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Bikini Babes’ Carwash
By Suzie McLean
Artwork by Moira Nelligar
Copyright 2016 Suzie McLean
All characters in this book are 18 or older.
Phoebe, the de-facto ringleader of Seaside Bay’s Alpha Beta Xi sorority, watched in thoughtful silence as Logan Baird climbed onto his powerful gold-hued motorcycle, revved it three times, and then resolutely peeled out of the dusty Bikini Babes’ Carwash parking lot.
The BetaZeds had been painstakingly restoring their hurricane-battered property for the past several weeks—and if she did say so herself, the changes they’d made were staggering.
Gone were the gigantic piles of rotting garbage; gone were the damaged stucco walls and dilapidated signs left behind by previous tenants. The wide gravel parking lot had been meticulously raked and swept with powerful magnets to remove any dangerous metal scraps that could puncture a sandaled foot or unwary tire. Mountains of fallen branches and withered palm fronds had been gathered, piled just outside the sturdy chain link fence, and hauled away in sections by the weekly refuse trucks.
Construction material donations from a dozen different sources and a lot of good old-fashioned hard work had transformed the long, low building from a tumbledown mess into something they could all be proud of.
Muriel’s older brother, Asher, had hauled in four loads of colorful bricks to complete the luxurious ‘massage parlor’ where they’d be offering professional back rubs and manicures to carwash clients. They’d only used about half of them, so the remainder were piled in untidy heaps at the mouths of each open bay. Tomorrow they’d start the backbreaking—but worthwhile—job of re-facing the front of the building. The original builder, she reflected with a soft chuckle, would barely recognize it when they were finished.
If they had enough bricks left over, they might even fashion low rectangular planters, and fill them with live or artificial blooming plants that would brighten the place year-round. Phoebe was leaning toward artificial ones, even though live plants would be prettier, because they’d be so much easier to maintain during the blistering summer months.
Soon, she thought with smug satisfaction, the fully-renovated bays would sparkle with fresh pale-gray paint that would enhance the ambient light, but hide casual sand and dirt. She and her ‘sisters’ would be wielding the paintbrushes while Muriel, Reid Holmes, and Ben Corey slapped bricks and mortar together.
Reid, their local ‘fix-it’ guy who’d long-ago earned the nickname ‘MacGyver’ because of his uncanny knack for repairing anything, was already turning away to continue working on the stubborn hose fitting he was replacing. She watched as Ben went with him, and marveled at how well the sexy once-cop-turned-private-investigator had blended with their energetic team.
Of course, it didn’t hurt that he was eagerly dating her Jamaican sorority sister, Muriel Cristobal. But would it last once their building restoration was complete, and he went back to working from his cozy office across town? She hoped so, because she liked seeing Muriel so blissfully happy.
She was pretty darned happy herself, now that she’d finally come to terms with her feelings for their landlord/partner, Riley Thompson. She’d been stunned and bewildered by the explosive passion that had erupted between them back when they’d first met to inspect the property. For several long weeks, she’d struggled with confused depression. But then, when her youngest sister, Andrea, had nearly been killed in a freak swimming accident, she’d instinctively turned to him for comfort…and that had forced her to examine her chaotic emotions.
Andrea had rebounded from the near-calamity with typical MacIntyre fortitude, and not even the bulky plaster cast weighing down her right arm could stop her from jumping back into the thick of things. How much of that was because Mac and she had finally admitted to the lifelong love they’d kept hidden all these years?
Phoebe was pretty sure they were enjoying an extremely vigorous sex life now, too. She wasn’t entirely sure how she felt about that—but she’d taken her first lover a full year before Andi had, and she loved Mac like a brother. So what protest could she really make?
The love bug seemed to be biting everyone lately. Toni, their sultry brunette business major, had fallen head over heels for their cute new building inspector, Jason Prescott. He’d first arrived on the scene to warn them that their entire building needed repair before they could open for business. Then fiery romance had sizzled between Toni and him—and he’d been a constant fixture at their sprawling old sorority house, and frequently at the carwash, too, ever since. And for a ‘desk jockey’ with no actual building experience, he’d proved himself very useful as he helped them fix the place up again.
Astra had been the latest one to succumb. Watching the sparks fly between her and Jared Montrose, the ultra-sexy Greek god lookalike who’d recently joined their team was…a little embarrassing, really.
Not that they were doing anything overt like making out in corners. But the intense looks that often passed between the tall, ultra-blonde Scandinavian masseuse and her former classmate, whose classic rugged features and thick golden hair were just as striking, crackled like wildfire through the hot summer air. It was enough to jumpstart anyone’s hormones into overload, even if they weren’t romantically involved themselves!
