“I need to start having the prospect warm up my car before I leave,” Jazz grumbled as a full-body shiver ran through her. Though this was her second winter out of the toasty Arizona desert, she hadn’t gotten used to the cold.
And the seven-minute drive from work to home wasn’t enough time for her car to warm up. At least not when the day’s high never made it out of the thirties. Even with a hat, scarf, gloves, puffy down jacket, and wooly socks, she felt the chill. And not in a brisk, refreshing sort of way, but in an I’m-buried-under-an-avalanche-and-about-to-freeze-to-death way.
When it came to the cold, Jazz was a complete and utter wuss.
The good news was she only had half a mile left until she reached her home. The bad news was that it had snowed a good three inches while she’d been at work, so she now had to shovel the driveway, a task she loathed. Shell and Toni had laughed when she’d whined, telling her to make the prospect do it, but that felt all wrong. The poor guy was stuck watching her boring ass all day when she wasn’t even someone’s ol’ lady. How could she ask him to do manual labor on top of it? No, she’d suck it up and shovel her own driveway like the big girl she was. And if the prospect jumped in to help, well…she wouldn’t turn him away.
She wasn’t stupid.
As she turned onto her street, a smile lit her face. There in the driveway of her little rented house stood her next-door neighbor, Jeremy, using his snow blower to rid her driveway of her white nemesis.
What an angel.
She pulled into the snow-free driveway just as Jeremy was powering down his snow blower. After giving a little wave to the prospect as he parked next to a mound of plowed snow, she exited the car. “Seriously, Jeremy, you are the best. How has some lucky girl not snapped you up yet?”
He snorted as he set down the blower. Dressed in a leather jacket, biker boots, and black jeans, he looked like he’d fit right in at the Hell’s Handler’s clubhouse, but for some reason unknown to her, he’d been denied the opportunity to prospect.
“Been waiting on you, Jazzy, you know that.” He winked, then walked her way. “But you keep breaking my heart at every turn.” The words were spoken with a lightness to them, but the gaze that held hers conveyed a sincerity that had her face heating.
Thankfully, her cheeks had already reddened from the cold. Otherwise her blush would be obvious, and she’d hate to give the guy the wrong idea. Even if she’d been interested in Jeremy, dating him would have proven way too awkward, considering how close she was to the men of the MC. Supposedly, he’d attempted to prospect more than once and hadn’t made it through the door. “Flattery will get you everywhere,” she said with a wave of her gloved hand and an airy chuckle. “But I see the parade of chicas you’ve got coming and going from your bachelor pad over there. Pretty sure you’re loving your freedom.”
That made him smile. Teeth, a little on the yellow side gleamed at her. Overall, he wasn’t bad looking. Somewhat attractive, with buzzed brownish hair, a smooth-shaven jaw, and eyes on the greener side of hazel. His muscles were real as was his passion for motorcycles and desire to join the Handlers. The problem with Jeremy was how he always seemed to be trying just a little too hard, which often came off as needy. At least in Jazz’s opinion. She’d never say it aloud, but Jeremy was a beta male and Jazz was the kinda girl whose head only seemed to turn for alphas. Was it a good thing? Perhaps not considering she was twenty-nine and pathologically single.
“What can I say, Jazz? The ladies like what they see.”
She cocked her head, studying him. Were his neediness the only issue, perhaps she could have overlooked it and gone out with the guy, but it wasn’t the only problem. She had mountains of her own issues holding her back.
“Of course they do,” she said with a wink. “You’re a stud. Anyway, thanks for taking care of the driveway for me. I really appreciate it. I’ve dreaded the thought of shoveling out since the first flake fell.”
“Why shovel when you can blow?” Jeremy said wagging his eyebrows.
Jazz laughed. “I’m sure there’s a naughty joke in there somewhere, but I’m not gonna dig too deep for it.” When Jeremy groaned, she laughed again. “See what I did there? Shovel? Dig?”
“Unfortunately. Your comedy game needs work.” He slung an arm around her shoulders and propelled her toward her door. “Better get that sweet ass inside before it freezes off, Arizona-girl.”
Jazz dug out her key. “Thanks again, Jeremy.”
“My pleasure, babe. Long as I’m not out of town I’ll take care of your driveway, okay?”
God, why couldn’t she be attracted to this guy? He was so damn sweet. “You’re seriously the best, Jeremy,” she said before giving him a peck on the cheek. “I think Mrs. Sampson might actually have an old snow blower out back in the shed,” she said of her land lady. “I went out there once and found a snake staring at me so that was the last time I ventured back there. And I won’t ever be going again.” She shuddered and it had nothing to do with the chill for once. “I’d rather die than find another snake. That shed is off limits to me.”
