Breaking Even (The Sterling Shore Series #5)(3)

By: C.M. Owens



“They're not coming,” I mutter, cursing my easy-to-piss-off neighbor when my hood refuses to open.

“You didn't call her insurance company?” he asks, sounding confused.

Crazy girl ran off without waiting for the cops. I could be a dick and get her arrested for a hit-and-run, but I won't. Even though she deserves to be scared out of her fucking mind.

But I'll do something to get even. I may not want her in jail, but I sure as hell want revenge.

When I saw my short, somewhat nerdy little neighbor standing at my door in her long skirt, oversized white button-up shirt, and ugly-as-hell shoes, I just assumed she was trying to find an excuse to talk to me. Then she had rolled her shoulders back, stood as tall as she could, and barked at me while her light, brown hair sat in disarray on her head.

Would it kill her to try and look a little appealing?

I might have lost my cool and acted like a dick during the heat of the moment, but she woke me up too early. This isn’t... this is ridiculous. You don’t bash in a guy’s car—his pride and fucking joy—over a parking spot. Especially not before coffee.

“Hello,” Wren prompts. “Insurance company? When are they coming?”

Obviously he's not going to drop this.

“Nah. Insurance companies piss me off. Besides, I just bought a few new tools to play with. Might as well experiment on my own car,” I say mildly, pretending as though it's no big deal while secretly plotting my badass revenge.

Wren looks around my massive garage as all my guys work their asses off. It's a busy week with all the new clients. It'll be a pain in the ass to try and work my own car in.

“When's the magazine coming?” Wren asks.

“They're doing their article in a few months, so it might be a while.”

“Is it on just this one shop, or the entire franchise?”

“This one is the main focus of the article. The franchise will get some attention. They had the columnist come out and take a look at the place. She was impressed,” I say with a suggestive tone, and he rolls his eyes.

“Figures.”

Leaning back and ignoring my poor baby, I stare at him. “Didn’t fuck her, if that’s what you’re insinuating. She’s doing an article, so that would mean drama. But you shouldn’t act so appalled by the thought. In fact, you should be mixing things up by now. You're single. Erica isn't sitting around mourning the loss of your marriage.”

He grimaces, and I frown. Maybe that was too harsh.

“I know,” he says through a slow exhale. Then he sips his coffee while trying not to get lost in thought. “So what'd you do to piss her off?” he asks, looking back up while lazily gesturing to my car.

I guess we're not allowed to talk about the fact he's not doing anything besides sitting around. I don't want to tell him I took her parking spot. He’ll ask why, and then there will be a hellacious amount mockery that follows.

“Nothing, really. She's just bat-shit crazy.” At least that's the truth.

And I'll make sure the punishment is fitting.

***

BRIN

Maggie whistles low, chuckling as she shakes her head in disbelief. I groan as I stare at the rear of my car that I'll have to spend a fortune to get fixed.

Maggie came to meet me at work, curious about what happened to set me off this morning. I've spent the morning in knots, unable to face work after my little breakdown. The museum can wait. I have a big-ass mess to sift through.

My boss will just have to do his own job today, because I'm taking a personal day. I don't care if he's already seen me standing in front of the museum for the past two hours just staring blankly at the mutilated rear end of my car. I'll have to work overtime to pay for my rampage.

“Was it worth it?” Maggie asks, still smiling as a piece of one of my taillights falls to the ground, shattering a little more to punctuate the tragedy it has suffered.

My crumpled Camry's rear still looks better than the front of his destroyed Porsche. I dread going home. Maybe I'll get lucky and he'll stick to his side of the street. I never see him outside of the subdivision. We barely even see each other outside in the yards.

Shit! I can’t believe I stood there and drooled over him this morning—then went crazy and smashed his car. Now that the anger has fled, the humiliation and dread are ruling me.

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