Running Into Love (Fluke My Life)(3)

By: Aurora Rose Reynolds


Feeling a wet, rough tongue run over the side of my face, I smile.

“Hey, baby.” I greet my girl, running a hand through her fur while opening my eyes. You would never know that Muffin is only ten months old judging by her size. My Irish wolfhound pup once weighed eight pounds, but now she weighs a hundred and fifteen. “You missed out on the run today, girl,” I say, sitting up to make room for her when she climbs up next to me on the couch. “Mama biffed it in the park and had some tango time with a shirtless hot guy,” I inform her, and she licks my cheek again. Grabbing both sides of her face, I look into her brown eyes. “Next time I’m dragging you along whether you want to go or not.”

“Ruff.”

“Too bad, because next time you’re coming along,” I reply to her bark, which I’m guessing means no. This morning when I left for my run, she refused to budge from the bed, and I wasn’t about to fight with her about going out. She’s stubborn as hell when she wants to be. The one time I attempted to take her for a walk against her will ended badly for both of us. As in I had to carry my seventy-pound puppy home two blocks in the rain.

“Coming,” I yell when someone starts pounding on my door. Pushing myself up off the couch, I head across the room, knowing who it is without even looking through the peephole. Putting my hand on Muffin’s head to hold her back, I look down at her. “Be nice,” I command, and she huffs, taking a seat. She doesn’t like men at all. One of my boyfriends was cornered in the kitchen when he got up to get some water in the middle of the night. I found him there the next day asleep on top of the counter. After that he refused to come over, which in turn ended our relationship, since there was no way I was going to get busy with him at his place while his mom was in the next room.

I swing the door open, taking in my new neighbor, who looks like he’s had a shower in the last ten minutes. “Can I help you?” His hair is still damp on the ends, and he smells like soap and some kind of dark, intriguing cologne. I can’t help but notice he’s just as hot in a white tee, almost-black jeans, and black boots as he was shirtless and sweaty.

“Did you even check the damn peephole?” he barks, and my eyes fly up to meet his.

The corners of his eyes have small lines forming around them, and I wonder if I should tell him something my mom always tells me. “Honey, stop frowning. You know it causes premature wrinkling. You don’t want to look like your aunt Lizbeth, do you?”

“I knew it was you.” I shrug, leaving out the information about wrinkles, figuring he probably wouldn’t care.

“How?”

“How what?”

“How did you know it was me?”

“For starters, no one I know would ever pound on the door like they’re the police. Secondly, I’m not expecting any company, so I risked it all and took a wild guess. Are you here to return my headphones?” I ask, holding out my hand toward him.

“What the hell is that thing?” he asks as his eyes drop to Muffin, who is trying to push past me to get to him.

“It’s a chicken. Now do you have my headphones or not?”

“Are you always a pain in the ass?”

“Are you always an ass?” He shakes his head, dropping the headphones into my open palm. “Thanks.” I smile as he runs a hand over his head, looking at me, then looking around. “Did you need something else? Flour, sugar, my firstborn child?”

“You are so strange,” he informs me as his eyes roam down my chest and stomach, causing my skin to tingle, my stomach to dip, and me to realize that I’m still shirtless.

“Thanks.” I smile—or try to—before my dog shoves me out of the way. “Muffin, no!” I cry as she runs right past my new neighbor, across the hall, and into his apartment. Running after her through his open door, I find Muffin sprawled out on his couch like it already belongs to her.

“Muffin, come here,” I growl pointing to the floor at my feet. Her head lifts for a second before she lowers it back down and closes her eyes. “Muffin, do you want a treat?” I ask, and she opens one eye but still doesn’t move.

“She’s very well trained,” my new neighbor chuckles as my face heats.

“I’m really sorry about this,” I say, trying to hide my now scarlet face.

“Levi.”

“Pardon?” I ask turning my head toward him.

“My name’s Levi.”

“Oh.” I mutter, thinking Mr. Hot Shirtless Guy fits him better, but I guess Levi is okay, too.

“And this would be the time you tell me your name.” He raises one brow expectantly.

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