Pole Position | Kristian Parker
Queens Crescent #2
Charles Worthington was once the best driver in Formula One…until the lifestyle took over. Now, fresh out of rehab, he’s ready to take back his crown. Then he meets new teammate and handsome Brazilian, Luis Salvatore.
Despite being a famous womaniser, Charles has always had an eye for an attractive male. This time it’s different—Luis has the most profound effect on him. Being sober changes everything.
But in Formula One, teammates are also rivals and Luis’ contract is up for renewal. Only the number one podium will do.
Bitter rivalry and animal lust are an explosive combination. Will this get them both to the chequered flag?
As they dashed into the cavernous chrome offices of South Tel Formula One, a party of three waited for them at reception. None of them looked very happy.
“Jesus Christ,” Charles said, under his breath. “We did it in thirty-five. They look like I’m a day late.”
He straightened his collar and slowed his walk down.
“Meera,” he said.
Meera Jakhar, the CEO with a formidable reputation. A stunning woman in her mid-forties, she had risen like a rocket.
“I’m so sorry.” Charles panted. “London traffic.”
He flashed his dazzling smile. Meera appraised him for a second before turning to a stern man to her left. A man Charles knew only too well.
“Barnaby,” Charles said, sticking out his hand. “So good to see you again.”
Barnaby Weber was the Team Principal of South Tel Formula One. He could make or break Charles’ career. Whilst he had brokered the finer points of their deal, he had made it clear in the press that he didn’t fully support the move. It made things awkward to say the least.
It had also made Charles regret losing his manager. Another entry on a long list of stupid things he had to make up for.
“Charles,” Barnaby said, with a poker face.
“And I’m Miriam.” A flustered young woman with platinum-blonde hair and a clipboard said. They all looked at her. “I’m Mrs Jakhar’s assistant.”
She had gone a funny shade of beetroot.
“Very pleased to meet you,” Charles said.
This only served to make her blush all the more.
“Shall we go?” Meera said.
Miriam dashed over to press the elevator call button.
“You need to make some changes down here,” Will said.
Meera stared as if noticing him for the first time. “I’m sorry?”
Will pointed to two huge photographs dominating the reception area. One of the outgoing, Clarence Dupont, and the other of Charles’ new teammate, Luis Salvatore.
All part of the elite group of racing car drivers, their paths had crossed many times. Formula One was a small world. He didn’t care about Dupont. A life in Formula Two beckoned for him after a disastrous season.
As for Salvatore, Charles couldn’t take his eyes from the image. He might have spectacular boyish good looks, but everyone knew Luis to be the dullest person in motorsport. He had never attended a function or been spotted in a trendy bar.
“Dupont,” Will said, bringing Charles firmly back to earth. “I would have thought you’d have taken him down by now.”
Charles wanted to slap him. “I’m sorry, Mrs Jakhar,” he said. “My brother hasn’t been house trained yet.”
“It’s Meera,” she answered him. “We have a photo shoot arranged for you and Luis tomorrow. I trust that will be in order.”
Mercifully the elevator arrived, and Charles allowed himself to be ushered inside. “There’s really no rush,” he said as genially as possible. “I’m just happy to be here.”
The glass elevator swept them up through a central column to the offices proper.
“Wow, Meera,” Will said. “You have quite an operation here.”
“I think perhaps you will stick with Mrs Jakhar,” she said, before glancing at Charles. He detected the trace of a glint in her eye. “There has to be a line.”
Charles could barely contain his amusement as Will looked fit to burst.
Before the air got thicker than a mud bath, the elevator pinged, signalling they had made it to the top floor.
“Come,” Meera commanded.
Once more he followed in her slipstream as she swept along the corridor. He noted how everyone stood up a little straighter. Even though she absolutely terrified him, he found himself drawn to her.
The boardroom was packed. Meera made a point of introducing him to everyone, and all the while, Barnaby hovered on the edge. He was making Charles nervous.
Luckily, he’d met some of the people during the negotiations, so he made a beeline for them. There were also a good few people new to him. He’d have to spend time forging relationships. That came naturally to Charles—he never had a problem finding something in common with people.
Will had taken a seat at the back next to Miriam. He nodded and gave Charles a thumbs-up. Charles nodded back. His brother could be an insufferable twat at times but it grounded Charles to have him there.
“I didn’t think you would be up to this.”
Charles turned to find Barnaby next to him again. “I think you’ve made that clear.” Charles smiled. “I will prove you wrong.”
“That’s what Meera said,” Barnaby replied.
If the ultimate boss believed in him, that made Charles feel slightly more secure.
“Anyway,” Barnaby continued. “Come with me.”
He led him towards a cluster of people over by the window. The crowd parted and there was Luis Salvatore…
Although he didn’t look like the scrawny kid who had started becoming a real threat in Charles’ last season. He had buffed up and had a brand-new haircut which framed his tan face. His body filled a white T-shirt and jeans perfectly. Even his skin glowed in a way Charles had never noticed before.
In other words, Luis Salvatore had started to earn serious money.
“Luis,” Charles said, shaking his hand. “Good to see you again. I’m very excited to be working together.”
Luis gave him a kilowatt beam of a smile. Charles made a mental note to book in for more teeth whitening treatment. It seemed to be a big thing at South Tel.
“Charles,” Luis replied. “I’m sure you will settle in very well.”
He was stunning. Charles hadn’t missed out in the looks department. But Luis’ beauty seemed to radiate from within. Even so, he had a wariness in his eyes which confused Charles.
“I hope we’re ready for some wins,” Charles said, glancing at Barnaby.
“Absolutely.” Luis grinned.
Charles was at a loss of what to say next. Thankfully, Meera gave him a way out as she took her place at the head of the table. Everyone found seats and when she sat, they all did.
“Right, let’s get going,” she said, steepling her fingers. “Firstly, I would like to formally welcome Charles Worthington to our little family.”
A ripple of comment swept around the room. To Charles’ relief, most people seemed friendly except for a young man next to Luis. Charles clocked his sour glare immediately.
As all eyes were on Charles, he realised a few words were in order. “Thank you, Meera,” he said. “Most of you will know I’m no stranger to being the new kid on the block.”
A few people chuckled. Charles had driven for all the teams in the top five. He had become known as “One Contract Worthington” in the media for his penchant for change.
“And I have no doubt you will know why I missed last season. The press covered it enough.”
Shots of him being driven to rehab haunted him to this day.
“I’m not going to stand in front of you and pretend I haven’t had my problems. I am fully appreciative of the gamble you are all taking on me. I look forward to repaying your kindness on the track.”
A couple of people clapped, which made him feel more foolish than complete silence would have.
“I don’t have to tell you that a fourth finish last season is not good enough,” Meera said. “Dupont’s disastrous performance meant that the work fell to Luis.”
She appraised the young driver like a lioness viewing her favourite cub. “With two top class drivers, number one is the only goal this year,” she continued. “Now let’s get down to business.”
About the Author
I have written for as long as I could write. In fact, before, when I would dictate to my auntie. I love to read, and I love to create worlds and characters.
I live in the English countryside. When I’m not writing, I like to get out there and think through the next scenario I’m going to throw my characters into.
Inspiration can be found anywhere, on a train, in a restaurant or in an office. I am always in search of the next character to find love in one of my stories. In a world of apps and online dating, it is important to remember love can be found when you least expect it.
To celebrate the release of Pole Position, Kristian is giving away a signed Paperback.