Exclusive Excerpt for HARD CHROME by Vanessa North

Hard Chrome by Vanessa North

Check out this exclusive excerpt from HARD CHROME by Vanessa North.

Tanner Ellis left American Heavy Metal in her rearview mirror. She didn’t see the beauty behind the grease stains and the polished chrome until it was too late. Now she’s back, determined to save her father’s legacy—and bring the South’s premier classic-car shop into the new century. Nothing is going to stop her—especially not the sexy tech who refuses to follow her lead.

American Heavy Metal is the only home Duke Wilson’s ever known, and no high-heeled, sharp-tongued princess is going to take it away. He tolerates Tanner’s advice, and it’s fun to push her buttons, but she doesn’t belong in the shop—never has, never will. The sooner she realizes that, the sooner he can find his new normal…


Hard Chrome by Vanessa North

Hard Chrome by Vanessa North    
American Heavy Metal, Book 1
Carina Press

 Warnings: Hard Chrome deals with subjects some readers may find difficult, including domestic violence, animal cruelty, drug use, and teen pregnancy.

 He’s tough. But she’s tougher.

Tanner Ellis left American Heavy Metal in her rearview mirror. She didn’t see the beauty behind the grease stains and the polished chrome until it was too late. Now she’s back, determined to save her father’s legacy—and bring the South’s premier classic-car shop into the new century. Nothing is going to stop her—especially not the sexy tech who refuses to follow her lead.

American Heavy Metal is the only home Duke Wilson’s ever known, and no high-heeled, sharp-tongued princess is going to take it away. He tolerates Tanner’s advice, and it’s fun to push her buttons, but she doesn’t belong in the shop—never has, never will. The sooner she realizes that, the sooner he can find his new normal.

When Tanner falters, revealing the pain beneath her bravado, Duke comforts her the only way he knows how. And when violence from his past threatens their future, she’ll be there for him, offering him the one thing he’s always wanted—a shot at a real family. He just has to convince himself to take it.

This book is approximately 49,000 words

One-click with confidence. This title is part of the Carina Press Romance Promise: all the romance you’re looking for with an HEA/HFN. It’s a promise!

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EXCLUSIVE EXCERPT:

When I come out of the bathroom, Duke’s upright in bed, scrolling on his phone. He smiles lazily.

“You look hot.”

I can’t help it; I smile then scowl. I don’t need him under my skin right now. “Be serious.”

“Oh, princess, I am so, so serious,” he drawls, patting the bed next to him.

I cross the room and sit beside him, threading our fingers together.

“You scared?” he murmurs.

I nod.

“Don’t be. It’s just a meeting. Dude’s gonna talk, you’re gonna sign papers, and then we go take touristy pictures at that bean thingy.”

I smile in spite of myself. “Okay.”

“Let me get dressed.”

“No, you stay in bed. You don’t need to come with me.” I don’t want you to see me break.

“Princess—”

“Seriously, I’m fine. I’ll call you when I’m done.” I pick up my phone from beside the bed, lean over him, and drop a kiss on his forehead.

He reaches up, cupping the back of my neck, careful not to mess my hair, and drags me back to his lips, kissing me deep until I don’t have any room left in my head for fear. I pull back, dazed from the intensity of it.

“Let me come with you.”

I can’t. I can’t. I can’t. “I’ll call you when I’m done.”

I’m at the door when he calls my name. I don’t look back, but his voice follows me into the hall.

“Tanner.” He’s stepped out into the hallway in nothing but his underwear, goose bumps raised on his skin.

“Go back to bed,” I stage whisper, but he just grins at me and takes my hand, hauling me back into his arms.

“Don’t be scared,” he murmurs. “Whatever the lawyers say, it’s already done. This is just paper.”

I rest my head against his chest, and my low-grade panic fades, leaving only the beat of his heart against my ear. “Paper means stuff.”

“It doesn’t mean what you think it does.” He tilts my chin up and shows me his dimple. “You aren’t a failure; you didn’t make a mistake. You took a chance and it didn’t pan out, but princess, so many people never even try. You’re stronger and smarter than you think.”

A door opens down the hall, and I bury my face in his chest hair, hiding my blush and my tears as a stranger passes by.

“’Sup, man?” Duke asks, and I stifle a giggle. A moment later, he whispers, “He’s gone.”

“Go back inside.” I push away from him. “You’re going to freeze.”

“Kiss me goodbye, that’ll keep me warm.”

I press a quick kiss to his lips and squeeze his hand. “Thank you.”

“See you soon.”

I stride down the hallway quickly, not looking back, so I’m not sure how long he stands in his underwear, watching me walk away.

Vanessa North

Vanessa North is a romance novelist, a short fiction geek, and a knitter of strange and wonderful things. Her works have been shortlisted for both the Lambda Literary Award and the RITA© Award, and have garnered praise from The New York Times, The Washington Post, and Publisher’s Weekly. She lives in Northwest Georgia with her family: a Viking, twin boy-children, and two large dogs.

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