Hard Chrome by Vanessa North
Series: American Heavy Metal, Book 1
Publisher: Carina Press
Release Date (Print & Ebook): Ebook Oct. 21, Print Oct. 29
Length (Print & Ebook): 49k words
Subgenre: Contemporary Romance
Hard Chrome deals with subjects some readers may find difficult, including domestic violence, animal cruelty, drug use, and teen pregnancy.
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He’s tough. But she’s tougher.
Tanner Ellis left American Heavy Metal in her rearview mirror. She didn’t see the beauty behind the grease stains and the polished chrome until it was too late. Now she’s back, determined to save her father’s legacy—and bring the South’s premier classic-car shop into the new century. Nothing is going to stop her—especially not the sexy tech who refuses to follow her lead.
American Heavy Metal is the only home Duke Wilson’s ever known, and no high-heeled, sharp-tongued princess is going to take it away. He tolerates Tanner’s advice, and it’s fun to push her buttons, but she doesn’t belong in the shop—never has, never will. The sooner she realizes that, the sooner he can find his new normal.
When Tanner falters, revealing the pain beneath her bravado, Duke comforts her the only way he knows how. And when violence from his past threatens their future, she’ll be there for him, offering him the one thing he’s always wanted—a shot at a real family. He just has to convince himself to take it.
This book is approximately 49,000 words
One-click with confidence. This title is part of the Carina Press Romance Promise: all the romance you’re looking for with an HEA/HFN. It’s a promise!
Exclusive Excerpt for Nadine's Obsessed with Books:
The weekend I rip up the kitchen floor, he’s there, laughing as I pull up the linoleum and inspect the subfloor beneath.
“No mold, that’s good.” I prod at a softer place by the sink. Not rotten—yet. But heading that way. “I don’t like this, though. I’m going to have to replace some of this.”
“I’m surprised there’s not hardwood under there. That would have been typical for when this one was built.”
“There was a flood in the 1970s. A lot of the flooring and some of the siding was replaced. This place will never be on the national register, but it’s in a great location. I think Brendan’s sister will make good money when she sells the place.”
“What are y’all going to put down in here?” Duke sits down, his back to the wall and crosses his ankles, studying the room. “Hardwood?”
“I think she wants to put tile down. Not exactly historically accurate, but…”
“Huh. Yeah, it’s practical in the kitchen for sure. A parquet would look nice, though.”
“I think we’re going to do parquet in the front hallway. If we brought it in here, it could be a seamless transition.” I can picture it, and it would look amazing. So much better than the tile samples Brendan’s sister had sent over. But it’s not my house. “Obviously the owner has to approve. But laying hardwood isn’t any harder than laying tile.”
He grins at me. “What about that little bathroom off the hallway?”
“The powder room? Mosaic, I think—like a black and white hex? She was leaning toward one by one squares, but I think a hex is—”
“It’s more atmospheric,” he drawls out.
“Ooh, listen to you, Dougie, big words,” I tease, and he smiles back at me.
“I like hearing you call me that.” He ducks his head. “It’s nice. Duke is—it’s better than Douglas. But I don’t mind Doug or Dougie.”
“Like you call Mac ‘Alfie?’” I raise a brow at him. “I’m dying to hear the story behind that.”
He throws his head back and laughs. “Well, when I first started working for your family, he told me to call him Alfie. I didn’t realize that’s what he says to guys he wants to bone. So I did. And I still do, because that’s his name, right?”
It’s my turn to laugh, incredulous. “So wait, how did you find out that was his MO?”
“We were watching a game over at his place. He, um, he kissed me.” Duke laughs again, awkwardly this time.
I’m mortified for both of them. “Of course he did. What did you do?”
“Well, he’s a pretty good kisser. I kissed him back. For a minute. Then it got weird, ’cause he’s a dude, and once my curiosity was satisfied, I was pretty sure I wasn’t into it the way he was.”
“Oh. My. God.” My eyes must be as big as dinner plates. “This is the best gossip I’ve had in years.”
“Awww, don’t tell him I told you. He’ll be embarrassed.” Duke throws a balled up piece of paper at me. “I like the guy.”
“I’m honestly surprised. He’s pulled that move before and gotten a black eye for his trouble.”
Duke scowls. “I don’t hit people.”
Of course he doesn’t. “That’s not what I meant.”
“Whatever. You need my help hauling the linoleum away or what?”
“Duke—Doug. It’s really not what I meant. I’m not surprised by you. I’m surprised he was bold enough to try that. That’s all.”
“Yeah, whatever.” He stands, wiping his palms on his jeans. “Look, he’s my friend too. Just don’t mention I told you.”
“Okay. I won’t.” I stand up and put a hand on his arm. “I won’t. I promise. He’s my best friend, and you’re my—” I pause. Friend? Employee? Guy I fucked at work? “—my friend. I think. Thank you for trusting me with that story.”
“Whatever,” he says again. “Figured between him and your sister and brother, you’d be cool about it.” But he doesn’t meet my eyes.
“I am cool about it. I don’t care if you’ve kissed one guy or a hundred guys, or whether you liked it or not. I’m not a prude, and I’m not a homophobe.”
“Okay, well, now you know.” He finally looks at me. “I ain’t ashamed of it.”
“I don’t think you should be.” I smile. “I kissed a girl once.”
“Oh, hoooo. The truth comes out!” he teases. “You can tell me your sordid sorority girl adventures on our way to the dump.”
The drive to the dump is quiet, and he doesn’t press me for more details. As we start hauling the linoleum out of the back of his truck, he puts his hand over mine. “I’m your friend, Tanner. I don’t know what’s going on with you, but I’m willing to listen. And we don’t have to fight or fuck first.”
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Vanessa North is celebrating the release of HARD CHROME with a big giveaway! Three prizes are up for grabs: (2) $10 Amazon Gift Cards and (1) Signed Paperback of Hard Chrome + some serious auto-shop inspired swag!
Praise for Hard Chrome:
"Hard Chrome is a sexy, modern, Southern small town romance. I can't wait to get my hands on the next book in the American Heavy Metal series!" – USA Today Bestselling Author Tamsen Parker
"Come for the grumpy mechanic, and stay for the big-hearted Ellis family! Hard Chrome is the perfect small-town romance--full of sweetness, hope, past hardships, and of course, plenty of heat Duke and Tanner will steal your hearts, and make you believe in the power of forgiveness and good kissing and classic cars--and I can't wait to read the next one in the American Heavy Metal series!" – USA Today Bestselling Author Sierra Simone
“A sweet yet sexy read! I loved this unique portrayal of life in the rural South.” – Lynda Aicher, USA Today Bestselling Author