Mr. Lucky by Nora Flite and Jackson Kane
Genre: Billionaire Contemporary Romance
Series: A Billionaire Romance Novella
Publication Date: February 20, 2017
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I didn’t get the job.
This news was the final nail in my coffin. My legs gave out, nothing stopping me from collapsing to my knees in the pouring rain.
All my safeguards and barriers were stripped away; I couldn’t take it anymore. A panic attack wrung me out like a wet towel. My chest heaved with heavy, ugly sobs.
It wasn’t just about the stupid job. It was about all the decisions that had led me to this point. Everything I’d done… everything I hadn’t done. I was only twenty-five. How did my life come to a complete stop? What happened? How did it all go so wrong?
Why didn’t I escape with Zenya when I had the chance?
That one terrible, terrible decision to stay haunted me every single damn day. I was crying so hard that I started coughing; the rising stomach acid scorched the back of my throat.
Was I a professional puppy-kicker in a past life? What did I do to deserve this? Why couldn’t I just catch a break? Just one? Please?
Rain rolled off me in rivulets. It was coming down too hard to hear the approaching footsteps.
“Hey,” a deep, baritone voice said. I was probably about to be robbed and I just couldn’t find it in me to care. It was his shoes I saw first when I opened my eyes; black leather loafers with a shine so polished I could see my reflection in them. I’d never met a mugger with nice shoes. “Are you alright?”
“No,” I said, choking off a laugh before it could return to a sob, then I wiped my face and lied. “But I—I’ll be fine.”
Even now at the end of my rope, I couldn’t shake the stubborn never-let-them-see-you’re-hurt mentality. It must’ve been the hardened New Englander in me.
The flickering streetlight finally snapped on and gave me a good view of the man and his outstretched hand.
He was tall, clean-shaved and had thick black hair that was neatly combed back. He wore a pair of crisp black slacks and a deep, blue silk button down shirt that the rain matted to his broad muscular torso. From his nice clothes, gold watch and lack of a jacket, it was easy to tell that whoever this was, he wasn’t planning on coming out in the rain.
His giant arms flexed as he helped me to my feet. My throat went dry as I mentally traced his incredibly well-defined pecs, shoulders, and abs. Catching his eyes suddenly returned the weak feeling to my knees, and it didn’t stop until it tore a shiver through my pussy that no cold weather ever could.
Who was this guy?
“Your car’s seen better days,” the man calmly remarked.
“What?” I followed his gaze to Carrie. Plumes of ashy smoke billowed out of her hood. My heart somehow found a way to sink even lower. “Oh no!”
“Let me take a look,” the man said, already moving toward my car.
“It’s okay. I have Triple A coming, they’ll be here… eventually.”
Ignoring me, he pulled a diesel-looking multi-tool out of his pocket, bent over the engine and started tinkering. The new angle highlighted the dark designs that covered his thick back. The tattoos teased me beneath his near see-through silk shirt. I found myself biting my bottom lip and wishing for a better look.
Without a thought to ruining his nice clothes, he dropped a knee into the muddy, cracked asphalt and slid under the car.
“Seriously, it’s fine! You don’t have to—” I started, but it was clear this guy wasn’t taking no for an answer. I tried to insist, but he wasn’t having it. I’d always had trouble accepting help from people. Something about feeling indebted to someone made me extremely uneasy, almost to the point of physical pain. I had worked so hard for the little I had. It wasn’t much, but it was mine.
Frantic and buzzing with too many warring feelings, I looked around and spotted the storage pod. “Even if you fix my car, I’m stuck leaving it here until morning. Some asshole took my spot with this… tuna can excuse for an apartment unit… thing.” I sighed. “I’ll get a parking ticket for sure.”
After a loud bang and a few grunts of exertion, which I was ashamed to admit thrilled me way more than it should have, he said, “Try starting it.”
Skeptically, I turned the engine over. Carrie roared right back to life like nothing was ever wrong.
For a moment I was stunned speechless. My car purred smoother than she had in years. Holy crap, I was going to make it in time for the bridal shower luncheon after all! Maybe even a little sleep, if I dared to dream.
“It’s worse than I thought,” he said. “When’s the last time you had any work done on it? A check-up, oil change, anything?”
It struck me how dangerous it was for him to be working on what was basically a two-ton lightning rod during a rainstorm. Maybe it was just because of what my life had been like these past few years, but it was hard for me to wrap my mind around the concept of the kindness of strangers.
“Maintenance, what’s that?” I chuckled sarcastically. I ran a hand over my sopping wet face and hair, realizing I was coming off more sad than funny. I sighed. “It’s uh, been awhile, unfortunately.”
A long while.
One glance at his rain-slicked thigh muscles sticking out from under my car made me realize it’d been a long time since a lot of things. When was my last trip to Jiffy Lube? The oil change place. Totally not a synonym for a quickie. Damn it, brain! I flushed with heat and turned away.
It was hard to think about things like an oil change when I could barely keep the lights on in my apartment. I couldn’t remember a time when I wasn’t just scraping by paycheck to paycheck. Marcos had helped me out with a pay advance a few times, but that was only when things got really bad.
“Thank you so much,” I stammered. “I’m sorry, I don’t think I caught your name.”
“Vetorian,” he said with another grunt. “But call me Veto.”
What kind of name is Vetorian? The question didn’t linger in my mind long when I saw that the rain had basically painted his clothes to his skin. Watching all the corded muscles in his arms and thighs flex as he pulled himself out from under the car was enough to melt away my money concerns, and everything else that wasn’t an overwhelming desire to jump him.
“Can I give you some money… or something.” I couldn’t yank my eyes away from him as I turned off my car. His clothes were ruined, but damn, he still looked amazing in them.
He wiped the grease and mud from his hands on his pants, then glanced up at me. Water dripped of the ends of a few strands of hair that covered his cool, dark eyes. The look he gave me made me tremble down to my toes.
It was hard to believe Veto was real. I wondered what was wrong with him; there had to be something. That’s how the world worked. Perfect guys like him didn’t exist, especially not in my depressed little town.
“Don’t mention it.” His lips curled in a hint of a smirk. “Even assholes can do nice things every once in a while.”