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“Mm… this is so good. Like insanely good. How on earth did you know chocolate peanut butter was my favorite?”

“Lucky guess,” he said with a wink. “It’s mine as well. Guess we have similar tastes.”

“Oh.” She swallowed, which did nothing to help his awkward hard dick situation. “Sorry, I’m being rude. Please sit. This couch is tiny, but it’s what I have.” She shrugged.

“Oh, you mean I’ll have to sit super close to you? Well, damn. What a hardship.”

She let out a nervous laugh. “Yeah, sorry. I promise I showered today.”

He swallowed his spoonful of ice cream, then said, “Holy shit, did you just joke with me?”

“I can joke,” she grumbled with a scowl as she walked to the couch.

He followed, sitting a second after she did. As promised, the couch was itty bitty, and he took up more than his half. He angled himself to face her as much as possible.

Harper drew her legs up and crossed them, wedging herself between the armrest and his bulky body. With limited space, her knees pressed into his thighs.

He had no complaints about the casual contact.

“This okay?” she asked with pink cheeks. “I can sit on the floor.”

“You’re not sitting on the fucking floor. I’d offer my lap if I didn’t think you’d kick me in the nuts.”

Making her laugh, a reluctant but genuine laugh, was better than any high he’d ever experienced.

“Thank you for this,” she said with a shy smile. “I’d say it was a mistake to tell you my biggest weakness, but it seems to be working out for me.”

Damn, he liked this side of her. Was it being in her own space that had her lowering her walls a few inches? Enough to tease and be teased?

“I guess it’s only fair I tell you mine, huh?”

“Ooh, yes. That is fair. What is it? Wait, let me guess. It’s motorcycles.”

His head fell back on his shoulders as he laughed. “No, but that might be a close second.”

“So what is it?”

“Prickly ladies with sad eyes and fierce souls.”

She froze with the spoon only inches from her mouth.

“Jinx, I—” Heavy regret tinged her voice.

He waved away whatever rejection she planned to lob his way. He didn’t need to hear it and wouldn’t accept it.

Not today.

They were having too nice a time to ruin it with reality. Jinx preferred the fantasy where she’d polish off her ice cream, rip off her clothes, and they’d spend the next ten hours getting each other off.

Fuck the real world and its heavy issues.

“Oh.” He reached into his back pocket. “Almost forgot. I found this on the ground outside the She Shed. It wasn’t any of the other ladies, so I assumed it was yours.” He handed over the folded paper, keeping a close eye on her reaction.

Her pupils dilated. “Shit. Thank you,” she said as she snatched the letter from him. “Must have fallen out of my bag.” She dug another scoop from her dish, then met his gaze. “You didn’t read it, right?”

Of course, he fucking read it. It’s what brought him to her door.

When he didn’t answer, her back straightened. “You read it?”

“I did.”

“What. The. Fuck?” She set her ice cream down, then leaned forward, getting up in his face. “You had no right. That is my private, personal property.”

Jinx followed suit, setting his dessert on the ground.

“I’m aware of what it is.”

She threw her hands up in the air. “I can’t believe you read my letter. How dare you? You know what? Get the hell out of my apartment.”

She was mere inches from his face, yelling, and he was fucking hard. Goddamn, this woman was no shrinking violet, and he fucking loved it. He had at least a hundred pounds and a full foot on her, yet she had no problem telling him where to stick it. Unfortunately for her, it’d take a lot more than a sexy pissed-off woman to drive him out.


“No?” she shrieked. “That’s not an option. Get out.”

He lunged forward, caging her against the armrest of the couch. She reared back, breathing hard as he hovered inches from her face. “Yeah, I read the letter, and I’m damn glad I did. I won’t fucking apologize for it. You wanna know why?”

She didn’t answer, staring at him with furious, blown pupils. Her jaw ticked with the effort to keep her mouth clamped. Her chest heaved, and her lips were so close all it would take was for him to dip his head, and he’d get a taste.

As big as he was, as fucking angry as he was, and as trapped as she was, she didn’t appear afraid. Mad as a wet cat, yes, but not scared.

And maybe… God, he fucking hoped… maybe a little turned on.

He sure as hell was.

“I won’t apologize because that letter seems like a big fucking problem. The kind of problem that a person would need help solving. I might not know you well yet, Harper, but I know you’re so stubborn and independent you won’t ask for a goddamn lick of help solving your problems. And there is no fucking way I’ll sit back and watch some fucker harass you while I have the power to help make it go away. Do you hear me?”

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