Christmas from hell, p.9
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       Christmas from Hell, p.9

         Part #7 of Neighbor from Hell series by R. L. Mathewson
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  Sadly, what her grandfather hadn’t counted on was Aunt Betty’s desperation to get her hands on Necie’s recipe for Boston crème pie, something that she’d been refusing to share for years, but now, she didn’t have much of a choice if she wanted to keep her grandfather out of the hospital.

  They’d worked out a deal, Aunt Betty and her, Aunt Betty would make sure that her brother stuck to his diet whether he wanted to or not, and Necie would give Aunt Betty the recipe that she’d been coveting for more than a decade. The only one that wasn’t in on their plan was the large man trying to bite back a triumphant smile.

  She considered telling him that all those cupcakes and pies that she’d baked especially for this gathering were low fat and sugar free, but why ruin the surprise? He’d find out soon enough and by the time that he did, he’d be more than a five-hour drive away. She was sure that once he figured it out that he would call her and share his thoughts about her sneaky plans to ruin his vacation. Ah, something to look forward to, she thought with a smile as she gave him one last hug.

  “We could close down the shop and you could come with me,” he suggested as he gave her hand a gentle squeeze and a kiss on her cheek when they both knew that it was impossible. They had too many employees counting on them, not to mention all the loyal customers that counted on them to provide them with fresh muffins, donuts and hot coffee in the morning to help start their day.

  “You know that I can’t,” she said, appreciating the offer.

  “You’ll take it easy?” he asked as he released her, but they both knew it was more of a reminder that he’d put her over his knee and spank her into the next century if she didn’t take it easy, something that she may have a problem with, what with being a workaholic and all.

  “I promise,” she said truthfully since she planned on taking it easy and working her regular hours even though she knew that she would probably end up working double shifts and over doing it.

  “Good,” he said, leaning down and giving her another kiss on the cheek before he said one final goodbye, got into his SUV and drove away, leaving her standing on the front porch with only the motion lights to help her see through the early dark morning.

  She looked down at her watch and sighed. She still had thirty minutes to kill before she needed to get down to the bakery and start prepping for the day, but she didn’t see any reason to stand around waiting. Careful of the ice, she made her way to the van and climbed in, immediately regretting not getting the luxury package that included heated seats and a remote start.

  Next year, she told herself even though she knew that she would never spend the money on something as unnecessary as heated seats when there was so much that they could do for the bakery with the extra money. She had plans to expand the bakery with more space, bigger and better equipment, ovens and an expanded menu. She would do it, but it was going to take time and money that they didn’t have right now.

  Starting the van, she tripled checked the rearview mirrors as well as the side mirrors and just because of her unfortunate tendencies to run over the poor man next door who’d been going the extra mile to avoid her since Thanksgiving night, she triple-checked the mirrors again and even opened her door so that she could peek out and make sure that his truck was still parked in its customary spot and that he wasn’t walking towards it.

  When she made sure the coast was clear, she breathed a sigh of relief, put the van in reverse and slowly backed out of the driveway. It wasn’t until she pressed the break all the way down to the ground and it didn’t stop that she realized that things were about to go bad.

  She didn’t yell, scream for help or panic, because sadly, she’d been through worse. What she did was throw the emergency break on, press down harder on the break and braced herself for impact. Twenty seconds later it came. As far as accidents went, it wasn’t that bad, she mused as her seatbelt tightened around her, the van jostled just a bit and she sighed with relief when she realized that the old diseased apple tree that the Richmonds refused to cut down had stopped her.

  Well, maybe the van had managed to knock it down, she thought hopefully as she carefully climbed out of the van and slowly walked towards the back to see the damage. Just a few small scratches and a slight dent that was barely noticeable. Not even worth bothering her grandfather about, she decided as she carefully turned around and slowly made her way back to the driver’s side door so that she could throw her hazard lights on and call triple A.

  Man, it was cold, she thought with a shiver as she rubbed her hands together and reached for her phone when she heard it, the loud cracking sound that she knew was about to make her morning a lot more interesting.

  And possibly more painful.

  When the second crack came, she would admit that she became a tad bit concerned, but when she realized where the sound was coming from, she decided that it warranted a hysterical scream, a dive out of her van and an attempt to break a world record for the fifty yard dash.

  Unfortunately for her, she forgot a few minor details, like the ice and snow covering the road and the fact that she wasn’t much of a runner.

  Something that she swore that she would work on just as soon as she was able to climb out from beneath the large tree pinning her to the ground.

  *-*-*-*

  “Shit!” he snarled, throwing the front door open and jumped over the banister, uncaring that he was only wearing his boxers and that it was below freezing out.

