Checkmate, p.26
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       Checkmate, p.26
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         Part #3 of Neighbor from Hell series by R. L. Mathewson
Page 26

 

  She impatiently waved that off as if it were a given. "Just answer the damn question. "

  "Couldn't this have waited until we got to work?" Connor asked as he pulled the curtain back and stepped out, forcing her to back up or brush up against him. It actually freaked her out a little that she momentarily considered holding her ground just to see if those glistening muscles felt as good as they looked.

  Oh, this was so wrong.

  She was not attracted to the bastard. Okay, so that was a lie. The man was incredibly good looking and he knew it. Normally her attraction for him was easy to ignore since her hatred of him usually overshadowed the rather frightening attraction. Since he'd been taking care of her and been nice to her, she'd been having some difficulty ignoring how handsome he was or how much she liked his body and his smile.

  That was the reason she was here. She needed to confront him and find out what sick and twisted thing could make him do it. As soon as he admitted that he'd taken care of her to screw with her head, she'd be able to go back to loathing him so completely that she'd be unable to notice how hot he was or how much she craved his touch. Then of course, she'd kick his ass for making her think of him with anything other than revulsion.

  "No," she said firmly as she moved to block the doorway and his escape, but then rethought the plan since it would most likely result in touching. So she marched into his room. Once she'd put some space between them she motioned for him to get on with his answer.

  With a sigh, he closed the bathroom door and locked it, leaving her fuming. "That lock won't keep me out you know!" she said loudly even as she had to admit to herself that the likelihood of her breaking into the bathroom a second time while he was na**d was very unlikely. She needed to keep her wits about her and checking out his ass no matter how yummy it was, wouldn't help her do that.

  "You going to tell me what has your panties in a twist?" Connor demanded from the other side of the door.

  "You going to tell me why the hell you took care of me?" she snapped back, ignoring the panties comment since she knew that she wasn't overreacting. The man was up to something and she wasn't leaving until she figured it out.

  "I think," Connor said, opening the door and stepping into bedroom wearing only a pair of cargo khaki pants that he left unbuttoned and may have drawn her attention for a moment before her eyes roamed up over a set of well defined abs before she forced her eyes away, "that the better question is why weren't your brothers here?"

  "Because I was fine," she said, waving off the comment in hopes that the man would just focus and answer her damn question so that she could go back to hating everything about him.

  "Fine?" he repeated in disbelief, shaking his head as if he couldn't quite believe what she just said. "You weren't fine, Rory. "

  "Of course I was," she lied, but the truth was, she was grateful for Connor's help. She would have hated asking for her brother's help mostly because they wouldn't have had any clue on how to go about taking care of her. They were great brothers, but they didn't know a damn thing about taking care of anyone.

  If she needed her car fixed, help moving, or a million other things she wouldn't have hesitated in asking her brothers for help, but nursemaids her brothers definitely were not. They wouldn't have the first clue as to how to take care of her.

  It wasn't their fault. That's how they were raised after all. Each and every one of them was self-reliant. They learned early on how to take care of their own scraped knees and how to threaten the monster hiding in their closets with baseball bats. Their father made damn sure that they could take care of themselves and would never need or expect a handout from anyone. They knew how to manage their money, pay their bills, cook, clean and work with their hands.

  She knew that if she'd asked her brothers they would have tried to help. Actually, if she'd asked her brothers they would have rushed her to the hospital, thinking that she was dying or something. No one in the James family asked for help when they were sick or hurt. It just wasn't done, which made what Connor did for her special.

  No one had ever taken care of her before. It made her feel uncomfortable. She owed him and she hated that almost as much as she hated the fact that she liked being in his arms. It was unnatural and she was here to put an end to it.

  He walked towards her, not stopping until they were practically chest to chest, but she didn't back down. She never would and he knew it.

  "Fine?" he asked, looking down at her as if she were crazy. "You had a concussion, five bruised ribs and you broke your goddamn arm, Rory. You weren't fine and you sure as hell shouldn't have been left to fend for yourself," he snapped, sounding truly angry, which only confused her more.

  "Why do you care?" she asked, propping her hands on her h*ps as she did her best to out glare the bastard.

  "I don't," he snapped. "But I am seriously considering beating the shit out of your brothers for leaving you alone the other night. What were they thinking?"

  "Well, they-" she started to defend them, but the man apparently wasn't done yet.

  "You shouldn't have been left alone, Rory. They should have made sure that you had your pills and that you were okay!"

  "They called several-"

  "That wasn't enough!" he snapped, getting in her face and backing her up. She was so stunned by his outburst that she didn't even realize what happened until her back hit the wall and he was caging her in.

  "Instead of coming over here and getting pissed at me for something your family should have done, why don't you try saying thank you, huh?" he demanded as he got right in her face and before she could tell him to back off or come to her brothers' defense his mouth was on hers, hard and demanding and god help her but she didn't want him to stop.

  But he did.

  Before she could do something stupid like kiss him back or wrap her arms around his neck he was pulling away, jaw clenched and he looked even more pissed than before. Without a word and before she could think beyond what just happened, he grabbed her by her shoulders and steered her out of his room and onto his patio where the cool morning air brought her to her senses.

  "Thank you!" she snapped, irritated with him and pissed at herself because coming over here hadn't helped one damn bit. Instead of clearing her head of him all she wanted to do was go right back in there and kiss the bastard. That was wrong, so very, very wrong.

  "You're welcome!" he snapped back before slamming the sliding glass door shut and irritating her even more. Would it really kill him to let her have the last word, she wondered as she made her way back to her patio.

  "Stupid, toe curling kissing bastard," she grumbled as she marched into her room, slamming the sliding glass door shut behind her with her broken hand, which of course started a five minute owie dance and a mad search for her bottle of pain killers. By the time she popped a pill into her mouth she was no closer to figuring out what Connor was up to than she had been when she stormed over there. One way or the other she would figure out what he was up to and then she would put an end to it.

  Chapter 13

  "Why the hell did I kiss her?" Connor muttered as he leaned back against his truck.

  Bunny barked his answer, tapering it off with a growl of disapproval.

 
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