There’s a big softy buried underneath all that alpha and sexual ego.
And it just pulls my heart straight in his direction. I’m currently having a hard time keeping a hold of it.
Sulaiman quickly scribbles his details down on a piece of paper and hands it to Carrick, who folds it up and puts it in his wallet.
“I’ll have the tickets sent to you tomorrow,” Carrick tells him.
“Thank you so much.” Sulaiman reaches over, grabbing Carrick’s hand and shaking it. “I can’t tell you how much this means to us. My brother will be so happy when I tell him.”
“Wait till I’m gone to call him though ’cause I’m not here, remember?” Carrick taps his nose.
Sulaiman does the same thing. “Got it.”
“I’ll see you and your brother after the race.” Carrick starts to walk away, and I follow.
“Bye! And thanks again!” Sulaiman calls after us.
“That was a really nice thing you did,” I say. Walking alongside Carrick, I bump his arm with my own.
Glancing at me, he shrugs. “If it means I get half an hour of peace with you without race fans turning up, then it’s worth it.”
“I don’t think that’s why you did it. I think you saw a guy who doesn’t have much, and you wanted to make his day.”
He stares ahead, as he speaks. “I was never dirt poor like that guy back there, but we didn’t have a lot either. Everything we did have, my dad put into my racing, so I kinda know a little of what it’s like to be skint.”
I feel a swelling in my chest. I have to press the heel of my hand there to contain it.
I did know that about Carrick. He’s not your typical comes-from-a-rich-family-into-the-rich-sport driver. He came from a modest background, and both he and his dad have worked hard to get him to where he is now.
“You’re a big softy at heart, Carrick Ryan.” I nudge him again this time with my shoulder.
He gives me a look of horror. “Fuck, don’t go saying that in public. You’ll kill my image.”
“God, yeah, we wouldn’t want that to happen.” I let out a chuckle. “So, is this another secret I have to keep?”
“Hmm…I guess so.” He glances at me, a smile in his eyes.
“I’m gonna lose count of all these secrets I have to keep for you,” I tease.
“Well, if you play your cards right, you might get to be one of those secrets.”
And there he is.
I roll my eyes, scoffing. “In your dreams, Ryan.” I give him a little shove in the direction of the exit out to the track. “Now, get your arse out there, so I can beat it.”
“Ha! That’s definitely in your dreams, Amaro.”
“We’ll see.” Lifting my chin, I give him a haughty look as I pass him by, heading to the marshal.
Once we’ve had our safety talk with the marshal and Carrick’s signed an autograph for him, too, we’re suited up in track overalls.
We’ve definitely come on at the right time as there’s only the two of us here using the track. The karts are out waiting on the track for us.
I pull the band out of my hair, letting out my ponytail. I won’t be able to get the helmet on with my hair up like that. It needs to be tied into a plait, which is how I always wear it when I’m in a garage or at the track.
I’m running my fingers through my hair, getting the tangles out, when I see Carrick watching me.
The heat in his eyes is discernable, but I play it off.
“You’ve never seen a girl do her hair before?” I say with a tilt of my lips.
“I’ve never seen you do your hair before. And I’ve never seen it down either. Looks nice.”
“Thanks.” My cheeks flush. “But it’s not staying down.” I start to quickly plait it. When I’m done, I fasten the band at the end.
Carrick is still watching me.
And the way he’s looking at me is making me want things I really can’t have.
I pull my fireproof balaclava on, covering my face. “You getting yours on? Or are you delaying ’cause you’re worried I’m gonna beat you?”
He grins widely. “Prepare to get your arse kicked, Amaro.”
I love winding him up about this. Seriously, there is no way I’m going to beat Carrick out here, but it’s fun making him think that I think I can.
I’m not a bad racer, but I’m definitely no champion like him.
Carrick pulls his balaclava on, covering his gorgeous face, and then he brings his helmet down over his head, keeping his visor up. He puts his gloves on.
I pull my own helmet on and then my gloves.
“Ready?” He jerks his head in the direction of the karts.
We walk over to the karts, and an idea strikes me. Carrick never lets anyone pay for anything, and I’m guaranteed to lose. So, I’m thinking a bet is in order, and I know he won’t be able to turn it down because he’s too competitive.
“I think we should bet on this race.”
He turns his face to me, so I can see his eyes through his still open visor.
“Oh, you do, do you?”
“All right. What are the terms?”
“Loser buys dinner.”
He pauses for a minute. “Deal.”
He puts his gloved hand out to me, and I shake it.
Smiling to myself, I snap my visor down and climb in my kart.