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       Checkmate, p.28

         Part #3 of Neighbor from Hell series by R. L. Mathewson
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Page 28


  "That's bullshit, Rory," he said as he racked his brain, trying to think of someone or something that would prove his words wrong.

  He knew her family loved her, adored her, but they tended to treat her like a weaker brother. The only time they really watched out for her was when some guy stepped over the line and then they simply beat the shit out of the loser. Her father was pretty much the same way. From what he'd seen over the years the man obviously cared for her, but he didn't seem to have a clue about how to show it.

  There was no point in asking about boyfriends since he knew that they either treated her like shit or a buddy they could f**k. He'd never seen anyone act sweet on the woman. Sure they flirted with her and were obviously attracted to her, but they never treated her like any of the other women in town. While other women were treated to romantic dates, jewelry, gifts, adoration and expensive meals, Rory was given sensible gifts, brought out for a beer or a burger and treated like a guy.

  They were all idiots.

  Rory deserved to be pampered, spoiled and worshiped. Any man that was lucky enough to earn her notice should make sure that he did all of those things and more for the woman. He didn't give a damn what she wore, she was still one hundred percent female and should be treated as such. He'd never gone out of his way for any of his ex-girlfriends, but at least he treated them a hell of a lot better than any of Rory’s old boyfriends had treated her.

  He really didn't understand that at all. She was beautiful, well, more like hot, but the guys around her acted like they were doing her a favor by asking her out. They were all f**king idiots. Granted, he knew most of the problem was her overprotective brothers and asking her out was just as good as asking to have your ass kicked, but the woman was more than worth it.

  "Just forget it," Rory said with a heavy sigh as she moved to take a sip of her hot cocoa. He considered taking it, but somehow managed to resist the urge. She'd probably try to smack him upside his head with her broken arm again and he'd be forced to turn the truck around and take her back home. He'd have to take care of her and he really couldn't afford to lose another day.

  They were two days behind and needed to play catch up. He hated taking the time off, especially since they didn't have any time to spare on this project, but he couldn't leave Rory. Yesterday morning he got up at four, shaved, showered and got dressed and headed down to his truck to get his ass to work, figuring that she would call for help if she needed it when he remembered something very important.

  Rory James was a stubborn pain in the ass and would never ask for help.

  While he walked back into his house and headed for his bedroom, he made a quick round of phone calls. Ten minutes later he was chucking off most of his clothes, climbing in bed with her and not a moment too soon. She’d been dealing with a migraine that left her helpless to move. He helped her take her pills and crawled back into bed with her and held her until she fell asleep.

  If she hadn't been able to work today he wouldn't have had a choice in the matter. He had to go to work today, but he fully planned on sending one of her brothers to help her after he had a word with them. He also planned on checking in on her during his lunch break. It was probably a good thing that Rory was stubborn and was coming to work so that he wouldn't have to worry about her. If it became too much for her, she could always curl up on the couch in her office.

  He really didn't think she should be going to work today, but he knew better than to say anything since she'd just ignore whatever he said and did whatever she wanted anyway. Well, at least she couldn't get into too much trouble hanging in the office all day, he reassured himself. He'd have that secretary of hers keep him updated so he could focus on his work where his mind should be.

  This was a big project, the biggest project of his career, and he needed to stay focused. Rory James was out of commission for a few months and probably wouldn't be able to do much once the cast was taken off. She could go around and play supervisor when she felt better. At least that would keep the damn woman safe while he busted his ass to get this project going.

  A few minutes later, he was parking in the makeshift parking lot and preparing himself for the long day ahead. Rory sent him a barely there nod as she climbed out of the truck and headed for her trailer. He followed after her, hoping her secretary was good for something like making a cup of extra strong coffee and keeping his damn eyes off Rory's luscious ass, he thought absently as he watched the body part in question sway slightly from side to side.

  The woman had a great ass.

  He followed her into the trailer and somehow managed to tear his eyes away from that beautiful ass and headed for the coffee cart set up against the wall near the time clock. He ignored the questioning look her secretary sent him and focused his attention on finding some damn caffeine before he lost his mind.

  "They canceled the meeting," he heard Jacob explain softly to Rory.

  As he searched the small cabinets he couldn't help but wonder what meeting her assistant was talking about, but as he shoved box after box of some weird cocoa product out of his way he decided that he really just didn't care. He needed a caffeine fix and all this woman had was cocoa. Oh, they were going to have to change that pretty damn soon or he'd become bitchy.

  "Did they reschedule?" she whispered, sounding nervous.

  Now that had his attention.

  He couldn't remember a time when Rory was nervous about anything. Pissed? Yes, but never nervous. What could make a woman like Rory nervous? he wondered as he reluctantly settled on making a cup of hot cocoa and praying that it had a shit load of caffeine otherwise her secretary was getting a new chore added to his duties.

  "No, I'm sorry, Rory. They sent back the proposal with an apology. They're not interested," Jacob said with true regret lacing his tone.

  He wasn't too surprised when he heard the trailer door slam shut seconds later. Hot cocoa forgotten, he turned around to find her secretary moving to go after her.

  "What has little Rory James in a huff I wonder?" he mused, stopping the secretary dead in his tracks.

  "It's none of your business," Jacob said firmly as he stood his ground.

  Connor couldn't help but chuckle as he moved towards the man. "Did Rory ever tell you what happens when someone comes between us?"

  Chapter 14

  "Please don't fire me," Jacob said as she stepped into the office. She felt her brows damn near shoot to her hairline when her eyes landed on him. It managed to distract her from her current problem of trying to figure out how to make McGill change his mind.

  "Why are you duct taped to a chair?" she demanded even as the answer dawned on her.


  She wasn't really surprised. Well, actually she kind of was since Connor tended to focus on torturing her these days. Sure, he went after the guys she dated, but that didn't really bother her since they all tended to turn into jerks and really had it coming. She wondered what Jacob could have done as she walked over and started the five minute process of making a double cup of hot cocoa.

  "Are you going to release me?" Jacob asked, sounding unsure which only piqued her curiosity since most of the men that Connor dealt with would usually be pissed and threatening to call the police by now.

  "How long ago did he tie you up?" she asked as her eyes shot to the clock on the wall. She hadn't seen Connor since they came to work so she was going to just go ahead and take a guess about the time.

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