Quinn has spent her whole life working in her dad's garage, leaving her more comfortable with a carburetor than a curling iron. Her world is turned upside down when her beloved garage is bought by none other than world famous, sexy as sin, custom car builder, Tazen Watts. He's the one man she can't stand...even though he makes her hotter than a high performance engine in top gear.
Tazen has no use for Quinn, at least not professionally, and he's making sure she knows it. But there's a spark between them that she's finding hard to ignore. She's determined to prove her talent is as impressive as her sassy mouth. When she finds out Tazen is hiding a secret that could bring down his career and everyone involved in it, she wonders: is falling for him is going to be worth the risk?
*This book is a standalone that contains a HEA*
About the Author
USA Today bestselling author Bella Jewel is a fun-loving Australian who lives in sunny Queensland with her two playful daughters. She’s been writing since she was fifteen and has authored a broad range of stories with wild characters ranging from bikers to pirates. When she’s not writing, Bella can be found kicking about on dirt bikers or riding horses. Bella has many more books planned for the future. She is the author of 72 Hours and The Watcher.
Read an Excerpt
Hard to Break
By Bella Jewel
St. Martin's PressCopyright © 2015 Bella Jewel
All rights reserved.
"Good morning, Dad," I say, heading into the kitchen the next morning.
My father is sitting on the couch still, his head bowed, a cup of joe in his hands. He looks up when I come in and I wince. Once, a long time ago, my dad was an exceptionally handsome man with his golden hair and bright blue eyes. He had a big frame and was all muscle. Now he's frail and weak, his hair is dull and his eyes ... they're empty.
"Morning, sugar," he rasps. "I'm, ah, sorry 'bout last night."
He says this every time that happens.
"No biggie," I say in my best chipper voice, pouring a coffee. "Are you coming into the garage today?"
He frowns. "I would, but my stomach ... it's not so good. Maybe tomorrow."
He says that every time, too.
I gather my keys and carry my coffee to the front door. As I pass him, my dad reaches out and curls his hand around my wrist. "I'm sorry, Quinnie ... I'll try to be better."
I look down into his empty blue eyes and I wish I could believe that, I really do. There's a pain etched deep in my chest, and it's one I live with on a daily basis. There is pain for the loss of my mom. There is pain because my dad is so broken. And there is a deep pain knowing that my family is no longer beautiful like it once was. I don't resent my dad for being this way, but I can't accept it either. I've tried to understand, but I guess since I've never had a love like theirs, it is beyond me.
I pat his shoulder and pull my wrist from his. "Okay, Dad. Later."
I rush out the front door and get into my old, restored, baby blue Mustang with white leather interior. It's the only thing I cherish in my life. It is important to me because when my dad was sober, and my mom was alive, we fixed this car up together. It's the only piece of the old him I have left, so I hang onto it with both hands, cherishing the memories it holds for me. My dad taught me everything I know about cars and how to restore them. I've never loved anything as much as I love being under the hood of a car. Strange, I know, but it takes me back to a place where happiness was like a bubble surrounding me.
It was hard growing up being a tomboy. I had the looks to be a girly girl, but I never used them. I loved being around the guys, and I loved being with my dad. During my high school years, I got a good deal of taunts thrown my way, because I was different from the rest. I still recall the memory when I told Dad I wanted to be a mechanic — the very thought makes me smile.
"You want to be what?" he asks, his eyes wide.
"I want to be a mechanic," I say proudly. "Like you, Daddy."
He blinks. "Baby, you're a girl."
I stare at him, shocked. "And?"
He shakes his head. "Shouldn't you want to, I don't know, wear dresses and paint your nails?"
"Not all girls do those things, Dad."
He laughs. "No ... but ... honey, I don't think it's the right profession for you. It's a world of males and ... well ... male things."
I straighten. "You don't think I can handle that, because I'm a girl? That isn't enough of an excuse, Daddy. I've been under those cars since I was big enough to do so, and you know it. Don't be like the rest of them, don't make me feel stupid for pursuing something that isn't necessarily feminine."
My dad's face softens. "Baby," he says gently. "I'm damned proud when I watch you under a car, I just want you to do what's right for you. If this is it, then Quinn, I'm over the moon. You know you've been my little sidekick since you were little. I'd love nothing more than to be able to expand your knowledge."
