Welcome to Swoon Sunday where you get to meet some of our swoon-worthy heroes. Today we have a visit from Ben Franklin from Finding Perfect by Kendra C. Highley.
Ben, why don’t you describe yourself for us?
Uh…brown hair and eyes. Kinda tall. Glasses. My job has put some muscle on me lately, but girls haven’t really noticed yet. Basically, I’m the invisible guy at Alderwood High.
What’s your profession?
Right now, I’m a student and a mechanic in a tire store. But my dream is to go to Texas A&M, study engineering, and become an inventor. When your name is Ben Franklin (yep, related), what else would you expect? I love math and building things. Oh, and my second job is at a movie theater, where I regularly have to save the popcorn machine from imminent failure. I work a lot—saving money for school takes some effort.
Where do you call home?
Alderwood, Texas—home of the highest concentration of millionaires in North Texas (north of Dallas). I’m not one of those millionaires, though. Not by a long stretch.
What kind of music do you listen to?
I listen to everything, but I love classical music (weird, I know). A girl I know is an amazing pianist. She doesn’t think so, but I do.
Do you have a special skill?
Does taking apart my mom’s microwave and putting it back together count? Seriously, though, I’m a math and science guy. Even my math teacher calls me a math geek. Sad, really.
What is your biggest dream/wish/desire?
To stop being invisible. To have people see me for who I am, looking past the cheap haircut and second-hand jeans. I have a long-range plan: to make it through college, get a great job, and help my mom out financially. If I can do those things, then I think everything else will take care of itself.
What’s your favourite dessert/food?
My mom bakes in her spare time, and her cookies are to die for. No, really—you will believe in heaven when you eat one.
Describe the craziest thing you have done.
Umm, it’s something I’m doing. I’m tutoring a girl, and in return she’s making me over into someone her gorgeous, popular best friend might consider date material. Totally crazy, but it’s senior year, and it’s now or never.
Boxers or briefs?
I, uh, don’t know you all that well, so….
Biggest pet peeve?
When people try to force someone to live a life they plan out. The girl I’m tutoring, Paige? Her parents are pretty extreme. They want her to go to Stanford and become a doctor. I’m not sure how much say she had in that decision—all I know is she seems pretty miserable. I’m going to have to do something about that.
Thank you so much for joining us today, Ben!
Check out this excerpt from Finding Perfect to find out what happens with Paige and Ben.
“So why are we doing this again?” he called.
Even though he had no idea what she had in mind for his little stage play, he’d gone along with good humor. Hell, he was even washing her car for real. Which was funny because a clean car was beside the point in this plan.
“Just keep doing what you’re doing and all will become crystal clear.”
He gave her a long, weird look, then shrugged and went back to work. Paige joined him but spent part of her time focused on the street corner. Any minute now…
“Your tires are low,” Ben said, peeking at her around the front bumper. “If you have an air compressor, I could air them up for you.”
She propped her fist on her hip. “Does this look like the kind of house that keeps an air compressor on hand?”
He made a face, then laughed. “No, this looks like the kind of house where they call the dealership for help.”
They worked in silence until—there! Paige snapped to get his attention just as Zoey turned onto her street. Ben looked at her, and from the startled expression, she knew she was going to have to coach him through every second of this close encounter.
She gave him a stern look. “Take off your shirt.”
His already flushed face turned a deeper shade of red. “What? No way!”
Zoey had pulled up to the curb, and the BMW idled while she dipped out of view, probably to grab her purse. They only had a few seconds, and desperate times called for desperate measures. Paige stalked over to the hose and, under the guise of washing the suds off her car, “accidentally” sprayed Ben right in the chest.
His eyes popped wide open as he stared down at his soaked shirt. “Why?” he growled under his breath.
“Off,” Paige growled back, then turned to greet Zoey. “Hey! Thanks for letting me borrow your dress for the party next weekend.”
Zoey handed her a dress bag, looking at something beyond Paige’s left shoulder. “Yeah, sure.”
Zoey didn’t say anything else, and Paige hazarded a look behind her. As ordered, Ben had stripped off his shirt and oh…my…God. Okay, so she had guessed he had nice shoulders under those T-shirts after all the work at the tire store, and she’d definitely copped a feel when they’d cuddled on the back porch, but she couldn’t have known he was that ripped. He was lean—leaner than most of the football players anyway—but he made the most of what he had, from the tight biceps and defined pecs, right down to the hard, flat stomach and the tantalizing trail of light brown hair running from his navel into the waistband of his shorts…which, oh hell, were riding low on his hips.
She didn’t want to blink so she could keep staring. Jesus.
Doing a great job of pretending he didn’t notice them hanging on his every move, he reached across the top of the Mustang to soap up the roof. He was a quick study, for sure, stretching in ways that showed off his arms and shoulders. Then he walked over to the bucket and very deliberately bent down to soak the sponge. She might need to sit down. His back was just as good as his front.
She’d created a monster. A very hot, slightly wet monster.
A silent giggle bubbled up from her chest—that had sounded so dirty. Maybe he could wash her after the car.
About Finding Perfect:
For “Perfect Paige” Westfeld, today is “D” Day. As in, she just got one on her calculus test. With her dreams of Stanford, her reputation, and her parents’ expectations at stake, Paige needs to find a way to save face before everything she’s worked for goes up in flames.
Ben Franklin (yes, he’s related) is from the wrong side of town, with the wrong clothes and the wrong kind of life. He also knows an opportunity when he sees one, and he’ll be happy to tutor Paige—if she makes him into the kind of guy her best friend, the hottest girl in school, will date.
It’s the perfect arrangement. And Paige is determined not even the inconvenient—and utterly imperfect—attraction simmering between her and Ben will ruin it…