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Authors: Tina Donahue

Sensual Stranger

Sensual Stranger

Tina Donahue


Into his life she


It’s no ordinary morning when Toni arrives
at Zach’s garage. Flat broke, with a past she won’t share, Toni is instantly
taken by such a potently virile man. Direct and unashamed, she tells him she’s
a motorcycle performance artist who needs work and knows motors.

Zach knows women, and Toni is
unlike any he’s met. Lushly sensuous, exceedingly assured, she’d easily be his
match in business and bed. A provocative challenge that stirs him as nothing
has since losing his wife. A chance he’s reluctant to take. He offers no more than
a month’s employment then she’ll have to be on her way.

The hours tick by. Each word and
glance intensifies their escalating desire, forcing them to surrender to
passion and Toni’s need for Zach’s dominance. Driven by carnal hunger,
conquered by yearning, they face the unforeseen truth of Toni’s past and a
future neither of them expected.


An Ellora’s Cave Romantica




Sensual Stranger


ISBN 9781419932366


Sensual Stranger Copyright 2010 Tina Donahue


Edited by Briana St. James

Cover art by Valerie Tibbs


Electronic book publication December 2010


The terms Romantica® and Quickies® are registered trademarks of
Ellora’s Cave Publishing.


With the exception of quotes used in reviews, this book may not
be reproduced or used in whole or in part by any means existing without written
permission from the publisher, Ellora’s Cave Publishing, Inc.® 1056 Home
Avenue, Akron OH 44310-3502.


Warning: The unauthorized reproduction or distribution of this
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( Please purchase only authorized electronic or print
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This book is a work of fiction and any resemblance to persons,
living or dead, or places, events or locales is purely coincidental. The
characters are productions of the author’s imagination and used fictitiously.

Sensual Stranger

Tina Donahue



To those lucky individuals who’ve had a second chance at

Trademarks Acknowledgement


The author acknowledges the trademarked status and trademark
owners of the following wordmarks mentioned in this work of fiction:


Advil: American Home Products Corporation

American Express: American Express Company Corporation

Betty Boop: Fleischer Studios, Inc. Corporation

Budweiser: Anheuser-Busch, Incorporated Corporation

Cadillac: General Motors LLC

Camel: R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Company Corporation

Chrysler: Chrysler Group LLC

Coke: The Coca-Cola Company Corporation

Coors: Coors Brewing Company Corporation

Dodge: DaimlerChrysler Corporation

Ford: Ford Motor Company Corporation

Formica: Formica Corporation

Fruit of the Loom: Fruit of the Loom, Inc. Corporation

Honda: Giken Kogyo Kabushiki Kaisha-Honda Motor Company, LTD

Hyundai: Hyundai Motor Company Stock Company Republic of

Jockey: Jockey International, Inc.

Johnny Cash: Cash, John R. DBA Johnny Cash Individual

Lexus: Toyota Jidosha Kabushiki Kaisha TA Toyota Motor

Lincoln: Ford Motor Company Corporation

MasterCard: MasterCard International Incorporated

Saturn: Saturn Corporation

Tim McGraw: McGraw, Tim Individual

Toyota: Toyota Jidosha Kabushiki Kaisha TA Toyota Motor

Tylenol: The Tylenol Company Corporation

Visa: Visa International Service Association Corporation

Windows: Microsoft Corporation

Yahoo!: Yahoo! Inc.

YouTube: Google Inc.

YWCA: National Board of the Young Women’s Christian Association
of the U.S.A.


Chapter One


With her left shoulder propped against a wooden building,
she caught sight of a man across the street.

Her pulse picked up. She forgot to breathe.

He stood near the far left bay of Brody’s Auto Repair. In
his large hand, she saw a clipboard with several sheets of paper, possibly work
orders. Head lifted, he regarded the shop’s metal doors as they finished
rattling upward, opening for the day’s business. A quick glance told her no
other employees had arrived, nor were there any customers waiting at the
building’s glass front door.

