Flying Gold, American Heavy Metal, #2, is out today and Vanessa provided an excerpt for us to share with you.
I’ve spent the last five years looking through cameras at some of the most famously beautiful faces on the planet, but none of them hold a candle to the first girl I ever loved, and nothing could have prepared me for the heart-wrenching realization that the angry woman in the driver’s seat isn’t the girl I remember. And that’s my fault. I’m the stupidest motherf*cker to ever live.
Tiffani Ellis isn’t just the first person I ever kissed or the person I lost my virginity with, though those kinds of firsts stay with a man. I never felt more alive than when we were together, and over the years I told myself it was nostalgia, the sweetness of youth, fond memories. But sitting in her presence—it knocks the breath out of me. Sweet Jesus, she’s riveting.
Her skin is translucent and glowing, a sheen of sweat over freckles. She smells like motor oil and strawberries, a heady combination that takes me back in time. We’re flying down the old state road in my new old car with the windows down, and it would be exactly like high school again except for one thing: I’m completely miserable.
“I’m sorry,” I tell her, knowing it won’t make anything better. But it might make me feel less guilty.
She speeds up, a terrifying gleam in her eye, but she doesn’t say anything.
“About your dad. I’m sorry,” I try again.
She barely slows down as she enters a corner, and I find myself gripping the edges of my seat. I reach back into the memories from high school, pulling up the one where she hated her name so I called her—
“Ani, you’re scaring the shit out of me, can you please slow down?”
“You never used to be scared.” She speeds up. “You used to like it when I drove fast. You’d laugh and sing that Coldplay song you loved.”
“That’s not really— Jesus.” I close my eyes as another car hurtles past us in the opposite direction. “Tiffani.”
She slows back to something closer to the speed limit, but she doesn’t look at me. “No one ever called me Ani. It’s not my name.”
A part of me is glad, because that was something that was just ours, something she never shared with anyone else. But I called her that.
“You keep saying that.” Her lips flattening into a line. “What are you sorry for?”
“I’m sorry I brought back bad memories. I’m sorry your dad is gone. I’m just sorry.”
She sneers, pulling up to a stop sign and putting the car in Neutral. “You sure are. What kind of man pretends his car is broken so he can harass the woman he cheated on in high school?”
“I’m not pretending anything. I’m not here to harass you—I didn’t even know you were still in Royal. And I don’t think there’s anything you can say that will make me feel worse about what happened at that graduation party than I already do.”
“You can’t even say it. What happened is you f*cked Ashley Whitmire.”
I close my eyes. I can’t deny it—and I never would. It was bad enough I broke her heart. I wouldn’t lie about it.
“I did. I f*cked Ashley Whitmire. I was young, drunk, and stupid. And I am still sorry, ten years later. But that has nothing to do with why I’m here.”
“I don’t believe you,” she whispers. And then two things happen at the exact same time—we both open our mouths to speak, and the car shudders and dies.
“I told you! I f8cking told you.” I’m grinning from ear to ear, and she’s furious, but I can’t help it. “You f*cking believe me now!”
“I hate you.” She turns the key, but the car doesn’t start. “I really f*cking hate you. Get out and help me push.”
For the second time this week, I’m pushing my car off to the side of the road, which is a weird thing to gloat about, but then Tiffani has the phone pressed to her ear and is shooting daggers out her gorgeous hazel eyes.
Copyright © 2020 by Vanessa North
About the Book
Title: Flying Gold, American Heavy Metal, #2, by Vanessa North
“[A] sexy, modern, Southern small-town romance. I can’t wait to get my hands on the next book in the American Heavy Metal series!” —USA TODAY bestselling author Tamsen Parker.
American Heavy Metal is Tiffani Ellis’s sanctuary, or at least it was before her dad died. Being in charge means her own dreams are firmly on the back burner. Now she spends as much time fixing problems as she does the cars she loves. She’s already struggling to find her feet; the last thing she needs is the man who broke her heart showing up at her shop with a car he doesn’t deserve to touch, much less own.
Matt Adams left town, moved to the west coast and became a big shot. But his passion for cars never waned, and neither did his regret over how things ended with Tiffani. Now he’s back, his dream car in tow. He’s gearing up for a big race, he needs help and he knows exactly where to find it.
Tiffani won’t turn down a paying job, but working with Matt stirs up feelings best left buried. What was left behind them is irresistible, but it doesn’t take long to realize that a few hot nights will never be enough. Sex is easy, but forgiveness is not…
Don’t miss Hard Chrome, the first book in the American Heavy Metal series, available now from Vanessa North and Carina Press!
Vanessa North is a romance novelist, a short fiction geek, and a knitter of strange and wonderful things. Her works have been shortlisted for both the Lambda Literary Award and the RITA© Award, and have garnered praise from The New York Times, The Washington Post, and Publisher’s Weekly. She lives in Northwest Georgia with her family: a Viking, twin boy-children, and a very, very large dog. For up-to-date information on new releases and special projects, sign up for Vanessa’s newsletter or follow her on social media:
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