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Flat-Out Sexy

By:Erin McCarthy

Flat-Out Sexy
Erin McCarthy

       
For Meaghan and Connor,

who let me live in my cave

to write this book



ACKOWLEDGMETS

I had a lot of help from my friends on the story line for Flat-Out Sexy,  and I want to give a shout-out and a huge thank-you to them.

Special thanks to Barbara Satow for conceiving the original story idea  with me way back when on one of our conference car trips. What started  out as "Could we write a race car book?" became the beginnings of  Flat-Out Sexy. Barbara, extra thanks for giving Elec his name.

Many thanks to Kathy Love, Jamie Denton, Rhonda Stapleton, Mary Ann  Chulick, Christy Carlson, and Chris Nolfi for listening to me whine and  for helping me take a premise and make it a book. I couldn't have done  it without all of you!





CHAPTER OnE


I'VE met teenage girls with more testosterone than that man has."

Tamara Briggs didn't even have to look to know that Suzanne was talking  about Geoffrey Ayers, because in a roomful of race car drivers, the  anthropology professor would be the only one her friend would find  lacking in male machismo.

But she pleaded ignorance because she didn't want to acknowledge that  Suz might have a point about the man she was trying to convince herself  she could actually have sex with on a regular basis. "Who are you  talking about?"

"You know I'm talking about Geoffrey. And I'm sorry, I know he's your  new boyfriend and all, but honestly, Tammy, the man couldn't grow a  chest hair if his life depended on it.

Look at him."

Did she have to? Tamara was feeling like if she did, all her delusions  might shatter. She was working really hard to convince herself that she  could be in love with Geoffrey, but if she had to look too closely, she  suspected she would have to admit that wasn't going to happen. Ever.  Gathering all her willpower, she forced herself to eyeball Geoff, and it  wasn't pretty. They were at a cocktail party to raise money for a  charity that funded research for children's cancer, and he was right  smack in the middle of a group of well-dressed drivers, pit crew chiefs,  and car owners. Geoffrey was the only one wearing a sweater. A brown  sweater at that. It couldn't even aspire to the heights of mocha,  espresso, or mahogany. It was just plain old brown.

All the other guys had left their jumpsuits at the track and had  polished up in snappy suits, or at least black pants with a classy shirt  and tie. Tamara wanted Geoff's boring sweater not to matter, but  somehow it did. He had no discernible hairstyle, graying eyebrows that  begged for tweezers, and yellow teeth, but Tamara had been telling  herself for the month she'd been seeing him not to be shallow. She was  no beauty queen herself and Geoffrey was above all things a nice man.  Yet all those nitpicky things like his need for a comb and a thorough  dental cleaning jumped out at her every time she looked at him, and  tonight it was even more obvious that she was not in the slightest bit  attracted to the man. He looked dumpy and careless and thin and . . .  lacking in testosterone. Suz was right, dang it.

"He just made a bad outfit choice for the night. I should have given him  better instructions." Like not to wear those god-awful scuffed brown  shoes with the ancient unraveling tassels. Tamara sipped her wine,  annoyed that she was being so petty. "Clothes don't make a man."

"That's true. It's what's under the clothes that does." Suz fiddled with  her diamond earring, one of a whopper pair that had been given to her  by her ex-husband Ryder in better times.

"I mean, I could handle a metrosexual man, I suppose. That's all about  good grooming and nice clothes, and there's nothing wrong with that.  Hell, waxed balls make my life easier.

Smoother, anyway."

Staring idly at Geoffrey, wondering about the mystery of chemical  attraction, or lack thereof, between men and women, it took Tamara a  second to process what Suzanne had just said. "Waxed . . ." She spun  around to face her friend so quickly, she almost splashed her Merlot out  of the glass and onto the carpet. "Suz!" Was she really talking about  testicles at this charity fund-raiser?

Suz was. And she continued, "Taking it all off and out of my way is a  good thing, but a girl should know that her man can at least grow hair  on his balls. That's all I'm saying, Tammy.