The strains of an old Tim McGraw song poured from inside the
work area, the singer’s resonant voice subdued by heartache.

Her attention returned to the man. Seconds before she’d been
fatigued, uncertain. Now a buzz of interest coursed through her as she trickled
her gaze down his impressive length. Surely over six feet, looking to be in his
early thirties, he filled out his white cotton tee and worn jeans nicely.

She managed a small breath, needing it as her gaze caressed
the solid planes of his body—broad shoulders, sculpted chest, muscular biceps.
Faded denim hugged his powerful legs and the meaty bulge behind his fly.

Despite the day’s mounting heat, her mouth watered. She
lifted her gaze from his scuffed cowboy boots back to the thick ridge of male
flesh between his legs.

He turned to the side, taking it from her view.

Disappointed, she glanced at his hair, light brown with
streaks of blond, worn longish on the top and sides, wonderfully tousled. As
though he’d combed it with his fingers when he’d rolled out of bed this

He certainly hadn’t shaved.

Inhaling deeply this time, she released her breath in a sigh
at those short, dark bristles shadowing his cheeks, firm jaw and upper lip, his
beginning beard virile and wholly masculine, complementing his rich, sensuous

Her pulse drubbed as she continued to stare. Her mind
wandered wantonly, imagining the contradiction of his rough cheeks and the warm
softness of his lips, the heat of his breath seconds before a demanding kiss.
His big body pressed close, intimidating yet protective, the smell of his skin,
the feel of his erection, the weight of his full length against hers.

Unaware of her scrutiny, he turned his head to a red Saturn
in the garage’s middle bay. As he moved toward the car, she noticed how he
favored his right leg. Not a limp exactly, more a hesitation in his fluid gait,
the way a man would walk after straining the muscles in his left calf.

She noted the flicker of pain on his handsome face and
something beneath it that looked like sorrow or regret.

As quickly as it came, it passed. His features became
impassive, all business, his attention moving from the car to the clipboard he
held, then to something on the other side of the work area. Crossing it, he
again favored his right leg, stopping at a small refrigerator. After selecting
a bottle of water, he brought it to a waist-high metal cabinet that no doubt
held tools. Forearms on it, he bent his head to the papers, reading the first,
then the next.

She wondered if he owned the place or simply managed it. If
he’d listen to her. If he’d have the authority to do what she wanted. No, her
mind amended quickly. Not what she wanted, what she needed.

Desperation returned. A bead of perspiration trickled down
her cheek. Raising her chin, she squinted at the unforgiving sun. It streamed
past distant mountains and over the tops of the flat-faced buildings on her
side of the street, hitting the garage full on, bathing it in the light,
seeming to direct her.

Go on,
she ordered herself,
before anyone else
shows up.

On a deep breath, she pushed away from the building, a gift
shop not yet opened for the day. The rest of the small downtown area was
equally quiet, the storefront businesses closed. No cars moved down the narrow
two-lane street. No locals or visitors noticed her direction. Nor did he. His
head remained bent to the papers, his shoulders relaxed, his long fingers
tucking wayward strands of hair behind his ear.

With the sun at her back and her heart picking up speed, she
headed for him.


Surrendering to a yawn, Zach Brody reached for his bottled
water. His fingers connected with the chilled, damp plastic only to pause, not
bringing it closer as a gentle breeze wafted in. On it, he caught an unexpected
fragrance, a decadent mixture of leather and lavender. Bold yet gentle. Hard
yet soft.

Before he could look up, a shadow fell across the metal
cabinet and today’s work orders. Head lifting, he glanced over and saw the
source of the sudden shade…a woman silhouetted by the outside light. It skimmed
the ends of her hair, cut in what appeared to be a layered style, the color so
black there were faint blue highlights. With her features hidden by the glare
from behind, Zach dipped his gaze lower, taking in her full length, noting she
was tall and curvy with long legs.

