Driven to the Limit (Collection)
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by Alice Gaines
Category: Erotica/Paranormal Erotica/Erotic Romance
Description: Mannhof. The ultimate in precision German engineering. Individually hand-crafted motorcycles, each custom created for one woman, and one woman only. For the right woman. Even if she doesn't know it. Because the motorcycle of her dreams--is also the man of her dreams. Why would a normally sane woman pay a million dollars for a motorcycle? Hard-driving CEO Claire Wilcox has found the bike of her dreams--a 1957 Mannhof four-cylinder touring motorcycle. It'll take all of Will's sensual skills to crack the hard shell she's built around herself to free the woman within. Jake's mission is to save Lauren King from herself--and a vicious rock star and his groupie compound called The Pit. But learning to love may cost them both their lives. Motorcycle cop Charley Thomas keeps men at arm's length. Until her Mannhof, Nick, helps her regain her sensual side... But can happiness be re-engineered into their futures?
eBook Publisher: Changeling Press LLC, 2009 2009
eBookwise Release Date: July 2009
2 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [251 KB]
Reading time: 159-223 min.
"These stories are sexy and entertaining, and they definitely held my interest as I read them. Strong women, hot motorcycles, and even hotter men? I don't think I can find a better combination than that."--BD Whitney, Book Wenches Praise for One Owner, Lady Driven "One Owner, Lady Driven is a brilliant novella that is a must for anyone looking for something completely out of the ordinary. You'll surely be keeping this book, and rereading it again and again." 5 Stars!--Elizabeth Marie, Just Erotic Romance Reviews "The sex is hot, the creative talents of the author undeniable, and the story is a great read."--Romance Reviews Today Praise for Driven to the Limit "A surprisingly poignant story about what happens when people lose themselves and get involved with the wrong people....Alice Gaines has written a wonderful addition to her series about Klaus Mannhof and his creations and I can't wait to read more books in this series!" 4.5 Lips!--Kerin, TwoLips Reviews "I am not walking, but running to get the first one to read. I loved how different this story was from the usual. The author took a woman that was kind of broken and gave her a man that showed her that she was worth so much more than what she thought she was. It was very well written and I look forward to reading more by this author."--Nicole Harvey, ParaNormalRomance.org Praise for Driven to Justice "The plot is tense, the dialogue tight and the characters are heart winning. Ms. Gaines has again written a winning story that is creative and different." 5 Hearts!--Valerie, Love Romances and More "Driven to Justice is a novel approach on the shapeshifter theme and is original, sexy and entertaining.... The characters are well-rounded and appealing, the plot is quick with lots of action and the romance is patient, steamy and sensual."--Sandi Potterton, Romance Junkies
There it was--the machine of her dreams. Claire looked down at the auction catalogue in her lap. The picture of a 1957 Mannhof four-cylinder touring motorcycle looked back at her. The photo didn't do the bike justice. Sleek and muscular, the real thing reeked of power and sex. Right down to the naked man painted on the gas tank.
"Okay, go circulate," Claire said to Ted. "See if you can hear any buzz from the other bidders."
Her assistant looked around. "You can already hear the buzz. The whole room's full of it."
"A classic Mannhof goes on sale, maybe, once a decade. I'm going to have that bike if I have to kill someone to get it."
Ted's eyes widened. "If anyone but you said that, I'd think it was a joke."
"Just circulate, will you? I need to know what I'm up against."
Ted rose and walked toward the back of the crowd, while the auctioneer approached the podium and tapped the microphone. "Ladies and gentlemen, next we have item number 346. Page fifty of your catalogues. A hand-made Mannhof motorcycle, vintage 1957."
Ted had been right about the buzz. It grew until it was clearly audible. Hell, she could feel it in her bones. Mannhofs came along so seldom that most of the general public had never heard of them. One had caused a stir eleven years ago when a rock star bought one for half-a-million dollars. That one didn't compare to this beauty.
"This classic has only had one owner since it was built," the auctioneer continued.
The owner must have had an appreciation for the male body, or the man on the fuel tank made no sense. Completely nude, he reclined with his torso propped up on one elbow. He was a double entendre of the most wicked kind--a play on a woman taking so much strength between her legs. Mannhof couldn't have known it, but he'd built that bike for her.
