Breaking Even (The Sterling Shore Series #5)

By: C.M. Owens

Book 5 of The Sterling Shore Series

Chapter 1


No, no, no, no! Not today! I'm so sick of this!

He has his side of the street, and I have mine. All he has to do is park on his side of the damn street.

Our subdivision doesn’t allow driveways—a stupid rule that I don't understand—but the streets are very wide and made for curbside parking. Everyone parks directly in front of their house. It only makes sense. Maggie and I park in front of our house.

But this jerk, for some reason, refuses to park his car on his side of the road—in front of his house.

The end of the cul-de-sac has a family with three teenagers, so they take up the entire arch for parking. Maggie and I already have to squeeze in. I have to park close to her so that our next-door neighbors have plenty of parking room in front of their smaller house. The jerk across the road has a wide open space directly in front of his large house, but he's a dick.

Every night he gets here after my neighbor, Mr. Morgan, goes to work for his twelve hour shift. He takes his spot and parks right on my bumper in case Mr. Morgan comes back and needs room. I could park across the street—in his spot—but that would be admitting defeat. And I refuse to be defeated.

Today he has really screwed up.

I'm not going to spend twenty minutes backing up and pulling forward numerous times in an effort to get out. Not happening. If he insists on parking on our side of the street, the least he could do is leave a respectable gap. It's a common courtesy. Apparently he’d rather piss us off as opposed to pissing Mr. Morgan off.

I have to work. His lazy ass sleeps half the day. He revs his engine at all hours—when he leaves and gets back. He doesn't show the slightest ounce of concern for anyone else. Enough is enough, and I've had e-fucking-nough.

Before I lose my courage, I stalk across the street and bang on the door. A gentle rap might have been polite, but I'm not worried about manners right now. This bastard loves blocking me in. Today he'll move his car or... or... I'll do something, dammit.


I almost lose my nerve, but I pull out my best big-girl guts, and I pound on the door again, longer this time. I hear a string of curse words being spewed as someone stumbles inside the house, bumping into walls and crashing into things.

I steel myself, ready for a fight. I'm anything but confrontational, but this dick has pushed me to my limit.

“What the fuck?” he gripes, swinging the door open to reveal something I wasn't expecting.

I knew he was gorgeous—I have eyes. Hell, Maggie and I call him Mr. Sexy for a reason, but... um... wow. I hate him for being wow right now.

His dirty blonde hair is still messy from the bed, but in the sexiest way possible. His perfectly golden skin is almost hypnotic, and his numerous tattoos might as well all say bad boy. And don't even get me started on the piercings—one in his eyebrow and one in his nipple.

I've ogled him from across the road before. He loves going out shirtless, so I've had plenty of opportunities to drool.

After numerous stolen gawks, I was fully prepared to be met by the Mr. Sexy that lives here. I thought I was, anyhow. What I wasn't prepared for was for him to be in his boxers—only his boxers—and standing at full attention like a good little morning soldier.

My eyes dart straight down, taking in the ungodly bulge. Thank God it's hidden by the thin fabric.

That does very little to my ever-wavering confidence. What happened to my fury? Why was I even furious? Why did I come here?

As my mouth flops agape, he raises his brow, seeming amused.

“Gotten your fill yet? I was trying to sleep,” he says through a sexy drawl that floods me with numerous conflicting emotions.

Hunger, excitement, humiliation, then anger. Anger. Yes. Finally. Bring on the crazy bitch.

My eyes snap up when my brain decides to start functioning again. “Move your damn car!” I bark, letting my rage run over my skin with an almost tangible glow.

His eyes widen, as if he's shocked by my early morning intrusion. Well, he can get over it. After a breath, his confused expression turns bored.

“No,” he says simply, leaning against the doorframe.

Really? That's all I get? Are you kidding me?

“Move your damn car now! I have work, and I'm not going to spend twenty minutes trying to get out of the small space you left me with.”