Checkmate, p.9
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       Checkmate, p.9

         Part #3 of Neighbor from Hell series by R. L. Mathewson
Page 9


  "Actually, you have that backwards," she said, taking a sip of her perfect hot cocoa.


  "Mmmhmmm," she said around another sip.

  "How so?"

  "Well," she said, placing her cup of delicious hot cocoa on the small patio table, "I fall asleep every night smiling because I no longer have to worry about seeing you for at least eight hours and wake up every morning thinking about how to avoid you. "

  "But you're still thinking about me and smiling when you do it," he said with a wink, leaning over and swiping her hot cocoa before she could stop him.

  "Hey!" she said, trying to grab it out of his hands, but the damn man simply cupped the top of her head and held her back as he downed her delicious hot cocoa. She hated when he did this to her. It made her feel foolish and little and as soon as she got the chance she was kicking his ass.

  "You bastard!" she hissed when he made a big show of smacking his lips.

  "That was a damn good cup of cocoa, Rory. Thanks," he said, handing her back the cup as he dropped his hand away from her head.

  "How could you?" she mumbled as she looked longingly down at the now empty coffee cup where her delicious hot cocoa had once been.

  "Are you ready to admit that I'm the best part of your day?" he asked, leaning back against the banister.

  She glared up at him before looking back down at the empty coffee cup in her hand and then back up at him.

  "Aw, shit," he said, turning and jumping over the banister, crouching down on his own porch just as she let the coffee cup fly.

  When it missed his head by a few inches she groaned. So damn close, yet not close enough, she thought as it slammed into the side of his house and shattered.

  "Well, I guess we'll have to continue this conversation tomorrow night when you're in a better mood," Connor said, standing.

  "I'll make sure to bring plenty of coffee cups," she said sweetly.

  "Good," Connor said, sauntering towards his sliding glass door, "because I could really go for another cup of that delicious cocoa," he said, laughing when his beer bottle sailed through the air towards him.

  "Damn it!" She groaned when she missed him again.

  When the hell was her luck going to change?

  Chapter 4

  Connor couldn't help grinning as he took the turn off for Strawberry Manor. His eyes darted to his rear view mirror to check on the long line of employee trucks and equipment following him and then to the dashboard clock. It was almost seven o'clock and there hadn't been a sign of Rory or her team anywhere on the way over here.

  When he snuck out of his house an hour ago he'd been shocked to find her Jeep still in the driveway. He really thought the eager little thing was going to give him a run for his money, but she hadn't. Hell, she hadn't even rigged his truck so that it wouldn't start. It seemed as though she really didn't want this as much as he did, which was kind of surprising. After he let the air out of her tires he left for work, wondering if he even had to worry about her getting in his way after all.

  As far as he was concerned, this early bird definitely caught the worm, the worm being Strawberry Manor of course. Clearly he wanted this project more than Rory. If she wanted it half as badly as he did, she would have had her beautiful ass up at the crack of dawn like he had so she could be here getting everything set up and making an official claim on the project. But, she didn't and hadn't, so this project was his. He couldn't wait to see her face when she realized that he stole the lead.

  He thought of all the different ways to rub it in her face as he drove his truck over the rough broken road. The half mile road and parking lot would have to be replaced soon so they could get equipment and materials up here safely. The thick brush that hugged the private road would also have to be pruned back, but not too much. His client wanted to keep the little trip from the road to the hotel, beautiful. It wouldn't be too hard, he thought as he took the last curve on the private road. They could cut back the trees and shrub ten feet on each side to widen the private road. Then they could-

  "Son of a bitch!" he practically shouted as the hotel and grounds came into view.

  This was not happening! This was not f**king happening!

  A horn honking behind him made him realize that he'd come to a sudden stop. Cursing Rory James to hell, he pulled off to the side where an impromptu parking lot had been created and parked between two pickup trucks. He jumped out of his truck and looked around in disbelief as his crew found spots and parked.

  Not only had she managed to beat him here this morning, but she had the entire construction site set up. Where he'd planned to place his office trailer tomorrow, she had one with tan vinyl siding that looked newer and larger than his. Thanks to the overgrown vegetation and uneven terrain and large equipment there was nowhere for him to place his trailer.

  His eyes quickly ran over the rest of the property. Her large trucks and equipment were lined up along the west side of the property. There were four large dumpsters placed close to each end of the mansion with a makeshift dirt road leading to the cracked parking lot. Hell, she already had several equipment sheds placed as well as latrines.

  Was that a lunch truck?

  "How the hell did she do all this?" he mumbled to himself as he grabbed his hard hat, briefcase, and tool belt before slamming his truck door shut and stormed off towards the trailer.

  When he wasn't even ten feet away, the door to the trailer opened and Rory James stepped out looking innocent as she sipped what had to be a cup of cocoa.

  "Good afternoon, Connor," she said brightly when her eyes landed on him.

  "It's morning," he bit out as he stormed past her and into the rather comfortable looking trailer.

  "Oh, is it? It feels like afternoon, but that probably has something to do with the fact that we've been here for hours," she mused.

  "I can see that," he said, shooting her secretary, her male secretary he might add, a glare as he walked through what appeared to be the waiting room and into the back room that he figured would probably be the office and he was right.

  The office was large, but not large enough. There was hardly enough room as it was for the large desk, drafting table, chairs and filing cabinets that took up the majority of the room. This wouldn't do.

  Not at all.

  He turned around, not at all surprised to find the little cocoa addict leaning against the doorframe, sipping the cocoa that he was tempted to snatch away from her.

  "You need to have the trailer towed out of here," he explained in what he thought was a reasonable tone.

  "No," she simply said with a shrug.

  "Move it or I'll tow it myself," he snapped.

  "Not going to happen," she said, taking a slow sip of her cocoa.

  "Yes, you will," he said, getting into her face.

  "It's so sad that you think that you can push me around," she said, patting his cheek condescendingly before she stepped past him.

  "You're going to have to move your trailer, Rory. I need my office," he bit out through clenched teeth.

  "So do I," she said.

  "What for?" he demanded, tossing his shit on the small loveseat by the door.

  "To work, what else?" she asked, throwing him a frown.

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