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“For fuck’s sake, just take the damn box,” Curly muttered.

Jinx shot him a grin. “Where’s the ol’ lady?”

“She’s out at the She Shed, interviewing a potential hire.” The guys had come to call the future shelter the She Shed after Jinx had jokingly accused the ladies of wanting their own version of a clubhouse. Of course, it was all in good fun. He loved Brooke, Olivia, and Jo for their desire to help women who’d been through similar traumas as they’d suffered.

He was just the asshole who liked to tease everyone. Ragging on his family was his love language.

“Easy day,” he said as he grabbed the box. He’d expected to pick it up with ease and faltered when the thing required more muscle than he’d planned. “Holy shit. This is fucking heavy. What the hell’s in this thing? Bricks?”

Rachel snickered, and Curly snorted. “Basically. It’s full of tile samples the ladies picked out for the She Shed.”

“Fuck. You really gonna make me lug this monster halfway across the farm?”

“You can take the ATV if it’s too much for you. I just assumed it’d be nothing for a big guy like you.”

“Yeah, yeah, yeah.” He hefted the box under one arm. It wasn’t that bad. The surprise of its weight had gotten to him more than the actual mass. “Rachel, you have a lovely day. Prez, hope there’s an alligator in your pool when you get home.” He flipped off a laughing Curly, then blew Rachel a kiss before lugging the damn box out of the office.

His long legs ate up the distance to the She Shed, making the multiple-acre trip pass by in a blink. Though quite warm, the weather hadn’t heated to summertime scorching, and the humidity wasn’t quite drenching. That would all change in a few weeks, but for now, he enjoyed the milder days and comfortable nights. Soon, he’d be sweating his ass off at all hours of the day.

“Knock, knock,” he called out as he reached the trailer.

He hopped onto the tiny landing, skipping the three steps to the door. The damn things were rickety as fuck and made him feel like a damn moose. They barely held his weight. His brothers would never let him live it down if he crashed through them.

Without waiting for Brooke to admit him, he opened the door and stuck his head inside. “Special delivery for one Miss Brooke.”

Two heads swiveled in his direction. One easily recognizable as Brooke’s and another a brown so chocolatey he salivated.


“Well, hello there.” He strode into the building.

Brooke grinned. “Those my tile samples?”

He nodded. “Where do you want them?”

“Hmm… is the box heavy?”

With a grunt, he lifted it over his head, making sure to pop his biceps. “Do the ladies love me?”

Brooke rolled her eyes.

“Yeah, it’s fucking heavy. You order tiles made of lead?”

She pointed to a spot on the floor. “Just set it there, please. And no, I didn’t. But I did order about fifty samples. I couldn’t narrow it down.”

“That’s great,” he said as he set down the box, then shook out his tired arms. “But there are more important things to talk about.” He straightened, pasted on his most panty-dropping smile, and sauntered toward the desk where the two ladies sat. “Such as who are you and do you like men with big—”

“Jinx.” Brooke held up a hand. “Can you maybe not get me slapped with a sexual harassment suit before I even hire someone?”

“What?” he asked with as innocent a shrug as he could muster. “Personalities. I was going to say personalities. Don’t know what you were thinking, but get your mind out of the gutter, woman.”

“Of course,” Brooke said with a sigh. “I’m the problem. Jinx, this is Harper. She’s interviewing, and very well, I might add, to be our counselor. Harper, this is Jinx. Don’t believe a word he tells you. He’s never serious and comes on to any female with a pulse. That includes the dogs.”

“Hey, what the hell? You’re making me sound like a player.”

Brooke cocked her head but didn’t say anything.

“Oh, you’re mean, woman.” He turned to Harper. “I am a damn fine catch.” He winked, then held out a hand. “Nice to meet you, Harper.”

Now that he could get a good look at her, he clenched his teeth to keep his tongue from lolling out. The woman was pretty as hell, with shoulder length, dark brown hair, pale skin that would darken quickly in the Florida sun, and those milk-chocolate eyes. Then there were her unpainted lips—pink, plush, and perfect.

“Nice to meet you too, uh… Jinx?” she said, but it came out as more of a question.

“Road name.”

Her nose wrinkled in confusion.

“It’s a club nickname,” Brooke clarified. “He’s superstitious. Hates the number thirteen. Freaks out when he sees a black cat, that kind of thing. Hence the name Jinx.”