Against the Wall – Excerpt

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Copyright ©2017 Harley Wylde

The sound of my drill was loud in the otherwise quiet backyard. I’d been working on this massive deck for two days for a pampered princess, but there were perks aside from a paycheck. I glanced toward the lounger by the pool and couldn’t help but admire the tanned perfection of Madelyn Sparks. She might be petite, but she was all legs and curves. Definitely a mouthwatering package.

The sun beat down on me and sweat rolled down my temples to drip off my chin onto the wooden deck below. I’d literally put my blood and sweat into the thing, but tears weren’t going to happen. Not unless the goddess decided to kick me in the nuts for staring too much. She did a pretty good job of ignoring me, even when I drooled. Couldn’t really blame her. A guy like me was too far beneath someone like her. The house she lived in had to cost at least half a million, if not more. My bungalow was a little too damn close to the questionable part of town and probably could have fit in her garage.

I put in one last screw and wiped my brow before standing. My back cracked as I stretched and put the tools away. As much as I would have loved to stare at perfection a little while longer, it was time to call it a day. I had an ice cold shower waiting for me at home, along with a beer and a bag of pretzels. The dinner of champions. Or rather, the dinner of a broke handyman. This job was going to pay really damn well, but I didn’t get the check until I finished the deck.

The scent of suntan oil reached my nose, and I turned to see Little Miss Perfect. She pushed her sunglasses on top of her honey blonde tresses and smiled at me.

“Finished for the day?” she asked.

“Yeah, I thought I’d pack it up and come back first thing tomorrow. Eight o’clock okay?”

Her nose wrinkled a little. “As long as you don’t mind me being crabby. I don’t finish my morning coffee until nine.”

I couldn’t help but smile at her. Something told me that even at her crabbiest she was damn cute. She couldn’t have been more than twenty-one or twenty-two. I felt ancient at close to thirty, even though there were only a handful of years between us. I put my tools by the back gate and waited to see if she would say or do anything else.

“Would you like some water or soda to take with you?” she asked. “I even have some of that flavored stuff you can add to a bottle of water.”

I must have made a face because she laughed and crooked a finger at me. Like a little lost puppy, I trailed after her and into the pristine house, my boots clunking along the hardwood floors. Her kitchen was huge, with spotless granite countertops and stainless steel appliances.

“Nice place,” I commented as I took in my surroundings. I’d never own a place like this. Not because I didn’t want one, but because I wasn’t going to earn enough ever to climb this high up the social ladder.

“It was my parents’ home. They died last year and left everything to me.”

Well, that explained why she was so rich at such a young age, but it had to suck to lose her family like that. My mom was still very much alive and living it up in Vegas as a retired showgirl. I’d never known my dad, and I wasn’t sure Mom had ever known who he was. Just some nameless man who had crossed paths with her at some point. Along with countless others. Mom hadn’t exactly been known for being a one-man woman back in the day. Or now, for that matter.

“I’m sorry for your loss,” I told her.

She gave me a small smile and opened the fridge. “Water or soda? I have a beer, but I doubt it’s one you’d like to drink. I’ve been told it’s a girly beer.”

I laughed and told her water was fine. It was the best way to stay hydrated in this horrible heat. I guzzled half the bottle before I even took a breath. Madelyn had her hip propped against the counter, and her gaze traveled over me.

I couldn’t help but grow hard under her perusal. If she noticed, she was good at pretending otherwise. There was heat in her eyes as she looked up at me. Part of me hoped for the green light to kiss her the way I’d wanted to since the moment she opened her front door several days ago.