Heat rushed from his chest to his groin. Involuntarily, his
cock stirred, proving what he already knew. Although his heart had been immune
for nearly two years to the complications of love, the possibility of loss, his
body continued to lust.

The muscles in his torso tightened. Every bit of moisture in
his mouth dried up. Unable to stop himself, he studied the curve of her hips
and sleek thighs.

She shifted her weight, lowering something to the concrete

Zach looked to see what it was.

She asked, “Are you the owner?”

His gaze jumped up. New warmth arrowed down to his cock,
making it even stiffer, tightening his balls. Seductive didn’t begin to
describe her smoky voice. The deep, throaty pitch reminded him of how a woman
sounds after she’s been sated by sex—a long, hard, satisfying fuck on a
blistering summer afternoon.

Awaiting his answer, she adjusted her weight, moving
slightly to the left.

Zach squinted at the sun hitting him full in the eyes. Head
turned, he pushed away from the cabinet, pausing at the pain and stiffness in
his left leg. Gritting his teeth, he gave his limb a moment to relax before
stepping to the side, his gaze returning to her. Journeying over her.

His pulse quickened at her snug leather pants and jacket,
both garments supple and black, the outfit covering her from toes to throat,
surprising him. Although it wasn’t yet eight o’clock, late spring mornings in
this part of Arizona heated up fast. From a cool sixty degrees at sunrise, the
temps had already reached the mid-seventies. Hadn’t she noticed?

Zach regarded her biker boots, the helmet hanging from her
left hand and the fringed saddlebag she’d lowered to the floor. Irresistibly
drawn back to her, he noticed how the leather molded itself to her full, ripe

They moved slightly as she inhaled.

It reminded him to breathe. Pulling his gaze from her chest,
he got his first good look at her face.

Something inside him shifted, heightening his senses, his
awareness of colors, textures. Her pale skin had a dewy quality only youth
could provide, telling him she couldn’t be more than mid-twenties. Her
blue-green eyes were amazing. There simply wasn’t another word to fit such an
unusual shade. Coupled with her raven hair and all the leather she wore, he
couldn’t stop staring. She wasn’t the most beautiful woman he’d ever seen or
even conventionally pretty.

Rather, she was decidedly interesting and effortlessly
sensual without seeming to realize it. Her full lips, a pale pink and absent of
lipstick, seemed to beg for a kiss. Her gaze—direct, yet oddly vulnerable—had
surely made any number of men do whatever she’d proposed.

Zach ran his tongue around the inside of his mouth, hoping
to moisten it. He watched a bead of perspiration slide from her temple to her
downy cheek. A strand of damp hair stuck to it.

Eye lifting, he caught her sneaking a glance at the water
he’d left on the cabinet.

Grabbing the bottle, he twisted off the cap and offered her
the beverage along with an answer to what she’d asked, a question he just
recalled. “Yeah, I’m the owner. Zach Brody.”

Her attention flicked from the bottle to him and back.
“Thanks.” She took the water, her fingertips touching his.

Currents of sensation stole his breath, stalling his next
comment. Releasing the bottle, he glanced to the left, scanning the street for
her bike. That had to be why she’d stopped here, to get it repaired. Of course,
that didn’t begin to explain why she’d dressed as she had when she was
obviously baking in the soaring heat.

Zach focused on her saddlebag, then her kick-ass boots.
After a momentary struggle, he surrendered and allowed himself another glance
at her face.

Eyes closed, head tilted back, she enjoyed long gulps of the
chilled water. With each swallow, her slender throat bobbed. He saw a faint
blue vein on the right side of her neck and had an insane urge to touch it.

Hands at his side, he resisted.

She stopped drinking, the lip of the bottle still to her
mouth. A small whimper of delight escaped her.

Zach told himself to get her another bottle.

