Handyman and heartbreaker. I’m damn good at my job. While my hands have been occupied building a deck for the delectable Madlyn Sparks, what I’ve really wanted to do was trace every one of her curves with my tongue. I bet with just one touch she’d go up in flames. My dick’s been harder than a damn post since I took this job, but I learned the hard way not to fuck myself out of a paycheck. But once this job is done, all bets are off.
Grady has done a fantastic job on the deck, but I didn’t really hire him for his carpentry skills. The man is fine as hell and I’ve wanted to take him for a ride ever since I saw him on my doorstep. Never in my wildest dreams did I think getting attacked would bring us closer together. He went from hunky handyman to overprotective bodyguard in an instant, and now that we’re living under the same roof, I just can’t keep my hands off him. Just one problem… now that I’ve had him, I never want to let him go.
Available July 7th from Changeling Press
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The sound of my drill was loud in the otherwise quiet backyard. I’d been working on this massive deck for two days for a pampered princess, but there were perks aside from a paycheck. I glanced toward the lounger by the pool and couldn’t help but admire the tanned perfection of Madelyn Sparks. She might be petite, but she was all legs and curves. Definitely a mouthwatering package.
The sun beat down on me and sweat rolled down my temples to drip off my chin onto the wooden deck below. I’d literally put my blood and sweat into the thing, but tears weren’t going to happen. Not unless the goddess decided to kick me in the nuts for staring too much. She did a pretty good job of ignoring me, even when I drooled. Couldn’t really blame her. A guy like me was too far beneath someone like her. The house she lived in had to cost at least half a million, if not more. My bungalow was a little too damn close to the questionable part of town and probably could have fit in her garage.
I put in one last screw and wiped my brow before standing. My back cracked as I stretched and put the tools away. As much as I would have loved to stare at perfection a little while longer, it was time to call it a day. I had an ice cold shower waiting for me at home, along with a beer and a bag of pretzels. The dinner of champions. Or rather, the dinner of a broke handyman. This job was going to pay really damn well, but I didn’t get the check until I finished the deck.
The scent of suntan oil reached my nose, and I turned to see Little Miss Perfect. She pushed her sunglasses on top of her honey blonde tresses and smiled at me.
“Finished for the day?” she asked.
“Yeah, I thought I’d pack it up and come back first thing tomorrow. Eight o’clock okay?”
Her nose wrinkled a little. “As long as you don’t mind me being crabby. I don’t finish my morning coffee until nine.”
I couldn’t help but smile at her. Something told me that even at her crabbiest she was damn cute. She couldn’t have been more than twenty-one or twenty-two. I felt ancient at close to thirty, even though there were only a handful of years between us. I put my tools by the back gate and waited to see if she would say or do anything else.
“Would you like some water or soda to take with you?” she asked. “I even have some of that flavored stuff you can add to a bottle of water.”
I must have made a face because she laughed and crooked a finger at me. Like a little lost puppy, I trailed after her and into the pristine house, my boots clunking along the hardwood floors. Her kitchen was huge, with spotless granite countertops and stainless steel appliances.
“Nice place,” I commented as I took in my surroundings. I’d never own a place like this. Not because I didn’t want one, but because I wasn’t going to earn enough ever to climb this high up the social ladder.
“It was my parents’ home. They died last year and left everything to me.”
Well, that explained why she was so rich at such a young age, but it had to suck to lose her family like that. My mom was still very much alive and living it up in Vegas as a retired showgirl. I’d never known my dad, and I wasn’t sure Mom had ever known who he was. Just some nameless man who had crossed paths with her at some point. Along with countless others. Mom hadn’t exactly been known for being a one-man woman back in the day. Or now, for that matter.
“I’m sorry for your loss,” I told her.
She gave me a small smile and opened the fridge. “Water or soda? I have a beer, but I doubt it’s one you’d like to drink. I’ve been told it’s a girly beer.”
