Christmas from hell, p.18
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       Christmas from Hell, p.18
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         Part #7 of Neighbor from Hell series by R. L. Mathewson

  When five whole minutes went by and she still hadn’t realized her mistake and thanked the heavens above for such a blessing, he’d glared at her and waited. When a few more minutes went by, he’d realized that she’d probably hadn’t really heard him over the loud motor of the industrial mixer, which of course explained everything.

  So, he’d reached over, went to press the power button to shut the mixer off so that he could give her another opportunity at a chance of a lifetime when the little bully slapped his hand and continued adding ingredients as though she hadn’t just physically assaulted him.

  Pouting the way only a Bradford could, he’d folded his arms over his chest and waited for her to finish, apologize for the unwarranted abuse and commence with the tears of pure joy when she realized the honor that he was bestowing on her.

  Did that happen?

  No, of course it didn’t.

  So, he made one more attempt to shut the mixer off, received another slap for his efforts, a murderous glare as she continued to ignore him. His hand had literally flinched with the need to spank her beautiful ass again, but he’d somehow found the willpower not to do that…at least, until she’d given him no other choice. Just when he was about to pull the stubborn woman over his knee, the unexpected happened.

  Her grandfather showed up and man, had he been pissed. Before Duncan had a chance to explain himself or ask Necie to give him a minute so that he could apologize, something that he was going to do no matter what it took, the old bastard had been holding a very large meat cleaver and showed him the door.

  Since the meat clever had been aimed towards his still healing balls, Duncan had been forced to accept defeat and leave. Before the door managed to close behind him, old man Dixon let him know that he was now officially banned from Dixon’s Bakery.

  He would have argued with the bastard, but he’d also taken that moment to tell Duncan to stay away from his granddaughter as he slammed the front door shut in Duncan’s face, leaving him standing there, fuming.

  Nothing pissed him off more than being told what to do and his cousins and brothers trying to keep him from the busy bakery in front of him knew that. They knew him well enough to know that he didn’t fuck around if there was something that he wanted.

  Coming between him and his goal was a huge fucking mistake and the only ones that seemed to have realized that were his Uncles, who had been smart enough to stay out of this. He kept his gaze locked on that front door and waited, because there was no way in hell that he was going to be given the brush off again, not when he was this fucking intrigued.

  *-*-*-*

  “Seriously?” she asked even though she knew that it was pointless to argue since the man that had apparently lost his mind was completely serious.

  “You’re not going out that door,” Grandpa said firmly, crossing his arms over his chest as if that would somehow make him look even more intimidating.

  Granted, the employees that had been eavesdropping had taken that as the sign to move their asses and go back to work, but it only irritated Necie. “Move,” she said, mimicking the gesture and meeting his cold glare head on.

  “Not happening,” he said, shaking his head just enough to get his point across as he continued standing there, doing his best to frighten her, but for whatever reason, he’d never accepted the fact that she wasn’t afraid of him.

  Well, she was sure that at some point he’d realized the truth, but had probably taken it as a challenge, which could also be said for the stubborn man refusing to vacate the sidewalk across the street from them.

  “I’m tired and going home,” she said, refusing to point out that she’d been working since three this morning, because he was already well aware of her work schedule today since he’d insisted on accompanying her in to work this morning and had refused to leave her side since.

  For all twelve hours of her shift, he’d been right there, watching her, standing next to her, following her and refusing to give her a single moment of peace. She didn’t even want to think about the bathroom incident, which she’d only made the mistake of making once.

  Since once had been more than enough, she’d done her best to ignore him, but it was kind of difficult to ignore an ex-marine determined to watch her every move. A few times she’d tried to distract him with phone calls, paperwork that really didn’t need his attention and when she became desperate to use the bathroom without him hovering, a platter of double fudge cupcakes, but nothing worked.

  For the past twelve hours he’d watched her every move, driving her closer and closer to the point of insanity, and possibility first-degree murder. When she told him to stop it, he’d simply reached over, gave her a condescending pat on her head and told her to move her ass so that they could prepare for the lunch rush. Glaring, and making plans to pick up a bottle of dried liver flakes to add to his boiled chicken and potato dinner that she was making him for dinner tonight, she moved to walk around him, but he simply ignored her, wrapped his arm around her and lead her towards the backdoor, uncaring that she was fuming or planning her revenge.

  “My van is parked out front,” she bit out between clenched teeth even as she was forced to reach over and slap the back of his hand when he tried to sneak a double fudge brownie off a platter.

  “I had it moved before lunch,” her grandfather said with a triumphant sigh when they reached the back door. Then, without another word, he opened the back door, gave her a little push to kick her out and then promptly closed the steel door behind him with a deafening click, leaving her all alone in the alley that made up the back parking lot.

  “Alright then,” she said, shaking her head in disgust as she hugged her backpack tightly to her chest, shot nervous glances around the basically clean and well-lit back parking lot and focused all of her attention on the brand new black Dixon Bakery delivery van that had been paid for by the lovely insurance company that couldn’t seem to find a clause to cancel their policy no matter how many “accidents” or “incidents” that seemed to happen when she was behind the wheel.

  Shooting one last glare at the heavily locked steel door behind her, she reminded herself to review the tapes later to make sure that her grandfather wasn’t using this as an excuse to, “live it up,” as he’d like to call it and taste test every sugary sweet treat in the place. Thankful that she’d purchased the Gold package so that she could watch the surveillance videos at home, she made plans to pick up a pizza on the way home, a gallon of chocolate milk since she’d had a really difficult day thanks to her grandfather’s hovering, and made plans to review all the footage from today, praying that she found an excuse to call his doctor and rat his ass out so that the doctor could pull him in for another one of those conversations that he liked to have with him and scare some damn sense into her grandfather.

