Elliott Judd is a superstar race car driver and hotter than hell. Men and women fall at his feet and he enjoys the easy pickings. No one has tamed this wild stallion, but is he ready to settle down for the right person?
Kyle Beaumont, a straight mechanic with a body to die for joins the racing team of his dreams, and with his mind fixed on the job, he doesn’t realise that he is Elliott’s next trophy of choice.
As the racing season and the fight to be the world number one starts, so too does Elliott’s game of seduction.
Will Elliott crash and burn, or will Kyle succumb to this gorgeous man’s onslaught?
Buckle Up is the first book in a gay romance series by Karen Botha and a story of unlikely love.
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It’s the first day of my new job as a race mechanic for one of the leading motor teams in the world. I can’t explain how long I’ve waited for this. The company had me jumping through hoops before I finally received the letter inviting me to come on board.
The pay isn’t as considerable as you’d expect, but the prestige is tremendous. And the lifestyle, well it’s one for a single man, and being newly separated from my wife, that suits me fine. I’ll be abroad for the best part of eight months out of twelve, traveling around the globe to compete in a grueling race calendar that will test my mechanical skills to the core. Even when I’m back in the UK during the winter break, there’ll be no break for me, as I’ll be running flat out developing next season’s car. And that’s how the cycle will continue. All work and no time for play will make Kyle a very happy boy.
I’ve been brought into this season late, so consequently it’s in full swing by the time I turn up on the first day of track testing the new car. A disagreement with a previous employee means I’ve been offered a chance to show the top racing team in the world what I’m made of. It’s a huge deal, so I’m grabbing this opportunity with both my greedy hands.
“We’ll practice pit stops.” James, the number one mechanic, says.
I snatch my tire, remove it from the cover which keeps it up to temperature when we remove it from the heating chamber, and run to the front of the garage. I’m conscious that speed is everything and I’m desperate to prove that I’m worth my last-minute spot on this coveted team.
“Keep the cover on. Elliott will be practicing his pit stop procedure too, so the tires don’t need to be fitted this time around,” James says.
“Oh, OK.” Fuck, first rookie error and I’m only five minutes in, I beat myself up. Hopefully the tires will warm back up to temperature again before we need them.
But, I don’t have time to be overly hard on myself. The two drivers, the first and second finishers in last year’s world championship, Elliott and Brad, make their entrance.
But only one stands out.
He’s dressed the same as Brad, they walk at the same pace, and they’re even roughly the same size. But he’s brighter, shining like that one star in the sky which catches your attention before all others and I’m drawn to him.
‘This is what they call charisma,’ I think.
The only way I can describe it is that he has color around him like no one I’ve ever met. The tabloid hacks are right. I’ve always thought in the past that the press build a character up who they like and then knock them down when they’re bored. But, now it occurs to me as Elliott Judd goes about his business a few meters away that they cannot help but like him. His mere presence is enough to make a grown man falter.
The second driver pales away against the white walls of the garage while Elliott glows.
Time slows as I watch every detail of that walk he’s taking to his car. The way his foot lifts with an energetic bounce before he lifts his other heel to take his next step. The way his eyes glisten at nobody in particular, just exhilarated to be in the pits and driving for another season. The way his fingers grip his metallic helmet in one hand as he swings it in time with his stride. He’s every ounce the star I’ve been led to believe.
He stretches up his fire-retardant hood and tucks in a mop of blonde waves. As he continues his journey to his flame red car, he drags his helmet over his skull, squashing his cheeks until the only part of his face which is visible are a pair of stark blue eyes haloed by long, almost white lashes.
And they look at me.
Directly at me.
I catch my breath, heat rises into my cheeks.
Those gorgeous calm eyes smile at me for far longer and far more deeply than is necessary, and I’m locked into a moment of I don’t know what. The ice of their blue is drawing me into a frozen lake of emotions, frozen in the moment, frozen out of everyday society.