibson Boys #1)(9)
Author: Adriana Locke

One corner of his lips lifts, catching on to my unintended innuendo, before he rolls his mouth around like he’s tasting a sip of wine.

Blushed, I clear my throat. “Where do you want me to start?”

“How do I know?” he asks, his voice low and grumbly. “This wasn’t my idea, if you’ll recall.”

“If you’ll recall,” I start back, “it’s your business and you agreed to this. I assume you want a say in how I work off my debt.”

“I can make suggestions,” Peck laughs, coming out of the bathroom. “Wanna hear them?”

“Get to work.” Walker shakes his head as Peck walks by. “The fuel injector came in for the car in the back. Can you get that thing on so we can get it out of the way?”

“Yeah. Got it.” Peck leans against the door to the garage bay. His boyish grin is adorable, a dimple set deeply into his right cheek. A mop of blond hair sticks out from under a navy blue cap. “Nice to see you, Slugger.”

“Go on, Peck,” Walker rumbles as I release a little giggle that only seems to annoy him more.

Peck’s chuckle remains a few seconds after the door swings shut, leaving us alone. Walker scoots his chair back and stands, sending a whiff of a woodsy cologne through the room. “There’ll be a delivery this morning from the auto parts store. Just sign for it if you happen to be out here, okay?”

“Yeah, sure. Easy enough.”

Moving around the desk, he stops just a few inches from me. I tilt my head up to look him in the eye, breathing in the masculine scent that I’ve already committed to memory. He’s close enough that I could touch him, could run my hands down the sides of his face or trace the lines of his shoulders pressing against the cotton of his shirt.

His eyes narrow, his lips part slightly, as he takes me in. There’s no uptick in his breathing, no tell-tale sign that he’s thinking anything remotely like what I am. There’s just a hint of intrigue buried deep in his eyes that only fuels my need to make him react.

“Anything I should or shouldn’t do today?” I ask, a little kiss on the words to hopefully drag some sort of response out of him.

“Don’t give anything else away.”

My shoulders fall. “Really? That’s your answer.”

“Yup. That’s my answer.”

“Fine,” I grumble, sidestepping him. I don’t mean to brush against him as I turn the corner of the desk. I don’t really even know how it happens because I move far enough out of the way to not make any contact at all, yet it happens.

Ever-so-lightly, my arm slips across his as I move. Not-so-slightly, a shiver rips through my body as his sturdy body doesn’t flinch. It doesn’t give at all. It’s as if it needs the contact as much as mine in its refusal to get out of the way or at least recoil as any normal person would when touched.

He’s hard and steady and I imagine him enveloping me with both arms.

My eyes flip to his immediately and are rewarded with the faintest glimmer of desire. It’s there, just masked with a look of annoyance that is more tolerable knowing the other emotion lies just below the surface.

His nostrils flare, almost a taunt for me to press the issue. Like he’s asking me to verbalize whatever the hell that was that just sparked between our bodies so he doesn’t have to.

I almost do. I almost give him the opening I think he wants, but think better of it.

“Where can I put my purse?” I ask, gesturing towards the desk. Again, I wait for a response I don’t get. “I’d be happy to figure it out if you’ll get out of my way.”

He cocks his head to the side, twisting his lips together. “Why is it that when you come in here, I feel like you forget who’s in charge?”

“Because I think we both know who’s the calm, level-headed one here.” I toss my purse on the desk.

“You?” he bursts, the word floating on a laugh. “The one who bashed my truck with a baseball bat?”

“That’s a poor example. I was thinking more like the way you stomp around and try to snarl all the time.”

It’s a gamble calling him out, and I hold my breath while I wait for his response. I’m shocked when he laughs, his shoulders relaxing for the first time all morning. “I don’t stomp.”

“But you do snarl,” I wink. “So, purse?”

He hesitates, his features smoothing as he resolves himself to some decision I’m not apprised of. Closing the distance between us, he stops when he’s beside me. Reaching across my body, his arm intentionally brushing my shoulder as it passes, he lifts my purse up with two fingers.

Boxed in between the wall and his forearm, roped with a mass of veins and muscles, I keep my vision pinned on the calendar taped to the desk. As he drags the purse towards him, his bicep swipes against me again, stealing my breath.

