Pit Road: Running Under Caution, Book 1 [MultiFormat]
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eBook by Anah Crow & Dianne Fox
eBook Category: Erotica/Gay-Lesbian Erotica/Romance
eBook Description: True love has no brakes. Running Under Caution, Book 1 Denny Clay never had much going for him, until the racing circuit took him out of the trailer park and away from his bigoted family. Luck smiled on him, and now he's settled down--in the closet--with his crew chief and boyfriend, Sully Price. Though they're winning races and the fight to keep their relationship secret, Denny can't shake the feeling he's going to have to pay up for all this happiness. He never imagined reckoning would come in the form of a rare medical condition that might cost him his career. And maybe Sully too. For once, Sully's at a loss, with nothing in his fix-everything toolbox designed to repair his broken lover--or stop Denny's inevitable slide into a black hole of self-loathing. With a little creativity and a few kinky accessories, Sully shifts into overdrive in the race to get Denny turned around. And prays that his stubborn persistence doesn't drive their love into a ditch. Previously released as short stories, this novel has been re-written and expanded from its original release. Warning: Broken heroes, hot sex, and one man's hardcore determination to keep his lover in one piece.
eBook Publisher: Samhain Publishing, Ltd., Published: 2011, 2011
Fictionwise Release Date: January 2012
4 Reader Ratings:
In the days before the race, Denny's mood had been in the gutter. He'd snapped at everyone, even Sully, the way he hated when other drivers did it. Sully's muttered suggestion that they should take off and grab a motel room somewhere didn't help. It had been the last straw, pushed Denny from antsy to about as nervous as a leaf in a tornado. By the time he got himself buckled in nice and safe--well, everyone else was safe from him--he was ready to spit nails.
"Breathe." Sully leaned in the window and tugged at one of his belts. Denny wanted to bite him, and not in the good way. "Nothing's wrong."
"Don't say things like that."
That was the whole problem. Denny was too damn happy. He'd made top ten in the last five races. They had money coming in, had a sponsor who owned more than one local business. The car was perfect. They had the cash for tires. The backup car was perfect. All week, he kept praying for something to go wrong. Here they were, waiting for the start signal and nothing had gone wrong.
"Since when did you get superstitious?" Sully smacked the side of the car as he straightened up. "Behave yourself out there."
"You want me to behave or you want me to win?" Denny glared at him but good before pulling his helmet on.
"Both. Whatever's eating you, leave it at the start line."
Easy for him to say. Denny went through his usual start-up ritual, checking everything twice, making sure he wasn't forgetting anything.
Maybe something would go wrong tomorrow. Maybe he'd forgotten to pay the phone bill. He still wasn't so good at this whole home-ownership thing.
He'd probably forgotten a condo-association fee. That would do. He'd take anything right now. A wreck. That would be even better.
He needed something to go wrong, just a little something. Wrecking Sully's perfectly balanced masterpiece would do nicely. A wreck wasn't what worried him. What had him all wound up was the idea of getting busted for being Sully's lover. He could take anything but that. Jesus, anything at all.
But nothing went wrong.
Not even a dropped lug nut on a tire change. Sully would kill him for speeding on pit road, so he didn't try to go there, though he was damn tempted. Five laps from the end of the race, and he was running smoothly in third, staring at the back end of the second-place car. Michaelson was a temperamental bitch to pass, but Denny was better in the turns than anyone on the track--and that wasn't being vain.
God, he loved driving. And he loved driving Sully's cars. He could feel Sully's touch every time he drove down into a corner, that magical thing Sully could do that made the car cling to the track no matter how Denny pushed its limits. He could feel it through his hands, his feet, his spine. Sully's magic let him downshift coming out of turn three and into four, tires gnawing along the low line. Coming out of four, he saw the numbers of Michaelson's car, the big red 08, slide through his peripheral vision and fall behind him.