I beam and throw myself into his arms. "Are you saying I can work for you?"
He chuckles, squeezing me tightly. "After you talk to your mother about it."
I come back to the here and now, with a smile on my face. My dad never had a chance of stopping me. I was born to be under cars and once he convinced my mother of this, I never left the garage. With a smile, I back out and drive to work.
The garage my dad owns, and has owned since I was born, is only about twenty minutes away from home. There are five of us that work there. Jace, Lenny, Oscar, Matty and myself. These guys are the only reason I keep fighting as hard as I do, because there are so many times when giving up would be so much easier. They've been in my life for a solid five years now, and if it wasn't for them, I would have never been able to hold the garage together. During this time, I've managed to bond with them all. They've become the only family I know.
Jace is my closest friend out of the four guys. He's two years older than me and an amazing mechanic. He's got a skill under the hood that not many people have. He's also a playboy at heart. He has more women than underwear, but I have a friendship with him that is just that, friendship. There is, and never has been, anything sexual between us, even though he's handsome, he's funny and he makes me smile.
Lenny and Oscar are the oldest of the group. Lenny is fifty and Oscar is fifty-eight. Both are friends of my father's and so therefore, are like second and third fathers to me. They're loyal to him and they do amazing work. Lenny has serious talent when it comes to fixing the bodies on cars. He has a way of making them look better when they leave than when they came in. Oscar is an old-school mechanic, and people love him for that very reason. The garage just wouldn't be the same without them.
Matty is our newest member, and he's only twenty but is blossoming into a great mechanic with every passing day. He's training under us, so he also studies as well as puts in hours at the garage. He's good with his hands, but most importantly, he's got an eye for the smaller things. The things we often miss. He's smart as hell, and he's taken in every single thing he's learned in his time with us.
I arrive at the garage and pull my car into the reserved spot that's always been mine. I throw my booted feet out and then slide my body out at the same time slamming the door behind me. I'm always first to arrive and last to leave. But it's not just because I love this place. I help out with the cars, but I also have paperwork coming out of my ass on top of it. I don't mind, though. There's a certain peace this place brings me, and being here gives me stability. I'd be lost without it.
I walk towards the large, two-bay garage with Pixie Wheels written in bright blue across the top of the old, steel colored walls. My mom used to call me Pixie when I was little so Dad made sure to include it into the name when they started this business. I've never had the heart to change it. My parents had so many happy years in this place, and I think it's part of the reason I hang onto it so tightly. It's the only happy memories I have left.
I open the door that leads into the office from the workshop, and step inside. There are two offices in the front left-hand corner of the garage, one that has a reception desk and files, and another that has a computer and phone, as well as a crap load of tools and boxes stacked against the wall. The second is where I lock myself away to do most of my work. Matty rotates his time between the garage and reception, because we can't afford a receptionist right now. I had to install a phone in the workshop so we could take calls out there.
I drop my phone down onto the reception desk and flick on the lights. I open the door leading out to the garage and see we have four cars still needing to be pushed through before we can take on any more today. The locals around here know the business, know me and know my story, so they are loyal and always bring their cars in to us, even still, when you're so far behind, business has to be better than that to stay afloat.
I sit at the desk booting up the computer and hoping to get through some invoicing before the guys start in two hours. I have a lot to do and it's the only time we're quiet enough for me to be able to do anything without interruption. I manage to pore through fifty invoices before Lenny sticks his head in the door, his deep brown eyes softening when he sees me.
"Hey, Lenny." I smile, standing.
He studies me and his expression becomes grim. I know he can see that I'm exhausted, hell, I can see that I'm exhausted. I avoided looking in the mirror this morning because I knew that I'd see what resembled a run-over, beaten-up clown looking back at me. I don't have time for a reminder of what I already know.
Lenny steps through the door, his tall frame taking up most of it. Even in his fifties, Lenny is strong and fit. His hair is more pepper than salt still, giving him that rugged, older hot guy look. I bet the old ducks go nuts over him. That thought makes me scrunch my nose up. Nobody wants to think about old people going at it. Great way to start the morning.
