Alpha's Irresistible Neighbor

By: J.P. Comeau

Holy shit, he’s hot.

The man standing at my cousin’s side was rough, and rugged. The stubble on his face hadn’t been trimmed up yet and the jeans he wore clung to a pair of strong legs that made me clear my throat. The salt that peppered his hair stayed close to his temples, lending him a wise sort of look that made my knees clatter together. The downturn of his lips only made me want to make him smile. The tense of his shoulders called to my fingertips, and they started kneading into the sides of my thighs as if I were giving him the massage.

They emerged into the kitchen and his head quickly snapped in my direction.

And when his gaze caught my stare, his glimmering green eyes robbed me of my very breath.

“You got a staring problem?” he spat.

My eyes widened before I quickly dropped back into my seat.

“Don’t pay any mind to him,” Penny said a bit too loudly, “he’s always been rough around the edges.”

“And efficient,” Mikael murmured.

I nodded, but I didn’t look back up at the man. “Good to know.”

“Anyway,” the detective said, “you got somewhere private we can talk?”

The man’s shadow cloaked me as I sat in my seat at the kitchen table and I felt as if I were being watched by him. Studied, like I was some sort of science experiment. I hooked my gaze with the open scrapbook in front of me and refused to move my gaze. I mindlessly flipped through pages, pointing at things I thought Penny might like in an effort to distract myself.

But, when that damn detective hunched himself over my shoulder, the heat of his breath against the shell of my ear made that completely impossible.

“The patterns in this are too dizzying. Most guests won’t like it,” he said flatly.

He jammed his callused, rugged finger down onto a picture, leaving a dirt-laced imprint of his fingerprint behind.

“He’s actually right,” Penny said after she cleared her throat, “all of that can go away. It’s a bit too much, even if you were to just pick out one pattern.”

“Right,” I said as I quickly flipped the page, “then we take it out completely.”

“Good,” the detective murmured as he straightened his back.

I released the breath I didn’t realize I had been holding once him and Mikael finally moved out of the kitchen. But, it didn’t matter how far away they moved. No matter where they went, I heard the rumbling notes of the detective’s low bass voice, and it made my spine shiver. My thighs clamped together while Penny and I continued to flip through the scrapbook, trying not to be a hostage to the detective’s commanding tone.

It wasn’t until Penny asked me a question, though, that my attention got ripped back to her.

“What do you think about this color scheme?” she asked.

I looked down and found her pointing to a red and gold combination on one of my Christmas pages.

“You like the idea of a Christmas wedding?” I asked.

She shrugged. “Maybe not on Christmas. But, it would be pretty special to be married on Christmas Eve, you think?”

I grinned. “I think it’s perfect. Especially if we ended up having a wedding somewhere where snow is on the ground? Maybe Banff National Park, in Canada? Or, possibly Colorado? On a mountain with a view somewhere?”

“Sounds chilly.”

I shrugged. “You’d be able to wear a long-sleeved, fitted wedding dress that both keeps you warm and maybe covers up those places you’re a bit self-conscious about?”

She blinked before she pointed her finger against the page rapidly. “Write all of that down. All of it. Go, go!”

I smiled brightly. “Beautiful. Let me jot down the notes really quickly.”

As I picked up my pen, I started with the shorthand I had developed during my interior design career. It had taken some time to piece things together, but with the clientele I had cultivated over the years, I now had the freedom to move and pivot wherever I chose to pivot. As long as my laptop and cell phone traveled with me, I was on the clock. So, as far as I was concerned, I could stay in Peachland until the wedding was a wrap!

“All right,” I said as I stopped with the notes, “you got any other feedback for me in terms of a Christmas wedding?”

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