Chapter |7| Shameless Dame (UNEDITED DRAFT)
A great joy zinged through him at the thought. It made him momentarily forget the disastrous end to the previous evening.
He didn’t really care about the corner office, but picking his own team? Being able to make the final decisions. Sure he didn’t do cars, but he would grow into clients that he really enjoyed.
Validation. He shouldn’t need it. He had a successful career before he ventured out, but this was a risk, one that paid off.
Back inside the courtyard, he unclipped Bailey’s leash. She wandered around sniffing the flowers, stopped and waited for him. Then troted a ahead finding more things to sniff on.
He rubbed the back of his neck. Recalling the previous evening. So caught up in his need to forget the woman across the courtyard, to forget having her pressed against his chest, forget ever having her in anyway, he hadn’t realized his blinds set wide open.
She was a nice distraction, the woman he picked up at the bar after getting the big news of his promotion. It was a happy occasion and bringing the woman back to his apartment was supposed to be the perfect nightcap, but he had to go and fuck it up.
He was being absurd he knew it. He was too damn old to be pining after some woman. He was going to get up the balls to talk to her. Not as a concerned neighbor checking on her to see if she’s okay, but like a real fucking man. It was a mistake to go over there the night the handsome man left her in tears. He grumbled recalling the scene. He wanted to punch the man in the face the way he grabbed her pussy like he fucking owned her like she couldn’t live without his arrogant ass. The man’s angry face inches from hers. The way she fell to her knees when he walked out as if life were over was the most disheartening. No one should hold that much sway over another.
He shouldn’t have went over there that night because from that moment forward her couldn’t get her off his mind, out of his dreams, her perfume, the fragrance of her hair clung to him, wrapped around his mind. So consumed by her he couldn’t even remember the other woman’s name. He fumbled over it like a jackass and when she straight out asked him he got it wrong.
He rubbed his face at the feeling of relief when she slammed the door. He was hoping he wouldn’t have to spend the night with her. He just wanted to fuck.
Is that what he wanted from his neighbor too? Perhaps. He didn’t know much about her to say otherwise. He determined that morning the only way to rid the woman from his consciousness was to talk to her. He was just waiting for an opportune moment. They never crossed paths. It seemed like they were never checking their mail at the same time or leaving to buy groceries at the same time. Her schedule was sporadic he wondered what she did for a living. He worked from home most days so to be honest Bailey was what got him out.
After jacking off to her beautiful face in his mind many times before, he vowed to himself it was well past time to make something happen. Of course those nagging voices told him what would she want with a stiff like him? Humor wasn’t his strong point. He knew that. Goofy people actually drove him insane. Smiling was rare but usually involved Bailey.
He whistled crouching down to receive his dog when she ran into his arms. He scrubbed behind her ears and kissed her on the forehead.
A startling scream brought both of them to an attentive stance. Bailey barked and ran off in the direction of the scream with Max not too far behind.
I couldn’t wait to get to my house to wipe this damn makeup off. The cosmetics shoots were lucrative, but my face always itches after.
A sharp scream erupted from my throat as I tumbled to the ground. I pulled my foot out of the high heel that was wedged between two pavers and stroked my tender ankle.
A ball of fur rushed up to me sniffing my face, my bare foot, licked my mouth. I pushed the well groomed golden retriever away.
“Bailey, hey. No unauthorized kisses. Don’t worry she’s--”
My eyes meet familiar blue ones then my chest tightened, my breathing difficult. We held each other’s eyes for a long while until the dog, Bailey, barked to break our trance.
“S-she’s harmless. Just a licker really.”
Like her master I hoped? I kept the thought to myself.
Words...words Eva find them! “Uh, I’m...clumsy. My mom did always say these things would be the death of me.” I pointed to the shoe and tried struggling to stand. My neighbor rushed over to help me.
Mmmm damn he smelled fucking amazing. I looked up to him and leaned my side into his firmness. I wasn’t above playing the damsel in distress if that meant getting close to someone I wanted.
“Your mom might just be right.” He leaned down and pulled my shoe from between the pavers. “Are you okay?”
“I’m not sure. I mean I think so.” I tried to walk but there was actually discomfort. “Got damn I hope I didn’t break it.”
“Here, here you’re limping. Let’s get you upstairs and check it out.” He hands me the shoe. I take it chancing a glance at his handsome face.
He scoops me up into his arms and carried me to my apartment on the third floor. His face was serious, eyebrows pulled together, his strong jaw clenched after he set me down his eyes teaming with emotions I couldn’t decipher.
I unlocked the door and he helped me inside and to the couch shutting the door, after his dog scurried in and took a polite seat in the kitchen waiting for her owner.
He kneeled before me on one knee my ridiculous mind almost expecting him to pull a jewelry box from his back pocket. Instead he gently took the heel of my foot in his hand and started examining it.
“EMT for twenty years.”
I took in a deeper breath trying to still my insides at the sound of his low voice. “Retired?”
“You could say that.”
I frowned. “What does that mean?”
“I left for more lucrative opportunities.” He gazed up at me. “It’s not broken a light sprain I would say elevate it and keep ice on it to keep the swelling down.”
His official tone sent chills up my spine. His facial hair was overgrown just enough to make heat rush to my panties.
“Wait here.” He ordered.
Yes, fucking sir. My naughty inner temptress whispers in my head.
I watch him carry over a chair from the dining room and set my leg on it before heading to the refrigerator and adding several ice cubes to the dry towel and rushing back to my foot to place the ice. Not much else sexier than a man catering to a woman.
“Eva, by the way.” I smiled when his bright blue eyes met mine. “My name’s Eva.”
He cleared his throat. “Max.” His baritone rumbled over his name in a way that screamed lumberjack.
I wanted him. Needed him. Images of him touching himself floated through my mind. Wouldn’t I have loved to relieve him of that duty? My gaze fell to his well-fitted jeans. He cleared his throat. “That’s Bailey.”
I met those oceanic eyes. “Yes, we met. The kiss thief.”
The corner of his mouth lifted. Just enough to crease the corner of his eyes. My insides flop around. “Please let me bring you two dinner. I make a pretty good lasagna that I learned to make from my Nonna.”
He smiled mostly with his eyes. “A bachelor can hardly say no to a home cooked meal.”
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