Somewhere on Maui (an Accidental Matchmaker Novel)

Somewhere on Maui (an Accidental Matchmaker Novel) by Toby Neal Read Free Book Online

Book: Somewhere on Maui (an Accidental Matchmaker Novel) by Toby Neal Read Free Book Online
Authors: Toby Neal
managed three breaths that way and felt back in control when he turned to face her.
    “We got those lumber changes ordered yesterday.” He turned back to his battered desk to find her seated on it, looking at him over her shoulder.
    “Is that right?”
    He pulled his rolling chair out, sat on it far enough away to get a little distance. “Yes. It’s going to delay this stage at least three days, but they put a rush on the order.”
    Mrs. Lepler pushed out her bottom lip in a pout. “I’m beginning to think you want to hurry up and finish this job. I wonder why. It’s a two-million-dollar build, and I’m paying you plenty.”
    “Of course I’m not rushing, Mrs. Lepler. I’m not padding either. I always give one hundred percent to my work.” He leaned back, deliberately casual, and set one ankle on the other knee.
    “You have a funny way of showing it.” She glanced at the clock on the wall. “A whole half hour late. Also I’m finding your lack of enthusiasm troubling.”
    She stood, walked around the desk to stand directly in front of him, leaning against it with legs spread, her arms crossed. “I asked around. You’re single.”
    “ It’s none of your business, Mrs. Lepler.” He emphasized the “Mrs.”
    “Alixia. And just so you know, Mr. Lepler and I have what’s known as an open marriage. We like to share, even. I’ve told him about you.”
    Adam felt the flush of anger again, a heat blowing across his body that drew him up to stand his full height in front of her, hands fisted on his hips.
    “I’m a contractor. I work for you. You don’t own me.”
    “Oh, but I do. You see, I know what you need.” Alixia Lepler wasn’t intimidated a bit by his stance; she was enjoying this, a sparkle in her bright blue eyes. “You need to be the good guy. Hiring friends and family, taking care of your mother. Yes, I know who packs that lunch every morning. I can fire you and your whole crew and have another one out here tomorrow. What would that do to your good-guy reputation? Because I’ve been documenting all of this. Everything. Every change I’ve had to make to the project, your tardiness, the missing lumber someone stole last week. I can ruin you, like that.” She snapped her fingers.
    “What do you want?” he growled.
    “You. On your knees. Right here.” Her eyes were bright, her face flushed with arousal. She pointed to the ground between her spread legs. “I’ll make it good for you, too.”
    Adam was speechless for a moment at her bold words. He sucked a breath, restraining himself from striking her. “Burn in hell.”
    He brushed by Alixia Lepler and slammed out the door. The guys had begun arriving and called greetings to him, but Adam made a beeline for his truck, stomping across the churned-up red dirt of the site so hard that puffs of it burst up from beneath his work boots. He fired up the truck, threw it in reverse, and roared off the lot.
    Once out on the road, he realized he was speeding. He did the breathing, rolling down the window so the wind blew in his face, literally cooling it.
    He’d been so close to hitting her, but a part of him knew she’d have enjoyed it. Hitting her, succumbing to her commands—either action would have sealed her victory. She was trying to provoke him, thriving on his helpless rage. The whole thing turned her on.
    Now he’d called her bluff. He might have just thrown himself and his whole crew under the proverbial bus. He wound down the scenic two-lane ribbon of road that led into Paia and turned right, ending up at Hookipa, his favorite surf break.
    “When in doubt, go surfing,” he muttered, and found a grin pulling up one side of his mouth, an unexpected sense of pride and freedom replacing the anger.
    What the hell. She could try to ruin him, but the Rodrigues name was solid on this island, and it would take more than one rich haole to ruin a reputation three generations of Rodrigueses had built.
    He unlaced his boots, peeled his work shirt

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