By: Lola Taylor

THE WOMAN STARED at him, her mouth snapping shut. She went from astonished to angry in a split second. With a flash of silver, she waved the roller brush at him. “Stay back. I’m warning you.”

He raised a brow. WTF? Had he missed “mentally unstable” on her apartment application? “Or you’ll what?” he said dryly.

“I’ll...” The threat dried up on her tongue as that spark in her eyes flickered with doubt. With renewed determination, her gaze snapped up to his. She narrowed her eyes and gave him what he supposed was her “big girl” voice. “Who the hell are you, and what are you doing in my apartment?”

He glared at her and firmly shoved down the fact her assertiveness had sent a wave of heat through him. She was probably a tiger in bed.

He imagined her running her long, hot-pink nails down his back, whimpering with pleasure and crying his name as he thrust—

Whoa, boy.

God, if he didn’t cool it soon, he was going to get hard. “I’m the building manager,” he said flatly, trying to hide his arousal. “I was coming to welcome you to the neighborhood and give you more information on the area, since you’re new.”

She blinked. “Oh.” She tucked the brush behind her back and composed herself, blushing. “I’m sorry, I didn’t know what to think. I thought maybe you were—”

“A burglar?” he added with more than a dollop of sarcasm.

Her face went pale, and he mentally swore.

Wrong thing to say. She’d mentioned on her application about being an assault victim and having a restraining order out on someone. Apparently, the douche had taken out a restraining order on her after receiving his own. The one he’d taken out on her was eventually dropped once the court figured out he was just being a tool, but the one she’d placed on him had stuck. She’d written how the one he’d taken out on her had popped up on a background check before, so she liked to mention it up front.

He appreciated her honesty, which made him feel more like a dick for scaring her. He cleared his throat, stepped around the counter and extended his hand. “Scott Meyers.”

“Amy Miles,” she said meekly. Her firm grip surprised him; her delicate hands held an unexpected amount of crunch-power.

He handed her the packet he’d nearly squashed in a death grip when he walked in and saw the walls. “Here are some of the basics, as well as a copy of your lease and all the ground rules.” He gave the drying paint a withering look. “I underlined number ten on page five about not painting the walls.”

Her face turned a deeper shade of red. It was striking against her blond hair, which was obviously dyed. The hair color didn’t look cheap or fake on her, though, unlike a lot of the women he saw around this area. Her hair looked... cute. Sexy, even. “Sorry,” she said, “it’s just the first time I’ve really been out anywhere on my own, and I thought since I signed the lease and paid the deposit and everything, we were allowed to paint.”

“Did you buy the apartment?”

She stared at him. “No.”

“Then you can’t paint.” He started to walk off. “It’s sixty dollars an hour for my crew to come in and paint it back to neutral tones.”

Her mouth flopped open in outrage as she gaped at him. “Neutral tones my ass! Did you even see that hideous wallpaper that was up here?”

“Oh, yeah, you’re right.” He gave her a thin smile. “Replacing wallpaper is a bit cheaper, about forty an hour. I’ll add it on to your next month’s bill.” Almost as an afterthought, he reached down and placed the lids on the open paint and primer cans.

Yellow. She had painted half the walls fucking canary, cheery yellow. If there was any color on God’s green earth that deserved a slow, painful death, it was yellow.

But for some reason, he didn’t seem to mind it so much on her pretty little head.

Even when she looked as if she was about to run him through with her roller brush handle. “What do you think you’re doing?” she screeched as he hauled up the cans.

“Confiscating these before you do any more damage,” he called over his shoulder.

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