“You call anyone about the AC yet?” I asked, realizing this could be the perfect in. She frowned, those gorgeous lips pouting as I considered sucking them into my mouth. Maybe chewing on them for a while. My dick surged—apparently we were in agreement.
“No,” she told me. “I mean, I tried. But the closest repair place is in Omak, and the guy isn’t available for another week at least. Not much around here, you know?”
“Let me take a look at it,” I suggested. This really was a perfect opportunity to get in with her, build up my cover . . . Great, now I was thinking about getting into her. Thank fuck for the counter between us, because my cock was rock hard. “I’m Cooper, by the way. Cooper Romero.”
“Tinker Garrett,” she replied, offering her hand across the glass. Her fingers were delicate and tiny, but not fragile. I felt the strength in her grip, and she wasn’t afraid to look me in the eye. “Nice to meet you. Have you done maintenance work before?”
I considered the question, deciding not to lie more than was necessary—it’s always the extra lies that cause trouble. Keep it simple and don’t volunteer information.
“Not formally, no,” I admitted. “But I’ve done a bit of everything over the years. Generally pretty good at figuring things out, if I’ve got enough time, and it sounds like this isn’t an hourly job anyway. Not so much a cash operation?”
She flushed. I should get the hell out of here—I already had a job to do, and it didn’t involve banging Tinker Garrett. She tugged her hand free and reached up, catching her black hair and pulling it back into a ponytail, jiggling her boobs in the process.
So much for doing the right thing.
She caught my look and blushed, looking uncomfortable for the first time since I’d walked in. “Stupid hair—it’s hot in here, and I couldn’t stand it on my neck for another minute. You’re right—the job is off the books. I know that’s—”
“No worries,” I said, offering her a sly smile. She flushed harder, and I felt a surge of triumph because I wasn’t the only one feeling it. “I’m just a guy lookin’ for a place to sleep. How many hours a week do you need me to work?”
“Um, twenty?” she asked, turning it into a question. That was perfect—enough work to make me look busy and explain my presence, but not enough to get in the way of my real job. “But I haven’t even had you fill out an application yet, and I need to put away the chocolate.”
“Show me the AC,” I replied, figuring I might as well take charge. “I’ll look it over and see if I can fix it while you do that. Sound good?”
She glanced around, and I had to bite back a snort of laughter. She obviously didn’t feel comfortable giving me free rein of the place, but at the same time she wanted that AC fixed. Bad. Couldn’t blame her, either. Shop felt like it was a hundred and ten in there, and the day wasn’t over yet.
“It’s up on the roof,” she said finally. “Come on through the back. I’ll show you where the stairs are.”
Excellent, although as I followed her up the stairs—eyes glued to her ass—I couldn’t help but think she was a little too trusting for her own good. Any other guy might take advantage of the situation. I sure as hell wanted to.
Focus, I reminded myself. She’s not the target.
• • •
An hour later my dick had calmed down, leaving me alone with a piece of shit air conditioner that should’ve been put out of its misery ten years ago. The old building was three stories tall, with a fake facade and a black tar roof that had to be at least a thousand degrees, maybe more. Either way, it was so hot that melted tar had coated my knees, ruining my favorite pair of jeans.
Christ, but I was a moron.
Yes, I needed cover to stay in Hallies Falls, and the thought of working for Tinker Garrett appealed greatly. But there were less complicated covers that didn’t involve broiling myself alive on a roof that screamed “structurally unsound.” Fucking AC unit wasn’t much better. Damned thing was held together with duct tape—okay, that wasn’t entirely fair . . . some of it was electrical tape—and I couldn’t figure out how it’d kept running this long. My best theory was animal sacrifice. I’d found five dead squirrels inside. Little fuckers had chewed through the wiring, probably in some kind of satanic ritual.
Now their fluffy little corpses had bloated in the sun—just waiting to explode all over me—because kneeling in hot tar wasn’t shitty enough. I needed to cut my losses and the get the fuck out of there. Life was too damned short.
I turned to find Tinker stepping out onto the roof from the raised stairwell. She walked toward me, hips swaying in her cropped jeans with the cuffs rolled up. She’d tied a red bandanna around her head, and with her fitted shirt and generous curves she looked just like a Harley pinup girl.
A pinup girl carrying a tall glass of iced tea.
“Thought you could use a drink,” she said, raising a hand to shade her eyes from the sun. I took the glass, chugging down half of it in one swallow, then considered pouring the rest of it over her boobs, because God made those tits to be seen and appreciated.
Instead I thanked her.
“So how’s the AC looking?” she asked, catching her bottom lip and chewing on it mournfully.
“Squirrels ate your wiring,” I said bluntly. “I can probably get it running again, but it needs to be replaced.”
“It’s August already,” she replied, sighing heavily. A better man would’ve made sympathetic noises, but I didn’t give a shit about her AC. I was too busy imagining her tongue licking my cock, because what can I say? I’ve always been a simple man with simple needs. “You think you can keep it running for another couple weeks? That’ll give me enough time to figure out what to do.”
Christ I wanted to fuck her. Seriously, it was like the bitch had been made for me, all perfect and put together but just a little dirty.
Small enough I could control her every move if I wanted to, but lush and soft and—
Opt out, asshole. You don’t want a complication like this. Tell her you changed your mind about the job.
“I’ll need to get some parts in Omak,” I said instead. “I already called to check. Trip should take an hour and a half, maybe a little longer, which means I’ll still have plenty of daylight to finish the repair. Assuming I’ve got the job, that is.”