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The Drummer's Heartbeat: A Winter Romance (Vale Valley Book 11) by Giovanna Reaves (1)

Chapter One

Chance Knight pulled his head from under the hood of the Chevy. He stepped back and pulled the rag from his back pocket, wiping the grease off his fingers.

“How bad is it?” Peter Torrent asked.

“Do you want me to tell you the truth or lie to you and take your money, knowing you’ll bring her back to me in a month with the same problem?”

“That bad?”

“You need a new transmission. It didn’t help matters that you didn’t come in for your last oil change, or the new brakes I ordered for you to go with the new tires sitting in the corner.”

“Shit.”

“Shit is right. You fucking treat your baby like it’s a piece of shit when it needs to be cared for and loved,” Chance scowled.

“Come on, Chance. Man, why do you have to be so hard on me? Can’t you cut me some slack?”

Chance looked at Peter and shook his head. The man might be his friend, but he was also an idiot. “No, I won’t ‘cut you some slack’. It’s going to cost you a little over four thousand to get everything fixed.”

Peter’s blue eyes widened. “Dollars?”

“No, peanuts,” Chance snapped. “Of course, dollars.” He knew he was in a shitty mood. But when he heard Peter’s clunker pulling up in his garage just as he was about to shut switch on the closed sign only added to his shitty mood.

“Come on, man, you have to give me a deal. I don’t have that kind of cash.”

Chance shrugged his shoulders nonchalantly, and he wasn’t going to bend easily to Peter, no matter how much he begged. Chance closed the hood of Peter’s car and looked at its owner, shaking his head. He could give Peter a good deal, but he’d told the man on more than once that he needed to take care of his car. In Chance’s point of view, this was his way of punishing his friend.

“Come on, Chance, I need my car, man.”

“Then take it to another mechanic,” Chance told him as he switched on the closed sign.

“Dammit, Chance, you’re the only mechanic in town,” Peter yelled after him. “And besides, you are the only one that I trust.”

“If you trust me, you should have brought the car in a month ago.”

“Are you going to keep bringing that up?”

Chance ignored Peter as he took the stairs two at a time stopping in front of the door that led to his apartment. He reached over to the case that held the extra keys to the loners he kept on hand. He grabbed the first key then turned and threw it to Peter who caught it with one hand.

“Take the fucking blue bug,” he instructed. Peter smiled thinking he had gotten off easy. “You’re going to pay me every red cent it’s going to cost to fix your piece of junk. And don’t think I’m doing this for you. I’m doing this for Erica, who I know depends you to get her around.”

“You got it,” Peter said happily.

“If the bug gets even a scratch, you’re paying to have it fixed after I kick your ass.”

Peter nodded and walked over to the loner. Chance wasn’t sure why he was changing his mind and being nice all of a sudden, he deserved to let Peter suffer, but he had Erica and the kids to think about in the whole situation. Fuck, Chance mentally cursed.

“You won’t regret this, I promise.”

“I already do,” Chance grumbled.

“Fuck, you’re a grumpy old bastard,” Peter said opening the door to the bug. “Maybe you need to get laid.”

“Get the hell out of my shop,” he snapped.

Wanting to punch his friend in the face, he took a deep breath, scenting the change in the weather. It was a couple of weeks before Halloween, and it was getting colder a lot quicker than usual. The summer had gone by in a blink of an eye where Chance had spent most of the summer working and playing with his band which he enjoyed. They would only do a few lesser gigs after the holidays.

On the outside Chance pretended that he hated the holidays it was how he got the title of the town’s Grinch and tried to hide away in his apartment as much as he could. Part of the problem was that he spent the holidays alone, which was why he didn’t want to admit that Peter’s statement hit a nerve. He watched as Peter peeled out of his garage, wincing when he heard the scrape of the car on the road.

He knew Peter was a lousy driver and was regretting giving the man one of his spares. He’d met the man six years ago when Peter and his family found their way into Vale Valley. Pressing the button, he stood at the top of the landing and watched to make sure the doors shut down completely.

Chance had no way how to explain the small town of Vale Valley that held five thousand people. It was a mythical place that seemed to accept the abnormal or in the mayor’s case, the normal. Chance had to admit Vale Valley wasn’t like any other place he’d lived before. No other town he knew kept the secret of shifters and every paranormal and supernatural being that lived only in dreams and nightmares.

To Chance and anyone who asked, Vale Valley wasn’t like any other small town in America. Who would believe him if he told them his best friend was a werewolf, and the mayor was well over one hundred years old but looked like she was in her sixties? According to Mayor Rosemary Vale, the magic surrounding Vale Valley only let it become visible to those in who needed of a place to belong.

Turning the lights off, he opened the door leading to his apartment that took over the entire top floor. When he’d driven by the Welcome to Vale Valley sign twenty-two years ago, he wasn’t expecting to set down roots. Or start a business. He had only planned on spending two days and then move onto another until he could figure something out.

