He’s just a hot guy living next door to a single mom – and oh yeah, he kills people for a living.
Suburbia, a great place for a man with secrets to hide while investing in some solid real estate. The biggest drawback?
In this case, a neighbor with sexy curves and a bright smile. Good thing she’s not his type. Single moms with annoying ex-husbands are on the do-not-date list.
Calvin wants to; it’s just not happening. He can’t help but find himself drawn to the chaos next door. And when danger threatens his suburban lifestyle, this assassin doesn’t hesitate to act.
The woman in front of Calvin appeared much too young and fragile to be a mother. In her hip-hugging jeans, faded T-shirt, and hair scraped into a ponytail, she looked not far into her twenties, surely too young to be the mother of a child that old.
She was also much too attractive. Being a guy, he, of course, noted—and admired—her feminine attributes. How long since he’d been with a woman? Work had kept him busy of late.
It’s been too long.
But he wouldn’t break his streak with the neighbor next door. Cute or not, the hottie came with baggage. Calvin had two rules in life—don’t poach too close to home, and no single mothers. The life of a family man didn’t appeal at all. Not even if the mother was hot.
This one was hot and sobbing. Not loudly or noisily. Just big fat tears escaping blinking eyes and rolling down her ashen cheeks.
How could he properly chastise her about her parenting if she cried?
I can’t. He stiffened. So that’s her devious plan. She wouldn’t trick him so easily. What did she have to cry about? Calvin was the one who’d almost run over the damned child while pulling into his driveway. He’d had to abruptly brake because the little girl stood in the middle of it. He’d exited his vehicle with a frown on his face. “Who are you, and what are you doing here?” The child had looked unabashed.
“Hi.” The little girl smiled and waved.
“Are you lost?” Should he call the pound for children?
Pigtails bounced as she shook her head. “Not lost.” She giggled and jabbed a finger in the direction of the house next door.
Just freaking great. A new neighbor was moving in. Pity. Calvin had quite enjoyed the peace since the last tenant moved out.
What a shame the landlord wouldn’t sell because now the game started over. Calvin would have his work cut out for him, convincing the new tenant of the merits of living elsewhere. He should also provide instruction on watching her kid. Some people just didn’t know how to parent.
You have to be firm with them. “Go back to your place.” He’d shooed the little girl. It seemed the most understandable gesture, and yet she blinked at him. “You can’t stand there.” He’d pointed at her house. “Go find your parents and insist they watch you more closely.”
The little tyke then smiled. A gap-toothed brilliant thing that could have blinded a weaker man. She blinked long lashes and lisped, “Will you take me to my mommy?”
She dipped her chin, and her eyelids fluttered. Little freckles across her nose crinkled. “Please.”
Good God. The child was possessed by a dark force. Surely, she possessed some kind of insidious evil because Calvin had held out his hand and didn’t flinch when her sticky palm slid into his. Still under her dark spell, Calvin had said, “Come with me. I’ll take you home.”
Call a fucking priest!
And that was how he’d ended up on a concrete porch, looming over a tiny woman as she cried. It looked bad. Other neighbors might be watching and judging. Perhaps even calling the cops.
This shit is why I don’t get involved.
He took a step back, and still, the woman hiccupped. He clenched his hands lest they reach out to offer comfort. Why would he comfort her?
He needed to leave. “Bye.”
She sniffled and lifted her head. “I’m sorry for wailing like a wuss. I got scared when I couldn’t find her. Thanks for bringing her back. I swear I don’t know what got into her. She’s never wandered before.” Her teary-eyed stare then dropped to the child Calvin had returned. The woman wagged a finger and took on an expression Calvin recognized, the one that said, You are in so much shit. “Zoe Eleanor Fitzpatrick, you get your butt in here right now. You had me scared half to death.”
She should have been scared. Letting a little girl like that wander at will. Despite the mother’s frazzled appearance, it didn’t mean Calvin gave her any quarter. “You should keep a better eye on your kid.” The rebuke served to blanch her features.
It didn’t last long. Her shoulders went back, and her chin tilted. “I do keep an eye on her. But we’re new here, and she obviously forgot the rules about exploring without a parent.” She cast a stern gaze to the child, who chose to smile adorably instead of appearing chastised.
“I wanted to go see the colors. The man has flowers in front of his house.”
Not planted by him. He preferred just plain grass that needed only a little bit of mowing.
“You should have asked.”
“Sorry, Mommy. Can we go see outside? The man has a pretty car. I want to touch it.”
The thought of grubby fingers patting his pristine paint almost brought a shiver. Especially since, how could he prevent it? One did not shoot children in suburbia for touching cars. But a man could and should demand respect from his neighbors. “No touching the car.” He presented his best stern face.
The little girl batted incredibly thick, dark lashes, and her gaze siphoned part of his soul. “No touching.” Said with a lisp and smile.
Calvin got the feeling he’d be seeing little fingerprints soon.
Apparently, the mother recognized the truth, too. “No touching, Zoe. You are not to go over onto his property at all. As a matter of fact, you are not to leave this house or the yard without permission, little missy.” She rebuked the little girl, whose eyes began to well with tears. Her lower lip trembled.
It seemed rather harsh. The poor thing hadn’t really done anything wrong.
He should say something.
Calvin frowned. He should applaud his new neighbor for reining in her obviously errant child. Instead, he wanted to say “don’t worry about it” and ask the mother out to dinner. Or they could skip right to dessert in his bed.
No point in denying that Calvin was attracted to his new neighbor. As a man, with ample testosterone, he noted her petite stature and curvy hips. Her full lips moved, and she gestured as she spoke. Her dark eyes flashed, and given her also darkly colored hair, he wondered if she had some fiery Italian in her.
She was not a great beauty, but there was a vivaciousness to her that rendered her quite fascinating.
The lips kept moving, and yet it took him a moment to realize that she spoke.
“…new.” The woman offered him an apologetic smile. “Sorry she bothered you. I will make sure it doesn’t happen again.”
And with that, she stepped into the house, child in tow, and shut the door.
Had she seriously just locked it?
Connect with the Author:
New York Times and USA Today Bestseller Eve Langlais is a Canadian author who loves to write hot romance. She likes to blame her twisted imagination for her sarcastic sense of humor which tends to heavily influence her stories. She enjoys writing about strong alpha males, that need the right woman to temper their wild side–and unleash the lover. She loves to write, and while she might not always know what her mind is going to come up with next, she does promise it will be fun, probably humorous and most of all romantic, because she believes in a happily ever after.
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