"Excellent maintenance and low mileage make this a spectacular find," the auctioneer said. "We'll start the bidding at one hundred thousand dollars."
Claire didn't raise her paddle. The auction would take some time to play out, and there was no point showing her interest yet. If the rest knew the CEO of Consolidated Industries International wanted the Mannhof, they'd bid her up just for the excitement. No, she'd wait until the serious bids started coming.
One hundred, one fifty, two hundred, two twenty-five--clearly this would top the half million Kid Dagger had paid eleven years ago. She could wait.
Ted returned and sat beside her. "You were right about this thing. People are going nuts over it."
"Did you hear anything interesting?"
"Mostly chatter. There's one guy back there talking into a cell phone in Japanese."
"Damn it. Matsumoto."
"Nippon Manufacturing Matsumoto?"
"Do you know another Matsumoto with the money to spend on a Mannhof?"
Ted whistled softly between his teeth. "And you just beat him out of the Swiss contract."
"This way if he gets the Mannhof, he gets a treasure and revenge."
"He knows you want the cycle?" Ted asked.
"Matsumoto knows everything he needs to know."
"The guy talking to him isn't Japanese." Ted twisted in his seat to glance toward the back of the room.
"Don't look at him," Claire said. "Pretend you didn't see anything."
Ted turned back around. The bidding had gone over three hundred thousand dollars and was heading toward four. Eventually, she'd have to show her hand, and then, they'd get an idea how serious her rival was in taking the Mannhof from her.
Matsumoto couldn't have her bike. No straight male would ride something with a naked man on it. He wouldn't dare paint over the picture, as that would lower the value. He'd stick the Mannhof in a museum somewhere, and it would never see the open road. The engine would sit silent. Such fine machinery deserved to run, to prove itself with all its power. Between her legs, with the leather of the seat thrumming against her thighs.
Heat crept up her cheeks, and a familiar breathlessness settled in her chest. Excitement. The same thrill she got negotiating a deal. All power was sexual at its core, and anyone who claimed otherwise was either a liar or a fool. She didn't suffer either gladly, and she wouldn't tolerate lies or foolishness in herself.
People made fun of her aloofness--called her an ice queen. None of them understood the raw sensuality of power. The naked man on the Mannhof's tank did. He belonged to her, and she'd have him.
"Four seventy-five," the auctioneer called. "Do I hear five hundred thousand? Anyone?"
Claire took a calming breath and let it out. Then, she lifted her paddle. A murmur went up in the crowd. A barrier had been crossed from the everyday to the heroic. No doubt many of them had come to watch exactly this--the most expensive motorcycle of all time going to the most insane bidder. At least, that's how the rest of the world would see it. Both Claire and Matsumoto had all their wits.
"Five twenty-five," the auctioneer said, pointing to the back of the crowd.
Ted turned in his seat. "That's the guy."
"I told you not to look at him."
"Do I have five fifty?" the auctioneer called. Claire signaled that he did.
"Are you nuts?" Ted said.
"I know exactly what I'm doing."
"Eight hundred thousand dollars." This time the call came from the back of the room. Matsumoto's man. Thinking he could scare her off. She'd been expecting this.
"Nine hundred thousand," she said calmly.
Even the auctioneer looked shocked at that. He sputtered in confusion for a moment.
"Damn, Claire," Ted said. "It's a motorcycle, not a Rembrandt."
"Mannhof made fewer than twenty of them, and this one is mine."
"Nine hundred thousand is the bid," the auctioneer said as if he couldn't believe his own words.
"One million," the voice called from the back of the room.
A roar went up in the room this time, and the auctioneer pounded on the podium with his gavel. "Ladies and gentlemen, please."
"Forget about it, Claire," Ted said. "Matsumoto's not going to give up."
"Neither am I." She'd have to exercise most of her stock options and cash in. That would give her enough. "One million one hundred thousand."
"One mil..." The voice in the back ended in a croak. A clatter followed--a chair tipping over, shouts going up.
"Shit, he's collapsed," Ted said. "Matsumoto's man ... he's choking or something."
The auctioneer craned his neck, trying to get a view of the commotion in the back.
"The bid is one million one hundred thousand," Claire said calmly.
"Yes." The auctioneer cleared his throat. "The bid is one million one hundred thousand. Going once..."
Claire reminded herself to breathe. In. Out.
