Home > Floored (Frenched #3)(14)

Floored (Frenched #3)(14)
Author: Melanie Harlow

But I was me. And I just didn’t do those things.

Why do you care what he thinks anyway? I asked myself as I dried off. He was hot as hell, and maybe he was slightly less annoying as an adult than he had been as a kid, and perhaps he was easy to talk to and knew how to work a drill, but he was still a cocky smart-ass with a big mouth. After throwing on a pair of white yoga pants and an old gray sweatshirt with the neck cut out, I combed through my wet hair and went back downstairs, determined not to let him get to me one way or another.

As I entered the kitchen, Charlie was backing off the stepladder. “OK. I think you’re good here.” The yellow-and-white chevron patterned shades on all three windows were pulled down. As irritated as I was with him, I had to admit he’d done a beautiful job. With all the windows covered, the kitchen immediately felt warmer. More snug. More intimate, especially with a storm going on.

“I love it. Thank you.” Beaming, I turned in a slow circle and admired the room. “I really appreciate this, Charlie. I owe you one.”

“One what?” He wrapped up the cord and set the drill in its case before pulling on his sweater. When he lifted it over his head, his t-shirt rose, giving me a flash of skin—oh dear. Oh dear. Six-pack abs with a little trail of hair disappearing beneath the waistband of his jeans.

My heart beat a little quicker. “What did you have in mind?” Holy shit. Had I just said that?

“Hmm.” He tugged his sweater into place and paused. “A blow job?”

Come on over here and drop your drawers, Officer.

So much for not letting him get to me.

But no…I couldn’t. “I was thinking more along the lines of a beer, actually.”

“Oh, that kind of one. Sure, I’ll take a beer.”

From the fridge, I took two beers, opened them, and tossed the caps in the trash. “Here you go,” I said, handing one to him. “Sláinte.”

“Sláinte.” He knocked his bottle against mine, and we both took a sip. “You like beer?”

“Yes. Why?”

“I don’t know. You just seem like more of a fruity Cosmo kind of girl.”

“Well, I’m not.” I tipped back my bottle of Uncle Steve’s Irish Stout once more, experiencing a small moment of triumph at the impressed look on his face.

“Good to know.” He took a long pull from the bottle, his eyes on me.

I hopped up on the island, bare feet dangling. “So.”

“So.”Charlie leaned back against the counter across from me. “We have beer in common.”

We smiled at each other, and some of my earlier irritation with him eased. “I guess we do.”

Two beers apiece later, it was clear that it might be the only thing we had in common. Charlie and I had completely opposite opinions about everything from the Second Amendment to Quentin Tarantino to orange juice.

“No. No pulp,” I insisted.

“What are you talking about?” Charlie looked outraged. “Fresh squeezed is the best.”

“No. You shouldn’t have to chew your juice.” I shuddered. “Pulp is disgusting.”

Charlie dropped his head back and laughed. “OK. So you don’t like Pulp Fiction or pulp OJ.”

“Exactly.” I sipped my second beer. “And you do.”

“I do.”

“But you don’t like martinis or monogamy.”

“Monogamy?” He made a vaguely horrified face. “No.”

I sighed. “Well, that’s it, then. We can’t be friends.”

“Nope. I guess we can’t.” He caught my eyes and held them for a few seconds before draining the last of his second bottle. “So tell me,” he said, setting the empty on the counter next to the first. “Is there really a Tad Pitt?”

I giggled, which I’m prone to do after two Irish stouts. “I don’t know. I suppose there could be.”

“But not that you’re dating.”

I pressed my lips together and ‘fessed up. “No. Not that I’m dating.”

There was a pause then, during which the air between us took on a crackling new charge. Because of the storm, the lights in my kitchen were burning low.

Either that or Charlie and I were sucking up all the electricity in the room.

“I made him up,” I said, eyes on my lap, “so that I wouldn’t seem so pathetic.”

“Erin. You’re not pathetic. You’re…”

I looked up, waiting for him to go on, but he couldn’t seem to come up with a word. “What? What am I?”

Just then the power went out entirely, and I sucked in my breath.

When it came on a second later, Charlie was looking at me very intently, his arms crossed. “You’re perfect. Just like you always were.”

He thinks I’m perfect and boring. I made a face and tipped back the rest of my beer, setting the bottle beside me. “Stop it. I’m not perfect. I’m not what you think.”

Charlie tilted his head. “No?”

I licked my lips. “You think I’m a joke. The Teacher’s Pet. The Homecoming Queen. The Goody Two Shoes who likes everything just so, everything neat and clean. Well, I don’t, you know. Like everything clean.”

Charlie said nothing at first. But his stillness told me he was intrigued. A lovely little ache blossomed between my legs.

“You like some things dirty. Is that what you’re saying?”

   
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