The man starts to go after him, but I stop him with a hand on his shoulder. “Trust me. He’s not worth it.”

He stares at me…hard. My eyes are locked on him and I couldn’t look away if I tried. “No man should ever talk about you that way.”

I almost laugh, but something stops me. He’s serious. I guess working with a construction crew has made me insensitive to the way that some men talk. “It’s not a big deal. Really. He’s harmless. So, uh, where’d you come from?” I look up at him and try not to appear like I’m leering at him. The man is hot. He has on khaki pants and a blue button-down shirt. The blue matches his eyes perfectly.

He points to the door behind him. “I moved in this morning. I’m your new neighbor. I’m Brent.”

“Well, it’s nice to meet you, Brent. Thank you for your help with everything. I’m Abby.” I slide my hand into his and ignore the jolt that shoots up my arm at the contact. I pull it back quickly, before I embarrass myself and cling on to him.

“Well, it was nice meeting you.” When I turn to walk back into my apartment, he stops me. “What did he mean that he would see you at the party?”

I grimace, turning back to him. “Shoot. Yeah, my family is big into holidays. They have a big Halloween party every year. Derrick’s family are friends, so I’m sure he’ll be there.”

He presses his palms together firmly. “I, uh, don’t like it.”

With confusion etched on my face, I ask him, “What do you mean you don’t like it?”

He takes another step toward me and the manly scent of him and his soft cologne hits my nostrils. I take a deep breath, wanting to commit it to memory. His hands go up on the door frame and his shirt stretches across his muscled chest. Sweet Jesus, the man is insanely beautiful.

“I don’t like you going to a party with him there. Maybe you should skip it.” His jaw is set with determination.

I laugh this time; there’s no holding it back. “Skipping it is not an option. My parents and brothers would come and drag me there anyway. Nope, I have to go.”

He doesn’t hesitate. “Well, then take me with you.”

My forehead wrinkles. “You want to go to a Halloween party?”

He brings his arms down from the frame and crosses them across his expansive chest. “If it means keeping you safe, yes I do.”

I really am running late now. I grab the boxing gloves, my phone and purse by the door and with everything held in my hands, I tell him, “I can take care of myself.”

He doesn’t move. He doesn’t back up. He doesn’t take his eyes off me. His voice is husky when he finally says, “You shouldn’t have to.”

A deep burn fills my belly at his words. I clench my legs together and ask him, “Do you have a costume?”

Brent

There’s something about her. When I was coming back to my apartment and saw her pressed against her door by that puny boy, I knew right then that I wanted to – I had to – protect her. A possessiveness like I’ve never felt before came over me and I knew that I had to tame it down a little before I killed the poor bastard.

I walk her into my apartment and apologize for the few boxes lying around.

“When is the rest of your stuff coming?” she asks. “I can help you carry it in.”

I stop and turn to her. This woman… I can tell she is really in for a rude awakening. Like I would let her carry anything heavy. “Honey, I have people to carry stuff. Plus, this is it. I’m only here for a few weeks. I have a house being built and it should be ready soon.”

She tries to hide the disappointment on her face, but she’s not successful. I see it and a thrill shoots through my chest.

She taps her chin with her finger, looking me up and down. “So do you have any idea for a costume?”

I take my time and look at her. Really look at her. Her blond hair is in curls down her back. The red boxer robe is hiding her curvy body from me and I would like to take it off to see what’s underneath. Her shorts are short and tight and her tank top is plastered against her large breasts. My manhood twitches in my pants. “Yep, give me five minutes. Have a seat.”

I walk back to the bedroom and undress quickly. My cock is hard and I give it a swift tug and adjust myself, willing it to go down before I go back out there.

I pull my clothes on and lace up my tennis shoes before going back to the living room. “I’m ready,” I announce to her.

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