"Rob give you trouble again last night?" he asks as I try to step around him.
I wave a hand. "Nope, I look like a clown because I was out raging all night."
He gives me a bitter expression. He doesn't like my humor. He's too caring. He doesn't understand that my humor is all I have left.
He reaches out and takes my shoulders in his big hands, looking down at me, his expression dark. "Quinnie, you're exhausted. You've got huge circles under your eyes. You look like shit. Don't lie to me, honey."
I frown, he can see right through me. "He got drunk, made a mess, it was fine."
Lenny shakes his head and his jaw goes tight. "Goin' to have a word with him again this afternoon."
"What's the point, Len?" I throw my hands up. "We've all tried and let's face it, he doesn't listen. He'll never listen."
"You're running yourself into the ground."
He's telling me nothing I don't already know.
"Don't worry, I'm made of steel."
"Lenny, I'll be fine," I say in a firm tone, stepping past him.
I enter the garage just as Jace, Oscar and Matty come in. They're always on time, each and every one of them. I'm grateful for that. Jace strides over, wearing his favorite pair of coveralls, which believe me, do not take away from his masculinity one tiny bit. He wraps an arm around my shoulder and plants a loud, smacking kiss to my forehead. "Mornin', sunshine, you look like crap."
I smile. "Thanks, and you look like farmer Joe."
He steps back, hooking his thumbs through his coveralls and grins. "You like?"
"Not even a little bit. Better not let your ladies see you in those, you'll go from hot to ... well ... not."
This is a lie. Women would probably throw themselves at his feet if they got a look at him in those coveralls with his long dark hair curling at his neckline and those bright blue eyes twinkling with mischief. Farmer Joe, eat your heart out.
"I always knew you thought I was hot."
His grin gets bigger. I roll my eyes.
"How you got that out of what I said is far, far beyond me."
"Morning, Quinnie," Oscar says, winking at me. With his salt-and-pepper hair, he's far more worn-out looking than Lenny, but he's got the sweetest green eyes. "You do look like shit."
"Come on, guys," I protest. "You're killing me here. Can one of you tell me my hair looks totally rad? Please? Hell, just lie to me and we'll be cool."
"You look like a sweet sugar pie," Matty says in his Texan drawl, which I absolutely adore.
"Now you nearly made that believable." I grin.
He chuckles. Matty has only been in Florida for the last four years, before that he was a Texan boy through and through. He's going to be handsome as all hell when he fills out from that young man to an older, more mature man. He's got sandy blond hair and hazel eyes. His face is handsome, yet sweet and there are a good lot of girls who want to get their hands on him.
"What're we pulling in today?" Lenny asks, coming up behind me and resting his hands on my shoulders.
"We need to move what's already in here and then bring in as many more as we can get through before closing."
"I'm on it," Oscar says, disappearing into the office to collect the booking information schedule.
"I'll do the little sedan," I say, nodding to a red sedan that's without its tires in the corner. "Tell me what it needs."
"The alternator has shit itself," Lenny informs me. "Got all the parts ordered in and ready to go. Also got some new tires for it."
"Cool," I say. "Well, let's do this."
I disappear into the office to get my things and then head into the female bathroom to put on an old pair of faded jeans and a long-sleeved button-up shirt that's seen better days. I quickly change, rolling up the sleeves on the shirt and lifting my black hair into a high ponytail.
Then I dare to look in the mirror.
I don't like what I see.
They're all right. I look awful. My eyes, which are usually dark brown, are bloodshot and there are some serious dark rings under them. My hair, black as the night, is limp and gross. I look drawn out and tired. I splash my face with some water and slap my cheeks a few times to give them color before heading back out to get started on the day.
I slide right on over to the car that will occupy my morning and get it raised up so I can slip underneath it. I get down to work and listen to the guys chatting casually as I do. The radio is playing through some speakers that are mounted on the walls, and every now and then one of the guys will laugh loudly, which always brings a smile to my face. They're a dream to work with.
I finish the red car in about two hours and move on to replacing a few batteries and doing a few general services on some others that come in. Then I get to work helping Lenny fix the body of a car that has been in a serious accident. It's not easy when there's so much damage, but I do love replacing old parts with the new. It seems to give the cars a fresh vibe that most people are happy to drive away with.
