“Missy what are you doing?” Skyler tiptoed across the lawn, as if her bare toes on the grass would sound like stiletto heels on wood. She came up behind her roommate, whose scantily clad butt was pretty much the only thing sticking out from the hedges that separated their yard from the neighbor’s.
“Have you ever seen anything more delicious?” Missy replied.
Skyler didn’t go so far as burrow into the greenery, but she could see the new neighbor hauling boxes from the U-Haul. He was shirtless and wore a baseball cap backwards. She couldn’t see much more to qualify Missy’s statement.
“He’s wearing the right hat anyway,” Skyler commented, noting the single red “B” on the navy blue hat.
“You can keep the hat. I’ll take what’s under it.”
Missy backed out of the hedge and swiped her hand through her dark hair. She and Skyler looked very much alike, but when it came to fashion, they certainly didn’t browse each other’s closets. Missy was more of a “Daisy Duke” kind of girl, and the halter-top barely contained her full breasts. Skyler, on the other hand, wore her cut-offs somewhere between mid thigh and her knees and an old Red Sox tee.
“Hope he doesn’t catch you at that,” Skyler muttered.
“On the contrary, Sky, he can catch me all he wants. Maybe I should just fall into him.”
“And single, which to me is the same thing,” Missy admitted.
“Well, happy hunting. If you get caught, better hope he doesn’t call the cops.” Without waiting for a reply, Skyler walked back to their bungalow, throwing a glance behind her back. Missy was digging herself through the hedges. Why she didn’t go introduce herself, Skyler wasn’t sure, but it wasn’t her business. Missy was a force of nature and it was wisest to just stand back and let her go.
Skyler loved the nursery more than any nightclub in the world. She studied the flats of marigolds and red Phlox.
“I never figured you for the gardening type. A woman of many talents.”
The voice over her shoulder was low and sexy and startled Skyler. She almost dropped the marigolds.
She swung around and glowered at the man. It only took three seconds to identify him as her new neighbor. It didn’t make her any less miffed. “What’s that supposed to mean?” she demanded.
“Just that I saw you out last night and it’s amazing you recovered enough to be out here today.”
“Last night?” Oh, last night. Well, Mr. Hunk from the other side of the hedges apparently thought she was Missy. “Yes, I am amazing, aren’t I?”
She pushed by him. What a nerve! He didn’t even know her and he was making that kind of comment. Skyler had actually felt a little sorry for him, knowing he was under Missy’s lustful eye, but now she could have him.
“Wait,” he called.
She tried to ignore him. She put the marigolds down and kept walking. Her trip was ruined.
“I’m sorry,” he persisted, following her out of the greenhouse.
“Fine, ” Skyler ground out. “Apology accepted. Now goodbye.”
Erik stared at the SUV as it whipped out of the parking lot. He didn’t get it. What was up with her? For the past three days she’d spied on him, walked around her front yard in skimpy outfits. Whenever he was outside, she was outside. Maybe she thought he didn’t notice, but how could any man not? And last night, she didn’t approach him, but she sure threw him enough suggestive smiles he wondered why she didn’t introduce herself.
He had to admit he wasn’t all that star struck. Yeah, she was gorgeous, she was built, but she dressed, no, he wouldn’t say it. He liked a woman who left more to the imagination. Like how she dressed today. She didn’t wear much make-up and her hair, which was all teased up last night, was in a bouncing ponytail. An amazing transformation. But she just blew him off. He didn’t know whether to be intrigued or just shrug it off as a lesson learned.
He decided to be intrigued.
After loading up the railroad ties for his garden, he headed home. He liked the peace of the neighborhood after the hectic rush of Boston. His closest neighbor was the dark haired girl who liked to spy through the hedges. He owed her an apology. A real apology.
He backed the pickup to the back of the house and cut the engine. A flash of red caught his eyes. His neighbor. From where she stood on her deck he had a good view of her. She was back to her scantily clad look, a miniscule bikini. She turned her head toward him. Lips as bright as her bathing suit curved up in a smile.
Now was as good a time as any to say sorry. He pulled the two flats out from the passenger seat of his truck and headed toward the opening in the hedges.
“Well, hello. I was wondering when you’d come over and say hello,” the woman said silkily. She leaned against the railings of the deck as he approached, showing off her generous cleavage. “Of course, what kind of neighbor am I, not coming over to welcome you to the street.”
Erik halted a few yards away. This wasn’t the same woman who he’d accosted at the nursery. This woman had chocolate brown eyes, not pale grayish blue. And a smattering of freckles across her nose. This woman’s complexion was creamy and flawless.
“Erik Ingraham,” he introduced, closing the distance. He set down the flats on the grass and held out his hand. She took it eagerly.
“A pleasure, Erik. I’m Missy Harrington. Can I get you a beer or something?”
“No, I need to get back to my work. I just wanted to come over and…”
The icy voice behind him was familiar. Slowly he turned and came face to face with the woman from the nursery.
“And apologize again for earlier. I didn’t mean to offend you. I, um, I brought over the flowers I think you wanted before I acted like a jerk. I’m Erik Ingraham.” He held out his hand to her and for a moment he thought she was going to ignore it.
But finally she reached out and clasped his hand in a firm grip. “Skyler Johannsen. Apology accepted.”
“I feel so left out,” Missy pouted from the deck. Apparently she was used to pulling in all the male attention. He figured if he didn’t fall in line she’d get over it and move on. It was Skyler he was interested in. But first he had to somehow break through the reserve he saw in her.
They’d had a bad start, but with some luck it would get better.
He glanced down at the flats. “Can I help you plant these?”
Skyler raised one dark brow. “You? Plant flowers?”
Eric shrugged. “My mom has a garden. I help her out on occasion. What I lack in creative flair I make up in my skill with a shovel.”
She continued to stare, that one slim brow arched high. At least her lips turned up in a small smile.
The ice was beginning to thaw.
“You bring the shovel and I’ll bring the beer,” she said then turned away. Before she took more than two steps she swung back around. “Three o’ clock, Eric. I think that’ll square us away.”
Square them away, but if he had anything to do with it Eric would make sure things wouldn’t end there.
About the Author: Since the age of 12, it’s been Ceri’s dream to be an author. With three books published this year, she’s achieved that dream. Currently she’s happily settled in southwestern New Hampshire with her husband and four children busily weaving stories and continuing to pursue her dreams. You can find out more about Ceri at her website or join her Yahoo Reading Group.