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She decided to open her own construction company and truth be told, she'd never regretted that choice. That didn't mean that she couldn't mourn the loss of what might have been. It was the reason why she bought her house. She considered buying both houses, but she knew at the time that two mortgages and renovations would have been too much for her to handle.

When Connor bought this house she'd been pissed for several obvious reasons, but not really surprised. His house had needed a serious amount of work and everyone in town knew that Connor enjoyed a challenge. At seventeen he started to work for old man Thompson, a mean son of a bitch who paid piss poor wages and worked his employees to the bone. Connor started off doing the grunt work as a carpenter's apprentice. He put in long hours, got yelled at a lot from what she'd heard, but he stuck with it.

It wasn't long until people were calling Connor up and hiring him instead of old man Thompson. There were many things that she could say about Connor, but she could never call the man lazy. Everyone in town knew that he'd worked his butt off to get where he was today. He did good work, she grudgingly admitted to herself as she tried not to drool over the cast iron settings that held the lamps to the wall.

She was so going to have to get a set to replace the lights she had in her hallway, she decided as she walked across the hall and opened the beautiful oak door. As she stepped into the room, she threw the light on and nearly stumbled as her heart skipped a beat. She'd never believed in love at first sight before, but right now she was a believer.

"Do you like it?" Connor's sleep rasped voice sent shivers throughout her body as his arms wrapped around her and pulled her back against him as she let out a dreamy sigh.

Like it?

"I'm going to steal it," she told him honestly as she ran her greedy eyes over the most beautiful bathtub that she'd ever seen. It was one of those old fashioned tubs with clawed feet, a high back and appeared to be extra deep.

"Might be a little heavy," he pointed out with a chuckle as he pressed a kiss against the top of her head.

"That's what brothers are for," she mumbled, making him laugh as if she was kidding.

She wasn't.

In fact, she was pretty sure that she'd only need four of her brothers to get the job done. The other brother could keep Connor distracted while they removed the bathtub and carried it to her house. Her brothers could probably get the whole job done in under an hour. An hour after that she'd be in the tub and it would officially belong to her. Possession was nine-tenths of the law after all.

"Want to give it a test drive before you steal it?" he teased as he released her so that he could step around her. "You should probably make sure that it's worth throwing out your back," he explained with a chuckle as he walked over to the tub and started the water.

It wouldn't throw her back out since she planned on participating in the bath tub theft strictly in a supervisory capacity, but he didn't need to know that. Not when he was offering to allow her to sample what had to be heaven on earth. There was only one problem with this plan as far as she could tell.

"Bath salts," she said, frowning as she looked around the large, beautiful bathroom.

"What about them?" he asked absently as he adjusted the water temperature.

"You don't have any," she said, sounding almost accusatory, but she didn't care. By all rights no one should own a bathtub like this without having a decent supply of salts, oils and bubble bath.

Instead of shrugging it off or bitching about her complaint like most of the men she'd known would have done, he stood up and headed for the door. "I'll go grab some from your bathroom. Anything in particular that you want?" he asked, pausing by the door as he waited for her answer, not sounding or looking pissed off or putout at all. Actually, he looked like he was actually happy to do it for her.

"Lemongrass?" she asked, not used to men taking care of her.

When Connor simply nodded and took off, her first reaction was suspicion. After years of screwing each other over, she couldn't help but automatically jump to that conclusion. Her mind raced through all the things he'd done to her over the years, wondering if she was about to experience a repeat of being turned the color of a smurf, but she quickly dismissed the idea.

He wouldn't do that, not when he needed her for whatever plan he was working on. When she heard his patio door slide open from the other room another thought occurred to her, a thought that should have disgusted her, but didn't. What if he was planning on joining her in the tub? And why did the thought of Connor holding her against his na**d body make her toes curl?

Because she wanted him.

There, she admitted it to herself. She wanted Connor O'Neill in her bed and so what? She didn't see what the big deal was. For the next five months they were supposed to be in a relationship and what woman in her right mind would date Connor and not welcome him into her bed? He was handsome and had an incredible body. She was stuck working with him and trapped in this deal with him, so why shouldn't she enjoy what he had to offer?

It's not like there would be any confusion or hurt feelings if they decided to have sex. They both knew where they stood and they both knew that they hated each other, but that didn't stop them from wanting to tear each other's clothes off. The only downside that came to mind was that nasty little rumor that followed Connor around everywhere he went. According to the local female population, Connor was extremely selfish in bed.

Then again, weren't all men selfish in bed?

She couldn't think of a single man that she'd slept with that hadn't been selfish. They all wanted sex their way and only their way. Most of them didn't care if she found her moment since they only focused on their own. Some of the men she'd slept with cared if she enjoyed herself, but usually once she had a small "O" they went right back to focusing on their own enjoyment. Once they were done they couldn't leave fast enough.

Then again, she'd never heard women complain about the skills of the other men in town as much as they did about Connor. Not that she listened to gossip or anything, but she'd heard that the man did the absolute bare minimum to get a woman in bed and once he had her there the complaints tripled. He didn't make eye contact, refused to kiss any woman once he got her on her back and hated foreplay. If any woman enjoyed herself it was purely by accident, but she wasn't sure how much of that she believed since the rumors didn't seem to stop women from throwing themselves at him.

It certainly wasn't going to stop her, she thought as she shut the water off and headed for Connor's bedroom. If it was horrible then she wouldn't waste the effort again. They'd go on with this little fake relationship of theirs, but if he managed to keep her interests in bed even a little bit, well........

Then this deal of theirs would be getting a lot more interesting.......

Chapter 22

"Change your grand larceny plans?" he asked, chuckling when he spotted Rory in the hallway, heading towards his room.

"No," she murmured with a shrug as she stepped up to him and placed her injured hand on his shoulder as her good hand moved to the back of his head.

Before he could ask her what she was doing, her mouth was on his and he forgot about bath salts and coming up with an excuse so that he could sneak out in a couple of hours and go meet her father and brothers for some fishing. He had a plan that he needed to work on after all, but right now that didn't matter. Right now the only thing that mattered was the woman teasingly nipping at his bottom lip.

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