In Under His Nose, one of my favorite parts is when Roark takes Stephanie out on a “real date.” The two of them have been best friends for all their lives, but they’ve never crossed that “dating” line. Enter Roark’s Fairy Godmother, Christy, to help get them over that hump, because they really do belong together.

Anyway, one of my favorite parts is when Roark picks Stephanie up in his dad’s classic Camaro.

 

Part of the reason this is one of my favorite scenes is because the car is very much based on my dad’s show car–a ’67 Camaro.

So I figured, like any good author, I’d better do some research on this particular vehicle before I wrote about it. After a bit of begging, I finally got my dad to take me for a ride in his Camaro. He opened the door and shut it for me (so I wouldn’t slam it, because, let’s face it, it’s an older car, I would have tried to slam the door shut…) And it just lightly latched shut, like a brand new one — go figure.

We got inside, and when I reached for the seat belt, I found myself a bit at a loss.

“There’s no shoulder strap,” my dad says as he fastens the lap belt. “Older cars didn’t have them.”

“Don’t you have to modify it to have one now?” I asked, trying to sit up in the seats that made me feel like I was half-laying down.

He shook his head as he started up the car–which sounded pretty close to an airplane flying over head, the engine so loud and grumbly.

“Nope. It’s a classic that’s been restored.” He then proceeded to explain laws and seat belts in much more detail than I probably ever wanted to know as he backed the car out of the garage.

And when he pulled away, I understood why the seats made you feel like you were half-laying down–otherwise you’d have whiplash if you sat up straight.

That’s the only time I’ve been in Dad’s show car, but I’ll never forget it. And I’m pretty sure there will be more classic Camaros in future books.

It was that awesome of a ride.

Excerpt of UNDER HIS NOSE with the Camaro

Roark pulled into the drive of Stephanie’s condo. Concern hit him. Her car was in the garage, but the entire place was dark. He’d expected to see lights on—her inside, getting around. Like always. Usually Stephanie was an affront to any energy-conscious person—every light on, all the time.

He wondered if she’d ditched him, and he grabbed his cell phone to make sure there weren’t any last-second texts from her.

Tapping the device, he didn’t realize he’d been holding his breath until he saw the empty inbox.

Everything was on. He revved the engine again, listening to the purr of his ’67 Camaro.

The neighbors stood on their porch smoking, staring at his car with scowls. He got that on occasion, when he pulled this out of the garage. Either people thought the ’67 was the most amazing thing they’d ever seen and drooled all over themselves, or they hated it because it was so loud and horrible on the environment.

Her neighbors were obviously the latter.

He let out a sigh as he shut off the car. He ran his fingers over the perfectly pristine steering column, then over the dashboard, the vintage radio—everything.

He loved this car. Had for years. Made it his date car a few years back. It added to his swagger. And tonight, he needed all the help he could get—his heart hammered and his gut clenched. He hadn’t been this nervous on a date in forever.

If ever.

Maybe this wasn’t a good idea. He glanced at the condo again, just in time to see the garage door go down.

She’s home.

“Well, here goes nothing.” He ran his hand through his hair, making sure his open window hadn’t messed it up too much. Glancing at the rearview mirror, he brushed his bangs over a bit more and took a breath. He needed to prove that he and Steph could work dating.

He put his hand on the door handle.

A knock on the window made him jump.

“Were you going to sit in the car and honk like in high school?” Stephanie asked through the partially opened window. Her hair was swept off her neck, and the breeze fluttered a few pieces around her face, framing her moss-green eyes. Her lips shimmered from the shiny stuff she obsessively put on.

As Roark pushed the car door open, she stepped back. “I was…thought I’d rev the engine a few times, see if your mom came out to yell at me…” His gaze swept over her black dress. Hell, he’d seen her wear it a half a dozen times, yet tonight it clung to her in all the right ways, and he thought she’d never looked more beautiful.

Especially when she laughed. “Well, Mom certainly would have yelled at you.” Her gaze ran over the Camaro’s metallic pewter chassis, with its black stripes on the hood. “She never did like those whippersnappers with the loud cars.” She touched his arm like she had countless times, yet it felt like more.

Everything felt like more tonight.

“Well, we rebel guys with our loud cars live to irritate.” He pulled her arm through his elbow and walked her around the car. He opened the passenger door for her.

“Oh, this is real date service, huh?” she asked as she got inside.

“I think my dad would kick my ass if I let a date get in a car without opening the door for her.”

Stephanie laughed. “He probably wouldn’t want some girl to scratch up his car.”

Roark smirked. “That too.” He went back around, and climbed in. As he slammed his door shut, Stephanie snapped her fingers.

“That’s it.” She grinned at him, an epiphany lighting up her eyes.

“What?” Roark asked, frozen in the middle of putting on his seat belt.

She crossed her arms over her chest, a smug look on her face. “You were checking your guy date supplies.”

He shook his head, staring at her. “What are you going on about?”

“You were sitting in the car for six minutes, Roark. I figured you’d get out and come in, but you didn’t. I didn’t know what you were doing out here.”

“You were watching?”

“How can I not hear this car pull in?” She asked, stroking the dash. “Now I know, though. You were doing the guy date check thing.”

“Guy date check?”

“You know, make sure you have everything.” She waved her hand in the air.

“And what is that?”

“Cash, card, cell, condom.”

Roark laughed. “Three out of four isn’t bad.”

“You forgot your cell phone?” Stephanie asked with an exaggerated sigh.

He grinned. Maybe this wasn’t going to be as hard as he thought. She seemed in good spirits—maybe he was just overthinking. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw her hands stroking the leather seat.

“I don’t think I’ve ever ridden in this,” she said.

“Then this will be a treat,” he told her as he started the engine. Outside, the neighbors outright glared, hands on their hips, and if he could read lips he was pretty sure they were calling him all sorts of names.

“Should I be scared?” she asked as she tugged the lap seatbelt into place.

“Scared, no. I’m a very safe driver.”

“Okay, Rainman,” she said, laughing.

Roark realized what he’d said and ran his hand over his face. “Good lord. I’m really suave tonight.”

“Actually you were doing okay until that comment,” Stephanie said as he backed the car out of the drive.

“I don’t think your neighbors like my car.”

“I don’t think I care if they do. They stand on their porch, talk about all the neighbors, thinking none of us can hear them.”

“Genius.”

“Exactly,” Stephanie said, clenching her hands in her lap. “So would your dad approve of you taking a date in his show Camaro?”

“He didn’t want to sell it after the stroke,” Roark said.

“How is he doing?” Stephanie asked.

“Better,” he replied as they pulled out of the condominium complex. They continued on their way toward the highway, talking about his parents and his dad’s recovery from the mild stroke he had a year ago. It had been really hard, since his dad had always been such a beacon of health the last twenty years.

As they hit the highway, Roark hammered the gas, sending them tearing onto the road.

“Holy cow, Roark,” Stephanie said as she grabbed the door handle.

Roark grinned.

 

Pick up UNDER HIS NOSE at Amazon

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