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One Wild Ride

One Wild Ride

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One Wild Ride

183 pages
2 hours
Feb 26, 2016


It’s not that mechanic Tate McHenry can’t go out with a guy more than twice, it’s just that she’s never dated one who can keep her interest for that long. But Tate’s tired of being alone. Since she can’t find a man who’s exciting enough, she hatches a plan to make one exciting instead. Financial adviser Jack Donovan’s high-stress career on Wall Street is slowly killing him, so he quits his job and sells his sports car. He rents a house from an old friend in the small town of Unity, Pennsylvania for one reason: to relax. But the gorgeous blonde he meets on his first day in town seems determined to destroy all his dreams of peace and quiet. When these polar opposites meet, spark plugs fly, and being together is anything but relaxing…
Feb 26, 2016

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One Wild Ride - April Elizabeth Brock


She pulled off her shirt,

and he was struck mute at the sight of her lean, toned body in nothing but a modest aqua bikini. Obviously he was in way over his head, and he wasn’t even in the damn water yet.

She gathered her clothes and tossed them near the towels, then wrapped her long hair into a messy bun and secured it with an elastic band. Well?

Well what?

She put her hands on her slim hips. Are you going to take off your clothes or jump in with them on?

If he had his way, he wouldn’t jump at all. Isn’t there an easier way to get in the water?

Of course. She smirked. But I never take the easy way. Besides, it isn’t nearly as fun.

One Wild Ride


April Elizabeth Brock

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales, is entirely coincidental.

One Wild Ride

COPYRIGHT © 2016 by April Serock

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission of the author or The Wild Rose Press, Inc. except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles or reviews.

Contact Information:

Cover Art by Tina Lynn Stout

The Wild Rose Press, Inc.

PO Box 708

Adams Basin, NY 14410-0708

Visit us at

Publishing History

First Champagne Rose Edition, 2016

Print ISBN 978-1-5092-0574-5

Digital ISBN 978-1-5092-0575-2

Published in the United States of America


Thanks to my wonderfully supportive

family and friends.


A special thanks to Judith.

You’re the best!

Chapter One

Tate McHenry glanced at the flashing blue and red lights in her rearview mirror, stifled a scream of frustration, and whipped her bright red Mustang convertible to the side of the nearly deserted main street in Unity, Pennsylvania.

The summer sun turned the black interior of the car into a sauna as she drummed her fingers against the steering wheel and waited. In the rearview mirror the younger of Unity’s two police officers stepped from the cruiser and swaggered toward her. Tate sighed and pushed an irritating strand of white-blonde hair from her eyes.

Driver’s license and registration please.

Tate flipped the cards to the officer without looking up.

Going a little fast there, weren’t you, ma’am?

She rolled her eyes and glared at him. Tate knew for a fact he was twenty-eight-years-old, but he could have passed for a teenager with his smooth face, red hair, and freckles. Duley, why don’t we just save time and you tell me how fast I was going.

He cleared his throat and pulled himself to his full five feet ten inches. It’s Officer Delaney when I’m on duty, Tate. You know that. I told you when I pulled you over last week.

Tate took a deep breath and tried to remember how many years she’d have to spend in prison for assaulting a police officer. She doubted the jury would care that the officer had been a major pain in her butt since he moved next door when they were five.

Duley, you have five seconds to tell me how fast I was going, or I drive away without letting you give me a ticket today. Five, four—

Thirty-one miles an hour.

Tate pulled her sunglasses down and pinned him with a stare. Do you mean you pulled me over for going six miles over the speed limit?

Duley swallowed hard, his Adam’s apple bobbing over the collar of his navy blue uniform. Yes. It sounded like a question.

Tate counted to ten. Okay, so she only made it to five. If it weren’t for the fact that it would break your poor old grandmother’s heart, I think I’d strangle you right now.

He stepped back from her door and raised a palm as if to slow her growing temper. Now, Tate, the rules are the rules, you know. And speeding is speeding. I have to give you a ticket or I’ll be cheating the citizens of our fair town.

I guess the tickets you gave me last week and the week before for going ten miles over the speed limit weren’t enough to fulfill your civic duty?

He licked his lips before he stammered, Truth is, Tate, you’re about the only one who ever breaks the speed limit even a little bit. If I don’t write some tickets, people will think I’m not doing my job.

