Playing for Keeps / Page 2

Page 2


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It always bothered him that she never spoke up. He couldn’t remember someone disliking him so fast and intensely before in his life. No matter what he did she couldn’t be bothered to speak to him. Hell, he would have kicked his ass years ago, or at least called the cops on him like the other neighbors did or file a complaint with the principal like so many of his other co-workers had. Hell, she never even signed any of those numerous petitions the rest of the neighborhood liked to give him every few months. He checked each and every time.

It wasn’t like he was purposely being an ass**le. It just came naturally to him. Everyone understood and accepted it. Probably because even though he was an ass**le, he was a likeable ass**le…..most of the time.

As happy as he was that she finally came off her throne to talk to him he was also pissed to be soaked to the bone in his favorite shirt and khaki shorts in seventy degree weather. Apparently he didn’t move fast enough because she sprayed him again.

“Are you f**king insane?” he demanded.

She gestured with the hose for him to take a step back. “Get away from my flower bed…..Now.”

“Your flowerbed?” he asked in disbelief.

“Yes, my flowerbed!” Another short spray. “I planted these flowers five years ago, before you moved in!”

Jason ran frustrated fingers through his messy hair. “Then you should have checked the f**king property lines before you wasted your time!” he snapped.

Her eyes narrowed on him. “The flowerbed is my property!”

“I don’t think so, sweetheart. Go check your deed if you don’t believe me. This flowerbed is one hundred percent on my property,” he said harshly. He pointed to the two feet of space that separated their houses where the flower bed continued until it came to the large wooden picket fence that started at the corner of her house and continued to the back, separating their backyards. “You have five inches from the wall of your house out. Your property ends two inches before my flower bed! That’s why the stupid little white picket fence starts against your house instead of on the other side of the flowerbed.”

He watched as she glared at the small space that separated their houses. Whoever built their houses was a real prick. Both of their master bedrooms were built less than two feet apart. Yet, there was more than thirty feet of space between each house and the other neighboring houses. There was no privacy with the way the identical houses were designed. He had no choice but to place his large bed directly at the window and from what he could see neither had she. Taking the smaller bedroom was out of the question. His bed would never fit in it.

It felt odd sleeping less than two feet away from a woman who thought him less than dirt. During the summer they both refused to open their windows until the heat became oppressive, leaving them with no other choice. Forget about bringing a woman to his bedroom. He’d never been one for PDA’s never mind ha**ng s*x in public and ha**ng s*x in his room would definitely feel like a public performance.

No matter how many times he tried to remind himself that they were in separate houses and separated by more than just a stupid little flower garden he couldn’t bring himself to allow a woman in his bed. Not that he did that normally. He never invited a woman to his home. That was one of his top ten rules of dating. The only time they ever came to his house was to bitch him out when he moved on and that was done from the outside.

He never in his entire adult life shared a bed with a woman. That was too much intimacy and sent the wrong message. The few times he made the mistake of relaxing in a woman’s bed after a quick lay proved to be serious mistakes. They wanted to coddle and always asked the questions that made him cringe, “What are you thinking?”, “Do you love me?”, “Where do you see this going?”, “Are you as happy as I am?’, "Why do you keep calling me by my sister's name?", or his personal favorite “I wonder what our babies will look like.” No, sex was best kept at a woman’s house, hotel room or better yet in the backseat of a car.

Thank god his neighbor seemed to share the same attitude. He hated the idea of waking up to the sounds of another man grunting and moaning. With his luck the sounds would filter into his dream and he would end up having a g*y dream. Thankfully that never happened otherwise he’d be sleeping on his couch.

It wasn’t as if his beautiful neighbor was without male attention. He’d seen several losers sniffing around her in the last five years. She was easily out of their league, at least physically. Personality wise, well even from afar he could tell they were all pricks. He wasn’t a prince, not by any measure, but he found himself eager to deck a few of them over the years with the way they treated her. They never hit her, otherwise he would have killed the bastards. He didn’t go for hitting a woman no matter what. Sometimes he felt like they were using her, or not treating her right. He didn’t know why he cared, he just did.

Haley eyed the fence and then the remaining length of the flower bed. She sighed heavily. “Fine. If I made a mistake I’m sorry. I replaced the last flower bed with the tulips.”

He nodded in relief, glad that it was settled. The damn flowers were out of here and not a moment too soon. He couldn’t take another night like last night. Besides he was running out of cornstarch.

“I’ll just move the flowers over into my five inches of space,” she announced.

His eyes widened with that announcement. “The hell you will!”

Chapter 2

Haley’s eyes widened in total disbelief as Jason threw himself back onto the plants, tearing them up like a man possessed.

“Stop!” she shrieked. He ignored her and continued to rip the tulips from the ground, making sure those damn bulbs came with them. He tossed them far onto his property so she couldn’t get her hands on them to re-plant them.

She squeezed the nozzle, sending a full blast of cold water on him. Still he continued to tear up the flowerbed.

“Stop! Please stop!” she cried. He only slowed down when he reached the tight space between their houses.

Jason had to shift his shoulders so he could lodge himself into the tight space. Thankfully she gave up on squirting him. It might be April, but they were in New England and that meant a bright sun with a cold breeze. His body shivered violently as he reached forward to grab handfuls of tulips. Suddenly something clamped around his ankles.

“What the hell-omph!” He was pulled off balance, landing face first into the thick mud she created with her little water meltdown. Before he could push himself up she was crawling over his back to get to those damn flowers.

Haley used her small frame to her advantage. After quickly crawling over Jason she began digging up as many tulips with her hands as she could and setting them gently, yet quickly, against the side of her house.

“Hey! Stop that!” he demanded as he leaned over her to grab her hands.

“Get off of me!” she snapped, digging faster.

“I wouldn’t be on you if you weren’t on my damn property!”

She threw back an elbow to dislodge him. He cursed under his breath as he pushed himself in further until her entire body was snuggled tightly beneath his. She instantly froze beneath him. He took advantage of her stunned reaction and grabbed as many flowers as he could.

“I said get off me, not crush me!” she clarified. It was all she could do to control her breathing. She was going to hyperventilate and pass out. No doubt about it. A large muscular man was on top of her!


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