"Yo, Quinn!" Jace calls just after lunch, when I'm head deep in the engine of an old Ford that sounds like it's about to fall to pieces.
"Yeah?" I call.
"Call for you."
Why must people be so needy?
I push up to my feet and walk into the reception area, lifting the phone. "Hello?" I say in my best chipper voice.
"Hello, Quinn, my name is Wesley. I'm calling about my car."
I sit down, crossing my legs. "Sure Wesley, what's the problem?"
"Well, Betty seems to be smoking quite a bit."
I blink. Betty?
"Right." I fight back a giggle. "And has Betty been doing this a lot?"
"No," he says. "Well ... she's quite old. I've had her since I was just a teen, so it's been a long time."
Sounds like Betty is trying to blow herself up. I wouldn't blame her.
"Has, ah, Betty been regularly serviced?"
He snorts. "Of course, she's my pride and joy."
"Okay, listen, Wesley, it sounds like I might need to take a look at her. Smoke from the engine is never a good thing. Don't worry, we'll lead her away from the edge."
Wesley is silent. "Do you think she's on her way out and is trying to tell me something?"
"I think so, Wesley. But we'll see what we can do."
"I'll bring her right down!"
He hangs up the phone before I can even say good-bye. I shake my head with a smirk on my face when the bell above the door rings, indicating someone has just entered the office. I turn and my mouth drops clean open as I take in who just walked into my garage. I must be seeing things, because there is no way in hell I am actually seeing who I am seeing. It can't be right. I blink a few times, I'm pretty sure I even rub my eyes. No way. It can't be.
Tazen freaking Watts.
He's only a world-famous custom car builder. Everyone in Florida, the States and probably the entire world knows who Tazen Watts is. He has been building cars since before he was eighteen and is now well-known for his television show Hot Fury, where he is filmed building some truly amazing cars. Some of the best racers in the world have cars from him. He's ... epic. He's not only built cars for racing, he's also built customs for millionaires, celebrities and even for charity auctions. I've seen him on television, watched him, swooned over him like every other hot-blooded female in the world.
He was my idol when I was younger, I spent hours watching his show. He inspired me to keep following my dreams, even when I wasn't sure this was the right place for me. Seeing the way he created such beauty, made me determined to one day build another car for myself.
And he's in my garage.
Wait, why is he in my garage?
"Morning there, little angel," he purrs, letting his eyes travel over my body.
I shudder. He just checked me out. Oh my lord, Tazen Watts just checked me out.
I changed into my coveralls earlier, when the job got a little more greasy, so I have them down, tied around my waist so he is getting a full view of my tank top–covered breasts and nothing more. I don't like bras when I'm working. My breasts don't agree with me on this poor choice, but they don't get a say in the matter.
"Ah," I say in a weak voice, and I know my eyes are wide and shocked. "C-c-c-can I help you?"
Great, just pretend you don't know him. It's better that way.
There's a good chance I'm going to pass out.
Excerpted from Hard to Break by Bella Jewel. Copyright © 2015 Bella Jewel. Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
It was a great read!!!! It will Crack you up. The female characters in this new series are great. Wonderful characters and a great storyline. I can't wait for the next book.
4.5 Stars This was amazing! Super sexy! Super hot! Super funny! Quinn and Tazen were two of the most sexy, hottest and funniest characters I've ever had the pleasure of reading! They were great together, even when they fought or played crazy pranks on each other, they complimented one another very nicely. I think Tazen was mean, cruel and totally underhanded when he took Quinn's beloved garage right from under her nose, but the way she got under his nose by showing up everyday, refusing to leave, demanding a job, she was relentless...Oh and how she chased the women away! Hilarious! Some might think it was annoying but I understand how hard it was for her to let go of the last link she had left of her parents. I mean she had her dad, but did she really? She lost him to the bottle as soon as her mum passed. Sad but true...it was hard for him to move on, just like it was hard for her to move on from the garage. Overall it was such an enjoyable story, Tazen and Quinn made it quite a page turner with their witty banter and then with their scorching intimate moments and encounters both in and out of the garage...Great read! SR
Enjoyed this book!
