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Forever Evers

CHARLIE

I pulled the door closed with a loud bang. For a moment I just stood in the hallway, my heart racing.

His bedroom door was closed so I had assumed he was in his room. And who takes a shower without closing the door all the way?

I groaned, remembering the smug look on his face when he caught me staring at his junk. Such a cocky asshole. How did he know I wasn’t looking because it was crooked or something? 

If only. But no, the universe wasn’t that kind. Hendrix Evers had the face of an angel and a body made for sin. He’d filled out over the years in all the right places. That was the body of a man who did physical labor on a routine basis. The kind who would have rough hands. I shivered at the thought.

Then I shook my head. 

No. No. No. 

We are not thinking about stupid Hendrix or his stupid, rough man hands. 

He was clearly just trying to embarrass me, and I wasn’t going to give him the satisfaction. 

When the bathroom door finally opened, Rix was thankfully dressed. 

Maybe we need to be clearer about the rules,” I yelled.

He scoffed. “What did I do? You’re the one who just invaded my privacy, remember? Maybe I don’t feel safe. Maybe you’re trying to steal my virtue.”

Oh my god. 

I wanted to strangle him.

“You left the door open on purpose.”

He gave me the cocky smirk that always made me want to scratch his eyes out. “I closed the door. I remember because I had to lean hard to get it to latch. It was definitely closed, Charlie.”

I held up a hand and marched around him. The bathroom door was hanging open, so I pulled the knob and sure enough, it got stuck when I tried to pull it closed. Rix leaned on the wall next to me. I ignored him but it was impossible not to notice him cross his arms as he watched me wrestle with the door. Finally, I yanked hard and it closed with a bang.

“Just because it sticks doesn’t prove your point. If anything, it works against you. If it’s this hard to get it to close, then it would have been hard for me to open, too.”

He clicked his tongue against his teeth. “I wasn’t listening to how hard it was for you to open the door. I was a little busy being naked.”

“Busy playing with your dick, you mean.”

“What was that?” He leaned closer, bringing with him that fresh clean scent that would forever remind me of what he looked like dripping with water. 

“Nothing. It doesn’t matter. The door has a lock!”

Just then, the door popped open. Startled, we both looked down at the same time. 

“Did that just–”

Rix ran his hand up the wood frame. “The door frame is warped. I figured that was why the door was sticking. Apparently, it’s worse than I thought.”

As his fingers traced over the wood, I swear I could almost feel those fingers tracing up my spine. “Uh huh.”

“If I replace the frame that might fix it, but there’s a chance I might need to move the hinges,” he muttered to himself under his breath as he examined the door, seemingly no longer aware that I was even there. 

Hopefully I nodded at the right places because in my mind all I could hear was white noise as my eyes followed the movement of his lips as he spoke. Then he looked at me suddenly, his brow furrowed as he noticed where I was staring. 

I spun around.  “I need to go.”

He blinked. “Okay.”

“Okay.” Without another word, I crossed the hall to my room and closed the door. 

I seriously needed to get out of the house.

My plan was simple. Career, marriage and kids by the big 3-0. Instead my stepfather’s company went bankrupt taking my career (and relationship) with it. Now I’m fixing up my grandma’s ramshackle house in Violet Ridge, Virginia, trying to find a handyman who doesn’t mind being paid in brownie bars and bless your hearts.

Unfortunately the only handyman who doesn’t require six months and a kidney is Hendrix Evers.

I’m searching “how to sell a kidney” when Rix proposes we help each other out. He’ll fix up the house if I let him stay rent-free. To everyone else he’s a hardworking, small town hero, but he’s also my best friend’s older brother, so I know the truth. He’s rude, juvenile and has a long history of ruining things for me.

But when my attempts at DIY end in a flooded bathroom and almost falling to my death through a rotting porch, I figure I don’t have much to lose. Somehow I’ve become the breadwinner for my mom and little sister and the adoptive mom to a pug with anger issues. I can use all the help I can get.

Surely we can co-exist for one summer without burning the house down or strangling each other, right?

This was so not in the plan.

You Ruin Everything is a steamy, small town romance featuring puppy hijinks, unconventional friendships, a cantankerous Victorian home and a zany family at the center of it all. A hilarious standalone romantic comedy about starting over and failing upward.

 

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