Satellite of Love by Christa Maurice
Reluctantly on her way to a blind date, second grade teacher Maureen detours into her mechanic’s garage because her brakes are squeaking. Her regular mechanic isn’t there but his very intriguing brother Michael is. Michael tells her that he can’t let her drive home with her brakes in that condition and offers to take her out to dinner in his 1972 Plymouth Satellite. Maureen can’t believe how instantly and powerfully she’s attracted to this grease monkey and neither can any of her friends, but since he’s only going to be in town for a week, she doesn’t want to waste an instant.
Except that grease monkey is no grease monkey. He’s Bear D’Amato, rock n’ roll drummer and in a week he’s headed back to get ready for a world tour with his band, Touchstone. When he first meets Maureen, he just wants to go out with her a few times like a normal guy, but as the relationship deepens, he realizes he wants more than just a couple of dates. He wants a lifetime.
Maureen is shocked by his revelation, but she realizes she wants a lifetime too. Now all they have to do is convince the rest of the world.
Maureen dropped her head to the steering wheel in front of Tony’s Garage. She was not going to make that blind date, and depending on the repair bill, might be happy about that. One of these days she had to tell her friend Linda no when she came up with another man. So far they had all been wasted evenings.
She really needed to try to meet some decent men on her own. So far the strategy of school all day and sitting home all night planning for school the next day wasn’t working so great for the social calendar.
At least the screaming brakes gave her a good excuse to cancel. The sign said closed, but when she pushed the door, it opened. The bay to the right was empty, but further back, in the bays behind the building, she could hear clanking and a radio playing. Tony must be working late.
“Hello?” Maureen peered through the short hallway from the obsessively clean waiting area to the back repair bays. The far door stood nearly closed so she could only see a sliver of the room. A tire, a black fender with a piece of masking tape on it, a work light, a black hood propped open. “Tony? Are you back there? It’s Maureen Donnelly.”
Feet shuffled and the radio’s volume lowered. What if it wasn’t Tony? Maybe one of his assistants had stayed late. Rusty or…the high school kid…Eric, that was his name. Did Tony trust his high school work-study assistant enough to leave him alone in the garage after hours? “I’m having some trouble with my brakes. They’re making a lot of noise. You probably heard them when I pulled in.”
What if it wasn’t either one of them? What if it was some total stranger? What if it was somebody dangerous? She fumbled in her purse for her cell phone then stopped.
What was she going to do? Call 911 so they could listen to her screams for help without being able to do anything because they didn’t know where she was? Tomorrow’s headline could read: Second Grade Teacher Slain In Garage, Too Stupid To Know Responders Couldn’t Track Her Cellphone Signal. She should have gotten one of those apps that broadcast her every move. Then she could have just posted to Facebook. Being murdered. Call Police. Tony’s Garage.
The door to the back bays opened and a bulky silhouette that didn’t really fit Tony, Rusty, or Eric filled it.
She took a step back toward the outside door. “Hi, sorry I bothered you. I can come back in the morning.” Teacher’s Body Found Rolled In Rug Behind Convenience Store, Cell Phone Still In Her Hand.
“It’s okay.” The man walked through the dark hall and into the waiting area. His broad, friendly face seemed familiar. He wore his long brown hair in a ponytail and had a smudge of grease on his cheek. “I heard you pull in. You want me to take a look?”
“No.” She bumped into the door. “I mean, you don’t have to. I’ll just leave it for Tony in the morning.” The mechanic didn’t look at all threatening, but adrenalin interfered with rational thought. Memorial Service For Murdered Teacher Tuesday, Local Garages Offering Free Brake Checks. Says Tony D’Amato, owner of the garage where her car was found Friday, “If she’d just gotten that squeaking noise checked when she first heard it, all of this could have been avoided.”
“They sounded pretty bad. You might have worn down to the rotors. Let me take a look.” He crossed the room.
Honestly, he looked about as threatening as the Easter Bunny. If the Easter Bunny had amazing shoulders. “It’s okay.” Before she announced that someone was picking her up, she stopped herself. The neighborhood wasn’t the greatest and calling for a ride meant standing around in it, increasing her chances for ending up in that rug. Better the devil she had just met than the one who might be lurking in the dark. “Who are you?”
He had been reaching out, hopefully to grab the door because his hands were filthy, but pulled back when she asked. “I’m— I’m Michael, Tony’s brother.”
“Michael. No wonder you look familiar. Sorry. I wasn’t sure.” Too much caffeine and too many murder mysteries. She needed to lay off both for a while.
“That’s okay.” Michael pursed his lips. Nice lips they were too. Full, red, very kissable for the Easter-Bunny-slash-killer. “You want me to take a look at those brakes now?”
Born in Northeast Ohio, Christa has lived on four different continents (including both sides of Asia)and traveled extensively. She has an extremely elaborate fantasy life and has been known to forget that the bands she made up don’t exist to the extent that she has shopped for their albums on iTunes. http://christamaurice.wordpress.com/
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