By Anne Lange
Just his fucking luck. Could his day get any worse? Not only did her freakin’ dog keep horning in on his sleepless nights. Not only did he have to see her rescue said pooch in a cute, short shirt and not much else. Not only did he have to torture himself with fantasies of gripping that mass of glorious red hair in his remaining fist while he drove into her tight heat from behind. Not only did he have to salivate, wondering what her pert nipples tasted like. Now he’d have to spend the next few weeks horny as fucking hell while Ms. Marshall taught him how to work with his dog?
How the hell did she expect him to concentrate?
He dropped his gaze to the dog. A dog who, oh look, no big surprise, sat huddled next to his pretty neighbor’s thigh. Yup, another female to reject him. Great. Just fucking great. Jess rubbed his forehead, feeling another headache coming on. And his damn arm ached like a bitch.
“Shelby isn’t being trained as a therapy dog, Mr. Monroe.”
“Damn good thing, because she clearly doesn’t come when she’s called.” The ball of fur didn’t skedaddle when ordered to either.
“Java, however, has been fully trained, Mr. Monroe. We—“
“My name is Jess. My father is Mr. Monroe and he’s ….” Why the hell did he tell her that? He didn’t want to be on a first name basis with her.
“I’m sorry.” Delicate eyebrows dipped in a frown, and she pulled her bottom lip between her teeth.
He was such an ass. Jess took a deep breath and forced himself to calm down. He softened his tone. “Never mind.” He shuffled his feet and shoved his one hand into the front pocket of his jeans. His prosthetic hung at his other side like a flashing beacon to the two females sitting in front of him. The dog pitied him. He could see it in those soulful eyes of her. She blinked. Her ears were tucked close to her head. Her nose twitched as she studied him. “Look, maybe there’s somebody else who can help me with Java.”
Between the lack of sleep, panic attacks, and the headaches, he needed something to change. And he’d been hoping this dog would be the answer.
Lindsey rubbed the soft spot on the top of the Java’s head between her ears. The dog glanced up. Was that a plea in her expression? A plea for another wounded soldier to help instead of the broken one in front of her? Maybe one that at least had all his parts.
“Can we please start over?” Jess raised his head and captured Lindsey’s solemn gaze. “I am sorry,” she added. “About everything you’ve been through. I’m not…appalled by your injury, Jess. I’m curious about it, though.” She patted the dog absently.
Jess tore his eyes away from her. Those lips of hers were very distracting. But she wasn’t here to be his fantasy fuck buddy. She was here to work with him and his newly assigned dog.
Maybe if he kissed her and got it out of the way, they could move on. He could stop wondering, be able to focus more. Might take the edge off. God knows doing the one-handed dance to visions of her sugar plums wasn’t doing it for him.
Jess snapped his eyes closed. His mother would smack him upside the head. Since when did he objectify women like that? And when the hell did his pity party start rolling like a runaway train?
Oh yeah, when he lost his arm and got shipped home. What he needed was a big fucking rewind button. Chuck would still be alive. He’d have his arm. And he wouldn’t be thinking or saying the crap that he was thinking and saying. Though he wouldn’t be living next to the beautiful Ms. Lindsey Marshall either.
He tested out his smile. “Hey, you wouldn’t be interested in giving a guy a kiss, would you? You know, as a way to start over?”