Sidecar Crush

By: Claire Kingsley



“I tried to think of something—anything—to calm my raging hard-on. One wrong move and Leah Mae would rub up against it and that was liable to kill me dead on the spot.” — Jameson Bodine

Model turned disgraced reality TV starlet, Leah Mae Larkin, crash lands in her hometown of Bootleg Springs to lay low while a scandal threatens her career. She can’t shake the feeling that her agent—and supposed fiancé—manipulated her into the role of made-for-TV homewrecker. Connecting with her roots is just what she needs, and Bootleg Springs is home to her father, moonshine, and her childhood best friend, Jameson Bodine.

Only there’s nothing childlike about Jameson—a man who turns scrap metal into art and isn’t afraid to throw down on a rowdy Friday night with his brothers and hellcat sister. He might not say much, but still waters run deep. Seeing the ring on his crush’s finger? He doesn’t like it, but he can’t wish it away. No more than he can wish away the trouble his family is in, with evidence pointing to his late father in the cold case disappearance of Callie Kendall.

Jameson and Leah Mae are just two friends reliving their summers together, blowing off steam, and having fun for the first time in a long time. But Leah Mae is realizing what’s really important in her life, and it isn’t what she thought.

And sometimes steam turns into sparks—hot as molten steel—and friends aren’t just friends.



I didn’t care what my sister said, being here tonight wasn’t good for me.

She’d called no less than half a dozen times today, insisting I needed to get out of the house. Why? Who knew with Scarlett. Once that girl got an idea in her head, it was damn hard to get it out. And apparently Miss Scarlett Rose had decided her brother needed a drink at the Lookout.

Now that I’d been sitting here awhile, I’d decided she was wrong. I didn’t need to be here. I’d have been much happier if I’d stayed in my shop. I made my living as a metal artist, and I was working on a big commission—had plenty to keep me busy. Granted, I liked a cold beer as much as the next guy, and Nicolette served ’em up good. But what I did not like was the fact that half the people in here were looking at me.

They thought they were being so damn sneaky. Little glances over their shoulders. Heads together to whisper.

Moving my gaze back to the table, I shifted on my stool. The noise of a dozen conversations drifted around me. I knew what people were whispering about. All us Bodines knew. They were wondering if our dad—a man who was no longer among the living—had been responsible for the disappearance, and possible murder, of Callie Kendall a dozen years ago.

Did I think he’d done it? I didn’t rightly know. There’d never been a lot of love between me and my father, but that didn’t mean I believed he’d been a murderer.

Hadn’t been a lot of love between our father and any of his children, save Scarlett. She’d always tried the hardest with him. Maybe because she was the baby, or the only girl. Hell if I knew.

There had been good times with him, and with our mama. A lot of ’em, in fact. But Dad had made it hard. Drank too much. Blamed us kids for every problem in his life. My brother, Gibson, had taken the worst of it. Turned him into a mean son of a bitch if you weren’t related to him. Sometimes even if you were. Bowie seemed to have decided he’d be Dad’s opposite. Nice guy, Bowie. Upstanding sort. Our half-brother, named Jonah after our father, hadn’t the pleasure—or misfortune—of growing up with Dad. That seemed to have been a blessing, far as I could tell.

Me? I’d always tried to stay out of his way. Keep my head down. Be invisible. Kinda what I did in general, and it usually worked out fine.

Wasn’t working no more. Not with the whole town whispering about Jonah Bodine Sr. and Callie Kendall’s damn sweater. Now eyes were on me, and I did not like it. Not one bit.

Moisture beaded on my beer bottle and the scent of garlic fries and whiskey wafted by. I took a sip and ran my thumb down the cool glass.

Bowie sat across from me, staring into his beer. He was usually a bit more talkative, but tonight he’d been quiet. I hadn’t asked why. June Tucker sat next to him, reading a book. I liked Juney. I found her bewildering sometimes, but she also didn’t talk too much, or expect me to. Although she did tend to ask awkward questions.

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