Jeremy laughed. He kissed her back then started down her driveway, calling, “Don’t worry, I got your back. Unless I’m out of town, you won’t have to shovel or battle the snakes to look for the snow blower.” With a wave of his hand he reached the sidewalk and turned right toward his own home.
Monty, the prospect who’d been tasked with following her for the day, stared at him from his truck while chatting away on his phone. For his part, Jeremy glared back then flipped Monty the bird before making his way up his own snow-free driveway.
Interesting. Jazz would be lying if she said she wasn’t curious why the MC didn’t seem to care for Jeremy. Though she could see how he wouldn’t be such a great fit, she had a feeling the rejection came from more than just the fact Jeremy was a bit…weak. Ugh, just thinking the word made her feel like a bitch.
Well, none of it was any of her business. Time to get inside and get some coffee brewing to warm herself from the inside out. Just as she shoved the key in the lock, her phone rang. After digging it out of her overstuffed purse she held it to her ear without looking at the screen.
“Crawly, really?” Screw’s disgusted voice entered her ear, stopped at her nipples to perk them up, then continued straight to her pussy which fucking fluttered at the sound.
Key still sticking out of her door, Jazz sighed. “What are you talking about, Screwball?”
“You put your fucking lips on Crawly. Let him put his lips on you.”
Jazz pinched the bridge of her nose as an ache began to form between her eyes. Of course the pain, it did nothing to squash the arousal brought on by his voice and the memory of another pair of lips on her. A set of lips that she’d given into in one very needy moment a few weeks back.
Another mistake because now that memory popped up at the most inconvenient times.
“Okay, buddy, first of all where and on who my lips land is none of your business. And second of all, what the fuck are you talking about? Who the hell is Crawly?”
Screw practically growled as he said, “Jeremy Crawly. That pansy-assed mother fucker who was on your doorstep five fucking seconds ago.”
Jazz spun, scanning the street for an annoying biker. “You spying on me now?”
“That the kind of man you’re looking for?”
He wasn’t on her street. At least not in sight. Screw wasn’t subtle enough to be hiding in the bushes or some nonsense like that. He was too loud and too proud to hide from anyone. Had he actually been there, he’d probably have stormed out the moment she kissed Jeremy’s cheek and laid some ridiculous claim on her.
Your stomach did not just flutter at the thought of being Screw’s, you stupid silly girl.
She continued to scan the street, consciously ignoring Screw’s question, and as her eyes passed over the navy truck in front of her house, she scowled. “Really, you traitor?” she yelled at Monty.
When the prospect shrugged through the foggy windows, she flipped him off then stormed into her house. “Not that I owe you any explanations, asshole, but it was a kiss on the damn cheek to thank him for getting the snow off my driveway before I got home from work. He didn’t want me to do it myself and freeze my tits off. I didn’t see you out there actually doing something for someone else.”
“I was on my way with my blower when I got called into Copper’s office. He wanted to meet with me but was fine with waiting until I was done at your house. I called Monty to tell him to either sit on you so you wouldn’t shovel or get his lazy ass out of the truck and start shoveling until I got there. He let me know Crawly had already completed the job.”
If she were in a movie, the background noise would be a whistling sound as the wind left her sails. Every time she put Screw in the box called careless womanizer, he went and did something to surprise her.
Of course, ninety-nine-point nine percent of the time it was with the end goal of getting laid, which kinda negated the whole good deed thing.
“Damn you, Screw,” Jazz said as she sagged. Her back hit the closed door with a heavy thud she’d have felt if it weren’t for the thickness of her puffy jacket. “How many times do I have to tell you—”
“I know you’re not gonna fuck me if I shovel your driveway, Jazzy.”
“But you thought I’d fuck Jeremy for it?”
“What? No, shit.” He actually sounded frustrated with himself. “Look, I may like to fuck and it’s no goddamn secret that I want to fuck you, but I’m not an asshole. You hate the cold and live by yourself. You don’t have a blower and there’s about four inches out there. It’d have taken you all goddamned day to shovel, and who the hell knows if Monty is worth anything.”
“He’s been prospecting for two months.”
Screw snorted. “That don’t mean shit. The fucker’s got a long way to go before patching in.”
Jazz sighed and the silence between them grew heavy.
“A thank you kiss on the cheek, huh?”
Jazz stared at the ceiling, willing herself to end the call. Just a quick goodbye and the push of one button and this conversation would be over and she could focus on not thinking about Screw for the rest of the day. But did she do that?
Of course not. That would be logical. Healthy, even.
“Yes. I’m not interested in Jeremy.” What the hell was wrong with her? Maybe the cold has frozen all the parts of her brain responsible for rational thinking.
“Good to know,” Screw said.