Book Title: The Art of Sage (Cruz Brothers, #2)
Author: Melanie Munton
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: December 28, 2016
Hosted by: Book Enthusiast Promotions
With death came new life.
She was my new life.
And I would never be able to let her go.
Social work was never an easy job but somebody had to do it. Fortunately for kind-hearted and tattooed Sage Tucker, she wanted to do it. Day in and day out she saw kids who reminded her of her past and she needed to do everything in her power to give them the help that she never received when she was young. The more kids she helped, the more layers she thought she could shed of her dark childhood. But nothing ever worked. She was haunted by her memories, consumed by her anger. She slowly felt herself slipping further down into a hole, one she didn’t know if she would ever escape from.
Art made sense to Mason Cruz. Keeping his hands busy was his therapy. Being able to do both at his auto body shop was his sanctuary. Despite everything he had to overcome in his life, he had finally made something of himself and was where he wanted to be professionally. With every car he painted and every motorcycle he restored, he could keep the demons inside his head at bay. He just wished he was as good at repairing his soul as he was at repairing vintage fenders.
Sage had never felt so exposed than when she was around the smooth and charming Mason. Talking to him made her feel like she was under a microscope, but maybe that was exactly what she needed. Nobody had ever wanted to understand her like he did. Nobody had ever cared enough to ask and she had never cared to share.
And now she knew why.
Because she knew that whenever Mason learned everything about her, heard all of her darkest secrets, he would never want to look at her again.
*This is the second installment in the three-part Cruz Brothers contemporary romance series. Each book can be read as a standalone.
Piercing, light green eyes. Aquiline nose and a steel-like jawline. Light olive skin that spoke to me of mixed ethnicity. And a certain ruggedness to his appearance that said he wasn’t afraid to get his hands dirty. My kind of man. The fact that he was wearing mechanic’s coveralls that were unzipped and pulled down to his waist with a tight white tank top covering his thick upper body didn’t hurt either. His chest was toned and lean, the spots of grease and paint scattered over his arms only adding to his masculine appeal.
Fuck. And he had tattoos.
If I had one weakness when it came to a man’s appearance, it wasn’t muscles or a mouth-watering smile. It was some well-done, artistic, fucking sexy tattoos. I had quite a few myself, so I appreciated good-quality ink. My brother was also a tattoo artist, so the whole practice was engrained in me.
Plus, I liked a man who could stand a little pain. Like me.
I said it without even thinking, though I thought it was whispered low enough that no one else heard it.
No such luck.
“Excuse me?” the tattooed beauty asked, amusement creeping across his ruggedly handsome face. “Did you just say ‘jackpot’?”
Panicked, embarrassed, and admittedly turned on, I adamantly shook my head back and forth. “No, I don’t think so. That doesn’t sound like something I would say.”
How is this happening to me right now?
He took a rag from his back pocket and began wiping off his hands, drawing my attention down to his chest, watching his muscles ripple. “You sure about that?” he asked. Before I looked away, both of his pecs flexed at the same time, as if they were winking at me, taunting me.
For some reason, Joey Tribbiani’s “How you doin’?” catch phrase started playing on a loop in my head.
I eventually pulled my gaze back up to his face, eyes narrowing when I saw his cheeky grin. “You did that on purpose.”
“Did what on purpose?” he innocently asked before flexing his pecs again. Dammit, it’s like they were doing a little dance for me.
I knew better than to look down. But I did it again, anyway. “Stop that.”
“I have no idea what you’re talking about,” Sexy Smartass replied, nonchalantly. “So, how can I help you, Ms…?”
I stuck my hand out, forcing myself to remain cool despite how flustered and disheveled I was. “Tucker. Sage Tucker.”
He shook my hand, squeezing it politely. His touch was casual enough, but his eye contact was unnerving because it never strayed from me. Very intense. “Mason Cruz. Are you needing some work done, Ms. Tucker?”
I stared at him, unblinking, wondering if I had heard him right. He laughed, apparently reading my thoughts. It was a nice laugh I decided. “I meant automobile work.”
My face flushed. Wow, that was stupid. Two for two, Sage. “I’m so sorry,” I replied, chuckling nervously as I averted my eyes. “It’s been a long day.” I glanced up at him to his smile remained in place, though I didn’t get the feeling that he was laughing at me. “Yes, I’m needing some assistance. My car broke down just down the road from here and I’m not exactly sure what’s wrong with it. I was hoping you might be able to take a look for me?”
He looked at me for another second, then down at his watch, then around his shop, as if he were mulling over a decision. Worried that I was going to screw up his entire day, since I knew how that went, I rushed to say, “I don’t want to put you out. I can call a tow truck—”
“No, it’s fine,” he answered, his voice low and grating. “I can do that.” The corner of his mouth quirked in a half-grin. “What kind of asshole would I be if I didn’t help a woman in distress?”
My eyebrow shot up. I had a feeling he was just joking, trying to get a rise out of me. But I didn’t care. If looks could castrate, the man would have been walking around dick-less. Which would have been unfortunate because his was probably pretty nice-looking.
Of course, he just chuckled. “Sorry, was that sexist of me?”
Fighting to bite back the string of curses I wanted to release on him, I kept my expression neutral. “Little bit. Do I look like a helpless, distressed woman to you?”
Wrong thing to ask. I knew it as soon as the words left my mouth. Because Mason’s eyes immediately traveled the length of my body, taking his sweet ass—and oh, his ass was sweet—time with his perusal.
“No, you sure as hell don’t,” he rasped, those green eyes darkening. “But I’m still willing to help you out with anything you need.”
Traveler. Reader. Beach-goer. St. Louis Cardinals fan. Pasta-obsessed. North Carolina resident. Sarcastic. Bit of a nerd.
Author of the Cruz Brothers, Possession and Politics, and Timid Souls series, Melanie loves all things romance, comedies and suspense in particular because it's boring to only stick to one sub-genre. From light-hearted comedies to sexy thrillers, she likes to mix it up, but loves her some strong alpha males and sassy heroines.
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