But each time he tried to leave, something held him back. It didn’t help he’d quickly became friends with the mayor who kept telling him that her small town needed a mechanic. The nearest one was three hours away, and she needed some who knew what they were doing.

When he told her that he didn’t have the money or capital, or any other excuses he could think of at the time. Rosemary smiled and handed him and a loan contract and told him to pay it off in installments. She even had the place picked out for him. His first response was to ask her if she was crazy, but secretly he felt it was what he wanted and needed. Six months later he opened Knight’s Auto Repair, and he hadn’t regretted his decision since.

Before settling down in Vale Valley, Chance was positive only human beings existed in the world until he saw a wolf turn into a man. At the time when he saw it happened, he’d had a couple of beers and thought he was drunk, but when the man spoke, Chance knew he was sober.

He walked into his bedroom stripping out of his work clothes, ready to wash the day away. He stood in front of the mirror waiting for the water to get as hot as he loved it. He wasn’t bad looking as a forty-five-year-old mechanic and part-time drummer. He kept his salt and pepper hair long in the top and short on the sides. Chance was also a bit of a health freak, always watching what he ate along with working out every morning. He was sexy as hell, and he knew it.

So why the hell am I single?

He rubbed his slightly hairy chest, flexing his tattooed, muscular arms. I need to see Mateo for my next tattoo idea. Chance’s tattoos told the story of his dreams and desires. To anyone who saw his tattoo’s they were sexy in a bad boy way, but Chance knew the story he was trying to tell.

Steam started clouding his vision, and he knew it was time to get in the shower. Chance knew he was single because he had a type. He wasn’t a shifter but knew he had an alpha type personality. The only men Chance seemed to be attracted to were young, thin, and shorter than his six-foot-two height. And if they were fucking pretty, it was a plus to him.

According to Scott his band mate who was a vampire and werewolf mix, Chance was looking for an omega mate. Someone made for him and understood him better than anyone else.

Mate. He scoffed at the idea. I’ll leave all that supernatural shit to Scott. It’s not a human thing. Hell, maybe I’m too old to even fall in love.

Dunking his head under the hot water, he groaned as the soothing water hit him. He did not understand why he was suddenly thinking about the past or how he ended up in Vale Valley. He’d become a staple in the community, and everyone knew each other.

Maybe it was the prospect of getting older and realizing he’d never had a steady lover. In a little under five months, he’d turn forty-six. He didn’t need to worry about anyone forgetting his birthday, Mayor Rosemary always hand delivered a birthday card to his shop.

Chance had to admit that Mayor Rosemary was right about one thing regarding Vale Valley, it was if the town was expecting him. He’d just graduated from college with no direction in life. He and his parents had a falling out because his father wanted him to go to law school like his brothers and sisters did before working for their family law firm.

Chance had always seen himself as the black sheep of the family and went in a different direction. Only getting his Associate’s degree, he gave a big ‘fuck you’ to his parents and law school and set out for parts unknown. There was one thing Chance knew how to do, and that was fix cars.

Other’s called him a mechanic, but he saw himself as a doctor who specialized in engines. Chance loved what he did. There was nothing like pulling apart an engine, finding the problem and fixing it, then putting it back together simply to hear that baby purr like a baby kitten.

Chance wouldn’t admit it out loud, but he had a serious hard-on for vintage cars. Guys back then knew how to make sophisticated model vehicles for the time and people of status. Not like today where they were putting every fucking gadget, they could think of, wanting it to be pretty and expensive, rather than making it workable and safe.

Maybe I am a car snob?

He was the drummer for the band he created six years ago. He’d started it with Scott, who was their lead singer. They were Scott and the Crimson Knights, they both enjoyed writing their own music. And just like his cars, he liked vintage music that brought out feelings and emotions. They had a few loyal local fans that showed up at every event played at in town.

For him, Scott, and the rest of the guys in the band, playing was a loved hobby; it had nothing to do with wanting to be famous or making money. He made enough money with his shop and rebuilding custom cars on the side. He’d never hurt for money. At forty-five years old Chance was set for life.

Chance’s life was full but not complete. He needed someone compatible to share it with. A lover to come home to, in both the traditional and non-traditional sense. He was a kinky fucker and wanted to be the one to take care of his lover’s every need. He saw himself as a Dominant and wanted the perfect boy.

Either case Chance wanted a boy to care for. Maybe Scott was right and what he was looking for was an omega, but there wasn’t a chance of him finding one that would be into the kinky shit he was.

The few submissives he’d met at the BDSM clubs he visited over the years all seemed the same and performed as if the same dominant trained them. Chance wanted someone he could train and mold simply for him. He didn’t want predictability from his submissive, after all, when a boy misbehaves, the fun is doling out their sweet punishment.

Chance shook the thoughts out of his head and concentrated on finishing his shower. Beating the hell out of the drums and drowning the loneliness he felt to some loud ass music sounded good to Chance after the way he’d been feeling lately.

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