There’s nothing worse than living next door to your childhood nemesis, except maybe being forced to share your dream project with him, being blackmailed into going along with something that is just wrong on so many levels, and having your hot cocoa stolen by the person that drove you to drink it in the first place.
As long as she has plenty of hot cocoa, a pair of pliers on hand and is able to resist Connor O’Neil’s bad boy charm then Rory James should be able to make it through this project with her sanity intact. If not…..
She’d probably face a few more nights in jail, have a few more restraining orders slapped against her and lose her heart to the man that ruined her life.
Excerpt from Checkmate:
“This ends now,” Connor suddenly said, scaring the living hell out of her.
Rory whirled around, hand to chest, heart pounding violently as she fought to calm her breathing. “What in the hell is wrong with you?” she demanded, taking a deep breath to calm herself as she looked at Connor.
The man stood in the doorway with a flashlight in his hand and even in the dim light she could tell that he was having a hell of a time stopping himself from crossing the small room and throttling her. She had to give him credit, because if she was in his place there would be no stopping the ass whooping that he had coming.
“You went over the line today with that bullshit, Rory,” he said, taking a step into the dark room.
She had to roll her eyes at that. “You’re only pissed because you didn’t think of it first,” she said, turning her back on him and effectively dismissing him. She didn’t have time for his whining today. She needed to make sure that the wall was made of wood and then go up on the roof and help the guys.
“That’s bullshit,” he snapped. “You chained me to a toilet, Rory, and took away any way to call for help. What if there had been a fire?” he demanded.
“I paid Mr. Henderson fifty bucks to watch the house and keep an ear out for you,” she said in a bored tone as she started hefting more crates over to the other side of the room.
“Mr. Henderson is ninety years old and wears a hearing aid the size of my fist. How was he supposed to hear me screaming for help over the garbage you left blasting?”
She picked up a crate and moved it to the other side as she said, “He had his binoculars.”
Connor snorted in disbelief. “Of course he had his binoculars! He can’t see without them!”
“Obviously nothing bad happened,” she said with a shrug as she grabbed the second crate from the top, not mentioning that she also paid Katie, her seventeen year old neighbor who specialized in babysitting, fifty bucks to also keep an eye on Connor’s house. Then again she wouldn’t be paying Katie the extra fifty to call her and alert her when Connor broke out.
Oh yes she would, she thought a moment later, sighing as she reached for her cell phone and remembered that she put it down on her desk when she changed and forgot to put it back on her belt. Damn, a warning would have been nice, too.
“What about kicking my men off the site? What’s your excuse for that?” Connor demanded, sounding truly pissed.
“You mean the men standing around and getting in the way?” she asked, wondering when he was just going to give up this line of questioning and seek his sad little revenge.
“I don’t care what they were doing-”
“Well, you should,” she cut him off, reaching for another crate.
He simply continued as if she hadn’t spoken. “Those men work for me. If there’s a problem then I’ll handle it,” he said tightly.
“But you weren’t here,” she pointed out in an innocent tone that she knew would drive him crazy. It was probably wrong of her to enjoy tormenting him, but she didn’t care. It was one of the few pleasures in life that she allowed herself.
“If it hadn’t been for you, I would have been here and my men wouldn’t have been delayed,” he snapped, sounding more irritated.
With a sigh she removed the final crate and brought it over to the other wall. “You shouldn’t have to babysit your men, Connor. It’s a waste of time and resources,” she simply said as she walked back to the area she’d just cleared and inspected the area.
The wall was made of wood, rotting wood, but that would work. She frowned as she looked down at her feet. Although the area matched the rest of the room’s floor, dirt mixed with a heavy layer of dust, it didn’t feel like dirt beneath her feet. Was it a wood floor, she wondered idly as she dragged her foot across the surface, shifting the dirt and sand to the side to reveal old rotting wood.
“Don’t tell me how to handle my men, Rory. In fact, I’d appreciate it if you just stayed the hell out of my way completely,” Connor said, drawing her attention.
“That’s going to be kind of hard to do with us working together, don’t you think?” she mused.
“We’re not working together, Rory. I’m running this site with the use of your men and equipment and you’re going to stay the hell out of my way. If you can manage to do that and cut the bullshit like this morning out then you’ll come out of this a very rich woman,” he said, ramming his fingers through his hair in frustration.
She ground her teeth together as she reminded herself that she had to play nice, well, at least while they were at work. Outside of work she didn’t have to take his bullshit. “We signed that contract together, Connor, so whether you like it or not I will be working on this project and if you don’t like that you can-”
She never finished that sentence as the sounds of planks cracking cut her off. Before she could move so much as a muscle the floor beneath her gave way and she found herself falling into darkness.
“Rory!” she thought she heard Connor yell, but she wasn’t really sure since she couldn’t hear much of anything above her own screams of agony.