She stared at the man on the Mannhof's tank, willing her heart to beat evenly. The man didn't move, of course, but he answered anyway, staring back at her.
The auctioneer's gavel came down. "Sold to the lady in the front."
Still focused on the naked man's face, Claire smiled. We did it! * * * *
The Mannhof arrived in a crate on a huge flatbed truck. Next to the crate rode a forklift, firmly chained down. Not even a full crew of strong men would dare lift that crate for fear of damaging the contents.
Claire stood in the driveway of her restored Victorian and watched as the men unloaded the crate as gently as a woman holds her newborn. The foreman held out a clipboard with some papers. "Sign here."
"I want to see it."
"Look, lady, I just deliver it."
"I paid over a million dollars for that motorcycle. I want to see it."
The man shrugged. "Tony, Lou, open the crate."
The men found some tools and began unfastening the bolts that held the planks together. Once they'd removed the lid, a third man reached in to steady the bike while the other two worked on the padded cables that held the bike stable during transport. An effective plan, the arrangement had kept her baby from even touching the sides of the crate. Perfect.
With the bike free and one end of the crate gone, the man made to roll the bike onto the pavement.
"I'll do that," she said.
He stood to the side, still supporting the bike by the handlebars. Her heart thundering, she climbed into the crate, swung her leg over the Mannhof's seat, and took the handles to guide it out.
The minute her crotch hit the leather, a wave of adrenaline rushed through her. Pure excitement, pure lust. She'd expected something, but not this strong. Knees trembling, she walked the bike out onto her driveway.
Claire looked up to find the foreman had shoved the clipboard toward her.
"You want to sign this or not?" he asked.
"Uh, sure." She used his pen to put her name on the bottom line and then handed him back the papers. Then, she sat, savoring the feel of leather between her thighs, the gleam of sunlight off the bike's controls, sensing the latent power between her legs as the sounds of the crew packing up to leave faded to the back of her brain. Finally, they drove away, leaving her alone with the machine of her dreams.
Only one other person had owned this bike, and that person had to have been a woman. She'd probably commissioned it sometime in the mid-fifties. During those days of enforced homemaking and repressed sexuality, what a kick-ass lady she must have been. No tuna noodle casserole or gelatin molds for this one. She'd not only had wealth, she'd had balls. What a blast it'd be to throw back a few shots with her and get her talking. But she must have died because no living person gave up a Mannhof.
Claire'd toast her memory tonight with some fine single malt. The thought made her smile. Sisterhood across all those years.
For now, she'd get the bike into the garage and out of sight of the neighbors. They'd find out about it soon enough when she roared down the street. It'd give some of them fits. Let them try to do something. Just let them.
Guiding the bike with the handlebars, Claire pushed it along the driveway and into the garage. Once there, she set the kickstand and got off.
She stepped back to admire the painting on the gas tank. The naked man still reclined there, of course. Damn, he was a hunk. Broad shoulders, muscular chest, slim hips, and ... whoa ... an erection. A great, big hard-on, as masculine as the rest of him and as powerful as the bike itself. She'd had a few men in her day, but none of them like that. She'd have noticed if it had been there at the auction. This had to be some trick of the light. A joke from her sister from half a century ago.
She took a few steps away, and the image of his boner disappeared. Approaching again, she still couldn't see it, no matter which way she turned her head. Illusion or imagination? Who knew?
"I'm going to have to take you somewhere special for our first ride," she said. "Someplace wild. You and I, alone somewhere untamed."
She had to laugh at that. They'd have to get far away from suburbia to find someplace wild. She'd do it, though, somehow.
In the meantime, she had a conference call from the office in Hawaii in ... she glanced at her watch ... ten minutes. Leave the dreaming for another time. She turned and walked toward the garage door.
Turn me on.
Huh? The words crept softly into the back of her mind. Faint but clear. She looked around. No one there.
"Were you talking?" she said to the man on the gas tank. Great, now she was having a conversation with a painted image. Maybe she could talk him into getting that enormous boner back.
Chuckling, she walked to the garage entrance and reached for the automatic door button.
Start my engine and sit on me, the imaginary voice said. You know you want to.
"All right, now, that's enough." She spun around, and something jingled in her pocket. The keys the auction house had sent the week before. Hell, she had ten minutes. She'd spent over a million for the Mannhof, and she'd never heard the engine. Why not turn it over and listen to the pistons purr?
