SOMETIMES MOVING ON MEANS MOVING IN
Pixie Marshall wishes every day she could turn back time and fix the past. But she can’t. And the damage is done. She’s hoping that a summer of free room and board working with her aunt at the Willow Inn will help her forget. Except there’s a problem: the resident handyman is none other than Levi Andrews. The handsome quarterback was once her friend-and maybe more-until everything changed in a life-shattering instant. She was hoping to avoid him, possibly forever. Now he’s right down the hall and stirring up feelings Pixie thought she’d long buried . . .
Levi can’t believe he’s living with the one person who holds all his painful memories. More than anything he wants to make things right, but a simple “sorry” won’t suffice-not when the tragedy that scarred them was his fault. Levi knows Pixie’s better off without him, but every part of him screams to touch her, protect her, wrap her in his arms, and kiss away the pain. Yet even though she’s so close, Pixie’s heart seems more unreachable than ever. Seeing those stunning green eyes again has made one thing perfectly clear-he can’t live without her.
If my bastard neighbor uses all the hot water again, I will suffocate him in his sleep.
I listen as the shower finally goes off and huff my way around my room, gathering my shower supplies. I don’t politely wait for him to leave the bathroom, oh no. I stand outside the bathroom door—which has steam escaping from the crack at the bottom—with a carefully applied scowl and wait.
The door swings open to a perfect male body emerging from a billow of hot fog. His dark hair is loose and wet and frames his face in a haphazard way that manages to look sexy despite the fact that he probably shook it out like a dog before opening the door, and of course he’s wearing nothing but a towel.
Kill me now.
I peek into the bathroom, totally pissed, and block his exit with my body. “A thirty-minute shower, Levi? What the hell?”
A smile pulls at the corners of his mouth. “I was dirty.”
Oh, I bet.
“I swear to God,” I say, “if I have to take another cold shower—”
“You shouldn’t swear to God, Pix.” He brings his face close to mine and the steam from his skin dampens my nose and cheeks. “It’s not nice.”
This close up, I can see the tiny silver flecks in his otherwise bright blue eyes and almost feel the three-day scruff that shadows his jaw. Not that I want to feel his scruff. Ever.
I curl my lip. “I want a hot shower.”
“Then shower at night.”
“I’m not kidding, Levi.”
“Neither am I.” His eyes slide to my mouth for a moment—a split second—and there it is. The electricity. The humming vibration that never used to exist between us.
He snaps his eyes away and pulls back. The damp heat from his body pulls away as well, and some stupid, primal part of me whines in protest.
“Now, if you’ll excuse me . . .” He waits for me to move out of his way. I don’t.
I jab my finger at his chest. “I haven’t had a hot shower for three days—”
Cupping my upper arms, he lifts me off the floor and moves me out of his way like I’m light as a feather. Then he walks the ten paces down the hall to his room and disappears inside without a look back.
With a muttered curse, I stomp into the small bathroom and try not to enjoy the smell of spearmint wafting into my nose and settling on my skin. Damn Levi and his hot-smelling soap.
My freshman year of college ended two weeks ago, and since Arizona State dorms don’t allow students to stay during the summer, I had to find a new place to live and, consequently, a job.
So I started working for my aunt Ellen at Willow Inn because one of the job perks—and I use that term loosely—is free room and board.
And my free room shares a hallway and a bathroom with the only person I was hoping to avoid for the rest of my life.
Hot guy. Handyman. My long-lost . . . something.
Ellen conveniently forgot to tell me that Levi lived at the inn, so the day I moved in was chock-full of surprises.
Surprise! Levi lives here too.
Surprise! You’ll be sleeping next door to him.
Surprise! You’ll be sharing a sink, a shower, and a daily dose of weird sexual tension with him.
Ellen is lucky I love her.
Had I known that Levi lived and worked here, I never would have taken the job, let alone moved in. But Aunt Ellen is one conniving innkeeper and, honestly, my only other option was far less appealing. So here I am, living and working right alongside a walking piece of my past.
Since we’re the only two resident employees, Levi and I are the only people who sleep in the east wing—a setup that might be ideal were it not for the giant elephant we keep sidestepping during these epic encounters of ours.
Memories start creeping up the back of my neck, and a hot prickle forms behind my eyes. I quickly blink it back and turn on the shower, scanning the bathroom for safer things to focus on.
Little blue dots on the wallpaper.
Purple flowers on my bottle of shampoo.
Dots. Flowers. Shampoo.
With the threat of tears now under control, I thrust my hand into the shower and relax a tinge when hot water hits my fingers.
Stripping off my pajamas, I step into the spray with high hopes, but water has just hit the right side of my neck when it goes from warm to ice-cold.
There will be suffocation tonight. There will be misery and pain and a big fat pillow over Levi’s big fat scruffy face.
Biting back a howl of frustration, I turn off the water and wrap a towel around my half-wet body. No way am I taking another cold shower. I’ll just have to be unclean today. I hastily grab my stuff and yank the bathroom door open just as Levi leans into the hallway.
He’s traded in his towel for a pair of low-slung jeans but hasn’t gotten around to throwing on a shirt, so I have to watch his chest muscles flex as he grips his bedroom doorframe.
He looks me over with a smirk. “Done so soon?”
I flip him off and enter my room, slamming the door behind me like a fourth grader.
I throw on some clothes, pull my hair into a messy ponytail, and step into my paint-stained sneakers before looking myself over in the mirror. Ugh.
I tug at the V‑neck collar of my shirt for a good twenty seconds before giving up and changing into a crew-neck shirt instead. Much better.
I pause when I hear Levi’s footsteps in the hallway, making their way back to the bathroom. I hear him plug something in, and the sound of his electric razor meets my ears. I set my phone back on the dresser as a wicked smile spreads across my face.
Levi should know better by now. He really should.
Casually moving around my room, I plug in every electric item I own and wait until he’s halfway through shaving. Then I turn everything on at once. The electricity immediately goes out and I hear the buzz of his razor die.
Ah, the sweet sound of male irritation.
Plastering on an innocent look, I open my door and peer across the hall to the bathroom. Levi looks ridiculous standing in the doorway in just his jeans—still no shirt—glowering at me with half of his face shaved.
He stiffens his jaw. “Seriously?”
I mock a look of sympathy. “You really should charge your razor every once in a while.” I exit my room and move down the hall, singing out, “Have fun rocking a half-beard all day.”
As I head down the stairs, the wet side of my ponytail slaps against my neck with each step. Another smile pulls at my lips.
If Levi wants to play, it’s on.
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Meet the Author:
Chelsea lives in Phoenix, Arizona, where she spends most of her time writing stories, painting murals, and avoiding housework at all costs. She’s ridiculously bad at doing dishes and claims to be allergic to laundry. Her obsessions include: superheroes, coffee, sleeping-in, and crazy socks. She lives with her husband and two children, who graciously tolerate her inability to resist teenage drama on TV and her complete lack of skill in the kitchen.
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