I love how Bella Jewel makes the girl l Quinn in her story strong, successful, reliable, sassy and a smart mouth and doesn't back down to the men in the book. Can't wait to read another book.
I loved this story but was disappointed it was so short, $3.99 is a little expensive for a story that is actually less than 180 pages.
First Bella Jewel book and will not be the last. Loved it from start to finish
It's just so bad, made it to page 41. Oh well
4.5 stars!! An entertaining, action packed, drama filled read that will have you laughing at the characters practical jokes, loving their bickering like foreplay and just their overall chemistry that will definitely have your motor running. Storyline deals with real life struggles – hardship and addiction while throwing finding love in the mix which makes it more believable. Quinn is a feisty tough woman working in a mans world working on cars, running her dad’s auto garage while he struggles with alcoholism. Tazen is cocky and famous, known for the powerhouse cars he builds in the racing world. But he’s a man with a plan that includes owning the Quinn’s family garage. Tempers flare and sparks fly from their first meeting which leads to explosive chemistry. I loved the dynamics between the main characters as they got to really know each other. Overall a really enjoyable read. Received an ARC copy from Netgalley for a honest review.
What a great read. I would love to read it in Taz's point of view though with a portion of them years later! Very sweet book.
I loved this book. Would love to read more with these characters!!!
Strong female meets alpha male, great writing . I couldnt put it down, would recommend to all!
Oh Tazen.....Tazen....Tazen. Tazen Watts is a celebrity in the car building world and has always been an unobtainable God until the day he walks into Quinn's auto repair shop. Quinn has been working on cars for as long as she can remember. She works hard to prove herself as an accomplished mechanic, in a male dominated field. She also works tirelessly running her father's shop. She is doing the best she can but the shop is failing anyway. The mortgage is overdue and the bills have pilled up, which causes Tazen Watts to take notice. Tazen wants to buy Quinn's shop and turn it into a custom build shop. He values the location and sees a great business opportunity. The only problem is, Quinn has absolutely no interest in selling. She has poured her life's blood into the shop and isn't going to let it go without a fight. Let the sparks fly!!! Hard to Break is a definite enemies to lovers story. Quinn hates the arrogant nature of Tazen and his blantant come-ons. Tazen is drawn to Quinn's fiery nature and loves how she doesn't fall down at his feet, but he needs Quinn's shop and she is standing in his way. I love the story's progression. At different times throughout the book I found myself disliking each character. Tazen comes across as an arrogant jerk and indifferent to Quinn's plight. Quinn starts out as a strong-willed woman but can be somewhat bratty. But, in my opinion, these flaws only highlight their character and relationship evolvement. While Hard to Break is the second book in the series, it can be read as a stand alone. There are no cliffhangers and you get a definite resolution. I received this ARC in exchange for a honest review, and I can say I thoroughly enjoyed the book and look forward to reading the next book in the series
As a girl growing up, I loved helping my dad work on our race cars. We never had a garage but the weekend racing was the best. While Quinn is doing what she loves which is working on cars, she is trying to save the family garage. Her mother died when she was young and her father couldn't handle losing her and he drinks to cope and that leaves Quinn taking care of him too. When Tazen Watts, the famous car builder, shows up at her garage, she has a fan girl moment until he insults her garage. Why is he there? Will she be able to cope with what he is planning? Will she give in to the sparks that are flying between them? And what will happen when Tazen learns about her father? Will he give her a chance to show him what she can do with a car or will they keep fighting? Another great story from Bella Jewel and the best thing about this series is that each book is a different couple and I can't wait for Hard to Forget which is book 3 in the series. **Copy provided by the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for my honest review**