He leans close, his lips a hair’s breadth away from the shell of my ear. “It wouldn’t be wise,” he says, his voice a few decibels above a whisper, “to leave your shit lying out and getting stolen.”

When he pulls back, it’s like oxygen is freed up in the room again.

“You think I’m an idiot, don’t you?” I ask, my cheeks heating. “From the truck to the stuff yesterday to this—you think I’m just a stupid girl who doesn’t know anything.”

He doesn’t answer, just holds my canary yellow purse in his hand.

“Well, I’m not. The truck thing was kind of stupid,” I admit, “but I didn’t mean to do that. I just . . .”

Scrambling for words, completely thrown off by the mixed signals from Walker, I snatch my purse from his hand. He watches me, a confused look etched on his face.

“Let me just pay you and get out of here,” I say, searching for the bank envelope.

“I’m not taking your money.”

“Why? I owe it to you.”

“Because I’m not.”

The finality in his voice startles me and I look up. He runs a hand through his hair, the spikes changing position but still sticking up. The irritation doesn’t leave his face, but it changes—from what and to what, I’m not sure. All I know is that the hand holding my purse drops to my side as I wait for him to find the words he’s so obviously searching for.

“I, um . . .” He forces a swallow. “Put your purse in the cabinet back there. No one can get into it but me and Peck, and while he might be a dumbass, he’s not a thief.”

“Okay,” I say quietly. There’s a shift in the air, one that swirls between us and leaves us both a little wobbly.

“Otherwise, just, um, do whatever you think needs done. There’ll be a few customers coming in this morning. Just knock on the window and Peck or I will come in and take care of it.”

“You trust Peck over me?”

“Damn right I do,” he replies.

“So I should just assume I’m not to take any payments or deal with invoices?”

His attempt at biting back his chuckle fails. “No. I can’t afford to get behind anymore.”

If I couldn’t tell he was playing, I would be pissed. But the way his lip curls on the side dissolves it before it gets started.

“My business skills are on fire,” I tell him. “You’re making a mistake, Walker.”

“I’m confident in my decision-making abilities, Slugger.”

“Your loss,” I shrug, heading towards the back cabinet. I lay my purse on a box and close it. When I turn around, he’s still there. “You gonna work today or watch me?”

Shaking his head, he heads towards the door to the garage. “Behave.”

“ARE YA EVEN LISTENING to me?” Peck bumps my shoulder as he walks by. “I get it. She’s hot as hell. But we still have to get shit done.”

“Shut it.”

“Just speaking the truth,” he cracks. “You’ve managed to make it two hours without going back in there. I’m impressed.”

Tossing a wrench into the toolbox with more force than necessary, I glare at my cousin. “This was all your idea.”

“And a damn good one at that.”

I pluck a screwdriver out of the container and head back to the SUV we’ve been messing with all morning. My stomach growls as I remove the screws holding in the faulty part that’s taken two hours to get to. It falls into my hand with a heavy thud.

“Finally,” Peck says, taking it from me. “Now can I go to lunch?”

“Yeah, may as well. When you get back, maybe the new piece will be here.”

“Hell, at this rate, I’m tempted to go to the parts store in Merom and just buy the fucker. We’ve waited all day.”

“And we’ll pay double.”

He grabs his keys and phone from the rack by the door and makes his way out. I watch through the window. He stops and talks to Sienna, telling her something that makes her laugh. I move closer to the glass without thinking, wishing I could hear the sound.

It’s taken everything I have all day not to go back in there. It’s taken more than I knew I had not to look up every three seconds and look for her.

She moves with grace—her chin always lifted, her back always straight. It reminds me of the ballerinas who used to perform with Blaire when she was a little girl. Always poised, always performing. The only difference is, with Sienna, it doesn’t feel like a performance.

That’s the fucking problem right there. That’s the reason I can’t shake this girl from my system despite every attempt at doing just that.

There’s a confidence exuding from her that’s overwhelming. How can someone be that sure of themselves? How can she just blaze into my world, my business, and make decisions like she’ll just fix it if it’s wrong? Who does that?

I laid awake last night with her on my mind. I’ve worked all day today and had a stream of Sienna rolling in the back of my brain the whole morning as I tried to fix this fuel pump. She’s intoxicating, a drug foreign to me that I’ve somehow ingested and can’t purge from my body.

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