His car--their car--bit down on the straightaway, and he opened her up to put some distance between him and Michaelson before he hit traffic up ahead, guys struggling to get a lap back by passing the lead car. Kennedy. Denny wasn't too interested in catching Kennedy unless the chance offered itself up, he was more interested in staying ahead of Michaelson. Kennedy hadn't finished top ten in two months and racked up DNFs like he was starting a collection. Michaelson, on the other hand, was a pain in the ass.
The next lap was like running an obstacle course. He got three-wide with Michaelson and some kid four laps down who didn't know when to step aside and let his betters through. Almost done with the race. Almost done and then he'd have nothing ahead of him for days except beer, takeout and Sully. If they got through this in one piece, maybe that meant the universe, or the Good Lord, or whoever was in charge, was gonna let Denny get away with being in love with Sully. Wouldn't that be good?
Denny was deciding whether or not to downshift into turn two when the world went sideways, upside down, and then did it again. All he could think was how damn loud everything was. Deafening.
Just as suddenly, everything was still. He put his hands back on the wheel belatedly--he wasn't moving. His head was spinning, and the air was full of dust and smoke. His brain wanted him to slow down for the caution flag, like it hadn't caught on to the fact that he was the damn caution.
Engine off. Everything off. Breathe.
Sully's voice kept nagging at him. Shut up, Sully. Just. Shut up.
"Talk to me."
"I will once I'm out of this fucking car." Jesus, what was wrong with Sully that he sounded so messed up? Denny unbuckled and tried to climb out of his seat, but something was caught around his legs. "Or not."
"Can you breathe?" That wasn't coming from his helmet, that was from outside the car. The bright flash of an orange jumper blocked his view out the side as someone leaned into the car. "Let's take that helmet off so we can have a look at you. Gloves too."
"I'm fine." He ripped the helmet off and tossed it--and Sully's voice--aside. "Just can't get out."
"Can you feel your feet?" The paramedic clipped something onto one of Denny's fingers.
"Yeah." And his legs hurt like fuck. "Help me out of here. I need to get out."
"Don't know if we can do that yet."
As the world resolved into something Denny could understand, he looked beyond the safety grating that served as a windshield in sprint cars to see a post in front of him. Lamppost. Retaining wall. He was facing the center of the field inside the track, a few feet from the entrance to pit road. That was a long way from where he'd been last time he'd known where he was.
The hood of his car was gone. Hell, a lot of his car was gone. What was left looked like a smashed beer can.
"I need to do this."
Denny realized he was pushing away hands that kept trying to touch him. "Sorry. Then can I get out of here?" He dropped his hands. Now that everything was still, he was starting to panic.
"As soon as we haul those saws over here. I need to listen to your breathing." The paramedic started to undo his jumpsuit. "I want you to think hard about if anything hurts, especially in your legs or your belly."
"How long will that take?"
"I'll find out. Stop talking."
Denny did as he was told, closing his eyes while he thought about what hurt. Everything. Not helpful. Narrow it down.
Right knee. Left ankle. Hips. Chest. Jaw. It didn't hurt too much to breathe, though. No more than he'd expect out of a wreck.
"You look okay," the paramedic said, once they'd done the song and dance. "The way you hit the wall has you caught, but I'm not seeing any blood. If you can feel everything, you're a lucky guy."
"Too lucky," Denny muttered.
"I'll find out when we can cut you free. There's a few other cars wrecked that get priority over yours. I'll be back."
The paramedic was gone, then, leaving Denny in his little metal cocoon, an oasis of stillness in the flurry of lights and urgency outside. He closed his eyes again and tried to ignore the pain in his leg. Damn thing better not be broken.
Something finally went wrong. At least now he could relax.
"Taking a nap?"
Denny opened his eyes to see Sully leaning in. He looked as wrecked as the car, face bleached out until his freckles were nothing but paint splatter on his face.
