SOMETIMES MOVING ON MEANS MOVING IN
Pixie Marshall wishes every day she could turn back time and fix the past. But she can’t. And the damage is done. She’s hoping that a summer of free room and board working with her aunt at the Willow Inn will help her forget. Except there’s a problem: the resident handyman is none other than Levi Andrews. The handsome quarterback was once her friend-and maybe more-until everything changed in a life-shattering instant. She was hoping to avoid him, possibly forever. Now he’s right down the hall and stirring up feelings Pixie thought she’d long buried . . .
Levi can’t believe he’s living with the one person who holds all his painful memories. More than anything he wants to make things right, but a simple “sorry” won’t suffice-not when the tragedy that scarred them was his fault. Levi knows Pixie’s better off without him, but every part of him screams to touch her, protect her, wrap her in his arms, and kiss away the pain. Yet even though she’s so close, Pixie’s heart seems more unreachable than ever. Seeing those stunning green eyes again has made one thing perfectly clear-he can’t live without her.
The door to the dining room swings open again and this time Levi walks through, a box of tools in his hand.
Cougar Mable immediately lights up. “Morning, Levi!”
“Morning, Mable.” He smiles at her. He scowls at me.
I notice his face is now clean-shaven and a part of me misses his scruff—what? No. NO. I do not miss his scruff. Missing scruff is for weirdos.
I scowl back at him and start grating Swiss cheese.
“Where’s the fire alarm in here?” he asks in his work voice. It’s a very different voice than his get-out-of-my-way voice or his if-you-want-hot-water-wake-up-earlier voice.
Mable points to the wall, looking far too happy to be of service, and I keep my eyes down as he moves past me. As I sprinkle cheese over the quiche, I can’t help but notice how grated Swiss kind of looks like white scruff.
I’m not a weirdo.
Quiche finished, I turn to start sautéing vegetables and my gaze automatically darts to Levi. He’s so distracting. His arms are all raised, and his shoulders are all broad, and he’s fixing crap, and it’s just… it’s just… annoying.
You know what else is annoying? The fact that the freaking fire alarm is right by the stove.
With a huff and a puff and some choice words in my head, I grab my sliced bell peppers and force my feet to the stove. I throw the vegetables into a frying pan, grab a wooden spoon, and ignore Levi’s close proximity.
My body hums.
I ignore that too.
I steal a glance in his direction and watch as the corded muscles in his forearm flex as he unscrews something on the alarm box. Why does he have so many muscles in his forearm? That can’t be healthy.
I drop my eyes to the frying pan and focus on bell peppers, because bell peppers are interesting and they don’t have backs the size of Alaska or copious amounts of forearm muscles.
The forearm muscles that I’m not thinking about lightly brush my shoulder, and the humming inside my body knots together and zips around like a bumblebee on crack.
I casually turn down the heat on the stove, like that’s the reason I’m suddenly a human vibrator, and go back to stirring. Levi goes back to screwing.
I’m thinking about bell peppers.
Levi brushes against me again, except this time his forearm grazes my breast and my body immediately goes wild, like I’m some love-starved teenager, and the humming dives low in my belly and the stove gets hotter and my breaths get shallow and suddenly bell peppers are the sexiest vegetable on earth.
Welcome to Hotel Horny Women, home of scruffy cheese and sensual produce.
From the corner of my eye, I catch his Adam’s apple bobbing with a nervous swallow, which can mean only one thing. The boob brush was an accident.
If he had been trying to cop a feel with his Hulk-ish forearm, I could have responded with some kind of snarky “you’re a pervert” comment. But it wasn’t on purpose and somehow that makes it sexier, and now the cracked-out bumblebee is buzzing in my nether regions and my hands are starting to tingle and why the HELL is this stove so hot?
I turn the burner down another notch and take a slow, deep breath. I have a boyfriend. A great boyfriend. So this sexual frustration I feel around Levi is nothing to get my bee-loving panties in a bunch about. I just need to calm down.
Levi lowers his arm for a moment, his eyes still on the alarm, and stretches his neck.
Ah, the neck stretch. The universal sign of stress. Well, at least I’m not alone in my frustration. My hot, distracting, pants-are-so-inconvenient frustration.
Who said anything about pants? I am NOT thinking about pants—or lack thereof. Damn you, bell peppers!
I toss the wooden spoon to the side and move back to the counter, where the threat of being turned on by a handyman or, you know, a sautéed vegetable is much less severe.
I stare at the scruffy quiche and bite back a groan. What was I thinking, living under the same roof as Levi? There’s no way I’ll survive the summer.
Hell, I can barely survive breakfast.
Chelsea lives in Phoenix, Arizona, where she spends most of her time writing stories, painting murals, and avoiding housework at all costs. She’s ridiculously bad at doing dishes and claims to be allergic to laundry. Her obsessions include: superheroes, coffee, sleeping-in, and crazy socks. She lives with her husband and two children, who graciously tolerate her inability to resist teenage drama on TV and her complete
lack of skill in the kitchen.