I laughed and told her water was fine. It was the best way to stay hydrated in this horrible heat. I guzzled half the bottle before I even took a breath. Madelyn had her hip propped against the counter, and her gaze traveled over me. I couldn’t help but grow hard under her perusal. If she noticed, she was good at pretending otherwise. There was heat in her eyes as she looked up at me. Part of me hoped for the green light to kiss her the way I’d wanted to since the moment she opened her front door several days ago. The other part worried I’d screw myself out of a paycheck again and told me to keep it in my pants.
I finished my water and tossed the bottle into the trashcan. As much as I wanted to linger, I couldn’t think of a reason not to leave. My work for the day was done, and she wasn’t exactly saying much to keep me in her house. Then again, I was sweating all over her pristine floors. She probably couldn’t wait for me to leave.
“Thanks for the water,” I told her. “I’ll see you tomorrow at eight.”
“Let me walk you out.”
“That’s okay. I’ll just go out the back way. I left my tools by the back gate.”
She nodded, and if I wasn’t mistaken, there was a hint of sadness in her eyes as I turned to walk away. I wondered if maybe she was a little lonely, living in such a big place all by herself. For all I knew, she had a string of men waiting at her beck and call, but I hadn’t seen a single person any of the days I’d been here.
Her gaze drilled into my back as I made my way through her house to the back door. The humid air smacked me in the face as I stepped outside and made my way over to the gate. I picked up my tools and let myself out of the backyard. My truck was parked at the curb. I hadn’t wanted to take a chance on the damn thing leaking oil on her driveway. I shoved my stuff into the backseat and climbed in. As I was about to pull away, a flashy car pulled into her driveway, and a guy in a pink polo and khakis got out. Figured she’d go for a sissy boy like that one. His build was slight, and the softer angles of his face made him almost appear feminine. If he had any muscle on him, it definitely came from a gym. Guys like that didn’t get their hands dirty.
With a shake of my head, I pulled away and drove home to the other side of town. Living in a small town meant it didn’t take long to reach the house. My driveway was cracked and uneven and my porch drooped, but it was home sweet home. I killed the engine and got out, taking my tools with me. No way I would leave them in the truck in this neighborhood. Not unless I wanted them stolen. After I unlocked the door and pushed it open, I stepped inside and immediately frowned. It felt like it was a million degrees in the house.
The air conditioner in the front window still hummed, but when I stepped closer and held out my hand, only hot air came out of it. I’d just cleaned the thing the week before, so I knew that wasn’t it. It looked like the four-year-old unit had finally called it quits. As I walked through the house, I noticed the other even older units were not on or were sending out blasts of hot air as well. Just what I needed, the cost of four window units. Hell, even the cost of one was too much. There was only twenty bucks in my account until I got paid for my current job either tomorrow or day after, depending on how long it took me to wrap things up.
I went into the bedroom and turned on the ceiling fan before stripping out of my clothes. In the bathroom, I turned on the shower and didn’t even bother with the hot water. An icy stream hit me straight in the face as I stepped under the spray and it helped cool my heated skin. I stayed in the shower as long as I could, knowing I would just be miserable once I got out. After I dried off and pulled on a pair of boxer briefs, I contemplated what the hell I was going to do the rest of the night. In this neighborhood leaving a window open was just asking for trouble, so that was out.
As I tried to figure out what to do, my phone started ringing. I frowned when I saw the number on the display. What the hell was the princess calling me about? Had I left something at her place? I accepted the call and put the phone up to my ear. Before I could even say hello, I heard her sobbing on the other end.
“Madelyn? What’s wrong?”
She cried even harder. “I… need… you.”
“You need me? What happened?”
I didn’t get a chance to say another word before she disconnected the call. A bad feeling came over me as I threw on a fresh pair of jeans and a tee. I doubted she was crying over her deck, so I passed up my work boots for a pair of tennis shoes. It only took me a moment to dig my wallet and keys out of my discarded clothes, and I ran for the door, stopping only long enough to lock the place up. Breaking every speed limit in town, I screeched to a halt at her curb about ten minutes later.