Logan, she thought, watching as his supercharged motorcycle rounded a curve and disappeared, had been desperately in love with her petite little Japanese sorority sister, Tamika Sunira, ever since they’d been teenagers. Tragedy had separated them for the past six years. But now he’d come back, wanting to rekindle that flame.
She’d always liked Logan, even if she had believed Tami had been far too young when they’d become passionate lovers. It had been her idea to reunite them, and that part of her plan had worked perfectly even though Tami had succumbed to a terrifying panic attack, and fainted right in the middle of their parking lot when she’d seen Logan emerge from the farthest bay.
She was okay…they’d carried her into the newly finished ‘massage parlor,’ and kept a close watch on her until she’d recovered. Then they’d tactfully left Logan and her alone to sort things out.
That part hadn’t been quite as successful, she thought with a troubled sigh. Tami had told him about the child she’d miscarried right after he’d been forced to move away, so that was finally out in the open. But then she’d burst into tears and run away—back to the sorority house, Phoebe knew, because she’d had Ben surreptitiously follow her to make sure she was safe. And Logan, after shedding more than a few tears himself, had turned to the BetaZed girls for advice.
He still loved Tami, even after all this time—and they all knew that Tami still loved him, too. So rather than ream his delightfully cute butt for making her cry again, they’d plotted together, and thought of a possible way to make it all come out right.
To that end, they’d decided to vacate the sorority house for the entire night. If none of them were around to commiserate with, they were sure Tami would go on one of her long nightly walks. And if she didn’t eventually end up at the big willow tree that had been their old trysting spot, where Logan would be anxiously waiting for her, Phoebe had vowed to eat a live frog before breakfast tomorrow.
Jared had provided a plausible excuse by facetiously begging them to come clean his house before his twin brother arrived the next day. At first, they’d given it all the merit it was due—which was to say, none at all. But then Riley had dropped by to see their gorgeous new business sign, had been filled in on the day’s events, and had added his own support to Jared’s plea.
“I’ll call the boys,” he’d suggested—by which he’d meant Asher and Jason, “and we’ll make it a party. Steaks and bratwurst on the grill, chilled beer and wine coolers, and between the fourteen of us, we can whip the place into shape in no time.”
What the hell. It sounded a lot more appealing than French toast and bacon, which was what she’d planned to cook tonight since it was her turn on kitchen rotation. Astra and Elle could sneak into the house to gather up fresh clothes for them all, they could shower at Jared’s place, and then doss out in the living room after they finished cleaning.
She’d probably end up going home with Riley—and she’d be surprised if Andrea and Toni didn’t head to Mac’s and Jason’s apartments. Ben and Muriel? Who knew where they’d go! Probably back under the sorority house patio where they’d made love the first time; what it lacked in comfort, it made up for in undeniable sentimental appeal. And since the weather was slated to remain balmy, why not? That would also allow Ben to reset the hidden alarms Tami would undoubtedly trigger when she left.
Who would be next? The thought came out of nowhere, and made her start to grin. Five of them had already tumbled headlong into unexpected relationships. If Logan was successful tonight, Tami would become the sixth. Only Nina, Elle, and her younger sister Selena were left.
Nina would be next, she decided with a soft chuckle. She was the only woman on earth who couldn’t see how Muriel’s massive older brother looked at her—and Phoebe had a sneaking suspicion that Ashe wasn’t going to stay patient much longer. When he finally made his move, the fireworks would probably be visible six counties away!
They’d make an intriguing couple, she admitted. Asher was 6’4”, black as coal, and built like the Incredible Hulk. He could bend steel rebar in his bare hands, and lift loads that would crush a smaller man…but he was probably the gentlest soul she’d ever known. Those massive fingers could manipulate tiny wires like magic. And though she’d never admit it aloud, she had privately wondered how his clever hands would feel gliding over her naked body.
Nina had the look of her mother’s Blackfoot Indian ancestors. Though she was lanky for a woman, she barely reached Ashe’s brawny shoulder. But she made up for it in sheer charisma. Her long black hair fell in a shimmering waterfall almost to her waist. Phoebe was certain that if she ever did follow her dream of becoming a Broadway actress, her exotic high cheekbones and sparkling black eyes would win her rave reviews.
Elle would take the tumble after Nina did, she decided impulsively. Astra’s identical twin sister was a tall, ethereal blonde who turned heads every time she smiled. She was quieter than her sister, and physically more delicate. They all took care to make sure she didn’t overextend herself. But though her body was fragile, she had a will of solid steel. The man who pushed too hard did so at his own risk.
This time Phoebe laughed out loud. Her younger sister—Andi’s fraternal twin—was far more interested in her computer than in men. She was a brilliant graphic artist, and nearly as good with a paintbrush. Several of her paintings hung in their rambling old sorority house, and she’d sold several more at local art festivals.