Not moving, he watched a wayward breeze stirring the ends of
her hair. Past the opened bay doors, the town began to come alive. A pickup or
car’s tires hummed down the street. The door of a vehicle made a brief smacking
sound as someone closed it. Faint voices drifted from the direction of Hector
and Em’s diner.

In here, the radio played a LeAnn Rimes tune. Her clear,
powerful voice swept across the work area as she sang about living without her

The young woman upended the bottle and finished the last of
the liquid. Eyes still closed, she brought the container down, pressing it to
her forehead, her cheek, her throat, moaning softly at its cool bite.

Zach’s heart beat out of time. To regulate the damn thing,
he inhaled as deeply as he could. Didn’t help. With his gaze still on her, he
backed up to the fridge and pulled out another bottle.

Her lids fluttered, opening to pleasured slits. She watched
his approach, her tongue snaking out of her mouth, the dark pink edge gliding
over her plump bottom lip.

Stopping well short of her, conscious of his sprinting
pulse, Zach put out his hand for the empty bottle.

She delivered it with a smile.

As if it had a mind of its own, the corners of his mouth
tilted upward, betraying his approval. His hand closed around hers, his touch
lingering, imprisoning her slender fingers as his gaze shifted back to her

She studied him without self-consciousness or guile, the
same as he studied her. A rush of something passed between them, inviting him

Zach locked his knees, remaining where he stood, surprised
at his reaction. Since losing Meg, he hadn’t—or rather his mind
hadn’t—responded this strongly to any woman and certainly not a customer.

Warning himself to cool it, he took the empty bottle from
her and offered the new one.

She regarded his hand, which no longer touched her. Several
emotions passed over her face—what seemed to be disappointment, embarrassment,
resignation—almost too swift to catch.

Releasing a sigh, she murmured, “Thanks.”

He heard sudden hesitation in her voice and nodded,
experiencing his own. He waited until she’d enjoyed a fourth of this water
before he asked, “What’s wrong with your bike?”

Finishing her swallow, holding the bottle to her cheek, she
inhaled deeply. Her lids slipped down. “My bike?”

“Your cycle,” he amended.

Chin lifted to the ceiling, she exposed her neck so she
could roll the water bottle over it. A position leaving her throat vulnerable
to a man’s mouth, his lips pressed to her moist flesh.

At his crazy thoughts, Zach’s skin flushed. He cleared his
throat. His muscles were so tight, his voice still rasped. “Whatever you drove
to get here.”

She lifted the bottle to her temple and shook her head

Mystified, he asked, “You did drive here, right?”

“No.” She finished another long sip, using the back of her
hand to wipe off her mouth. Beads of water clung tenaciously to the corners.

Zach pulled his attention from them to her eyes, still
amazed at their color. In a distracted voice, he asked, “So how’d you get

“I hitched a ride.” She rested the bottle on her left wrist.
Her black helmet swung back and forth like a pendulum. “And then I walked.”

Without thinking, he glanced at her biker boots and the
bottom of her leather pants, finally noticing the dark brown dust on them.
She’d walked? “From where?”

“The next town over. I don’t recall its name.”

The only town in the vicinity happened to be several miles
north and not connected to this one by a local road. The sole way to get to it
by car was over the interstate. On foot, as the crow flies, one had to hike
through a wash bordered by chaparral thick with cottonwood trees, junipers,
snakes, scorpions and lizards. Which she’d obviously done.

So what was she doing here, thirsty and no doubt tired from
her trek?

Glancing up, he caught her licking the right side of her
mouth. The movement caused a droplet on the left to slide down her chin.
Sparkling in the sun, the water hung on for a moment before falling to her
jacket near her right breast.

With concentrated effort, Zach directed his attention back
to her eyes. He forced his voice to sound far more casual than his body wanted
to allow. “And you’re here in my garage because?”

“I’m flat broke. I have nowhere else to go. I need a job.”

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