Available Now from Changeling Press
When the IRS claimed her parents’ home and all of their possessions, Haven lost everything and was plunged into an unforgiving world she’d never been prepared for. Pregnant and alone, she’s not sure how much more she can handle, when her car breaks down in a parking lot. Good thing for her it’s a car repair shop.
Dryden has always wanted one thing. A mate. When the brides being sent to his world barely spared him a glance, he moved to Earth to see if he could find a mate on his own. Little did he realize that the perfect woman would fall into his lap. Her rotten luck was the best thing that ever happened to him.
When certain things come to light about the baby Haven is carrying, her world is turned upside down once more. But with Dryden by her side, she knows anything is possible… even true love and a happily-ever-after.
Haven bashed her hands on the steering wheel as her car coasted to a stop just inside the nearest parking lot. While she was definitely having some rotten luck lately, it seemed angels were watching out for her tonight. Her car might have broken down on a busy street, but the parking lot she’d pulled into belonged to a car repair place. Dryden’s. She’d never heard of it, but it wasn’t like they could break the damn thing since it was already broken.
She pulled herself out of her car, shivering a bit when the winter air hit her. Not that her car was toasty, since the heat was broken, but at least the chilly breeze hadn’t been cutting right through her. She left the keys in the ignition as she headed toward the shop to see what, if anything, could be done for her poor car. Truthfully, she just needed a new one, but she couldn’t afford it. Once upon a time, she’d had everything. A nice house. A fancy car. She could have shopped until she dropped every day of her life. Then the IRS came along and said her parents hadn’t paid taxes in ten years. They’d taken nearly everything.
Pulling open the glass door, she stepped inside the empty reception area. There was a beat-up couch, a scarred counter, and three doors. One was clearly marked as a restroom. The large glass window next to the second door showed it went to the shop area. And the third she was guessing was an office. There wasn’t a bell on the counter and there hadn’t been one over the door.
Haven walked over to the large window and banged on the glass. A gasp slipped past her lips when a tall, hunky Terran slid out from under a car, shirtless with smears of grease here and there. And damn, but wasn’t he sexy? She’d seen several Terrans around town before, but this one had shoulder-length hair, shorter than what seemed to be the norm for his race. And was that an earring in his left ear? Her stomach fluttered, and she wasn’t sure if it was attraction or the little being she’d found out about a few months ago. If nothing else, her predicament served as an icy cold shower, reminding her where wayward hormones would get her.
On the other hand, it wasn’t like she could get knocked up again.
The door opened and Mr. Sexy stepped inside, an easy grin on his face.
“May I help you?” he asked, his gaze skimming over her.
“My car broke down in your parking lot. I wondered if you could take a look at it?”
He nodded. “Just let me grab a shirt.”
He stepped through the third door and returned a moment later, wearing a long-sleeved tee. Haven went outside to her poor car and waited for the alien to follow her. When he came outside, she’d have sworn the temperature rose a few degrees. Or maybe it was her overactive sex drive making her warmer than usual.
“It was driving fine and then just started shimmying and shaking. Right when I neared your shop, it sputtered and died. I managed to coast to this spot.”
“It’s hard for me to say what’s wrong with it just off a description. Mind if I push it inside and take a better look?” he asked.
“No, I don’t mind. How much does it cost to diagnose the car?” she asked, thinking of her dwindling bank account.
His gaze skimmed over her again, a half-smile on his face. “Why don’t I take you to dinner and we call it even? I was close to finishing up for the night.”
Her cheeks warmed. It had been a while since someone had asked her out. Haven hadn’t exactly been popular at college, and then she’d dropped out and her social circle had shrunk even more. Especially since she hadn’t told her friends why she was leaving. She’d been too embarrassed. And then everyone else had abandoned her when the money went away.
“You really want to go to dinner with me?”
His smile grew a little. “You seem surprised. If you tell me you’ve never been asked out before, I won’t believe you.”
“I’ve been on dates before,” she said. “Just not in a while.”
“So, you’re not seeing anyone?”
“No. And I’d love to have dinner with you.”
“Why don’t you go back inside where it’s warm? I’ll push your car into the nearest bay and take a look at it.”
Haven followed his instructions and went back into the shop. She sank onto the beat-up leather couch. She shivered a little, still cold from being outside. Her coat wasn’t that warm, but she hadn’t been allowed to keep the expensive one her parents had bought her. All of their designer clothes, jewelry, shoes… all of it was gone. Everything had been auctioned or sold. There were times she missed it, but mostly she missed the comfort of having a roof over her head, knowing where her next meal would come from, and not having to worry about things like money.
She’d been allowed to keep her iPhone, but now she had to pay the monthly fees herself. Pulling it out of her pocket, she played a game and checked her social media accounts while she waited on the hunky mechanic to finish looking at her car. She hoped it wasn’t anything serious, or she wouldn’t be able to get it fixed right now, and if she didn’t have a car, she couldn’t look for work. Not that anyone seemed to want to hire a spoiled ex-socialite.
The minutes ticked by on her phone and finally the mechanic appeared again, shirtless once more to her delight. But the grim set of his mouth told her it wasn’t good news. He wiped his hands on a rag and tossed it onto the counter before crossing his arms over his chest.
“How much do you love that car?” he asked.
“Is it bad?”
“You’d be better off buying a new one. It’s probably going to cost about four thousand to fix everything wrong with it. When’s the last time maintenance was done on it?” He held up a hand. “Let me rephrase. Has maintenance ever been done on it?”
“I bought it used, so I don’t know.”
“I think you were sold a lemon. Any chance the dealership would take it back and refund your money?” he asked.
“I bought it from an individual off Craigslist.”
“I needed something cheap,” she said. “He assured me the car was in great running condition.”
“You were lied to. Your engine needs to be rebuilt. Your transmission is leaking. The fuel pump looks like it’s about to go. And your fan is cracked. There’s more, but those are the big things.”
“All of that only costs four thousand?” she asked skeptically.
“I may have discounted the price a bit.”
Haven sighed. “I appreciate you taking a look at the car, but I can’t afford to have all that taken care of right now. I’ll just have to figure something out.”
He moved closer and sank onto the couch next to her. “I’m going to get cleaned up and take you to dinner, then you’re going to tell me exactly how much trouble you’re in. I can’t promise to have a solution, but I’d like to help, if you’ll let me.”
“Why are you being so nice to me?” she asked. No one ever did anything out of the kindness of their heart, not anymore. The alien had to want something from her, but she couldn’t figure out what.
“Maybe I’m a sucker for a damsel in distress.”