Friday, April 4, 2014

Lonely Heart (The Butterfly Memoirs) by M.J. Kane #Contemporary #Romance #Women

“Come on, Betsy, you can handle it,” I cooed and rubbed the dashboard of my car. The engine idled roughly while we sat at the traffic light.
My attention focused on the auto shop across the street, praying there was a public restroom. The minute the light changed, I bore down on the gas and jumped in front of a car in the next lane. “Sorry!” I wiggled my fingers in my rearview at the offended driver who responded by leaning on his horn. At this point I didn’t care. My car was on the verge of breaking down and I seriously had to pee.
I drove into a parking space, got out as fast as I could, and waddled to the front door. The reception area of the auto repair shop left a lot to be desired. It was small, hot, and lacked an open window. An oscillating fan sat on the counter, pushing the smell of gasoline and oil around the small space. No one was at the front desk.
“Excuse me, do you have a bathroom?” I yelled.
I spied the service bell and banged on it, praying someone in the garage would hear me over the racket of machinery.
Words I didn’t understand were yelled as a man in overalls covered with grease and grime walked around the corner. The fresh wave of fumes made me gag; I automatically stepped away from the counter and held my nose.
Reddish brown eyes framed in a young face streaked with grease from his forehead to his chin, topped off with thick jet black hair apprised me. His overalls appeared to have been gray once, but were now black.
He wiped his hands on an equally dirty rag. “Can I help you?”
“Yes, I got this card from my neighbor, Mrs. Alvarez. She told me to ask for Alejandro.” I held the business card out for his inspection.
“Sí, ella es mi Abuela. What can I do for you?”
“Excuse me?” I squeezed my thighs together and fought the urge to squirm.
A half smile slipped across his lips. “I said she is my grandmother. What can I do for you?”
“Oh, I don’t speak much Spanish, sorry. Do you have a restroom?”
He indicated for me to follow him out into the shop. “Be careful, Señora, watch your step.”
I tried my best to avoid slippery spots of spilled oil, cords, and miscellaneous tools lying on the floor. “Thanks,” I said, the moment I saw the door.  If the office was rough, the bathroom was worse. I closed my eyes to ignore the dirt and grime. When done, I turned the water on with my elbow, and sighed in relief when I spied a halfway decent bottle of soap in a pump. When I reached the office, the mechanic was nowhere to be found. I glanced out of the window and found him standing beside my car.
“Thank you so much.” I plastered on a smile.
“You’re welcome. Now, what is the problem?” He indicated my car with a nod.
“Um, you’re not old enough to be Alejandro.”
“No, I am Antonio, his nephew. My uncle isn’t here right now. If you want to leave, he’ll be back in a few hours.”
“Oh no, she told me I could get a discount if he─”
“I’ll make sure you get it. Now, this is a Nissan Maxima…I’m guessing a 2010?”
“Close, 2009. I bought it used. It’s got a lot of miles on it, but it was a great deal. I didn’t start havin’ problems with the engine until a few weeks ago. It acts funny when I accelerate. And when it idles, the car shakes like it wants to cut off.”
He rattled off something in Spanish.
I stared at him with a blank face.
“Sorry,” he said, sticking the rag in the rear pocket of his overalls. “Pop the hood and start the engine.”
I complied and waited while he did a cursory inspection.
“You need a new fuel filter.”
“Is it gonna be expensive?”
He shrugged. “I have to locate the part and verify the price, but you’ll be looking at a few hundred bucks.”
I groaned. I would be dipping into my budget for my new home. Not to mention the baby’s room.
“How long will it take?”
He glanced at the cars filling the garage bays. “Maybe two days.”
It wasn’t like I had a choice. I followed Antonio to the office and waited for him to write up the work order. I reached for my iPhone in my purse and Googled the name of a local cab company.
No car meant cab rides to work. Cab rides plus a few hundred bucks in auto expenses meant something was going to have to give with what I needed for home and baby.
I needed more money.
My attention went to the two manila envelopes in my large bag. My future lay in those contracts. It was time to make decisions.  As soon as I got home, I would take a hot shower, grab a large bowl of fruit, some juice, and examine them both.
For once in my life, I needed my decision to be the right one. I’d had enough dealing with the consequences of making the wrong ones.
I closed my eyes, unable to ignore the wave of nausea as a result of the gasoline fumes.
Antonio waved a hand indicating he wanted me to come outside. He placed a chair against the building so I could sit in the fresh air, and handed me a bottle of water.
I smiled in appreciation. “Thanks.”
He tilted his head to the side and examined me. “No se apure. My sister couldn’t stand the smell either when she was pregnant.  How far along are you?”
Surprised by the question, my mouth nearly hung open. “Six months.”
“Ah, good luck with your baby.  Is your husband coming to pick you up?”
I shook my head. “No husband, just me and baby. I’ve called a cab. They should be here soon.”
He didn’t say anything for a moment, but he appeared surprised. Self-conscious, I sat a little straighter and twisted the cap off the water. I guess I should get used to that type of reaction.
“Bueno. I’ll give you a call as soon as I know what the damage will be. Have a good evening,” he said, then walked towards my car. I watched him shut the hood, then park it on the other side of the lot.
I gulped the cold liquid. The fresh air helped ease the nausea. It dawned on me his simple act of kindness was more than Luke had done in months.
It would probably be the last nice thing a man did for me. After all, once I had my baby, looking for love would not be an option.
The consequences of past decisions can ruin your future.
Instead of planning her wedding, Kaitlyn Rodgers is facing motherhood alone, the pressures of a new job, and caring for her rebellious younger sister. What should have been the happiest time of her life turns into one stressful event after another.
After watching his father struggle to raise a family by himself, auto mechanic Antonio Rodriguez refuses to follow his father’s footsteps…even if it means a lifetime of loneliness.
When Kaitlyn’s car breaks down, though, Antonio goes beyond auto repairs to take care of her needs. An unexpected friendship begins, allowing them a glimpse of happiness…until the father of Kaitlyn’s child returns, ready to offer her marriage and a future. But at what cost?
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Genre - Contemporary Romance, Women's Fiction, Interracial Romance
Rating – R
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