Leaving the door open so the exhaust could escape, she walked to the bike and straddled it. After turning the key in the lock, she kick-started the engine. Although badly out of practice, she got it going the first time and gave it some gas. An awesome roar filled the garage. Oh, yeah. Sweet.
Slowly, she lowered herself onto the seat so she could feel all that power against her body. The same rush went through her as when she'd first sat against the leather, only now, the effect came amplified. The pistons churned, and the whole bike vibrated. She closed her eyes and let her mind wander to the open road. The Mannhof devouring mile after mile as she watched the sun climb higher in the sky. All around her, the air flew by, swirling into all the secret parts of her body. Caressing her breasts with rough fingers.
If only she could ride naked, with nothing more than boots and gloves to direct the controls. Fucking the entire universe, orgasm after orgasm as the world flew by. Ultimate power--imposing her sexual will on everything around her.
That image faded, and another one took its place. Fucking a real man this time. The man on the gas tank. Both of them stark naked on a hilltop with the sun beating down on them. She'd sit astride him, guiding that monster cock inside her. Heat would sear her shoulders and breasts as he thrust up into her, grinding himself against her clit until she came with a shout. Then doing it over again. Again and again. Shit, she needed that.
She opened the throttle, giving the engine more gas, and leaned forward until her clit rubbed against the seat. Even through her jeans, it sent powerful vibrations against her already aroused flesh. A million dollar vibrator. She would have laughed if she could breathe.
Her mind wandered again--to her pool this time. Her bent over the edge while he entered her from behind. The water churning around her breasts with the force of his thrusts. His own grunts of animal lust while he rubbed her clit as he came with a force that made her follow, screaming.
The real climax hit, starting deep inside and cresting. Desperate, she gunned the engine as her pussy clenched and then exploded into massive spasms. Now, now, and now.
When it finally ended, she turned off the engine and sat, gasping for breath. Sanity returned. She'd had an orgasm--the most powerful in her life--sitting fully dressed in her garage. If she got that aroused out on the highway, she'd have to pull over or run into a tree. One way or another, she'd have to plan a long trip to see what the bike could do. Right now...
She glanced at her watch. Shit. Late for her conference call. Oh, hell. She was the CEO. They could all wait.
She climbed off the Mannhof and walked to the garage door. Before closing it, she glanced back one more time. Impossible, but in a distant part of her brain, she could still hear the engine hum. * * * *
Will felt human life spread slowly through him. First transformations took time. Hadn't Klaus Mannhof told him that many times during the construction? He had to switch from the senses that had guided him as a machine to the senses his biological organs would give him. Before, he'd seen with the magic his Designer had given him. Soon, he'd see with human eyes. He needed to find patience somewhere, but this took so damned long.
Smells came first--oil, car upholstery, paint from some cans in the corner. Garage smells. Exactly what Klaus had told him to expect. Then, sounds. A clock ticking, faint noises of nighttime insects through an open window. After what seemed like forever, he had eyes to open, and he looked around to find himself in the large garage where the woman had parked him. A luxury sedan and a wicked, low-slung sports car shared the space with him. Wealth. No matter, material things meant nothing to him.
He watched the last traces of his own change as metal turned to flesh and leather to skin. A heart pumped blood through him, much the way his pistons pumped. Air filled his lungs. He lay on the concrete floor, breathing it in.
So, this was a human body. Not as powerful as his machine identity, but strong in its own right. Different and more complex, just as the feelings were richer. He'd observed the world around him before, but not with all the color and inflection. He'd enjoy being human.
Running his hands over himself, he found smooth skin and coarse hairs on his chest. Muscles worked beneath the surface, contracting and relaxing. Time to test them.
Using his arms to help him up, he rose to his feet. The world lurched, and he almost fell, but he stayed upright, gathering strength and balance. In a moment, he stood tall, his shoulders thrown back. One step and another, and his movements grew easier and more fluid. He could run now if he wanted. He could crouch and leap--things his machine body could never have done. What freedom. If he needed the speed and power, he could change back. As Klaus had told him, the changing got easier with each transformation. Truly, he was blessed.
He was also aroused. Klaus had given him all the best equipment, and now the male part of him--his cock--stood straight out from his body. It throbbed with all the energy of his pistons. This, too, he could enjoy.
Now, to find the woman.