Hard Working Hero (Hard Working Hero 1)

Page 1

Shit shit shit. Come on, move already!I slam on my horn, but I know it doesn't really matter. No one is going to suddenly jump out of my way. Both lanes are backed up so tightly, I can't even sneak down the breakdown lane to get off the exit.
I lean side to side, pushing up in my seat and using the steering wheel to lift me a little higher so I can see what's going on ahead of me. All I see are brake lights. Trucks and cars are all wedged together bumper to bumper as far as my eyes can see.
“Fuck L.A. traffic!” I call out, slapping the steering wheel. Throwing myself back against my seat, I rub my forehead with the pads of my fingers. “This sucks,” I say to myself.
I'm supposed to be at my father's fiftieth birthday party. It started half an hour ago and everyone is going to be there; from top bankers, to day traders, to legendary actors my father has crossed paths with over the years. He's one of those men that seems to know everyone, and you never really understand how or why. There's always a story he never really ends up telling me.
I promised my parents I'd be on time. Instead, here I am in traffic on the ten.
It's an honest mistake. Nodding to myself in the car, I let out a slow breath. “Yeah, an honest mistake.”
Time got away from me, I couldn't help it. I only have one real addiction and it comes in the form of silk gowns, puff sleeves, and feathery head-wear. Bridgerton. It's my obsession. I love everything about it. Lucky for me, it seems everyone else in the digital world does too.
I easily lose track of time when I jump online and start a conversation with someone who can appreciate the story just like me. The online world is my home. It's so easy to meet people that think like me.
Around here everyone is obsessed with money, status, and fame.
I'm all set with pretending I'm one of them. It doesn't matter how much money my family has, it never seemed like it was enough for the kids I went to school with.
Maybe I'm just strange. A square peg in a round world.
Doesn't matter, I'm over it.
The cars ahead of me start inching forward. It's slow, but it's enough for me to breathe a sigh of relief. I'm only about ten minutes from my parents’ sprawling mansion in Brentwood.
Cyprus trees tower over the thick iron fence around my parents’ house, making it impossible to see the house from the street. A veritable fortress. I glance at clock on my dash, and I figure I’ll surely make it on time for Dad’s cake. As I drive closer to their house, I see the gate is wide open, so I blindly whip my car into the driveway, only to come to a slamming stop. The front of my car crunches, the hood folding up like a fan as I smash into a big green truck.
My hands are tightly squeezing the wheel, knuckles going white as steam billows out from under my hood on both sides.
“Whoa! Whoa!” A man yells suddenly, running around from the front of the truck.
With jet black hair that shines blue under the sun, he throws his thick muscular arms up and rakes his hands across the top of his head. He tugs his hair tight against his scalp, allowing me to see all of his face. His handsome, devilishly sexy, face.
He has a sharp jawline with a shadow of stubble that runs from his chin up both of his cheeks and connects with his sideburns. He's wearing a white t-shirt that fits so snugly to his chest I can see his bulging pecs and the rippling abs of his washboard stomach. Biceps threaten to tear through the short sleeves as he continues to squeeze his head.
I'm stunned for a moment, my eyes fixing on him and him alone. I don't see the damage to my car, or hear what he's saying. I don't register the crack spidering across my windshield or the sound of steam hissing from under my hood. All I can do is stare at this beast of a man as he comes toward my car.
There's an expression of worry on his face as he bypasses the damage and yanks my door open. “Are you all right?” he asks.
His cologne swirls through the air as the wind blows, rendering me almost speechless. He smells so good, like citrus and basil with a hint of sandalwood. “Uh, yeah, I'm fine,” I finally force myself to answer.
“You sure? You didn't hit your head or anything?” His eyes scan me up and down as he reaches in and touches my shoulder lightly. His hand is so gentle, like he's afraid I'll crumble if he touches me any harder. “Do you hurt anywhere?”