Delectable, p.15
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       Delectable, p.15

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

  help but notice that he was kicking off his boots and pulling his shirt off, revealing rope after rope of golden-delicious muscle.

  He was definitely Yummy…

  There was something seriously wrong with her, she thought with disgust as she tried to breathe through the pain shooting up and down her back and in other areas. She’d barely resisted the urge to rub her ass as she reached down and shoved the hem of the large tee shirt down as she slowly shifted towards the other side of the bed.

  “Umm, where’s Mikey?” she asked a bit awkwardly as she continued to move towards the other side of the bed, ignoring the slow burn moving up her cheeks as mortification set in. Seriously, how big was this bed? she couldn’t help but wonder as she alternated between shifting over an inch, gasping in pain, and shoving the hem of her borrowed tee shirt back down to keep her ass covered.

  “She’s having a sleepover with Sebastian and my mother in the living room,” he said with a shrug as he reached into the nightstand and pulled out a small metal tin.

  “Okay then,” she said, awkwardly clearing her throat again, because apparently she was an idiot when he was around.

  Granted, she’d already figured that out a few days ago, but she kept forgetting that fact until he was close, really close, and she couldn’t seem to think straight. As he took the top off the metal tin and tossed it aside, permeating the air with the sweet scent of lemongrass, she couldn’t help but wonder why he had this effect on her and why she couldn’t honestly say that she hated it.

  Chapter 25

  Absolutely. Fucking. Adorable, he thought with a chuckle as he put the tin down, reached over and plucked the small woman trying to get away from him off the edge of the bed and placed her back in the middle where she belonged.

  “Oh, for the love of god!” she muttered, throwing her hands up in defeat as he shifted her onto her stomach. “Would you stop manhandling me?”

  “No,” he said, shaking his head as he picked the tin back up and put it on the bed next to her.

  “Then would you would mind telling me what you’re doing?” she asked, reaching back to shove the hem of his old tee shirt down even as she tried to scoot towards the other end of the bed, again.

  Sighing heavily, he pressed his hand against her back and held her there as he picked up the tin of liniment and smelled it, savoring the familiar scent that had saved his back more times than he could remember. He ignored her ineffectual wiggling, placed the liniment on the bed and pushed her shirt up, revealing that panty-covered heart shaped ass that had caught his eye nearly a week ago.

  Forcing his attention north, and somehow ignoring the incredible curve of her ass that had his fingertips tensing with the need to trace those delectable curves, he settled his hand on her back. Applying a little pressure, he ran his hand over her back, noting the way the wiggling woman trying to get away suddenly went still under his touch and then slowly, ever so slowly, relaxed and released the sexiest little groan that he’d ever heard.

  “You’re hurt,” he murmured as he ran his hands over the softest skin that he’d ever had the pleasure of touching.

  “It’s nothing,” she said while he watched as a beautiful blush crawled up her back, making him smile as he picked up the salve and dabbed a small amount onto her back.

  “It’s not nothing,” he said, gently working the salve into her skin as he worked his hand over her back, taking his time as he worked the tightness out of her muscles.

  “I just pulled something. It will be fine,” she said, slowly exhaling as she continued to relax.

  Nodding, he added a little more salve to his hand and worked it into her back. “That doesn’t mean that you have to be in pain, Kasey,” he said softly as he watched his hands move over her back, shaking his head, still pissed that he hadn’t noticed that she was in pain sooner.

  Considering the fact that he hadn’t been able to tear his eyes off her all night, he should have figured this out sooner, but he’d been so busy trying to figure a few things out for himself that he’d missed it. Then again, he should have realized something was wrong when he saw her work, he thought with a smile.

  She’d been so fucking cute dragging that large bucket of joint compound to his truck. Then she’d looked fucking amazing bending over and struggling to pick that bucket up and put it into the back of his truck. If he hadn’t been so damn busy enjoying the view, he would have grabbed the bucket from her sooner, but god help him, what a fucking view that had been.

  It wasn’t until he’d watched her slowly walking up the stairs with a pained look on her face and a mumbled, “That really freaking hurts,” that he got a fucking clue. His mother and father seemed to pick up on it too, because his father had reminded him about the lemongrass salve in his nightstand and his mother had kicked him out so that she could have a sleepover with the kids in peace.

  “Did you take anything for it?” he asked, running his hands over her back.

  “Advil before my shower,” she said on a moan that had his lips twitching.

  “Did it help?”

  “The shower or the Advil?” she asked, groaning.

  “Either one,” he said, rubbing the excess salve onto his own chest before shifting so that he was using both hands on her, slowly working the tension out of her lower back and shoulders.

  She chuckled as she closed her eyes. “No.”