  A brownie wasn’t worth your life no matter how delicious it was.

  It just wasn’t and sooner or later her grandfather was going to figure it out, or she’d simply have him committed to that lovely senior citizen home down the street that was known for its lovely salad bar and strict rules against meat. That should be more than enough to get the old man to take his health a little more seriously, she tried telling herself as she walked towards the van even though she knew that the man was already set in his ways and that nothing and no one, especially her, was going to be able to make him listen to reason.

  He was just so damn stu-

  “Ah!” she screamed as she threw her heavy backpack at her would-be assailant’s face, turned and ran back towards the solid black door that was locked, making her wish that her first reaction hadn’t been to throw her bag at whoever that was so that she could have grabbed her keys before she’d gone into defense mode, but she’d have to move on and let that go, especially since she had the really pissed off man chasing after her now.

  As her foot caught on some barely visible black ice and she went flying, her last thoughts before she slammed into the brick wall and knocked herself out were, “Of cou
rse this was how she was going to die,” dryly and she would have rolled her eyes, but by that point she’d already slammed her head into the wall, not on purpose of course, and managed to knock herself out like the klutz that she was.

  Chapter 22

  “What the hell was that?” one of his asshole cousin’s asked, but Duncan didn’t stop to explain, because he knew that scream too damn well to ignore it.

  “Mother fucker!” one of them snapped as Duncan shoved past him and headed for the front door of the bakery where several of his cousins were standing, blocking his entrance and starting to look nervous and for damn good reason.

  There was nothing on this earth that was going to stand between him and his little klutz. The second scream had him changing direction to the right, and saving his cousins who had looked seconds away from diving out of his way, because there had been no doubt in any of their minds that he would have slammed through them to get to her.

  “Duncan!” Reese yelled close behind him, but he wasn’t paying attention to his brother.

  As soon as he came to the locked chain-linked fence, he jumped up, grabbed onto the unforgiving rusty metal links and used the hold to pull himself over the fence. His feet had barely hit the ground when he broke out into a full-out run and ran between the two large brick buildings towards what looked liked a back parking lot.

  The second that he turned the corner, he realized that he was going to spend the rest of his life in prison for killing the asshole standing over Necie, hugging her bag to his chest and looking terrified.

  He didn’t stop to think, ask questions or see if this was just a misunderstanding. He punched the man, laying him out flat and then just as quickly shifted his attention to the small woman pressing her hand to her head and wincing as she slowly moved to stand up, her pale cheeks quickly filling with blood when she spotted him.

  She opened her mouth, closed her eyes and winced as she moved to sit back down, apparently decided that sitting hurt less. Since he had no idea how the adorable little klutz hurt herself, he resisted the need to pick her up and hold her. So, instead he released the EMT in him, knelt by her side and quickly checked her over.

  “Did you lose consciousness?” he asked, moving her hand away from her forehead just long enough to see that she had a small gash that wasn’t going to need stitches.

  Relieved at least at that much, he grabbed the pocket flashlight from his pocket and quickly checked the dilation of her eyes. From there he moved onto her pulse, palpated her from head to toe, looking for injuries all while he ignored her annoyed demands that he leave her alone because she was fine.

  “Let me have a look,” Aidan said, kneeling down beside him and since he trusted his brother, he moved back with a nod, turned around and launched himself at the bastard who’d finally regained consciousness and punched him until a few of his cousins managed to grab him and pull him off.

  “Let me go!” Duncan snapped, determined to kill the bastard.

  “Oh, my God, don’t let him go!” the bastard bleeding on the ground screeched as he assumed the fetal position and kicked away Necie’s bag as though that would somehow save him.

  “Let me go!” Duncan yelled, managing to free one arm as he struggled to free his other arm so that he could finish beating the shit out of the asshole.

  “Please don’t!” the guy curled up on the ground screamed.

  “What the hell is going on here?” Mr. Dixon demanded as he walked outside, slamming the large metal door behind him and looking absolutely stunned at the scene before him.

  “I quit!” the guy on the ground screamed hysterically as he suddenly found the balls to scramble to his feet and make a run for it.

  Eyes narrowing on the little bastard, Duncan watched as he ran straight for the gate and then awkwardly climbed over it, dropped down, fell on his ass, stood up and limped/ran towards what he probably considered freedom. The moment the little shit was out of the picture, Duncan shifted his glare to old man Dixon to find him standing there with a sheepish smile on his face as he peered down at his granddaughter.

  Mr. Dixon cleared his throat and gestured with the kitchen towel in his hands towards the general direction the guy just ran off to and shrugged. “I guess Tom won’t be coming back,” he said with a careless shrug as Duncan glared at the old bastard.

  “What the hell was he doing out here?” Necie demanded, shaking her head at something that Aidan said as she got to her feet, waved off any more help from Aidan, which probably saved his little brother’s ass, awkwardly bent over to grab her bag all while she made her way towards him.

  He sighed with relief as he shook off the hold keeping him away from her. Relieved that she was okay, he walked over to her, stepped to the side when the confused woman went to knee him in the balls and swept her off her feet. As he carried her back towards the way that he came, he thought perhaps with her head injury and all that he should probably be carrying her in his arms instead of over his shoulder, but with the way that she was kicking and punching him, he decided that this way was probably for the best.

  *-*-*-*

  “Excuse me,” Necie said, putting her hand over the mouthpiece of her cellphone when the waitress came over to their table, “but could you please tell me the address for this lovely establishment?”

  She ignored the long-suffering sigh that came from across the table and focused on keeping her smile casual and carefree so that
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