He dropped his tools and raced across the yard. “Poppy?” he yelled. The back door was open, so he charged inside and up the stairs. “Poppy? Are you OK?”
“I’m going to kill you, Cooper Nicholson!”
He was at the atop of the stairs when a door opened and Poppy came barreling out, straight into him. “Whoa,” he said, automatically putting his arms out to steady her. His hands closed around silky, wet skin, and he realized she was wearing nothing but a towel.
A very small towel.
Cooper stepped back. “Christ, woman, I thought you were getting murdered up here.” He cleared his throat. He didn’t know where to look. Her hair was pinned up, revealing the slim arch of her neck, glistening with water. The postage stamp of a towel was barely covering her long legs and the swell of her--
He dragged his eyes back up to her face. Her furious, shooting-daggers face.
“You wish,” Poppy looked as if she wanted to be inflicting bodily harm on him. “But I’ve half a mind to throw you down the stairs myself.”
“What did I do this time?” Cooper frowned. “I told you, my guys need to work. I’m sorry about the noise, but—”
“It’s not the noise!” Poppy exclaimed. “Here.” She grabbed his hand and yanked him into the bathroom before he could object. Poppy turned on the shower, and for a moment, a parade of X-rated images flashed in Cooper’s mind. Like what it would be like under the spray with her.
Without that towel.
“Well?” Poppy demanded. He tried to push those thoughts away. She was staring at him expectantly, like he was supposed to know what the hell she was going on about.
“You’re going to have to spell it out,” Cooper said, annoyed now.
“There’s no hot water!” Poppy cried. “You know anything about that?”
Cooper blinked, and then it all came rushing back. “Oh yeah. We had to shut off the gas this morning, we’re rerouting the main pipe.”
Poppy scowled. “And you didn’t think to warn me about it, or—I don’t know—ask if that was OK?”
Cooper knew he should apologize, but man, she was cute when she was spitting mad. Her brown eyes were flashing, and she’d completely forgotten about that towel, which was slipping lower with every angry gesture, revealing inches more of that pale, wet skin.
“Sorry,” he shrugged, trying not to smile. “Don’t worry, it’s only going to be another couple of days.”
“Couple of days?” Poppy’s voice went up an octave.
“Tomorrow,” he corrected, taking pity on her. He was used to roughing it—pitching a tent to sleep in the yard on some of his projects and living off the grid on vacation—but clearly, Poppy needed her creature comforts. “I promise, hot water will be back tomorrow. Hey, it’s not so bad,” he added. “Cold showers are good for the circulation. And it looks like you could use a little cooling off.”
Poppy grabbed her towel tighter. Her cheeks were flushed, and she was sexy as hell, her hair falling down around her bare shoulders. “What I could use is some peace and quiet to get my work done.”
“And I could use two weeks on a boat in the Caribbean,” Cooper drawled, knowing it would turn her pink cheeks even redder with rage. “But as the Stones said, we can’t always get what we want.”
He turned and left her in the bathroom before he was tempted to do something he’d regret. Like kiss the mouth that was spluttering insults behind him.
Now that would really heat things up around here.
Poppy Somerville believes in happily-ever-after. It’s the reason her romance novels have won devoted readers all over the world – and why she’s broken off her engagement just weeks before the wedding instead of settling for less than true love. Escaping to her aunt’s beach cottage in Sweetbriar Cove, Poppy is looking for inspiration to break her writer’s block and finish her new book. She just wasn’t counting on the handsome, gruff contractor making such a racket next door…
Cooper Nicholson doesn’t believe in soul-mates. He thought he’d found his forever once, and the world proved him wrong, so when the cute brunette comes storming over and demands he keep the noise down, romance is the last thing on his mind. But his new neighbor is full of surprises, and soon, their chemistry is too hot to ignore.
As they grow closer, they discover fiction has nothing on the plot twists life has in store. But will Cooper find a way to let go of the past and risk his heart again? And can Poppy find her happy ending – on and off the page?
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