The men looked over their shoulders and then back at her in unison. "Then why do they look like they're celebrating? I can't imagine Connor being happy about losing to you," Bryce said, staring longingly at the burger left on her plate. So maybe they hadn't entirely forgotten about the food, she thought.

"Yeah, he looks damn happy for a man that just lost a million dollar contract," Johnny said as his hand inched, almost as if it had a mind of its own, towards her burger. Before it touched her plate, Craig reached out and slapped his hand away.

Johnny gave her a sheepish smile and a shrug. She knew he couldn't help himself. It was something she understood even when they were kids. Her brothers could eat their father out of house and home by the time they were six and often did. Considering that by six they were the size of twelve year olds that wasn't too surprising. If it hadn't been for Craig, she probably would have starved to death. He kept his younger brothers in line and made sure that she had enough to eat.

"Yeah, well, he kind of sort of got the contract too," she said quickly, wincing in anticipation of their reaction.

Instead of cursing and slamming the table with their fists like she expected, they just sat there staring at her. Finally Bryce spoke. "You're kidding, right?"

She shook her head, taking another sip of cocoa. Again her brothers looked over their shoulders and this time the life ruining bastard had the balls to salute them with his beer and a cocky grin.

Rory discretely flipped him off. Connor's cocky smile quickly turned to a tight frown as his eyes once again narrowed on her. Her brothers turned their attention back to her, clearly wondering what she'd done. She just gave them an innocent smile as she sipped her cocoa.

"I don't understand," Sean said. "How did you both get the contract?"

Darting her eyes away, she said quietly, "We both got the contract. We'll be working with Highland Construction on this job."

Stunned silence met her announcement. She chanced a glance back up at her brothers, who were now looking at her as if she'd grown an extra head. She cleared her throat nervously and continued.

"We each got the contract with a twenty percent markup and a nice bonus if we finish by the November deadline," she said, watching as the information sank in.

Each of the men cursed vividly as they turned and shot another scowl to the man that once again smiled smugly in their direction. Slowly, her brothers turned back to face her, glaring.

"Why didn't you tell them we could do it without Highland Construction?" Sean demanded. This time when Johnny tried to snag her burger, Craig didn't stop him.

Great, the big babies were mad at her. Whatever. They'd get over it.

"Does it look like I want to work with him?" she asked, making them frown. "I didn't have a choice. Even if we hire extra men we won't be able to train them in time for them to be useful. We wouldn't make the deadline. If we did this alone we'd also blow our profit on extra equipment. Extra equipment I might add that Highland Construction has. All we have to do is go in, work our asses off just like any other project, meet the deadline and that's it. The only downside is that it will be with the bastard, but if I can handle it, then so can you."

Her brothers looked thoughtful as they considered what she said. Finally with a shrug, Craig said, "Fine, as long as he leaves us alone to do our job and lets us lead we won't kick his ass."

Chapter 3

"That's it, boy," Connor cooed as the hundred and fifty pound pain in the ass cocked his head to the side and studied Connor. "Come on, big guy, you know you want it," he said, holding the hot dog he dipped in peanut butter up higher as he moved it slowly from side to side.

The demon spawn that Rory liked to call a dog licked his lips hungrily as his eyes zeroed in on the tasty treat. Grinning, Connor leaned over and reached for the laptop bag that he'd foolishly set down on the ground ten minutes ago so that he could grab his briefcase and the stack of files only to turn around and find the pain in the ass lying across it.

Connor tossed the tasty treat onto Rory's property. The dog sent him one last glare before he took off. Connor wasted no time in grabbing his laptop, knowing the damn dog would be back. Sometimes it seemed as though the damn dog liked screwing him over more than Rory did.

He was just about to head inside his house when a familiar red four door sedan pulled into Rory's driveway. Hadn't he already chased this loser off? It had been what.....three or four weeks since he last saw this ass**le sniffing around Rory? Then again, most of the men Rory dated, all losers in his opinion, stopped coming by her house shortly after meeting him, which was the way he liked it.

But clearly he hadn't done his job if this one was coming back for more. As he watched the ass**le step out of his car as he smoothed his hair back and straightened his obviously new shirt and slacks, Connor couldn't help but wonder how dumb the man really was.

When the man spotted him, he froze and noticeably swallowed. A loud menacing growl had the man taking a step back. Because that too pleased him, he pulled the second peanut butter dipped hot dog out of the baggy and tossed it to the dog Rory dared to name, “Bunny.” With a grunt, the dog swallowed the treat whole, but never took his eyes away from the ass**le that refused to step away from behind his car.

Like that would protect him, Connor thought with a sigh as he walked over to the corner of his large white Victorian home, which happened to be a mere twenty feet away from the corner of Rory's house, an almost identical house. When the homes were built over two hundred years ago they had been identical in every way, except the direction of the layout was opposite in each house. The Master bedroom suite of each house had its very own open porch that extended past the walls of the house by ten feet and cut the distance between the two houses to eighteen inches.

It wasn't exactly a surprise that the house were built together since the houses had been built by identical twins. The brothers had built the homes for their wives only to discover later that their wives could not stand each other, at least that's what his realtor had told him. Whether or not it was true didn't really matter to him. All that mattered was that he could look forward to aggravating the piss out of Rory each and every night when she sat out on her porch to relax.

When he'd first bought the place, the small strip of land that separated the two properties held not only a tall wood fence that started at the street and ended at the back of the property, but large arboreta trees that were nearly as tall as the house, completely blocking Rory's house from his sight. Since he'd bought the house for the entertainment value, he of course had the fence and trees taken down the next day.

Tags: R.L. Mathewson Neighbor from Hell Young Adult
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