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“What about my music?”

I hate it. “It’s very . . . loud.”

“I see,” he deadpans, folding his massive arms over his chest before leaning against his door. “Would you like me to change it to something more to your taste? Classical perhaps?”

“I don’t listen to classical music!” Damnit, I love classical music.

“Perhaps you’d like a little Beethoven or . . . Vivaldi?”

My eyes widen when he mentions my two favorite composers, and I am about to tell him that I would take him playing The Four Seasons any day over his horrible taste in music when I realize that he’s teasing me. The smirk on his face says it all, and it should piss me off, not make me want to smile back.


The all-knowing smirk on his face should have me wanting to pull at my hair and stomp my foot with an annoyed huff, but all it does is send warmth through my body. My nipples pebble behind my crop top as I stare at him, and that is what finally reignites my anger.

I cannot be attracted to this man! He is not even my type, no matter how sexy he is. I tend to prefer polished men in bespoke suits over men like this rugged, half-naked Norse god. This man with his bulging muscles, bare chest, and disheveled appearance is the kind of guy my sister gushes over, not me.

Well, until tonight.

“I don’t care what you play,” I hiss. “Just turn it down. I have a test tomorrow, and I need to study a bit more before I get to bed.”

“Sure, kitten,” he says with a grin, nodding at my chest when I give him a confused look. My eyes follow his gaze to the kitten drawn on my crop top, but that’s not what has my face flushing to the roots of my blond hair. In my rush to leave my apartment, I forgot to grab a sweater or something to cover up, and now, my nipples are practically poking holes in my top, leaving very little to the imagination.

I quickly wrap my arms over my chest to cover myself, but the damage has already been done. “Just keep it down,” I growl, my eyes skimming the dark walls of the hallway, too mortified to even look at him.

I don’t wait for his response as I dash to my door, ready to bury myself under my comforter and never leave again. How will I face him again after tonight? We live in the same building, I’ve passed him in the hallway several times over the past couple weeks, it’s inevitable that we will run into each other. And when it happens again, I’ll die of embarrassment.

It’s no big deal, Dawn. My hot as sin neighbor just saw my nipples, that’s all. Looking the way he does, it’s probably not the first time he’s gotten that reaction. I breathe out a sigh as I grab my doorknob and twist, but . . . it doesn’t turn.

My door won’t open.

There is no way I locked myself out of my apartment, right?

“Oh God,” I whisper, panicked, tugging and pushing at the knob, but I know it’s hopeless. I forgot to grab my key on the way out, and unlike back at my parents’ house, there is no fake flowerpot with a spare key hidden inside. I remember with a groan how my dad complimented the fact that the door would lock automatically like hotel room doors do. The only way to get in now would be to call the property manager or a locksmith, but . . . it’s after midnight.

Hell, I didn’t even grab my phone on the way out, so I have no way of contacting anyone.

Christ, what am I going to do?

What even are the procedures for when something like this happens? Surely some half-naked tenant has locked themselves out of their apartment at some point with no means to call for help, right?

Could this night get any worse?

I have been living alone for two weeks, and between locking myself out and my noisy neighbor—who has finally turned off his music—I am rethinking my decision to move out of my parents’ house.

My head turns toward the door of my cocky neighbor, and I consider knocking on another neighbor’s door instead, but I can’t imagine waking up someone else this late for help. I bite my lip as I contemplate my options and realize too late that I don’t really have any.

There is only one other tenant I know who is awake, and that means talking to the last person I want to see again tonight.

I swallow deeply, rubbing my sweaty hands over my sleep shorts as I try to talk myself out of it, but my sexy neighbor is my only choice unless I want to sleep in the hallway. I glance down at the dark, worn carpet and shudder at the thought. As I walk reluctantly back to his door, I am struck by the total silence that I’d craved only a few moments ago but now seems eerie as I stand alone in the hall. My hand is shaky and my heart is hammering as I knock on the door, a part of me hoping that he opens it quickly and another dreading the moment I see him again. I am not afraid of him. Far from it.

My neighbor makes me feel things I haven’t before, and that . . . that terrifies me!

It terrifies me that with just a single look and a fleeting touch, this man makes my body burn like nothing I have ever felt before. I didn’t even think it was possible for something as simple as his smile to be such an assault on my system. The thought of seeing him and going through that all over again sends a shudder racking my body.

No, I don’t think I can handle being around my hot neighbor another second.

Deciding to take my chances sleeping in the hall after all, I quickly turn around just as the door suddenly opens behind me, and I freeze, my heart stuttering in my chest when I hear his deep drawl.