Authors: Olivia Jaymes
Tags: #Military, #Mystery, #Suspense, #Private Investigators, #Romance, #Fiction, #Former DEA Agent, #Murder, #Neighbors, #House Renovation, #First Date, #Police, #Contemporary
Ex-DEA agent Jason Anderson is trying to rebuild his life after being held prisoner by a sadistic drug cartel. With a little help from his friends, Logan Wright and Jared Monroe, he’s starting a new business and moving forward. He only thinks about the past during the long, dark nights. It’s then that he feels most alone.
Brinley Snow has moved into her dream home. It’s everything she’s wanted and more although she facing a mountain of renovation work. Luckily it came with the bonus of a sexier than sin neighbor.
One sultry summer night, Brinley gathers up her courage and asks Jason to join her for dinner. They’re instantly attracted to one another but the evening quickly goes down hill as she ends up in the interrogation room of the local police. An unknown dead man had her address clutched in his hand. The authorities – and Jason – think she’s the key to finding a cold-blooded murderer.
With a first date like that Brinley’s not sure she’ll survive a second. Then again she’s never met anyone like Jason. He’s not the typical boy-next-door. He’s all man.
And with a little luck, he could become all hers.
Kindle Edition Copyright © 2015 by Olivia Jaymes ALL RIGHTS RESERVED: The unauthorized reproduction or distribution of this copyrighted work is illegal. Criminal copyright infringement is investigated by the FBI and is punishable by up to 5 years in federal prison and a fine of $250,000.
All characters and events in this book are fictitious. Any resemblance to actual persons living or dead is strictly coincidental.
rinley Snow placed
the last piece of silverware on the table and stood back to study her handiwork. She was having dinner with Greg Henry tonight and she wanted everything to go smoothly. The baked ziti was bubbling in the oven and the tiramisu was chilling in the refrigerator along with a nice cabernet that needed to be around sixty-three degrees before serving.
It was a gorgeous early summer night so she’d set them up on the screened-in back patio. That patio had been one of the major reasons she’d purchased this house. It overlooked a large backyard that she’d spent days laboring over, digging up weeds and planting flowers. It wasn’t a professional job but it made the house feel more like home. The neighbor’s dog seemed to agree. The yellow lab named Huck was always there to “help” whether she was planting a begonia or having a cool drink on a hot day.
Brinley stuck her head into the kitchen so she could check the time. Greg was late – at least fifteen minutes – and that didn’t seem like him. From what she could discern from their short acquaintance he was the type that was five minutes early everywhere he went. A positive trait among several she saw as possible red flags.
Greg hadn’t yet been promoted from casual friend to boyfriend and he might never be placed in that category. Brinley had reservations about their budding relationship, not the least of which was although he was a good looking man by any standards, he left her cold as Chicago in January. He simply didn’t get her motor running.
Of course that didn’t mean it was all hopeless. This was only their second date and they’d barely even touched. He’d been a gentleman and although she appreciated his impeccable manners sometimes a woman just wanted to be pressed up against a wall and kissed.
Clearly Greg wasn’t the type to do that. When they’d first met he’d said something about a bad back so presumably he wouldn’t be slinging her anywhere, least of all against a wall or on the kitchen table.
The back door of her neighbor’s house swung open, the screen door squeaking and Huck prancing in the grass. Brinley and Huck had formed a close relationship over the last four weeks, but it was the man dressed in cutoff shorts and a black t-shirt who had every bit of her attention.
Mr. Gorgeous. Now here was a man that could press a woman against the wall or lift her onto a table and fuck her brains out.
To be truthful, Mr. Gorgeous wasn’t his real name. He was Jason Anderson and according to a few of the other neighbors he had lived here about three years. Fran, the neighbor on the other side, said he traveled quite a bit and the addition of Huck to the household was recent.
Jason was friendly enough, waving whenever they were both outside and even stopping to chat about innocuous subjects like the weather or if the mail was late. She’d wanted to invite him over for a glass of wine but was too chicken. He was way out of her league.
Wide shoulders and flat abs. Short dark hair. Piercing green eyes. And that scar. Holy moly, that scar on his cheek made him look a little dangerous. Kind of dashing. And sexy as hell.
He was the biggest reason she’d accepted that date invitation from Greg when they kept bumping into each other at the corner gourmet coffee shop. If she was drooling like this over a man she didn’t know all that well, it was obvious she’d been without one too long.
Her neighbor threw a tennis ball and the dog jumped up into the air to catch it before loping back to its owner, ball in mouth. Huck was gazing up at Jason Anderson with an expression that could only be described as adoring. She couldn’t help but wonder if her neighbor had a woman or two tucked away somewhere that looked at him in the same way. She’d never seen a female visiting but that didn’t mean he didn’t have one. She was probably beautiful and successful, always well dressed and never caught without makeup.
