Good Girl Page 20

Oh, I was just leaving—sorry to invade your space!


You’re insane if you think I’m turning off the TV in the middle of an HP marathon.


Take me.

Before I have a chance to decide, he sees me curled up on his couch, and freezes in the doorway.

Ranger leaps down with a happy bark, going to greet his master with enthusiasm, as though it’s been days. Dolly stays put, but she’s apparently used to Noah by now, because she doesn’t yip. She just sits up and wags her little tail with so much excitement she’s practically levitating.

Noah hunches down to greet Ranger with a quiet “Hey, boy,” but his gaze is locked on me the entire time, as though trying to figure out how he feels about my presence. Then his gaze slides to Dolly, who gives a happy little sigh at being acknowledged.

“Is that my pillow?” he asks gruffly.

I run a hand over Dolly’s fluffy little body. “She likes to be pampered.”

He doesn’t respond, standing and going to the fridge to retrieve the Brita filter pitcher before pouring himself a glass of water and finishing it in three gulps.

“How was your night?” I ask.

Again with the no-response thing as he sets the glass by the sink and goes into the bathroom.

When he comes out, the commercial break is over and Harry and friends are just seeing the first of the Death Eaters in the sky.

I reluctantly reach for the remote, but Noah surprises me by plopping down on the couch next to me, big hand reaching out and taking a handful of the popcorn from the bowl in my lap.

It has the potential to be sexy for a hot second, with his hand so near my—

Ranger hops up between us.

Moment over.

Still, I can’t hide a happy little smile that Noah’s not kicking me out, and I take a handful of popcorn, offering a piece to both Ranger and Dolly.

Ranger eats his. Dolly doesn’t, deciding instead that it’s past time that Noah pay proper attention to her. She nudges the popcorn bowl with her nose, and I lift it out of the way so she can crawl across my lap. Ranger gives a happy bark as she pushes past him, but apparently he decides he wants her rejected piece of popcorn more than he wants Dolly (typical man), because he hops down only to hop back up again in Dolly’s previous spot. Doggy musical chairs.

Dolly continues her trek across the couch, and I sneak a look out of the corner of my eye, letting out a giggle as she settles in Noah’s lap, staring up at him with a determined pet me, pet me, pet me look as her fluffy tail swishes back and forth in a little blur.

“Thought you didn’t like me,” he says quietly to my dog…before he reaches out a big hand and rubs a knuckle under her little chin.

Dolly pants in ecstasy at his touch.

Can you blame her?

I’m suddenly very aware that Noah is close and smells ridiculously good. He doesn’t seem like the type to wear cologne, but he’s wearing something spicy and woodsy and manly.

He reaches out for another handful of popcorn, and I smile when I see him sneak a piece to Dolly.

Only Ranger also sees, letting out a betrayed bark before trying to climb across me to get at Noah, Dolly, and the popcorn. I push him back, mollifying him with a few more kernels of his own.

“He’s not supposed to be on the furniture,” Noah says.

I give Ranger another piece of popcorn. “Have you told him that?”

“Sure. But who’s he going to listen to, me or the pretty girl who feeds him popcorn?”

I glance over in surprise, noting that Dolly has curled up into a ball on his lap, looking adorably tiny on his large thighs, further dwarfed by the way his hand strokes her, his palm spanning most of her back.

And just like that, I’m jealous of my dog.

“You think I’m pretty?” I ask.

“Shut up,” he says, not looking at me.

I smile. “How was your night?”

“Not your business.”

Okay. So that’s a no on the peace treaty, then. I try to stifle my disappointment. I don’t know what I want from this guy, but it’s impressive the way he can take me from horny to irritable and back again in about five seconds.

“All right. Good talk, Noah,” I say, leaning forward and setting the popcorn on the coffee table.

He reaches out and grabs my wrist. “It’s not my job to talk to you, princess. You want someone to keep you company, call one of your groupies. You need someone to fix your sink, I’m your guy. You need someone to fix you, look elsewhere.”

I don’t reply as I jerk my arm free and pull my gray hoodie off the arm of the couch. I shrug it on over my tank top, not because I’m cold, but because I suddenly feel all kind of exposed, clearly an unwanted guest in his home.

I mean, I get it.

I barely know the guy, we don’t like each other much, and I’ve invaded his personal space.

Still, it stings a little.

And what does he mean, find someone else to “fix me”?

I don’t need fixing.

Or rather, if I do need fixing, I’m taking care of it by myself. I know what I need, and it’s not to be berated and snapped at by some guy who’s spending the prime of his life fixing the rotting steps of a deserted mansion.

And actually, speaking of that…

“You sure I’m the one who needs fixing?” I ask, reaching down and snatching up my dog, who looks like she doesn’t know quite how to feel about the change in situation.

He snorts. “Sorry. Not engaging.”

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