Another thing on Thor’s hate list—men.

“But this time they mean it,” Pru said and set Thor down. At least that’s what the cable company supervisor had promised Pru on the phone, and she needed cable TV. Bad. The finals of So You Think You Can Dance were on tomorrow night.

“’Scuse me,” someone said as he came from the elevator well and started to brush past her. He wore a hat low over his eyes to keep the rain out of his face and the cable company’s logo on his pec. He was carrying a toolbox and looking peeved by life in general.

Thor began a low growl deep in his throat while hiding behind Pru’s legs. He sounded fierce, but he looked ridiculous, especially wet. He had the fur of a Yorkshire terrier—if that Yorkshire terrier was fat—even though he was really a complete Heinz 57. And hell, maybe he was part cat. Except that only one of his ears folded over. The other stood straight up, giving him a perpetually confused look.

No self-respecting cat would have allowed such a thing. In fact, the cable guy took one look at him and snorted, and then kept moving.

“Wait!” Pru yelled after him. “Are you looking for 3C?”

He stopped, his gaze running over her, slowing at her torso. “Actually,” he said. “I’m more a double D man myself.”

Pru looked down at herself. Her shirt had suctioned itself to her breasts. Narrowing her eyes, she crossed her arms over her decidedly not DDs. “Let me be more clear,” she said, tightening her grip on Thor’s leash because he was still growling, although he was doing it very quietly because he only wanted to pretend to be a tough guy. “Are you looking for the person who lives in apartment 3C?”

“I was but no one’s home.” He eyed Thor. “Is that a dog?”

“Yes! And I’m 3C,” Pru said. “I’m home!”

He shook his head. “You didn’t answer your door.”

“I will now, I promise.” She pulled her keys from her bag. “We can just run up there right now and—”

“No can do, dude. It’s five o’clock straight up.” He waved his watch to prove it. “I’m off the clock.”


But nothing, he was gone, walking off into the downpour, vanishing into the fog like they were on the set of a horror flick.

Thor stopped growling.

“Great,” Pru muttered. “Just great.”

Old Guy slid his dentures around some. “I could hook up your cable for you. I’ve seen someone do it once or twice.”

The old man, like the old Pacific Heights building around them, had seen better days, but both held a certain old-fashioned charm—which didn’t mean she trusted him inside her apartment. “Thanks,” she said. “But this is for the best. I don’t really need cable TV all that bad.”

“But the finals of So You Think You Can Dance are on tomorrow night.”

She sighed. “I know.”

Another bolt of lightning lit the sky, and again was immediately followed by a crack of thunder that echoed off the courtyard’s stone walls and shook the ground beneath their feet.

“That’s my exit,” Old Guy said and disappeared into the alley.

Pru got Thor upstairs, rubbed him down with a towel and tucked him into his bed. She’d thought she wanted the same for herself, but she was hungry and there was nothing good in her refrigerator. So she quickly changed into dry clothes and went back downstairs.

Still raining.

One of these days she was going to buy an umbrella. For now, she made the mad dash toward the northeast corner of the building, past the Coffee Bar, the Waffle Shop, and the South Bark Mutt Shop—all closed, past The Canvas tattoo studio—open—and went straight for the Irish Pub.

Without the lure of cable to make her evening, she needed chicken wings.

And nobody made chicken wings like O’Riley’s.

It’s not the chicken wings you’re wanting, a small voice inside her head said. And that was fact. Nope, what drew her into O’Riley’s like a bee to honey was the six-foot, broad-shouldered, dark eyes, dark smile of Finn O’Riley himself.

From her three weeks in the building, she knew the people who lived and/or worked here were tight. And she knew that it was in a big part thanks to Finn because he was the glue, the steady one.

She knew more too. More than she should.

“Hey!” Old Guy stuck his head out of the alley. “If you’re getting us wings, don’t forget extra sauce!”

She waved at him, and once again dripping wet, entered O’Riley’s where she stood for a second getting her bearings.


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