“You are an idiot,” she muttered under her breath as her phone vibrated on the table. Grabbing her cell, she pressed it to her ear, determined to put Jason Anderson out of her mind.
“Brinley? It’s Greg. I’m afraid I have bad news.”
“I can barely hear you. You’re going to have to speak up a little.”
Greg said something she couldn’t quite make out and then the background noise switched off.
“Is that better? I was listening to the radio in my car.”
“Much better. What’s the bad news?” she asked, although she had a pretty decent idea what it was if he was still in his car when he was supposed to be here. She shouldn’t feel so relieved either but she did.
“I can’t make it. There’s an emergency at work that I need to deal with. I hope you understand.”
Of course she did. Although now she was going to have to eat alone. Again.
“It’s okay, Greg. I do understand.”
Maybe this was a sign from the dating gods that she and Greg weren’t meant to be.
“You’re a sweetheart. Please say you forgive me and that you’ll let me make it up to you this weekend. I’ll take you to that new French place that’s getting rave reviews.”
He did sound regretful and sorry, although anxious to get the hell off the phone. He was speaking at twice his normal rate.
It wasn’t in Brinley’s nature to hold a grudge. From what she’d seen so far Greg’s work was very demanding of his time. He worked in finance and trading although what she knew about that would fit on the head of a pin. He talked about getting up early for the London markets and had vaguely mentioned something about a hedge fund and market derivatives.
“That sounds lovely and I completely understand, although we don’t have too many emergencies in second grade unless it’s a skinned knee.”
“Those kids are lucky to have you. Listen, I need to go. I’ll call you about this weekend.”
And with that Brinley’s phone went dead. Sighing, she slapped the phone on the table and wondered what to do next.
She could sit down all alone and eat the meal she’d slaved over or she could pack it up in the fridge and drink wine in front of the television until she fell asleep.
Feeling sorry for herself.
Brinley sighed and began to stack up the dishes on the table. She was looking down so she didn’t see the tennis ball until it smacked against her screen, ripping it from the frame. The ball landed harmlessly on the floor but Huck was jumping up and barking, trying to get into the patio.
“Shit. Hey, I’m sorry.” Jason Anderson jogged over and slipped his fingers under Huck’s collar to get him under control. “He and I got a little wild. I’ll get this fixed for you, I promise.”
She picked up the tennis ball and tossed it out of the gaping hole in her screen to the whining dog held fast by her neighbor. Luckily she liked dogs much more than she liked screens. Jason’s hand snaked out and caught the ball before Huck had a chance to grab it.
“It’s not a big deal. It needed replacing anyway. They all do.” Along with everything else in the house. But that’s why she’d purchased it. She wanted to make it her own. And the rundown nature of the property ensured she’d been able to afford it.
“Still, you probably weren’t planning to replace them right away. They have some life left. I’ll get a staple gun and mend it until I can get it replaced.”
“It’s not nec–”
She needn’t have bothered to answer because Mr. Gorgeous was already striding toward his own garage, Huck at his heels. She barely had time to turn off the oven before he was standing on a ladder and stapling the screen back into its frame.
“There. That should hold you until I can get it replaced.”
He climbed down from the ladder and wiped his dusty hands on a rag hanging from a rung. It was then that he seemed to notice her table was set complete with linen cloth, flowers, and a freshly tossed salad.
“That ball could have ruined your dinner.” He scratched the canine behind the ears, earning a lick of gratitude. “You almost got me in big trouble, puppy dog. I don’t think our neighbor would like us very much if we broke her dishes. No matter how cute you are.”
Brinley shrugged, her cheeks warm with embarrassment. “Actually I was just taking this all inside. My…friend called and can’t make it.”
Huck moved toward the sliding glass door to the kitchen, his nose sniffing the air appreciatively. Jason groaned and hooked the dog’s collar with his fingers.
“He’s always hungry. I guess I better feed him dinner. C’mon, Huck. Let’s leave Brinley in peace.”
She was tired of the peace and quiet. She could have that any time.
“Have you eaten?” The words seemed to pop out of her mouth unheeded and without any forethought. “I mean…would you like to join me? I made too much food for one person.”
Damn, this was what happened when she didn’t think things through. He was going to say no and then they’d be uncomfortable around each other until one of them moved.
She really was stupid. Rarely did she do anything that could even remotely be called brave. Indecision was clearly written on his handsome face.
“Sure, why not?” His features relaxed into a smile. “I’ve got an empty refrigerator and have been eating junk food all week. A home cooked meal would be nice. Thank you.”
It was only dinner. Two neighbors enjoying each other’s company. No more. No less.