Checkmate, p.30
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       Checkmate, p.30

         Part #3 of Neighbor from Hell series by R. L. Mathewson
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Page 30


  "I'm not sleeping with you, Connor. I'll find another way to get my project back," she said, shaking her head in disgust as she reached out, snatching the contract away from him and headed for the door. Maybe her lawyer could find a loophole or she could just flat out sue the bastard and get an injunction to stop him from starting work on the suites. It would take time, but hopefully she could get this cleared up before Strawberry Manor's deadline.

  "This has nothing to do with sex, Rory, so relax," he said, making her pause as she reached the door.

  "Then what is the point of this little scheme of yours, Connor?" she asked, not even trying to hide her skepticism or her revulsion. This was a new low even for him.

  He stood up and walked around her desk only to lean back against it as he explained, "I'm sure you've noticed that this little relationship of ours has caused a lot of. . . . . ," he pursed his lips up thoughtfully before he said, "problems. "

  That was an understatement if she ever heard one. Their relationship, or rather their hatred for one another had caused them to be banned, gawked at, betted on, and blamed admittedly for a lot of damage that they did inadvertently cause and also for things that had absolutely nothing to do with them. She was still pissed about the summer that she was banned from the town pool because someone blamed them for busting the slide. It was broken before she even managed to tackle Connor and pants the jerk.

  "You're going to play my loving, dotting girlfriend and help turn all of that around, Rory," he said with a shrug as if it wasn't a big deal.

  It was a very big deal!

  She was more likely to kill him than dot on him and he damn well knew it.

  "No, sorry, not going to happen," she said, shaking her head emphatically with each word. "Come up with something else. "

  "This isn't up for negotiation, Rory," he said firmly. "You will play my girlfriend in public and make sure people believe that you not only like me, but love me and in return you get your little project. "

  Her jaw nearly dropped to the ground with that declaration. "You expect me to act like I love you?"

  "Mmmhmm, to the point that you can't keep your hands off of me. "

  "They'll be firmly wrapped around your throat, you jerk!" she snapped. "Why do you really want to do this, Connor?" she demanded as she moved towards him and gestured with her broken hand in the direction of Strawberry Manor, "you don't care what anyone thinks so why are you screwing with my plans?"

  He smiled tightly. "My reasons are my own, Rory. All you need to know is that if you want this project you'll do as I ask. You'll go out with me, hang on my every word and public displays of affection are not only encouraged but expected and you'll keep this deal of ours between us," he announced as he headed for the door. "You have one hour to make your decision. If you don't, then Highland Construction will be building three very elaborate suites and getting all the credit," he said with a wink as he left, shutting the door behind him and leaving her fuming.

  She let out a scream of frustration as she kicked her desk and then spent the next two minutes muttering "owie" as she hopped around on one leg. When the pain dulled, she dropped down on her chair and groaned. She could not believe that he did this and she sure as hell couldn't believe that he wanted her to play this little game. She'd known that he was up to something and unfortunately that something had just kicked her ass.

  This project meant everything to her. It was going to be Strawberry Manor's signature attraction and now Connor was dangling it in her face, leaving her with no other choice but to go along with this sick and twisted plan of his. She was going to have to play along, she realized with a pathetic whimper as she forced herself to get to her feet and walk out the door, knowing that what she was about to do went against nature, but for this project she would do it.

  "If you let me go I'll make you a triple chocolate hot cocoa," Jacob offered, sounding hopeful, which was really kind of pathetic.

  "Consider this your punishment for having such a big mouth," she snapped, knowing that she was letting him off easy by leaving him tied to his chair, but she couldn't help it. The man did make a delicious cup of hot cocoa.

  "He made me tell him!" Jacob whined as she headed for the door.

  "Uh huh, you can sit there and think about what you did, mister," she said sternly as she opened the door, "and just so you know, I'm not changing my shirts in front of you for a year for this. "

  His shocked gasp was rewarding enough as she closed the door behind her and headed towards the lunch truck where Connor was talking to some of his men, to do the unthinkable. She marched right up to him, ignoring the curious looks his men were sending her and reached up, cupping the back of Connor's neck and yanked him down for a kiss that sent shivers down her spine. She ignored her response to the man, the startled gasps around her, and the whispers of people wondering if hell had frozen over as she pulled away.

  "Pick me up at eight," she said, moving to walk away so that she could go kick something.

  "Seven, and wear something sexy, sweetheart," Connor said with that damn cocky tone that was going to get him bitch slapped.

  Chapter 15

  Oh, he was going to hell, but what a way to go, he thought with a chuckle as he grabbed the bouquet of baby pink roses off his coffee table and headed for the door, pausing only long enough to check his hair in the antique mirror hanging in the foyer.

  Admittedly, he hadn't been in a good mood when he discovered what Rory was doing behind his back, but once he realized the possibilities he hadn't been able to stop smiling. He owned her ass now. He had something that she wanted and he was going to use her to get what he wanted. He was also going to enjoy everything he put her through along the way.

  For the past week he'd been wracking his brain trying to come up with a way to win over her brothers and lure them over to his company and Rory, bless her little backstabbing, betraying heart, just handed him the solution on a silver platter. He'd get to her brothers through her, not that he wouldn't enjoy having Rory on his arm, he would, but she was simply a means to an end.

  Finding out that she was lying and going behind his back to deal with McGill was the wakeup call that he needed. Over the past couple of days he'd been hoping that they could put their little feud behind them and call a truce, but obviously he'd been foolish to think that Rory could ever let go of the past and move on.

  If she wanted to continue playing these games then that was more than fine with him, because he would end this bullshit once and for all. Once Strawberry Manor was done and he had the James boys working for him then he was going to sit back and enjoy the show as Shadow Construction went out of business. It would be the final blow and the end of this game of theirs.

  A minute later, he was knocking on her front door and more than eager to start the final chapter. He was also looking forward to having free reign to touch her and holy hell, did that make it all worth it. Well, that and the fact that she had to pretend to adore him. Really, could life get any better? he thought as he knocked again.

  "You're early," Rory said with an annoyed sigh as she opened the door.

  "I'm on time," he murmured absently as he scanned her body and frowned. Why was she wearing a tight baby green tee shirt and jeans when he specifically told her to wear something sexy? Sexier, he amended a moment later when he was forced to shift slightly to the right to accommodate his growing erection.

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