help but notice that he was kicking off his boots and pulling his shirt off, revealing rope after rope of golden-delicious muscle.

He was definitely Yummy…

There was something seriously wrong with her, she thought with disgust as she tried to breathe through the pain shooting up and down her back and in other areas. She’d barely resisted the urge to rub her ass as she reached down and shoved the hem of the large tee shirt down as she slowly shifted towards the other side of the bed.

“Umm, where’s Mikey?” she asked a bit awkwardly as she continued to move towards the other side of the bed, ignoring the slow burn moving up her cheeks as mortification set in. Seriously, how big was this bed? she couldn’t help but wonder as she alternated between shifting over an inch, gasping in pain, and shoving the hem of her borrowed tee shirt back down to keep her ass covered.

“She’s having a sleepover with Sebastian and my mother in the living room,” he said with a shrug as he reached into the nightstand and pulled out a small metal tin.

“Okay then,” she said, awkwardly clearing her throat again, because apparently she was an idiot when he was around.

Granted, she’d already figured that out a few days ago, but she kept forgetting that fact until he was close, really close, and she couldn’t seem to think straight. As he took the top off the metal tin and tossed it aside, permeating the air with the sweet scent of lemongrass, she couldn’t help but wonder why he had this effect on her and why she couldn’t honestly say that she hated it.

Chapter 25

Absolutely. Fucking. Adorable, he thought with a chuckle as he put the tin down, reached over and plucked the small woman trying to get away from him off the edge of the bed and placed her back in the middle where she belonged.

“Oh, for the love of god!” she muttered, throwing her hands up in defeat as he shifted her onto her stomach. “Would you stop manhandling me?”

“No,” he said, shaking his head as he picked the tin back up and put it on the bed next to her.

“Then would you would mind telling me what you’re doing?” she asked, reaching back to shove the hem of his old tee shirt down even as she tried to scoot towards the other end of the bed, again.

Sighing heavily, he pressed his hand against her back and held her there as he picked up the tin of liniment and smelled it, savoring the familiar scent that had saved his back more times than he could remember. He ignored her ineffectual wiggling, placed the liniment on the bed and pushed her shirt up, revealing that panty-covered heart shaped ass that had caught his eye nearly a week ago.

Forcing his attention north, and somehow ignoring the incredible curve of her ass that had his fingertips tensing with the need to trace those delectable curves, he settled his hand on her back. Applying a little pressure, he ran his hand over her back, noting the way the wiggling woman trying to get away suddenly went still under his touch and then slowly, ever so slowly, relaxed and released the sexiest little groan that he’d ever heard.

“You’re hurt,” he murmured as he ran his hands over the softest skin that he’d ever had the pleasure of touching.

“It’s nothing,” she said while he watched as a beautiful blush crawled up her back, making him smile as he picked up the salve and dabbed a small amount onto her back.

“It’s not nothing,” he said, gently working the salve into her skin as he worked his hand over her back, taking his time as he worked the tightness out of her muscles.

“I just pulled something. It will be fine,” she said, slowly exhaling as she continued to relax.

Nodding, he added a little more salve to his hand and worked it into her back. “That doesn’t mean that you have to be in pain, Kasey,” he said softly as he watched his hands move over her back, shaking his head, still pissed that he hadn’t noticed that she was in pain sooner.

Considering the fact that he hadn’t been able to tear his eyes off her all night, he should have figured this out sooner, but he’d been so busy trying to figure a few things out for himself that he’d missed it. Then again, he should have realized something was wrong when he saw her work, he thought with a smile.

She’d been so fucking cute dragging that large bucket of joint compound to his truck. Then she’d looked fucking amazing bending over and struggling to pick that bucket up and put it into the back of his truck. If he hadn’t been so damn busy enjoying the view, he would have grabbed the bucket from her sooner, but god help him, what a fucking view that had been.

It wasn’t until he’d watched her slowly walking up the stairs with a pained look on her face and a mumbled, “That really freaking hurts,” that he got a fucking clue. His mother and father seemed to pick up on it too, because his father had reminded him about the lemongrass salve in his nightstand and his mother had kicked him out so that she could have a sleepover with the kids in peace.

“Did you take anything for it?” he asked, running his hands over her back.

“Advil before my shower,” she said on a moan that had his lips twitching.

“Did it help?”

“The shower or the Advil?” she asked, groaning.

“Either one,” he said, rubbing the excess salve onto his own chest before shifting so that he was using both hands on her, slowly working the tension out of her lower back and shoulders.

She chuckled as she closed her eyes. “No.”

“Is this helping?” he asked, using his thumbs to work the muscles in her lower back.

“Stop and I may be forced to hurt you,” she said, shifting to get more comfortable as she released a little sigh of pleasure.

Chuckling, he pressed a little firmer. “I’ll take that as a yes.”

“Take it however you want, just don’t stop,” she mumbled, grabbing a pillow and making herself a little more comfortable.

“I won’t,” he promised her, continuing to rub her back long after she’d fallen asleep with a smile on her face.

Returning that smile, he fixed her shirt, pulled the blankets up, and leaned over and did the one thing that he’d been dying to do since the first time he saw her blush, he pressed his lips against her cheek and smiled, because it seemed that she blushed in her sleep, too. Closing his eyes, he pulled back and forced himself to walk out of that room when all he wanted to do was to crawl in bed with her and touch her again.


“So, why didn’t you want to stay back at the cottage?”

“You already asked me that,” Sebastian pointed out as he moved his empty bowl aside and helped himself to the large bowl of popcorn that Mikey had abandoned.

“And you never answered,” she reminded him as she pushed the bowl closer to him and shifted on the makeshift bed that Aunt Mary had made for them.

“And I’m probably not going to,” he said, glancing over his shoulder to make sure that Aunt Mary was still asleep.

“Do you want to know what I think?” Mikey asked, as he shifted his attention back to the movie that he really didn’t want to watch and the bowl of cold popcorn.

“Not really,” he said even as he had to smile, because she reminded him of his sister.

Instead of getting mad, she laughed as she stole a handful of popcorn and ate it while they watched this horrible movie that he really wished he had vetoed when he’d had the chance. Now he was stuck watching it, which really wasn’t a big deal since he usually got stuck watching horrible movies with his brothers and sister.

He really wasn’t into watching television or movies so he didn’t care one way or the other. The only time he watched TV was when someone in his family bugged him until he caved. He’d probably be watching a movie right now if he’d stayed back at the cottage with his family. His dad and Uncle Jason would run to the store, grab an insane amount of drinks and snacks while his mother and Aunt Haley would try to find a movie that they hadn’t watched yet and he’d help the younger kids make up beds and tents in the living room.

As soon as everyone was settled and the movie started

playing, he’d pull out his mother’s iPad and read until the movie was over and then his father would shut off the lights and he’d lie there, trying not to think about everything that was happening and all the reasons why it was his fault. That was the reason why he was here, because he couldn’t stay there knowing that there was nothing that he could do to fix this.

“He’s nice,” Mikey announced.

“Who?” he asked, grabbing another handful of popcorn and shoved it into his mouth.


“Uncle Reese?” he asked, nodding in agreement. “He’s awesome.”

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