Home > Fix Her Up (Hot & Hammered #1)(7)

Fix Her Up (Hot & Hammered #1)(7)
Author: Tessa Bailey

“Mind telling me why you have a fucking Dodge Grand Caravan?”

Stephen adjusted the air-conditioning from high to higher. “I have a truck I use to transport building materials.”

“Why aren’t we in it?”

“Did you always complain this much?” Travis decided that didn’t need an answer and Stephen wasn’t waiting for one anyway. “I’m trying to get Kristin to give . . . strong consideration to children. I thought this might encourage her.”

Travis frowned as a woman waiting to cross the street blew a kiss at him. “This conversation is above my pay grade.” He could feel Stephen wanting to say more and sighed. “She’s not considering having kids? Isn’t that the first thing a married woman living on Long Island considers?”

“Kristin is complicated,” he explained patiently. “She wants me to work for it.”

“Jesus. She wants you to work for something that will be nothing but work?” Travis chuckled. “How many hoops did you jump through to get a yes to the marriage proposal?”

Stephen growled. “You don’t want to know.”

“You’re right, I don’t. I’ll just be over here thanking God it’s not me.”

“Famous last words,” Stephen murmured, nodding his head at a group of waving women on the sidewalk. “You could be looking at your future bride right now.” He laughed when Travis shivered. “It’ll happen. As long as it’s none of the women in my life, we’ll be good.”

The idea of him settling down was so far-fetched, Travis didn’t even bother addressing it. The mention of the women in Stephen’s life did bring a certain face to mind, though. Georgie’s, to be exact. Over the last couple of days, she’d popped into his consciousness at the weirdest times. Her red nose and damp eyes when she’d opened her front door. That sunny yellow apron she’d forgotten to remove the price tag from. It didn’t seem right that her family hadn’t shown more enthusiasm over her stupid waffles when even Travis had managed to drag his ass out of bed to be there. He’d told himself it wasn’t his place to bring the oversight up to Stephen, but now it was Wednesday, and it was obvious that Georgie wasn’t going to give her brother hell over it.

He thought she might be . . . too hurt. Or something equally unpleasant.

How annoying that it should bother him at all. He just wanted to put his head down, sweat through the depression he’d landed in after getting cut from the league, and move forward without looking left or right. He shouldn’t be concerning himself with the hurt feelings of his friend’s little sister. They were almost to his apartment. If he could just get through one more day without bringing it up, he’d eventually forget about all that food she’d probably spent hours making for no one.

“Speaking of the women in your life, you forgot Georgie’s brunch on Saturday.”

Christ. Had he actually said that out loud?

“What brunch?”

A little spike poked up under his skin. “I was standing right there when she invited you to it, man. We were in your office . . .”

“Right.” A line formed between Stephen’s brows. “And it was last Saturday?”

Travis snorted. “Forget it.”

“Did you go?”

He coughed into his fist. “Yeah.”

“You were alone with my little sister?”

Travis couldn’t roll his eyes hard enough. “Stop clutching your pearls, Grandma. I didn’t go there knowing I was going to be alone with her. I left after half an hour.” He sent his friend a look. “Give me some credit. I’m not in the market for a woman at all, let alone the girl who used to spy on us through binoculars from the tree in your backyard. Your sister’s blessed virtue was safe the whole time.”

Stephen popped his jaw. “I trust you.”

Travis let out a breath he didn’t know he was holding. It was one thing to be the manwhore of the sports world and another to have his best friend distrust him because of that well-earned image. Was it too much to hope that one person found him redeemable? Once again, he couldn’t seem to prevent thoughts of Georgie from popping up. You could never be a joke. “You can make up missing brunch to Georgie by fixing her fireplace. She wants to replace the brick.”

The calculations Stephen was performing in his head were almost audible. “I want to, but we’re on a tight schedule with three flips running at once. Two of my best guys won’t be back until the summer is over, so we’re short-staffed even though you’re gracing us with your moody presence. It’s going to have to wait.”

Travis nodded. There. He’d fulfilled his job by asking. Done.

They pulled off Main Street, traveling down one of the side streets to a three-family house, of which Travis was renting the top floor. The elderly owners who lived on the first floor left him alone, and the middle apartment below him was empty. A far cry from the crowded luxury high-rises he’d lived in all over the map, but right now, the quiet was exactly what he wanted.

