Published by Changeling Press
Cover Artist: Renee George
Genres/Themes: Second Chance Romance, Dark Fantasy, Shapeshifters
After rehab, Lauren King returns to the only home she has… a rock star’s compound everyone calls The Pit. She also returns to her only friend… an antique German motorcycle she’s nicknamed Jake.
Little does she know that the cycles Klaus Mannhof made have the ability to shift into human men. Mannhof designed Jake especially for Lauren. Using his special brand of magic, Jake’s going to teach her to love him — and to love herself as well.
Praise for Driven to the Limit (Mannhof 2)
“A surprisingly poignant story about what happens when people lose themselves and get involved with the wrong people….Alice Gaines has written a wonderful addition to her series about Klaus Mannhof and his creations and I can’t wait to read more books in this series!”— 4.5 from Kerin, TwoLips Reviews
“I am not walking, but running to get the first one to read. I loved how different this story was from the usual. The author took a woman that was kind of broken and gave her a man that showed her that she was worth so much more than what she thought she was. It was very well written and I look forward to reading more by this author.”— Nicole Harvey, ParaNormalRomance.org
All rights reserved.
Copyright ©2022 Alice Gaines
An Authorized Excerpt
After rehab, Lauren King went right back into The Pit.
Kid Dagger’s ranch and recording compound had a huge main house, three guest cottages, a recording studio, tennis courts, a state-of-the-art gym, and an Olympic-sized swimming pool. But everyone who worked there called it The Pit. The nickname fit Dagger’s personality, which on a good day bordered on psychotic. Bad days didn’t bear thinking about.
Still, Lauren had called the place home for over ten years. Her job was here. Frankly, she had nowhere else to go.
As soon as she dropped her suitcase in her room, she went out to her only safe place — the small garage behind the larger one where Dagger kept his collectible cars.
She flicked on the light and looked at the closest thing she had for a friend — the antique German motorcycle. The Mannhof. “Hi, Jake.”
The bike never answered, of course. Still, she felt a link to it. The Mannhof resisted all of Dagger’s attempts to control it, something she’d never managed.
She walked to the bike and ran a hand over the leather seat. “What’s a nice machine like you doing in a place like this?”
“You decided to come back.”
Dagger’s voice. She turned and found him standing the doorway. “Did I have any choice?”
“We all have choices.” He dangled a baggie with a quarter of an inch of white powder in it. “Want some?”
She stared at him. Only Dagger would offer cocaine to someone just back from rehab. “I gave up poison for Lent.”
Anger flashed in his small, brown eyes for a minute, and then he gave her one of his phony smiles. “Okay, then, how about a quick fuck?”
“Like I said. I gave up poison for Lent.”
“Your loss.” He crossed his arms over his bare chest and leaned against the doorframe. Without the elaborate stage make-up and the costume that gave him a huge crotch bulge, Dagger, whose real name was Craig, looked like everyone’s little brother’s creepy friend. The one who kept trying to set puppies’ tails on fire. Somehow, millions of girls found him sexy. Lauren had once, but then she’d gotten to know him. She’d also seen him flipped out on various substances. Someday, he’d hurt someone — badly.
He stared at her for a minute, as if expecting her to change her mind and jump his bones. Finally, he pushed away from the wall. “Get back to work. Media bookings went to hell while you were gone.”
She sighed. “In a few minutes.”
“You going to stay out here with that hunk of junk?”
“It’s one of the finest motorcycles ever built. You paid half-a-mil for it.”
“It doesn’t run.”
True, the Mannhof had refused to start ever since the auction house had delivered it. No mechanic had ever managed to fix it, either. Hopelessly broken, just like herself. No wonder they’d become friends.
“Junk.” Dagger waved a hand at the bike. “Someday, I’m going to melt it down into a paperweight.”
“Have I told you lately that you suck?”
“Yeah, fuck you too.” He turned and left the garage.
She looked down at the bike, her friend, Jake. “Don’t worry. As long as I’m around, no one’s going to turn you into a paperweight.”
She walked to the door, switched off the light, and turned to go into the house.
Why do you put up with him?
Huh? “Who said that?”
She flipped the switch again and looked around. The room was empty except for herself and the bike. Come to think of it, the words had formed in her brain rather than coming in through her ears.
I’m glad you’re home, Schatzie. I missed you.
Her eyes widened as she stared at the Mannhof. “Did you say that?”
The air shifted around the bike, seeming to turn liquid. Currents shimmered around the tires, the gas tank, the handlebars. She rubbed her eyes, but the image didn’t get any clearer.
Holy shit. Was this some kind of withdrawal-induced hallucination? She hadn’t even done that in rehab. Rough nights, yes. Air you could swim through, no.
She backed up until her rump hit the wall and stood there on weakening knees. In the middle of the room, a light radiated from the Mannhof, making the bike’s image even harder to see. She squinted, staring into the waves of light and air around Jake. Something was happening in there. Some kind of changes taking place. The tires seemed to melt and change color from rubber to a pale tone that looked for all the world like human flesh.
Oh, no. Too weird. Too fucking weird. Some kind of Invasion of the Body Snatchers in reverse. After all she’d gone through, her mind had snapped. The counselors should have warned her.
Now useless, her legs gave way, and she slid down the wall until she sat on her butt, hugging herself.
The changes in the middle of the room continued. The form shrunk, curling into a ball of what looked like human flesh. A person. A man, lying on the floor in a fetal position without a stitch of clothing on his body. The glow disappeared, and the air went clear again, leaving only the man — powerful legs pulled up against his body with the ankles crossed. An adult-sized human baby.
A voice whimpered in fear. Her own voice. Her heart hammered in her chest, and her throat constricted. If she could get any strength in her legs, she could get up and run like hell. Still, as spooky as the whole experience was, it was pretty cool in a Hollywood, special effects way.
The person moved finally, sitting up. Buck naked, the man had pale skin and platinum hair that hung around his face to the jaw line. His eyes opened, revealing irises so crystal blue they almost seemed transparent. He smiled, his face taking on an innocent look of delight, like a baby who’d just learned to smile. He took a deep breath, or rather, the air around him went into his chest in a whoosh. Then, he opened his mouth and a sound came out — the deep roar of a motorcycle engine revving.
The sound plastered her against the wall, stealing her own breath. She sat there paralyzed for a moment, staring at him. He made no move toward her but gave her the most beautiful smile she’d ever seen on a man’s face.
“Holy shit,” she whispered. “Who are you?”
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
USA Today bestselling author Alice Gaines has published several sensuous and erotic works. She prefers stories that stretch the imagination, highlighting the power of love and sex. Alice has a Ph.D. in psychology from U. C. Berkeley and lives in Oakland, California, with her collection of orchids and her pet corn snake, Casper.