My cock pressed against the inside of my jeans, hard as rock.
This was the first time I’d seen her. Hadn’t even spoken yet.
My new next-door neighbor balanced on the top rung of a rickety wooden ladder and fiddled with one of the eaves on the Starr house. Adorable squeaks and grunts escaped her—didn’t help the growing ‘situation’ downstairs—and her long dark hair swayed with each tug.
She was in cutoff jeans, her tan legs long and shapely, her ass—fuck it, ‘dat ass’—was priceless. A work of fucking art. Her skin glowed and glistened with sweat in the Louisiana summer sunshine.
What are you, a goddamn perv? So much for the friendly neighborhood doctor gig. Damn, boy, relax.
I readjusted the situation downstairs, my curiosity growing faster than my dick, and walked toward the front gate that hung on one hinge. The Starr house had been in a state for a long time, ever since the elderly couple who’d lived there had moved out and away.
Apparently, the new owner had been left with the remains—broken shutters, busted-up eaves, and a front door that looked like it’d seen its fair share of mildew and better days.
I opened the gate and stepped onto the short, stepping-stone path that led up to the front stairs, and paused.
My neighbor sighed and shrugged her shoulders. “Well, ain’t this a bitch,” she muttered.
I held back a snort. An ass like that and a smart mouth. Cute. And totally what I’m not interested in right now. But, that didn’t stop me from helping out. I strode forward and halted at the base of the ladder in the long grass.
“You need some help?” I asked.
The sex-cat let out a shriek and hopped on the spot. The ladder wobbled, and she fumbled with it, her left foot sliding backward into space. She fell from the sky like a goddamn angel, and I stepped forward, arms outstretched, and caught her.
If I’d been mesmerized before, it was nothing compared to now.
Bright, baby-blue eyes, cushiony lips parted ever so slightly in shock—she was stunning. A fine nose with a smattering of freckles across it and eyebrows that were on the thick side. No makeup.
She stared at me, and I stared right the fuck back, the erection I’d barely gotten under control raging now.
“Ho,” she said.
“Huh?” Did she just call me a slut? It couldn’t have been further from the damn truth—divorce papers signed this morning on the only serious relationship I’d had. The one where my ex had cheated. The irony amused me. “I’m a ho?” I asked.
Her cheeks flushed. “Ho—I mean, no. I mean… hello.”
My gaze shifted from her eyes to that refined nose, down to her lips, and then lower to her slender neck and the slopes of her breasts pressing out from under her camisole, and back up again. She was even redder. I was even harder. “Hello,” I replied, a growl in my voice.
“Thanks for catching me,” she said and squirmed in my arms. “Not thanks for scaring the bejesus out of me.”
“It was my pleasure.”
“Which? The scaring or the catching?”
“Everything so far.”
She squirmed again, and it was fucking torture. The side of her right breast rubbed against my chest, her thick ass did the same against my arm. “Stop it,” I said.
She stiffened. “Then put me down. In case you haven’t noticed, we’ve been standing here like this for the past two minutes. It’s kinda awkward.”
Kinda? Well, shit. I let her down gently, and she planted the heel of her sneaker on the bridge of mine. Pain screeched through my foot—old injury from my college football days—and I grunted, stepped back.
Angelface lost her balance all over again. She dipped backward with another adorable shriek. I looped an arm around her waist, quick as a flash. “I’ve got y—”
But I didn’t have her. The momentum carried us both over and we landed in the grass next to the legs of the damn ladder that had started all of this. She was below, gripping my back, pulling me into her. I was on top, one arm braced beside her head, the other trapped beneath her firm, supple body.
My dick pressed into her softness, right against the front of her cutoff jeans.
Her eyes widened, and her mouth dropped open again, but no words came.
Christ, she smelled good. Like fucking rose petals or something. Feminine, sweet, and soft. It’d been months since I’d touched a woman, and this was my first test. A woman who had the power to break through all the goals I’d set for myself.
Leave Stoneport behind. Start a new life at the practice in Vermont. Forget the past year ever happened. Fuck it, I had all my moving boxes set up next door. But all the goals disappeared, replaced by images of our bodies tangled up in each other.
Her legs wrapped around my waist.
Christ, I could tug down the front of her camisole right now, suck her nipple between my lips, and feast on her. Just fucking own her. She deserved it. She wanted it. She licked her lips and stared at mine, still unspeaking.
You don’t even know her name.
“You OK?” I asked, again in that growl. It was almost comical now. Twice she’d fallen, twice I’d caught her, and here we were lying on the lawn pressed into each other, and we’d barely exchanged two words.
My neighbor cleared her throat. “Um, I guess,” she said and shifted underneath me. The front of her jeans, the ones that separated her flesh from mine, her softness, rubbed against my dick again. “I just have one thing to say,” she said.
“And what’s that?” I asked.
“At least buy me dinner first.”
I burst out laughing, shattering the crazed tension between us, and pushed up from the ground. I helped her to her feet and resisted the urge to dust off her clothes for her.
