The Guy Next Door - By Lori Foster, S Donovan, V Dahl
HANDS ON HIS HIPS, impatience growing, Jett Sutter paced the length of his living room while his youngest sister, Betts, blathered on about God-knew-what. She’d been at his door when he arrived home, throwing off his intricate plans and putting a damper on his fevered expectations.
Never would he deliberately hurt his sister’s feelings, but pretending interest had become impossible half an hour ago. A glance at his wristwatch showed that he needed to shower. He needed to…prep. When he thought of what he had planned, what he would do and with whom, his breath quickened and his muscles twitched.
It wasn’t an unfamiliar reaction when dealing with his supersexy neighbor, Natalie Alexander.
Jett loved his family, he really did, but damn it, he needed privacy to deal with the blooming heat and anticipation of the next few hours. He needed…
The familiar sound of a Volkswagen Bug pulling into the apartment complex parking lot cut short his thoughts. Without caring what his sister would think, Jett took two long strides to the patio doors and parted the curtains just enough to look out.
And there she was: delectable Natalie Alexander.
Superstacked school teacher. Seduction personified. Enchanting enigma.
Damn, she looked hot. Natalie was his most elaborate fantasy in the flesh, made up of scorching contradictions.
Long, corkscrew curls the color of dark honey danced around her face as she hurried from the minuscule cherry-red car with a bag of groceries in one arm, her requisite heavy book bag in the other, her enormous purse slung over her shoulder.
As usual when returning from work, she wore her school-teacher duds of a long dark skirt, flat shoes and a crisp blouse under a warm cardigan. For Jett, it looked like fetish wear—a modest ensemble to disguise the centerfold body.
Seldom had Natalie mentioned teaching, and that was mostly before they’d become intimate. Since then, she’d gone out of her way to keep all conversation to a minimum.
It really burned his ass the way she fought to keep him at a distance.
Not that her evasive attitude had done her any good. He knew what grade level she taught, that she enjoyed reading political dramas and true-crime novels, that she cried over commercials and laughed at birds when they visited the bird feeder off her balcony.
He also recognized the vulnerability she tried to camouflage with sexual bravado—at least, with him. Thinking of her utilizing that special brand of bravado with any other guy bothered him in ways he didn’t want to analyze too closely.
He knew that Natalie came from a background of extreme wealth and social influence, but the money and prestige hadn’t guaranteed her a warm, loving family.
Though Natalie had no inkling of his research, he’d uncovered quite a bit about her, personal and otherwise. If she did know, she probably wouldn’t like it.
At first he’d investigated her out of suspicion, because she’d come on so strong and had been so accommodatingly easy. As the quintessential school teacher, absolutely nothing about Natalie’s outward persona said “uncommitted sex.” Yet that’s what they had.
Wild, hot, no-boundaries sex that left him burned and wanting more. A lot more.
Later, he’d done more digging because damn it, he wasn’t used to any woman wanting only uncommitted sex with him. It didn’t make sense. Natalie never asked him anything personal, never wanted to go out to eat or to a movie. She rebuked gifts and compliments and disdained social settings of any kind.
All she wanted was him, in bed.
That should have been the perfect setup for a man intent on maintaining his bachelor status, but for whatever reason, Jett felt uneasy about it. He wanted her to want more, damn it.
Why didn’t she?
Now, as she exited her car, Jett watched her and knew by the way his muscles twitched and his skin burned that he was getting in too deep. Natalie had the most profound effect on him.
Confusion, he told himself. Curiosity and intrigue. Nothing more.
Once he knew why she’d built so many walls, he’d be able to scale them. They’d both have a good time for as long as it lasted, and neither of them would have regrets.
And with that goal in mind, Jett had a plan.
Using her hip, Natalie bumped the car door shut and, because of the brisk wind, hurried for the entrance. In late March, the weather was milder but still pretty chilly.
Along the way to the apartment entrance, she glanced up at his window.
Jett made sure she couldn’t see him; God only knew what she’d think if she caught him