Home > Until Harmony (Until Her/Him #6)(8)

Until Harmony (Until Her/Him #6)(8)
Author: Aurora Rose Reynolds

“Pliers.” He nods to the toolbox, so I grab the first pair of pliers I see and hand them over, then out of boredom, I move the beer out of the way and start to arrange his tools. “Waste of time, babe. They’ll be fucked up again by tomorrow morning.” He startles me, and I look over at him just as he moves the cloth from the side of the car and slams the hood closed.

“Well then, for about an hour tomorrow, things will be in order,” I retort, and he shakes his head then gets in the car, leaving the door open. He turns over the engine, and it purrs quietly like it’s brand new. After revving the engine a few times, he shuts it down and gets out. “It sounds good.”

“You wouldn’t have thought that a few hours ago,” he says, and I nod, having no doubt it probably sounded just like it looked before he fixed it. “Now that work’s done, it’s time for a beer.” He drops the pliers he’s holding next to another pair then grabs the beer and my hand. With no choice but to go wherever he’s leading me, I follow him toward an open door that looks like an office. “Toyota’s done. Call Mike and let him know,” he says, and I peek around his big frame and see Wes sitting in a rolling chair in front of a metal desk. “Harmony’s here,” he adds.

Wes’s head jerks back then his eyes come to me and drop to Harlen’s hand still wrapped around mine. Letting Harlen go, even though I kinda like… okay, really like holding his hand, I move around him and into the office to give Wes a hug.

“You settling in okay?” Wes asks once he’s released me and I’ve taken a step back.

“Yep.” I smile, and his eyes roam my face before he looks over my shoulder to Harlen. Not really understanding badass guy eye talk, I don’t know what he’s communicating; I just know it’s something.

“I’ll let Mike know he can come by to pick up his ride,” Wes mutters then lifts his chin. “Be smart.”

Without a word to Wes, Harlen grabs my hand once again and leads me away, through another door, this one on the back wall of the shop.

“Be smart about what?” I ask him as we walk side by side down a long hall and out into an open courtyard, where there is a grill covered with a blue tarp, along with some tables and three metal barrels that are black, as if they have had fires in them before.

“Nothing,” he answers as we head up a flight of stairs. Stopping at a metal door on the second floor landing, he lets my wrist go and I watch him pull out a key then put it into the lock. The second he opens the door and I step into the dimly lit room, I look around. There’s a queen size bed with a fitted sheet halfway coming off the mattress. The top sheet is gone to places unknown. A small, crappy dresser with the drawers shoved in, most of them off-kilter, with clothes hanging out of them is against one wall, and there’s a bedside table with a lamp on top with the shade missing.

“Just gonna clean up,” he says, dropping the beer to the top of the dresser that is piled high with dusty receipts, loose change, and other odds and ends. Watching him go into the bathroom and close the door, I look around again, wondering what this place is. The night I took him home from June’s, I took him to an apartment building that was similar to the one I lived in in Nashville. It was nice. This place, not so much. Hearing the toilet flush then water turn on, I turn to face him when he comes out.

“What is this place?” I wave my hand around, and he stops in the open doorway of the bathroom, looking at me then around the room.

“I used to crash here before I got my place,” he says, moving to the dresser. Opening one of the drawers, he then does something I don’t expect him to do. His hands go behind his head and he pulls off his shirt. His chest is covered in dark hair that thins out over his cut abs then turns into a narrow line that disappears into his jeans. Seeing all of that and imagining feeling that hair against my bare skin and breasts, my core tightens and my cheeks heat.

Holy shit.

Jerking my eyes off the trail of hair leading into his jeans, I look toward the bathroom. “Do you mind if I use your restroom?” I squeak, not even bothering to wait for him to answer before heading that way. Hearing him say “sure” to my back, I go in and close the door.

Flipping on the light, I look at myself in the mirror. My cheeks are pink, and my eyes are dilated so much that there isn’t any blue left. They are almost all black. I’m turned on. I’m turned on from just seeing Harlen shirtless. He didn’t touch me, didn’t look at me, didn’t do anything but take off his shirt. Turning on the water, I rest my hands on the edge of the sink and drop my head forward. I need to ask him what’s going on. I need to find out from him where his head’s at. With that thought in mind, I shut off the water and open the bathroom door.

“You ready?” he asks, and my step falters, along with my resolve to ask him the question I need to ask him.

“Yep,” I lie, and he steps around me to the door, opening it. Without taking my hand, he leads me back into the building we came out of but into another room, this one with a pool table, TV that must be a hundred inches with a crappy couch in front of it, and a kitchen. Going into the kitchen area, he dumps the beer I brought into the fridge then grabs two others from the door, twisting off the tops before handing me one. I take it, but what I don’t do is ask him why I’m here.

“Have you played pool before?” he asks, leading me toward the pool table.

“No.” I shrug, taking a sip from my beer and wishing it were apple cider, since I don’t really like real beer at all.

“Finally,” he says, and I look at him.

“Finally what?”

“Been thinking you’re too good to be true.”

“What?” I repeat, this time sounding breathy, wondering if I heard him right.

“You eat actual pizza, show up on time, know which tools are which, you don’t suck to look at, and you look fucking great in a pair of jeans. Too good to be true.”

Did he just say that? Holy shit, my legs go weak and I have to lean into the pool table to keep standing. “I… thank you, I think.”

“Yeah, you’re welcome.” He laughs, and the sound washes over me, making my insides turn liquid and my pulse kick into overdrive. Last night, I got him to smile a few times, but that’s the first time I’ve heard him laugh, and I know I don’t want it to be the last. “You ready to get your ass kicked?”

“Are you really going to kick my ass when I don’t know what I’m doing?” I question, and he laughs again, this time softly.

“Right, I’ll show you how to play. Then I’ll kick your ass.”

“Whatever.” I roll my eyes then take the stick he hands me. Taking another sip of the beer, I must make a face, because his eyes focus on me. “What?”

“You want a wine cooler?”

“Yes,” I answer immediately, and he chuckles.

“I’ll add that to the list,” he mutters, going to the kitchen and coming back a minute later with a blue wine cooler, handing it to me.

“What exactly are you adding to the list?” I ask.

He grins. “The fact you don’t like real beer.”

“So that’s going into the negative line of my resume?” I joke, and his grin gentles into a smile but he doesn’t answer my question. Instead, he moves to the table and sets up the balls in the middle. “Should I start my own list?” I ask, and his eyes come to me.

“Probably,” he mumbles, dropping his eyes from mine. “Ready?” He stands back and I sigh.

“Ready,” I agree, and then I listen as he walks me through how to play the game and tells me that I’m solids. After that, he breaks and we start playing, and it’s much more fun than I thought it would be.

“You sure you never played pool before?” Harlen asks an hour later, and I grin at him, bending over the pool table to take my shot.

“I’m sure.” I slide the stick between my fingers and hit the white ball into the yellow one, watching it sink into the right corner pocket.

“Maybe we should go into town and make some money,” he says as I stand.

   
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