The look on Duley’s crestfallen little-boy face put Tate over the edge. She didn’t know how he’d ever passed police training, but the fact of the matter was Duley was a nice guy. He’d even changed a flat tire for her once, despite the fact that she could have changed it herself in far less time.

She sighed, pushed her sunglasses back up, and slid down into her seat. Fine then, she said with a flip of her wrist. Write me up. Just hurry. It’s hotter than hell in this convertible when it’s not moving.

Duley gave a quick half-smile and stepped closer to the car. Okay, ma’am. You’ve got it.

And quit with the ma’am stuff, okay? Yeesh. She might be twenty-eight…okay twenty-nine next month, but she’d never be comfortable being called ma’am. Ma’am was a title reserved for mothers and high school teachers, not resident hell-raisers.

He cleared his throat. It’ll just be a minute, Ma’—Tate. He waved her driver’s license. I have to go back and run this through the computer.

Oh, for heaven’s sake, Duley. They should have it on file by now.

I just have to verify it’s you and all, he said.

Tate slapped her palm to her forehead. Duley, you’ve known me since kindergarten. Why on earth would you have to verify it’s me?

Well, it’s just—

She grabbed the I.D. from his hand and pointed to the rearview mirror. Look. Same blonde hair, same green eyes…nothing has changed since the last time you pulled me over.

Well, that’s not entirely true, he said.


Well, you’re more tanned now than you are in that picture.

She slapped her license back onto his clipboard. Write the ticket, Duley. Before I melt.

He picked up his pen. It is uncommonly hot for June today. He stopped writing and glanced at the bank clock at the end of the street at the Unity National Bank. Ninety-two degrees already. And it’s only noon.

Tate silently willed him to keep writing. Yep.

He copied her name and address from her license, even though he knew it as well as his own. You look pretty today, Tate. I can’t remember the last time I saw you in a dress. He tapped the pen against his chin. Maybe it was Bertie Davis’s wedding. She’s a friend of yours, isn’t she? That was a nice wedding. Do you remember Mayor Reynolds dancing the hokey pokey? That was funny.

She glanced down at her white cherry-printed sundress and wished she’d stuck to her usual uniform of jeans and T-shirts.

"I was at a wedding," she interrupted Duley’s rambling about Bertie Davis’s six-layer raspberry-filled wedding cake which was apparently the best he ever remembered tasting.

Susan got married today, she mumbled.

Susan Tennebaum? Duley asked.


Oh, that’s right. He moved the pen toward the clipboard again, and then stopped. Boy, all of your friends are getting hitched. Bertie’s been married, what, five years now? And Carly got married last year. Now Susan. And Sissy Sellers’ wedding is on Friday. I wonder if Angela will be there?

Tate sure hoped not. Her snooty New York City cousin did nothing but make Tate’s blood pressure rise. Unfortunately, Duley had been half in love with her since they were kids. Duley, don’t even waste your time thinking about Angela. She doesn’t deserve a great guy like you.

Aww, now, Tate. I think she has a good heart.

Tate was sure Angela didn’t even have a heart. "No, you have a good heart, Duley. You can’t see the bad in anyone else." That was also why he was one of her best friends. Duley didn’t judge.

He also didn’t write tickets very quickly.

At Tate’s pointed stare toward his clipboard, he reddened, cleared his throat, and started writing again. Right. So when do you think you’ll get married?

She’d been wondering the very same thing since Susan got engaged last year.

Tate sighed. I suppose when I find the right guy.

Duley laughed. A guy would have to be Superman to keep up with you, Tate. He chuckled again and ripped off her copy of the ticket.

Defensiveness stiffened her back, even though she’d been stewing over the lack of such men in Unity while watching Susan say her vows in church just forty-five minutes ago.

He held the paper toward her outstretched hand and grinned. Too bad you can’t just make a guy over the way you make over those old cars you restore, huh? He chuckled again at his own joke.

Yeah. Tate laughed mirthlessly and snatched the ticket.

He stepped back as she revved the engine and slammed the car into gear. You drive safe now, you hear?

Tate never looked back as she pulled onto Main Street and edged the Mustang to forty-six, just to be rebellious. The odds against Duley giving her a ticket twice in the same day were astronomical. Of course, the odds against him giving her three tickets in two weeks had to be slim, too. She was pretty sure he was just scared to pull over anyone he didn’t know.