  “Is this helping?” he asked, using his thumbs to work the muscles in her lower back.

  “Stop and I may be forced to hurt you,” she said, shifting to get more comfortable as she released a little sigh of pleasure.

  Chuckling, he pressed a little firmer. “I’ll take that as a yes.”

  “Take it however you want, just don’t stop,” she mumbled, grabbing a pillow and making herself a little more comfortable.

  “I won’t,” he promised her, continuing to rub her back long after she’d fallen asleep with a smile on her face.

  Returning that smile, he fixed her shirt, pulled the blankets up, and leaned over and did the one thing that he’d been dying to do since the first time he saw her blush, he pressed his lips against her cheek and smiled, because it seemed that she blushed in her sleep, too. Closing his eyes, he pulled back and forced himself to walk out of that room when all he wanted to do was to crawl in bed with her and touch her again.

  *-*-*-*

  “So, why didn’t you want to stay back at the cottage?”

  “You already asked me that,” Sebastian pointed out as he moved his empty bowl aside and helped himself to the large bowl of popcorn that Mikey had abandoned.

  “And you never answered,” she reminded him as she pushed the bowl closer to him and shifted on the makeshift bed that Aunt Mary had made for them.

  “And I’m probably not going to,” he said, glancing over his shoulder to make sure that Aunt Mary was still asleep.

  “Do you want to know what I think?” Mikey asked, as he shifted his attention back to the movie that he really didn’t want to watch and the bowl of cold popcorn.

  “Not really,” he said even as he had to smile, because she reminded him of his sister.

  Instead of getting mad, she laughed as she stole a handful of popcorn and ate it while they watched this horrible movie that he really wished he had vetoed when he’d had the chance. Now he was stuck watching it, which really wasn’t a big deal since he usually got stuck watching horrible movies with his brothers and sister.

  He really wasn’t into watching television or movies so he didn’t care one way or the other. The only time he watched TV was when someone in his family bugged him until he caved. He’d probably be watching a movie right now if he’d stayed back at the cottage with his family. His dad and Uncle Jason would run to the store, grab an insane amount of drinks and snacks while his mother and Aunt Haley would try to find a movie that they hadn’t watched yet and he’d help the younger kids make up beds and tents in the living room.

  As soon as everyone was settled and the movie started playing, he’d pull out his mother’s iPad and read until the movie was over and then his father would shut off the lights and he’d lie there, trying not to think about everything that was happening and all the reasons why it was his fault. That was the reason why he was here, because he couldn’t stay there knowing that there was nothing that he could do to fix this.

  “He’s nice,” Mikey announced.

  “Who?” he asked, grabbing another handful of popcorn and shoved it into his mouth.

  “Reese.”

  “Uncle Reese?” he asked, nodding in agreement. “He’s awesome.”

  “Uncle? I thought he was your dad’s cousin or something,” she said, shifting to get more comfortable.

  “He is.”

  “Then why do you call him your uncle?” she asked, repeating the same question that he got asked all the time.

  “Because that’s just the way my family is,” he said, too tired to explain the complexities of his family.

  Nodding, she said, “You’re lucky.”

  Smiling sadly, he murmured, “I know.”

  Chapter 26

  “Get up,” the annoying man that she was stuck with for the rest of her life said, as he tried to pull the pillow away.

  “Go away!” she snapped, blindly slapping the grasping hands that were hell-bent on dragging her out of bed at this unholy hour.

  “No! Get up before you ruin everything!” Eric snapped back as he gave her pillow another yank before shifting his attention to the blanket that she was damn well not going to give up without a fight.

  “What the hell is wrong with you?” Kasey demanded, as she pulled the blanket over her head and curled up on her side so that she could pin the blanket in place.

  “I’m serious, Kasey! Get up!” Eric growled as he struggled to tear the blanket away from her before finally giving up with a growl of frustration and a huff.

  “No.”

  There was a slight pause and then, “Please?”

  She had to snort at that, because he really should have known better. She was a single mother of a very active ten-year-old, who liked to keep her on her toes, which meant that she was still catching up on the sleep that she’d missed during the first five years of Mikey’s life. She loved sleep, needed it badly, and she was willing to kill anyone that tried to prevent her from getting more of it. Eric knew better than anyone the danger that he courted by coming in here at the crack of dawn

  “I will kill you, Eric. Do you understand?” she snapped when he returned to tugging on her pillow. “I will end you!”

  “Yeah, whatever you say, princess. Just get your lazy ass up so that I can help with demolishing the ki
tchen,” he said, not sounding like he was all that concerned with his imminent death.

  “That’s why you’re doing this? So, that you can swing a sledgehammer around?” she asked with a snort of disgust.