"Michaelson got dumped, caught your right rear coming off the wall behind you. Someone T-boned you in the smoke and you went ass over tea kettle into the wall here." Sully's callused hand found one of Denny's and held on way too long. "They'll cut you out soon."
"What's the hold up?" Denny tried not to pull his hand out of Sully's, but he couldn't help it.
"Michaelson. He's out cold. It doesn't look good." Sully crossed his arms on the rear tire and squatted to put his chin on them, looking in at Denny. "I'll stay here until they can get to you. Just tell me if you need anything."
"I need a beer."
Sully snorted and shook his head. "I'll buy you one as soon as you're checked out."
By the time they cut him out of the car, he could barely straighten his legs, but he was damned if they were gonna put him on a stretcher. After he took a swing at the guy trying to put a collar on him, they let him do what he wanted, with dire warnings that he was going to end up paralyzed or something.
He wasn't buying it. He got his arm around Sully's neck and both feet on the ground once he was out of the car. Sure, he was walking off to an ambulance but, damn it, he was walking. It felt like he'd been through a huge test and come out on top. All he wanted now was a shower and Sully and a beer. Sadly, he was going to the ER.
Going there didn't mean he had to stay there, though. He refused the offer of x-rays to check for broken bones and everything else they wanted to do to him. He let them give him some OTC painkillers and a once-over, then he limped to the waiting room. Sully was slumped in a chair by the door, looking miserable.
"Why the long face?"
"You're done?" Sully pushed himself up and met him halfway, stopping just before he touched him.
"Yeah. Signed myself out. Nothing's broken, I don't need any damn x-rays. And you owe me a beer." He was sore, but it was nothing a few drinks and a hot shower wouldn't cure. And some time in bed. Maybe even a little of the time sleeping.
"You sure?" Sully looked so worried, Denny wanted to smack him.
"You trying to get outta buying me a beer?" Denny headed for the door, trying to walk normal so Sully wouldn't give him any shit.
"Hell, no. You actually gonna let me?" Sully caught up to him, keys to the truck jingling in his hand.
"What else is gonna go wrong tonight?" Denny felt better as soon as the doors opened and the night air hit his face. Nothing else, that was what.
They were gonna head to the bar, get drunk and celebrate coming out of that crash in one piece.
Half an hour later and halfway through his second beer, Denny knew he was wrong. Very wrong. His right leg hurt like nothing he'd ever felt before.
"You okay?" Sully's voice sounded far away. Denny couldn't tell if he shook his head or nodded in response.
"Sore." He dug in his pocket for the white tablets and took them all--he couldn't count--with a swallow of beer. Please, God, let 'em work. His hands shook and his stomach did flips. Felt like something was tearing his leg apart. When he reached down to feel it, he was sure his hand was going to come away bloody, but there was nothing on his skin.
"Denny." Sully was talking to him, but he couldn't hear any words other than his name. His blood howled in his ears, and it was all he could do not to scream.
Make it stop, make it stop, make it stop.
He'd been fine. Everything had been fine. He'd looked normal. Nothing could be wrong.
"Sugar." Sully never called him that in public. For a moment, Denny's focus locked on to Sully's face. He could see fear there. Terror. Then his stomach rolled, and he barely turned away in time to puke all over the floor--beer, bile and half-dissolved little white tablets.
Everything Denny knew about himself, believed about himself, sheared away as the pain broke him into pieces. He never cried, except that he was crying now. Never begged for anything, from anyone, yet the words kept coming up like he was still vomiting. Please, make it stop. Do something. Anything. Please. He knew pain, but this wasn't pain, this was what he deserved for everything he was.
Sully hung over him, and Denny was vaguely aware that he was on the floor. All he could feel was betrayed. Why wouldn't Sully help him? It would be so easy, and yet Sully just kept talking, like Denny was burning to death and Sully was trying to put out the fire with his words.
"God, Sully, help me."
There was no help. Not from anyone. Not in the ambulance, not in the emergency room, not until everything went dark.