He walked into his bedroom, fighting back another yawn when his eyes landed on the bed. What he saw there had him stumbling and doing a double take. Why was Rory curled up in his bed in only a pink cotton camisole and panties? Was he dreaming? he wondered and not really caring as he walked over to her.

"Too tired. Not going out," she mumbled pathetically without bothering to open her eyes.

"I see," he said, chuckling as she snuggled against his pillow.

"Good. Now carry me back to my room," she muttered even as she blindly reached out for a blanket. When she didn't find one she let out a frustrated little groan and flopped over onto her other side and curled up.

With a sigh, he walked over to the bed and picked her up so that he could pull the covers back. When he laid her back down, she curled right back up, snuggled against his pillow and released a happy little sigh when he pulled the covers over her. He should be pissed that his plans were being wrecked again, but he just couldn't, not when breaking their plans meant that he got to hold Rory in his arms all night.

He would be holding her in his arms all night long, he decided as he quickly pulled on a pair of boxers and climbed in behind her. When he wrapped his arm around her, she grumbled, but didn't stop him from pulling her against him. Once he had her where he wanted her, he closed his eyes and felt his body relax.

A few seconds later he let out a grunt when she abruptly turned in his arms, whacking him in the shoulder with her cast as she snuggled against him. He winced as he tightened his hold on her, telling himself that he was doing it because he didn't want to wake up covered in bruises. She was a violent little thing after all, he mused as he kissed the top of her head. It had absolutely nothing to do with the fact that he never wanted to let her go.

* * * *

He really was handsome, Rory thought with a smile as she gently caressed his jaw. She should leave, but she found that she didn't want to go, not just yet. She could come up with a million reasons why, but when it came right down to it, she enjoyed waking up in his arms.

Not that she would admit this, but waking up in his arms while he’d been taking care of her probably did more for her than the pain medication the doctor prescribed. She'd felt safe, truly safe which of course was laughable considering the fact that this man had done anything and everything to make her life a living hell for over two decades, but she couldn't help it. She also couldn't help but like this Connor.

He made her feel safe, wanted and desired. She knew that it was probably all part of his master plan, but that didn't stop her from enjoying it. Why would it? She'd been dealing with Connor for the majority of her life and for once he wasn't annoying the shit out of her. This Connor was funny, sweet and made her happy. She'd have to be an idiot not to enjoy this short reprieve from the old Connor that made her life a living hell. She had five months, hopefully, with this Connor and she was going to make damn sure that she enjoyed every single minute of it while it lasted.

But that didn't mean that she trusted this little plan of his. She didn't. He was up to something and she'd be foolish to go into this blindly. While she enjoyed herself, she'd keep her eyes open and as soon as she figured out what Connor was up to she'd turn the tables on him. Until then........

Well, she decided that she'd play it by ear. As long as he stayed out of her way, focused on getting the manor finished, and kept kissing her in a way that she loved then she would let things continue. It actually surprised her how easily she'd accepted this situation between them. Part of her, the part that still remembered the time that he turned her blue when they were fourteen, wanted to fight against this overwhelming attraction that she felt for him and fight this deal of theirs, but she realized something last night.

She didn't want to fight this.

He mumbled something as he reached for her, but she wasn't there. When he frowned in his sleep, she couldn't help but smile as she leaned over him and pressed a kiss against his forehead. He let out a soft sigh as he rolled over onto his stomach and she took that as her cue to leave.

She climbed off his bed and took a step towards his patio when something occurred to her. She had free reign of Connor's house. Since she didn't know when an opportunity like this would come again she'd be foolish to pass this up. At least that's what she told herself as she shot a quick glance in Connor's direction to make sure that he was still asleep.

After a quick visual check she wasted no time in tiptoeing out of his room. Her breath caught as she stepped out of his room and into a dimly lit hallway. It felt as though she'd stepped back into the nineteenth century. The walls were white with dark trim. Dimly lit electric lanterns lined the wall, casting just enough light in the hallway for the historical house junkie in her to get a rush.

Old houses were her favorite. When she was little she used to love it when her father worked on an older house. She used to walk through each room, ignoring the modern changes and imagine what the house used to look like, should look like. Her brothers would tease her, but she didn't care. There was just something about an older house that spoke to her. She'd always imagined that she'd grow up and design modern homes that looked like they belonged in a previous century, but with all the modern amenities blended into the design.

In fact, she'd planned on going to college to earn a degree in architecture and one day design an entire town with old time stores and houses with an eighteenth century facade, but it never happened. Thanks to the incident in Canada she lost her college scholarship as well as her acceptance to several schools. She could have applied to another college, a less expensive college, especially since the charges had been dropped, but by the time she had enough money to do just that, her dreams had changed.

She decided to open her own construction company and truth be told, she'd never regretted that choice. That didn't mean that she couldn't mourn the loss of what might have been. It was the reason why she bought her house. She considered buying both houses, but she knew at the time that two mortgages and renovations would have been too much for her to handle.

When Connor bought this house she'd been pissed for several obvious reasons, but not really surprised. His house had needed a serious amount of work and everyone in town knew that Connor enjoyed a challenge. At seventeen he started to work for old man Thompson, a mean son of a bitch who paid piss poor wages and worked his employees to the bone. Connor started off doing the grunt work as a carpenter's apprentice. He put in long hours, got yelled at a lot from what she'd heard, but he stuck with it.

It wasn't long until people were calling Connor up and hiring him instead of old man Thompson. There were many things that she could say about Connor, but she could never call the man lazy. Everyone in town knew that he'd worked his butt off to get where he was today. He did good work, she grudgingly admitted to herself as she tried not to drool over the cast iron settings that held the lamps to the wall.

Tags: R.L. Mathewson Neighbor from Hell Young Adult
Source: www.StudyNovels.com
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