At the end of the block, she whipped into the lot at Unity National Bank and scowled as she parked beside a silver Mazda Miata with pink slipcovered seats.

Perfect. Just perfect.

She’d already put the Mustang in Reverse to head for the drive-up window when someone called her.

Tate! Hi, Tate!

Sissy Sellers. Shit.

Tate eased the transmission into Park, plastered a smile she didn’t feel on her face, and returned Sissy’s ridiculous homecoming-queen parade wave.

Tate! Sissy tottered up to Tate’s door in six-inch pink heels to match her trim pink suit. Pink was Sissy’s signature color, and Tate didn’t think she’d ever seen her wearing anything else.

Tate sighed. Hi, Sissy.

Sissy pushed her sunglasses up onto her perfect blonde bob. I saw you at Susan’s wedding, but you left so fast I didn’t get to tell you how cute you look in your dress!

Tate cringed. Thanks.

And wasn’t that little cookie reception just the sweetest thing! Sissy counted off the types of cookies on her manicured pink nails. Macaroons, pizelles, macadamia—

What was it with everyone and wedding food today? It was lovely.

Sissy leaned on Tate’s door. And didn’t they just look so much in love?

The keys in Sissy’s hand came closer to the Mustang’s freshly waxed paint. What? she asked, distracted.

Sissy sighed. Susan and John. In love. She snapped her fingers near Tate’s face as Tate stared at the keys. Honestly, Tate. If it doesn’t have to do with cars, I swear you just don’t hear a thing.

Then Tate heard it—the voice that had been like nails on a chalkboard to her for more years than she cared to remember. I guess some things never change. A stunning, leggy brunette in a white silk dress that was way too expensive to wear in a small town for no particular reason sauntered up behind Sissy.

Tate’s heart sank as her blood pressure rose. Angela. What are you doing here?

Now, now, Tate. Is that any way to greet your favorite cousin? Angela leaned into the Mustang in a cloud of Chanel No. 5 and planted air kisses near Tate’s cheeks.

Tate tried not to gag. I’m just surprised to see you. Unpleasantly so. You haven’t been back to Unity since our grandmother’s funeral. Five years ago.

I’m in for Sissy’s wedding, of course. She’s asked me to be her maid of honor!

Of course she did. Sissy and Angela had become fast friends in kindergarten when Angela brought her professional beauty pageant makeup kit for show and tell. Things hadn’t changed when Angela moved to New York with her parents in third grade so she could get more modeling work. She and Sissy stayed as tight as ever. Tate wondered just how much there was to discuss about makeup.

Tate and I were just talking about weddings, Angela, said Sissy.

Really? What a coincidence.

Sissy nodded. Susan and John got married today, you know.

Angela’s perfectly plucked eyebrows rose. I didn’t.

Yes! And Tate was just saying how it was so obvious they were in love. Sissy sighed. Tate’s such a romantic.

No, I—

Sissy gasped and grabbed Angela’s arm. You know what she needs, Angela?

Tate was afraid to ask.

What? Angela purred.

Sissy smiled and triumph gleamed in her eyes. A man of her own.

Whoa! Tate held up both hands. I don’t need a man.

Sissy finally removed her pink-covered hip from the car, and Tate sighed with relief. She bent and patted Tate’s shoulder. "Of course you don’t, sweetie. None of us need men. God help us if we did. But they sure are nice to have around."

Tate shrugged off Sissy’s comforting hand. Trust me, Sissy, I’m fine. Really.

Oh! Oh! Sissy hopped up and down with excitement. I know! We’ll get you a date for my wedding! Do you know how many couples meet at weddings?

No! Tate said. Then louder, No!

Who’s available? Let’s see… Sissy tapped a pink nail on her chin.

Panic rose in Tate’s throat. Stop. I don’t need a date. And if I did, I could find my own!

Oh, Tate. Sissy frowned. I’m sorry. I didn’t mean you couldn’t—

Sissy! a bank secretary called from the door. Your father’s on line one. He says it’s important.

Shoot! Sissy stamped one pink high heel. I’m sorry, Tate. I have to take this. Angela, I’ll see you later.

Bye, darling. Angela waved, then turned with a smirk to Tate. You know… She trailed a fingertip over the Mustang’s door,

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