  “Yes!” he hissed.

  “This is just sad,” she said, shaking her head in disgust as she shifted to get more comfortable, more determined than ever to ignore him.

  “Are you getting up?”

  “No, you don’t need me to get up so that you can demolish the kitchen,” she pointed out with more patience than she was normally capable of this early in the morning.

  “We really do.”

  “You really need to leave before I hurt you,” she grumbled into her pillow.

  “And you really need to get your ass out of that bed so that I can live out my dream!”

  “Your dream is to meet Stan Lee, not tear apart my kitchen!”

  “Don’t stifle my dreams!”

  Turning over, she threw her pillow at his head, wishing that she had Mikey’s arm when it merely bounced off his shoulder and landed on the floor. “Get. Out.”

  “Get. Up,” he shot back with a glare.

  She snorted at that. “No.”

  “Yes!”

  “You don’t need me to get up!” she snapped, tired of arguing with the demented bastard.

  Instead of arguing with her like she’d expected, he pointed one damning finger at her and said, “I’ll be back in five minutes.”

  Yawning, she curled back up onto her side, grabbed the extra pillow, closed her eyes and settled in to fall back asleep. “No, you won’t.”

  He didn’t answer, and for that alone, she didn’t throw her remaining pillow at him. After a moment, she felt herself begin to drift off, thankful that it was the weekend and she didn’t need to drive Mikey to camp. This morning she could sleep in before dragging her butt out of bed around ten, take Mikey out for an early lunch, maybe take her to a movie, the batting cages, and-

  Jump out of the bed with a shriek when the resourceful little bastard came back with Mikey’s pet snake, the same one that Kasey had only allowed her child to have as long as she kept her room immaculate so that she never, ever, ever had to go in there. As she ran from the room screaming, she vowed to block all the sports channels in revenge.

  *-*-*-*

  “Umm, Yummy?” came the semi-amused voice of the woman currently sitting on the picnic table that had been dragged closer to the house so that their audience could watch the proceedings more comfortably.

  “What is it now, my little pain in the ass?” he drawled, stopping on his way to the large dumpster as he shifted the kitchen drawer that had been rusted in place over his shoulder.

  “You know that he’s looking at the saws again, right?” she asked, blinking as she pointed towards the truck.

  “I’m on it,” Trevor said with a tired sigh, walking past him as Reese glared at the smug woman sipping another Coke.

  “Bet you’re regretting sending him in to wake me up this morning, aren’t ya, Yummy?” she asked, taking a slow, deliberate sip of her Coke as those smug blue eyes watched him.

  “Oh, come on!” Eric yelled before adding. “Oh, crap!” somehow making the woman sitting in front of him even smugger.

  “Maybe you could find something else for Eric to do?” Zoe asked, shifting nervously as she shot anxious glances towards where her husband was no doubt trying to wrestle another saw from Eric’s hands before he managed to cut through another-

  “Oh, crap!”

  Shooting one last glare at the smug woman that looked too damn good for his sanity in those cut off jeans and navy blue bikini top, he strolled over to the large dumpster they’d rented. He dumped the drawer inside it before shooting a warning glare at Eric, who was now standing there, shooting him a sheepish smile.

  “Sorry,” Eric mumbled, discretely shoving the cut wire behind him.

  Deciding that he’d handle kicking Kasey out of bed from now on in the morning, he headed back into the house, smiling when the smug woman decided to follow him.

  “So, Yummy,” she drawled, following him into the house, “how long do you think I’ll be out of a kitchen?”

  “Until I’m done,” he said, wondering how she was going to react when he put the tarps up and banned her from the kitchen and living room.

  Probably not well, he mused with a smile as he grabbed his own Coke off the kitchen island that he looked forward to tearing apart and turned around to face the smug woman that made him want to go get that snake that had sent her screaming from the house only hours earlier and toss it at her.

  “I see,” she murmured, regarding him with a curious look that left him a little unnerved, especially when it turned calculating. “So, that cottage you’re renting…”

  “Yes?” he said, waiting to see where the devious little woman was going with this.

  “If memory serves me correctly, it has a very nice kitchen, doesn’t it?”

  “It does,” he conceded with a nod.

  “A kitchen that I believe will probably be free most of the day?” she asked with an adorable little smile that made him want to kiss her, but then again, it seemed like most of the things that she did made him want to kiss her.

  He’d barely known her for a week and she already had him wrapped around her little finger. He should be embarrassed, but sadly, he was too damn entertained by her to care.

  “Would you like to use my kitchen?” he asked, chuckling when she tried to play it off.

  “I suppose I could do that,” she said, adding a little sigh at
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