“I’ll meet you at the job site tomorrow,” Travis said as they pulled up along the curb. “I can’t ride in this estrogen trap another day and maintain my self-respect.”

Stephen shrugged. “Suit yourself. Don’t be late.” He rubbed his hands together. “Tomorrow is demo day.”

“I won’t sleep a wink,” Travis droned, closing the passenger door behind him. “Thanks.”

The horn tooted as Stephen drove off, making Travis shake his head. He entered on the first floor, climbing the stairs to the top and unlocking the door to his apartment. He’d only managed to shuck his work boots, strip off his dusty shirt, and crack open a beer when a knock sounded on the door. Who the hell? He’d paid the rent a couple months in advance, so it couldn’t be the owners. Unless maybe there was a leak coming from his place? Travis plowed a hand through his hair, unlocked the apartment door—and found Georgie staring back at him, holding two armfuls of groceries.

A different ball cap hid her eyes this time, her standard ponytail sticking out through the back. She wore overalls with a loose T-shirt underneath. He almost closed the door in her face when he saw the script across the front. CLASS OF 2012 RULES!

This veritable girl-child was trying not to look at his bare chest and failing miserably. The combination of her high school memorabilia and the freckles scattered across her nose made him feel like a lecher for offering her the view, whether it had been intentional or not.

Fuck’s sake. He didn’t have time for this. Couldn’t he just drink his beer in peace and forget he’d landed back in his hometown working a construction gig? Getting up in the morning and putting on work boots was enough of an effort when his heart was back in the dugout and aching to be lacing up cleats instead. At the moment, there was no energy left to give.

“Why are you here?”

“Um.” She slipped past him into the apartment before he could stop her. “First of all, hi. Second, I don’t know if you’re aware of this, but it’s very hard to cook for one person. They sell things in two portion sizes: family smorgasbord, and enough for two. So I keep ending up with leftovers.” She snuck a nervous look at him over her shoulder and started to unpack the first bag, setting foil-covered plates out on the counter. “You can only eat so much Chinese takeout, right?”

Her comment brought on the memory of her chucking a carton at his head. The damn apartment wasn’t in much better shape than the last time Georgie had been there. His laundry was still spilling out of the hamper in the bedroom doorway, unopened mail and glossy advertisements were scattered on every surface, sticky beverage rings, dust, clutter. It was nasty.

“Are you going to close the door, Travis?”

“No.” He jerked his chin toward the hall. “Because you’re not staying.”

She turned and propped a hip against the counter. “Afraid I’ll drop some more truth on you?”


“Because we need to talk about your rat infestation.”

His neck prickled. “I don’t have rats.”

“Not yet.” She went back to unloading food. “This close to the water, though? You’ll have roommates within a week. They’ll be even more annoying than me.”

For some reason, Georgie calling herself annoying made him close the door.

The brim of Georgie’s hat didn’t quite hide her smile. “Okay, so there’s meat ravioli—”

“That works,” he grunted.

“Or chipotle meatloaf.”

His beer paused on the way to his mouth. “What the hell is that? Never mind, I’ll eat it.”

“Both things?”

He gestured to her tiny frame with his beer bottle. “A portion size for you is not the same as a portion size for me, baby girl.” The endearment rolled off his tongue like butter, and Georgie almost dropped one of the plates she was unloading. Why the hell had he called her that? Pet names weren’t unusual for Travis, although he’d never called anyone by this one before. Still, Georgie wasn’t one of the women who’d come and gone from his life at the speed of fastball pitches. She shouldn’t even be here. And he damn sure shouldn’t be calling attention to their size difference or making references to her body type. Not that he could make out a single curve with those overalls hanging loose around her, head to toe. He found nothing about that disappointing. “Look, thank you for stopping by with the food. But I don’t think your brother would appreciate us hanging out.”

Hot Series
» Unfinished Hero series
» Colorado Mountain series
» Chaos series
» The Young Elites series
» Billionaires and Bridesmaids series
» Just One Day series
» Sinners on Tour series
» Manwhore series
» This Man series
» One Night series
Most Popular
» Fix Her Up (Hot & Hammered #1)
» Never Look Back (Criminal Profiler #3)
» I See You (Criminal Profiler #2)
» Hide and Seek (Criminal Profiler #1)
» No Offense (Little Bridge Island #2)
» Burn You Twice
» Vanessa Yu's Magical Paris Tea Shop
» Loathe at First Sight