  As soon as he realized that the van wasn’t going to stop, he’d moved his ass. He’d rushed down the stairs, thankful that his brother and sister-in-law had left last night so he didn’t have to worry about knocking them over on his way to stop the aggravating woman from killing someone. Just as his bare feet hit the hard snow he heard it, the sounds that this simple accident was about to get a hell of a lot worse.

  He didn’t stand around to wait and see the large tree snap in two or where it landed. He moved his ass, not caring that he was barefoot, it was freezing or that he could get caught under the tree that was currently falling over in sickening slowness. All he cared about was getting to the van before-

  “Oh, fuck no!” he muttered, feeling his heart skip a beat as he watched helplessly as the large tree that used to shadow the rotted apple tree that was infested with bugs most of the year fell over. It slammed into the van, bouncing twice, doing more damage with each impact until it finally came to a shaky stop halfway on top of the van as the rest of the tree landed on the deserted street and the little pain in the ass that drove him out of his fucking mind.

  “Necie!” he found himself yelling as he moved his ass, terrified out of his fucking mind that the little disaster finally ended up getting her ass killed. When he saw her dive out of the van only to be knocked down to the ground a split second later, he stopped breathing.

  He jumped over a large branch, shoved another one out of his way and desperately tried to make his way to where he saw her fall down. When he saw her grey Dixon bakery sweatshirt, he didn’t think, he simply grabbed hold of it and pulled, which of course earned him one of those, “Ouchies!” that she seemed to love screaming so much.

  Ignoring her screams for him to stop, he kept pulling, shoving at branches and grabbing whatever piece of clothing or body part that he could see thanks to the dim street light and didn’t stop until he had her out from under the tree and in his arms. Trembling, and not because he was freezing his balls off, he tightened his arms around her, got to his shaky legs and carried her back to her house. This time he felt every bite of ice and snow beneath his feet along the way.

  She didn’t say anything as he carried her towards her house. Well, at least he didn’t think she did. Then again, she could have been screaming bloody murder and he wouldn’t have noticed, not with the terror that was surging through him.

  Christ, she could have been killed, he realized hollowly as he opened her front door, absently shaking his head in disgust that she’d left the fucking door unlocked and carried her inside.
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  “You can put me down,” she said, sounding embarrassed, but he wasn’t really listening.

  The image of that tree falling down on her kept playing through his head, turning his stomach and pissing him off along with the memory of watching her disappear beneath it.

  When he reached the couch, he set her down and kneeled in front of her. He began examining her, ignoring her when she tried to push his hands away or told him that she was fine. He had to make sure that she was okay.

  He just had to or…

  Christ, he didn’t even want to think about what could have happened if the tree had landed differently or if she hadn’t managed to get out of that van in time. He just wanted to make sure that she was okay and once he did that, he wanted to spank the living hell out of her for scaring the shit out of him!

  Chapter 10

  Thwack!

  “Oh my God!” she screamed trying to get away from the madman before he could-

  Thwack!

  “Stop slapping my ass!” she yelled, desperately trying to get off his lap, but the large bastard had a surprisingly tight hold on her.

  Thwack!

  “No!” he snapped, going to slap her ass again, but by this time she’d given up on trying to get away from him and was now using her scraped hands to cover her bottom and protect it from the man that had finally lost his damn mind.

  “Stop!” she yelled with an embarrassing squeak, because as much as she hated to admit it, being spanked by a hot fireman wasn’t exactly unpleasant.

  Her cheeks burned with embarrassment as she tried to wiggle out of his hold, but the large bastard apparently wasn’t done punishing her.

  “Stop-”

  Thwack!

  “-doing-”

  Thwack!

  “-stupid-”

  Thwack!

  “-shit-”

  Thwack!

  “-that’s-”

  Thwack!

  “-going-”

  Thwack!

  “-to get-”

  Thwack!

  “-you killed!” he yelled, finishing off his tirade with one more thwack that had her biting her lip and trying not to moan.

  Was she supposed to be enjoying this?

  Probably not, judging by the expression on his face as he stood up and gently tossed her on the couch. She’s seen him pissed before, but never like this. Biting her lip, she sat there trying to look pitiful even as she had to wonder if he was going to spank her again.

  There was something definitely wrong with her, she decided, but she didn’t say anything, mostly because Duncan was still standing over her, breathing hard and glaring down at her while his hands clenched and unclenched into fists.

  Yup, now was definitely one of those moments where keeping her mouth shut was in her best interest, she decided.

  He opened his mouth, snapped it shut and then narrowed his eyes, somehow looking even more pissed, which was actually really impressive since he looked seconds away from throttling her with his bare hands. Finally, he took a step back and then another until he was heading for the front door, every muscle in his back and arms clenched as he went about his way, making her wonder just how close he’d come to killing her with his bare hands.

  When he slammed the front door shut behind him, she decided that it was probably for the best that he’d left before she could have pushed him past the point of no return.

 
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