Engineer Kristen McKenna loves to make things go fast. So when NASCAR team owner Matthew Knight offers her a job, Kristen's competitive spirit shifts into overdrive. But she has to struggle to keep her mind on her blueprints and off her dangerously appealing boss.
Kristen's always been more comfortable in a lab than on a date--but suddenly both Matthew and Todd Peters, the supersexy team driver, are vying for her attention! Things heat up both on and off the track as Kristen finds herself torn between the two men. And as sparks begin to fly around the garage, she discovers that there's more to life than spoilers and engine specs. But can Kristen design a finish that gets both her team--and her heart--to Victory Lane?
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February 28, 2007
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Excerpt from To the Limit by Pamela Britton
THE HELICOPTER JUST about landed on her head.
One minute Kristen McKenna was jogging along a sunny beachside path, waves crashing in the distance on her left, the next--blam.
She stopped cold. Actually, what she did was cover her face with her arms, the sand kicked up by the helicopter's rotors pelting her face like a new age treatment at a health spa. Not that she'd ever been to a spa--no time for that.
Whump-whump-whump. "Hey," she cried, wishing immediately that she hadn't opened her mouth. Her teeth suffered next. She moved her elbows to her side and tried to spit the grit out, wincing against the gnatlike stings. At least her glasses shielded her eyes, although at this rate she wouldn't be able to see out of them thanks to the sandblasting.
Gradually, the thing passed, enough so she could drop her arms. She watched in shock as the aircraft, one she thought at first might be military, sank to the ground like excrement from a bird. A Bell Jet-Ranger, she noted--3200 pounds heavy, 1487 pounds of load capacity. Maximum cruise speed of 213 kilometers.
What the hell was it doing?
Crashing? she thought. Some of her hair had come out of her ponytail, the mouse-blond strands flicking her sweaty forehead where they stuck for a moment before being ripped away.
No. Not crashing, she realized, pushing her glasses up her nose. Its loss of altitude was too controlled for a crash. Plus, by now it was hover-ing fifty feet away, still off the ground but turned in her direction, the pilot in his insectoid glasses waving.
Definitely not a crash.
But then it backed up, its tail end spinning around so that she could see the side.
She straightened and absently rubbed her aching leg--it always hurt while she was jogging. Knight Enterprises.
Her employer. Actually, she worked for one of their small subsidiaries--a research-and-develop-ment facility that tried to figure out ways for Mr. Knight to make more money off his string of aircraft, usually by increasing fuel efficiency via aerodynamics.
The helicopter dropped lower, the fronds of nearby palm trees cowering away. A half second later the pilot set down and cut the engines. That helped considerably. Slowly, the blades began to lose velocity and the turbine engine's whine became more pronounced. She watched the pilot turn and say something to a passenger. A second later the side door popped open and a man with burly shoul-ders and forearms the size of Thanksgiving turkey breasts dropped out, his black glasses reflecting the green lawn as he squatted beneath the blades. He had gray hair, oddly enough, that didn't move an inch.
"Are you okay?" Kristen called to the black-clad figure. "Do you need me to call nine-one-one?" she asked, patting the sides of her baggy blue jogging suit, the pants bulging on the left side.
Cell phone. Good. "Kristen McKenna?" he called out, straightening now that he was away from the rotor. He had an earring, she noticed, and an earpiece, too, a spoon-shaped mic hanging by his left cheek.
Kristen's arms dropped. "Are you Kristen McKenna?" he asked again, and when he drew a little nearer, she could see he was tall. And wide. Military looking, in a retired Navy SEAL sort of way. Short-sleeved black T-shirt and matching black pants. Scary looking, actually.
"Y-yes," she said. "That's me."
He pulled something from his pocket. A picture of her, she realized. Of her?
"Good," he said, after comparing her with the photo. "Come with me."
"Come with-- What?" she asked, stepping back.
"Who are you?"
"Rob Sneed. Head of security for Mathew Knight." Mathew--
The Mathew Knight? Her boss? The single rich-est man in the universe? She'd only ever seen him on the covers of magazines. Or on TV. Or in the newspaper--front page.
"Mathew Knight is looking for me?"
"Affirmative," he said, glancing at the picture again, and then his watch. Rolex Aviator. She'd coveted that watch since flight school.
"Well--" She blinked a few times, trying hard to focus her brain. "What about?"
"I'm afraid I'm not privy to that kind of infor-mation."
That made sense.
Wait a second. None of this made sense. "Mathew Knight wants to see me?" she asked again, the import of the words suddenly hitting her. Before he'd passed away, her dad had often said that for a genius, she could be awfully dense.