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A wooden sign, which read Mike’s Auto Shop, sat tilted against the front of the building.

Right beside the auto shop was a small cabin with a few bushes around the front. It was nothing special, but it did have that cute, homey feel to it.

When I used to dream of having a family, I always thought we’d vacation in a cute cabin like that each year.

As I pulled open the front door of the auto shop, it squeaked and dinged a bell above the door. I glanced around the shop, but no one was around. I walked to the front desk and hit the bell, hoping someone would notice my arrival. When no one did, I began walking around the shop.

Out of nowhere, a big black lab started walking in my direction. He moved so slow, though, wagging his tail. When he reached me, he sat down and kept wagging his tail.

“You must be the guy Josie told me about,” I remarked, bending down to pet him. He kept wagging his tail as his breaths sawed in and out as if the short walk exhausted him. I glanced at his dog collar. Tucker. “You’re adorable, Tucker,” I told him before he stood back up and slowly walked back to his dog bed.

What a sweetheart.

“Hello?” I called out, but no one answered. “Hmph.”

I waited a bit longer in the front lobby before I heard a loud banging. Walking toward the back of the shop, I saw an open door that led to the backyard. The banging grew louder and louder as I walked through the door, and there buried behind a few trees was an automobile that looked as if it had been tossed through a hurricane a few times. Standing over it with a sledgehammer, Jackson was slamming into the vehicle.

He stood shirtless and sweat dripped from every inch of his body as he kept pounding the car over and over again. Every muscle in his body was on full display, and I couldn’t help but notice. How could I not? Jackson might’ve been the town asshole, but his body was something worth worshipping. You didn’t come across men as handsome as he was very often—too bad his personality didn’t match his looks.

“Hey!” I called out to him, but he didn’t look up. He kept hammering away, aggression in every hit. He had earbuds in his ears, which didn’t help his case when it came to ignoring me. So, I moved in closer. “Hey!” I shouted, pounding my hand against the car. He jumped out of his skin when he saw me, dropped his sledgehammer, and within seconds, he was cussing up a storm.

“Holy shit!” he shouted, grabbing his left foot in his hand, the unfortunate place that the sledgehammer happened to fall. “Fuck, that hurts.”

“Oh my gosh, I’m so sorry!” I claimed, covering my mouth with my hands. “Are you okay?”

“I just dropped a fucking sledgehammer on my foot. What the hell do you think?!” he barked.

I would’ve called him out on his sass level, but well, he did drop a sledgehammer on his foot, so his anger seemed warranted.

He grumbled, something he was a professional at doing, and gave me a harsh look. “What do you want?”

“I got a call from Alex saying I should stop in to check on the car, and no one was in the shop. Then I heard you doing”—I gestured toward the destroyed car—“whatever it is that you’re doing.”

He grumbled some more, finally dropping his foot back to the ground, and he started toward the shop. I stood there for a moment, uncertain of what I was supposed to do as he limped away.

He glanced over his shoulder at me and huffed. “Are you coming or what?”

“Oh, okay,” I replied, hurrying in his direction.

Once we got inside, he walked over to my car, and said, “Alex had to run out to tow someone.” His face was sporting a bit of a five-o’clock shadow, and he brushed his hand against it. “He told me to update you on the car if he wasn’t back.”

I placed my hands on my hips and stared at the car. “So how is she doing?”

“She?” he asked, cocking an eyebrow. “Cars don’t have genders.”

“Cars definitely have genders. Just because you can’t pick up on it doesn’t mean that they don’t. Rosie, here, is definitely female.”

“You would be the type to name a damn car.”

“And you would be the type to complain about someone naming a car,” I remarked.

He grumbled again, and I smiled. I felt as if my smiling irritated him, and I somewhat enjoyed annoying him because he somewhat liked to be mean to me.

“The car’s a piece of shit. Alex should’ve tossed it into the scrapyard,” Jackson stated. “You wasted your time coming down here. It’s junk.” I took a deep breath, and he held his hand up to me. “I swear to God, princess, if you start crying, I’m going to lose my goddamn mind. I’m the one with a broken foot probably, and you don’t see me getting emotional.”