“I’m Mason,” I said and stuck out a hand. We’d had so much skin contact already it was insane.
She shook it firmly and maintained eye contact, her cheeks still pink. “Rebecca Starr,” she replied.
“Starr, huh? You’re related to the folks who used to live here?”
“Uh huh, yeah, my grandparents. They, uh, well, they left me this place when they passed a few years ago. I’ve been putting off coming out here until now.”
“Why?” I asked and looked up at the house. It was a classic Louisiana home. Gorgeous, set on acres of land with a river out back, complete with willow trees and sweeping branches. The façade was white, or had been at one point, and the porch was a wraparound accented by columns. Picture-perfect if fixed up, almost a mirror image of my place.
Not your place. You’re selling.
“Well, I—uh. It’s complicated,” she said. “It was time for me to leave New York. Let’s leave it at that.”
“And now you’re moving in next door.” It came out a mutter, thoughtful. It was a good thing I was on the way out. This was a damn small town, and the gossip would spread far and fast that doctor dearest had taken up with his next-door neighbor. Too much drama. I fucking hated drama.
“Next door? Wait, you live next door?” Rebecca peered past me at my house, sitting down the road.
“Guilty as charged.”
“Typical,” she said.
“That I’d make a total dick of myself in front of my next-door neighbor on my second day in the new house,” she replied, and ruffled her hair with a hand. She blew her locks out of her eyes. “That’s just how I roll, I guess.”
“You didn’t make a dick of yourself,” I replied, grinning. “If anything, I did.”
She glanced down at my crotch, then back up again, blushing all over again. Shit, there was that tension again.
I took a step back and put distance between us. “So, Rebecca,” I said.
“You can say that again. Becky,” I corrected, “you’re out here messing with the eaves. Are you planning on fixing this place up yourself? No contractor?”
“I can’t afford a contractor right now,” she said and lifted her head and looked up at me, daring me to challenge her. She was tall for a woman but still shorter than me. Her challenge would’ve been laughable if I was a dickhead. “I’m more than happy to handle this myself.” Rebecca gestured back up to the eaves, and then to the door. “I’m good with my hands.”
Lord, have mercy on my soul.
“No offense, Miss Starr, but it’s going to take more than just your hands to finish the job.”
She raised an eyebrow at me. “That’s what you think.”
“That’s what I know,” I replied. “There’s substantial damage here. The shutters, the door. They need to be replaced, and that’s some heavy work.”
“Are you saying I can’t do it because I’m a woman?” She bristled at me, and even that was adorable. Dangerous fucking waters. Ring the alarm.
“Of course not,” I replied. “I’m saying you can’t do it because you’re a layman. You’re not a carpenter.”
“How do you know?” Her question wasn’t stiff this time, more curious, and she tilted her head to one side and gave me another onceover. “Are you a carpenter?”
“Yeah,” I said. “It’s a side passion, though.”
“All right, then what’s your main passion?”
How had I become the focus of the conversation? “That’s irrelevant, Rebecca.”
“You do have good hair.”
She snorted a laugh, and I grinned right back. She’d gotten the reference, right off the bat. Damn, she was quick as a whip and armed to the teeth with charm. “Look, take it from me, this is going to take some extra work. Now, usually I’d offer up my services here, but this looks like it needs focus.”
“So, what do you suggest, next-door neighbor-mysterious-carpenter dude?”
“Mason is fine,” I replied. “And I suggest that you hire Troy Tombs. He’s a good friend of mine.” I whipped out my cell phone and read out the number to her, while she took it down on hers. “Tell him I sent you, and he’ll give you a good deal.”
“Thanks,” she said and offered me another one of those genuine smiles. They lit up her entire face, somehow made her even more attractive. Should’ve been impossible.
“What are friendly neighbors for?” I quipped.
An awkward silence separated us. She stowed her cell phone and looked down at the ground, cleared her throat for the second time. “I appreciate it. Thanks,” she said again, then pressed a palm to her face as if realizing what she’d done.
“I guess I’ll see you around,” I said. “Maybe I’ll bring you some jambalaya later.”
“Why would you do that?” Becky looked like she couldn’t conceive of a reason I’d want to bring her food.
I had two. One of them was totally selfish, the other not so much. “This is Louisiana, Becky. We’re all about hospitality here.”
“Oh, that’s really sweet,” she said. “I’ll look forward to all that Louisiana hospitality in town.”
“Have a good one,” I replied and walked to the gate with a wave over my shoulder. If I stayed any longer, I’d wind up spending all day around her. Christ, I’d orbit her like a satellite. She was too intriguing. Too fresh and new. Too nice.
And I had patients to look after at the practice and a moving company to call.
No matter how much I’d have liked to stick around and get to know Rebecca, this little infatuation was already over before it’d begun.
In a month I’d be out of here. Stoneport, the divorce, and everything that came with it would be a distant memory.