Geoffrey isn't metrosexual at all given those saggy clothes, he's more  like completely asexual. He just looks like a dud. So you end up with  hairy balls and no big bang. What's the point?"

Indeed. Tamara had no legitimate response to that.

Suz didn't need one. She was on a roll. "For me personally, I want to  know that if I bend over in front of him, my man is going to pitch his  tent. I don't see that happening with old Geoff there."                       
       
           



       

No, Tamara didn't see that happening either. There was no spontaneous tent pitching from Geoffrey.

"But I'm not the one who has to have sex with him. So if it works for you, if he gets your engine firing, then it's all good."

Right. It would be all good. If he got her engine firing. Which he  didn't. He couldn't even get the key in the ignition. They'd only  attempted sex once and it had been just shy of appalling. Not that  Geoffrey knew that. It had seemed to work for him, because he was the  one who'd had an orgasm. Tamara took another sip of wine because she  suddenly needed it. God, what was she doing? Was she really this lonely  that she was willing to try to force herself to like a man she found  dull as dirt?

Apparently she was. It had been two years since her husband Pete had  been killed in a wreck at Talladega and yes, damn it, she was lonely. "I  just want some company, Suz.

Someone to go to dinner and the movies with. He's good for that."

"So he's your manpanion. A male companion."

Accurate, Tamara supposed, yet that sounded so totally unappealing, she  had to wonder if she really had any clue what she actually wanted.



She shifted so that a member of the catering staff could clear the table  behind them. They really should be mingling, not standing in the corner  talking about her sex life-or lack thereof. But Tamara was feeling  downright cranky and fussy as she started to realize that this  weekend-which was supposed to be a test-drive of her relationship with  Geoffrey and if they could take it to the next level-had her sucking  down wine for fortification. And she was stuck with him for another  twenty-four more hours. At least the next day Pete's parents were  dropping her kids at the track to watch the race, and they would serve  as a welcome distraction from Geoffrey's lectures on the negative effect  of corporate sponsorship on professional sports. However, that was  tomorrow, and tonight there was no denying she was dreading going back  to the hotel room with him.

Time to throw the caution flag if anticipating a night in a hotel with a  man and no kids to interrupt just made her want to turn tail and run.

She was also thinking that if she needed her kids as a shield between  her and her boyfriend just to sit through a four-hour race, there was a  big old problem. It really didn't make any sense. Geoff was a nice guy  and she liked him. Truly and genuinely liked him as a human being. He  was solid and caring and safe. Exactly what she wanted this time around  the relationship track. He had been nothing but kind and tender to her,  and this was how she reacted? By wincing at the thought of sliding into  bed naked with him?

She needed to be kicked in the head.

Or maybe she just needed more wine.

But the truth was, you couldn't force chemistry between two people, and  she had been pretending that she could. Since she wrestled everything  else in her life into submission, she had figured this would work the  same way. Unfortunately, her libido wasn't listening and refused to  ignite.

"Manpanion in the goofiest word I've ever heard," Tamara said, turning  and exchanging her empty glass for a full one, not even able to bring  herself to feel guilty about it. She was starting to feel a little  desperate.

"It fits him. Goofy."

"Don't hold back. Tell me how you really feel about him." Bad enough  that she knew he was basically a nerd, did Suzanne have to point it out,  too?

That brought a contrite expression to Suzanne's face. Her friend, the  one who had stood there in the hospital with her and held her hand when  the doctors told her that Pete was dead, squeezed her hand now. "I'm  sorry, sweetie, I'm being rude, aren't I? I just want you to be happy,  and you really don't look happy. He's not your type at all. You're a  driver's wife, Tammy."

Tamara felt her chest tighten. "Was. I was a driver's wife. I said I  wouldn't go there again, Suz, you know that. I'd rather have boring than  live with that fear again. I don't want a life where racing consumes  every minute of every day anymore." She had loved the sport, still did,  but this time around she needed a man with a regular nine-to-five job,  who came home for dinner, and who cut the grass on the weekend. A man  who didn't drive around the track at one hundred and eighty-five miles  an hour every weekend, tempting fate. She meant that.

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