Skintight

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Book: Skintight by Susan Andersen Read Free Book Online
Authors: Susan Andersen
neither are you, Miz Librarian.”
    Treena sighed. She adored both her neighbors but when they got together it wasn’t pretty. “If you two are going to spar, take it outside,” she ordered. “I’m not in the mood.”
    â€œWhoa.” Mack turned to look at her. “What’s got your undies in a twist? One would think you weren’t getting any.” He jerked his chin at Ellen. “Now, if it was this one I’d understand—”
    â€œThat’s enough, Mack,” Treena snapped, and Ellen pushed her chair away from the table and rose to her feet.
    â€œI have to go.”
    â€œEllen, please, don’t rush off.” She started toward her but the older woman smiled determinedly.
    â€œThank you for the coffee, darling. I’ll talk to you soon.” She nodded at Mack without really looking at him. “Mr. Brody.”
    A second later she was gone.
    Seriously irritated, she turned back to Mack. “Are you happy now?”
    Mack jerked his frowning gaze from the door. No, he wasn’t happy. He hadn’t been since the day more than a year and a half ago when he’d taken one look at Treena’s new neighbor and fallen headfirst in lust for the entire tidy little package even though he’d received nothing but cool-eyed disdain in return.
    â€œI don’t know what’s the matter with you two.” He heard Treena chastising him as if from a distance, but he tuned her out. What was he doing fantasizing about a frozen-lipped little librarian? Like most guys, sex was pretty high on his list of gotta-haves, and age hadn’t slowed down that particular need a whole helluva lot. He was a handyman by trade since retiring from the aircraft industry, and that meant he was good with his hands. His wife, Maryanne, God rest her soul, had always thought so, anyway.
    But he knew that even if he was God’s brand-new shiny gift to women, little Miss Ellen would hardly notice, and even if she did, the result would probably be about as much fun as fiddling with a piece of sheet metal. The woman was colorless, for God’s sake. He’d rarely seen her smile, and he’d never seen her wear anything that wasn’t a shade of gray or black or tan or that taupe color.
    â€œYou always start talking like some randy old goat,” Treena said, “and she invariably goes from sweet and funny to stiff and cold. And then there I am, stuck in the middle. How does that old song go? ‘Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right’?”
    He’d expected that during the year Treena had sublet her place, the two of them would run into each other less. But he’d discovered that exchanging stiff littlenods in the hallway was ten times worse than exchanging insults in Treena’s cozy little apartment. He admitted that while Ellen remained cool on the outside, he noticed that her cheeks heated up a little, and her pretty hazel eyes flashed fire when they sparred. He enjoyed seeing that.
    He’d gone too far today, though. She’d refused to look at him after he’d said what he had, but he’d seen the hurt on her face anyhow. And now he felt like shit for being the one to put it there.
    â€œI’m sorry I busted up your hen party,” he said in self-disgust, ignoring Treena’s sudden silence and look of surprise. Shaking his head at himself, he climbed to his feet and headed for the door. And for the first time in his life, he felt like the old man Ellen had implied he was.

CHAPTER SIX
    J AX CAME BACK from Los Angeles with a feeling of accomplishment in his chest and a sizable wad of cash in his pocket. He had the taxi driver drop him off at Bellagio, and grinned at a young bride and groom in full wedding regalia when they crossed his path several minutes later in the area where Bellagio gave way to Caesar’s Palace. He’d seen more wedding gowns in the past few days than he’d seen in his entire

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