Overall Rating: 4.25 Rockin’ ★★★★ Grease, wrenches and coveralls make this girl's heart go pitter patter! In Bella Jewel’s second book An Alpha’s Heart, she introduces us to a tomboy mechanic that would rather be under a car than getting gussied up for a night on the town. Hard to Break is a story of hardship, addictions and how love can overcome it all! This is a novel that is filled with characters that ooze humanity, while showing that no one is perfect. Quinn and Tazen are characters, created by a master’s hand and emulate the best and sometimes the worst in each of us. Give her a motor to overhaul or a car in need of service and Quinn is a happy woman. Her world revolves around her father’s garage, a place where she learned her craft at her father’s side. Everything changed in her life, however when cancer took her mother from their family. Now Quinn faces losing everything that means anything to her! Tazen Watts has always been her hero and role model until the day he walks into her garage and says he wants to buy it! Tempers flare and words fly, but under it all an intense attraction simmers. He is a man on a mission, buy Quinn’s family’s garage and open up another shop there for his business. The only thing is he did not expect the woman he came face to face with and his reaction to her. Tazen needs the garage. It is a perfect location for the expansion of his business. But does he stand to lose more than he gains? There are things in his past that haunt him, things that he is trying to leave behind. Will he succeed or will they catch up with him? Each character is unique and enhances the storyline in this extraordinary novel. Ms. Jewel is a master of her craft and as the story unfolds, the reader will find they are unable to put it down until the end. I cannot wait for the next in this series by this phenomenal writer. This is an outstanding addition to my library! Hero: Tazen Watts 4.25 stars Heroine: Quinn 4.25 stars Steam: 4.25 stars Plot: 4.25 stars Cliffhanger: No
Oh boy, you just have to feel for Quinn! Her Mum died and Dad can’t cope so hit the bottle. She’s taken over running the family car repair business but Dad’s drinking away any hopes of recovery but she’s feisty, determined and not going to give up without a fight. When she learns just how much in debt they are, she’s devastated but worse is to come . . . without telling her, her Dad sells the garage to the one man she can’t stand, Taken Watts. He may be hot but his arrogant, derogatory attitude don’t win him any kudos with Quinn even though she does find him attractive. She’s determined he’ll recognise her talents as a mechanic but as secrets are revealed, the attractions intensify but is he worth falling for? This is a standalone novel, with strong characters. Taz is annoying, especially in the beginning, and has some shady dealings in his past but is now a strong alpha with hidden depths. Quinn is a smart-mouthed, stand no nonsense, very skilled mechanic who is prepared to stand up for herself and demand to be treated as an equal. Their attraction is a volatile chemical reaction, potentially explosive and dangerous for their hearts. This is a fast paced, high action race from the start all the way to the finishing line, so get your engine well tuned and then race along with this romance passing from enemies to friends to so much more towards the HEA target at the end. Thanks to the author, publishers and NetGalley, too for provided an ARC for me to read in exchange for this, my honest review.
I have to say I was very surprised by this book. Pleasantly so! This is a new to me author so I wasn't really sure what to expect. What I got - a great story, a wonderful writing style, some amazing characters, and an afternoon of complete entertainment. Tazan was a great hero. Alpha, powerful, demanding, but at the core kind and loving. Quinn was hard working, struggling to keep her's and her father's life together and hold on to the memories of her mother that kept her going. It was very refreshing to read a book with the lead female in an occupation not normally thought of for females. I definitely recommend this one!
This is a very hot romance between Quinn and Tazen. Their relationship starts out very confrontational when Tazen tries to buy Quinn's garage. The sparks fly almost immediately and start with overgrown and childish pranks. Before long, they can't keep their hands off of each other. While this is a sexy story, for me Quinn felt more like a doormat than an equal partner. The first half of the book was phenomenal, while, for me, the second half just seemed to lag and repeat a bit. Also, I understand the language is part of the setting, but it just seemed gratuitous and more coarse than needed. If you're looking for a sexy read and love a hot alpha, you have found it
Tough sassy Quinn is an excellent female mechanic in what is considered to be a man’s world. Tazen is a builder of custom cars with a television show of his own and women swarming around him. The plot is fun and funny, the characters are well developed, the writing is tight and entertaining and told in first person from the perspective of Quinn – and I have to say that though I don’t usually like this style it works well in this book. The book also speaks of family and friends and caring and doing what is best for the ones we love even when it might be difficult. The romance is interesting with two strong characters getting to know one another and this story was a joy for me to read today. This is the first book I have read by this author but I hope to find more of her work in the future. Thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for the copy of this book to read and review.
I hope you know that stuff like this stays forever....
Is chained on the bed with nothing but a thong and bra
"You should be ashamed..."