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I wanted to knock over the sawhorse separating us

He paused, wiping sweat off his forehead. He wore a black T-shirt, tight to his defined biceps; a tool belt slung low over his hips; faded, ripped jeans; and work boots on his feet.


I swallowed hard.


The sound slowed to a stop, and Ethan lifted his safety goggles to his head. “Yes?”


Crossing my arms over my chest, I frantically searched my brain for the reason I was standing here. “The noise is disturbing my customers.”


He arched a brow, shifting his stance so that his feet were placed shoulder width apart. “Is it bothering you?”


I wish I could form a coherent thought around him and his tools. “It’s distracting me.”


My heart pounded in my ears. I hoped he hadn’t heard my slip.


His lips slowly curled into a smile. “Are you sure I’m not the one that’s distracting?”


Nothing good could come from him knowing how sexy he looked with a saw and a tool belt. Squaring my shoulders, I said, “It’s your tools that are distracting.”


My face heated at the unintended double entendre.


“Uh-huh.” His tone was disbelieving. Patronizing.


I shouldn’t be attracted to the guy who’d been a jerk to me, who wanted to get rid of me and my business. Anger and frustration flowed through me. “I couldn’t even have a conversation with my last customer without that noise interfering.”


I couldn’t see him wearing a suit to work. He was more at home with a tool belt on his hips and the ever-present pencil behind his ear.


He cocked his head. “Are you saying that I can’t build my countertop out here?”


He owned the building. He had every right to use the backyard. My jaw tightened. “I’m asking for you to think of others when you’re making this racket.”


He braced his hands on the wood, leaning forward. The movement meant his forearms were on display. Veins popped, wrapping around the muscle, sending a tingling down my legs.


His arms were as distracting as his tools. “We’ve established that I have a right to be here, doing what I’m doing, so—”


Why was I still here? My head felt light, and my limbs felt heavy because the view was magnificent. My heart was galloping in my chest, and it wasn’t irritation from the noise he was making. It was him. All him.


I wanted to knock over the wood and the sawhorse separating us. I wanted to grip his neck, pulling him down to my level so I could kiss him. I wanted to know if his lips tasted like sawdust. If it was possible to kiss that annoying smirk off his face.


“Try to keep it down,” I said through gritted teeth. I wasn’t sure if I was more irritated with him or my ridiculous attraction to him. I turned to head back inside.


“If you want to talk, there are other ways, you know.”


I knew he was goading me. He felt this attraction between us and wasn’t above using it to his advantage, but I wouldn’t give in to it.


“I don’t want to talk to you.” I’d been interested in catching up with the Ethan I knew in high school, maybe even confronting this new attraction to the man he was now. But his attitude and the circumstances made that impossible.







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