Entangled:An Evolve Series Novella(8)

By: S.E. Hall

I giggle at the poor dog’s obvious discomfort at something as simple as a flick of the tail and the man looks up at me.

“I’m sorry,” he shakes his head, embarrassed. “I’m Tucker Lucas, I live next door there.” He points to the right with a shift of his head and offers me his hand. “Did you just move in?”

“Yeah, well, almost,” I babble. “I mean yes, I’m moving in, getting things ready. I’m Laney Walker.” I extend my hand to his. “Nice to meet you.”

“You too.” He smiles, his white teeth glowing in the dusk. “Sorry about Charlie here. She’s getting stir crazy waiting for the puppies.”

“What kind of dog is she?”

“She’s a beagle. Although she’s not too miniature right now,” he laughs.

“She’s precious, but miserable I’m sure.” I stand, glancing around awkwardly and running my hands down my pant legs, out of things to say.

“Um, so very nice to meet you, Laney, and welcome to the neighborhood. You’ll love it here, everyone’s real friendly. Come on, Charlie,” he hoists the grunting dog into his arms, “say goodbye to Laney.”

“Bye, Charlie.” I grin at the sweet animal and rub her head. “Night, Tucker.”

“Night, neighbor.”

I watch him walk away, smirking as he lugs the mama across the lawn, then turn and head to Bennett’s door. “Knock knock!” I call out as I open the door.

“Hey!” Bennett pops in front of me, her face concerned. “What took you so long?”

“I met our neighbor. His pregnant dog wandered up on my porch.”

“His?” She wiggles her eyebrows and grins.

“Yeah?” I give her a questioning look, not quite catching what she’s throwing.

“Describe.” She rolls her fingertips together, a curious smile twisting her mouth.

“I don’t know, short, bald, probably seventy, seventy-five. Why?”

“Oh.” Her shoulders slump and she frowns.

Seriously? Has she seen her boyfriend lately? He’s almost as hot as his little brother, thus the reason I could care less that our neighbor is, in fact, very easy on the eyes. And when I say easy on the eyes, I mean God was good to him, but he’s got nothing on the youngest Kendrick man.

“I’m kidding you, Ben. He’s cute, probably thirty, blond hair. Seemed very nice.” I shrug, heading to the kitchen in search of the wine I had planned. “Why do you care anyway? You and Tate okay?”

“Of course we are—perfect. I was just curious. I’d simply rather have some eye candy in the hood than,” she contemplates, “well, than not.”

“Slut,” I cough into my hand, trying not to laugh.

“Only a look slut, I never touch. I love my Taterbear.”

“Taterbear?” I snort, slamming the fridge door shut and bugging my eyes out at her. “I think I just threw up in my mouth a little. How am I supposed to look at him now?”

“Oh, hush.” She pushes on my shoulder, her cheeks now the color of her hair. “Don’t you and Dane have bedroom names?”

“Oh my God, Bennett! You call him that in the bedroom?” I’m nearly shouting now, bent over with my hands on my knees, bracing my body’s full-gut laughter. “Please stop talking, my ears are bleeding!”

“You’re so mean, Laney,” she whines, “I’m never telling you anything ever again.”

“Thank God!” I wheeze out, still hee-hawing at her.

“Come on, bitch, grab your glass and I’ll give you the grand tour. If you can compose yourself long enough,” she says haughtily, and I think I hear a muttered “skank” as she leads us down the hall.

“So you just saw the kitchen, and this is the hall,” she gestures with her hand, “and the spare bedroom.” She opens the door, to a fully-furnished, painted, room.

“How the hell did you get everything painted so fast?” I ask, it only now registering that her kitchen and hall have a fresh shine as well.

“Tate hired painters.” She shrugs a shoulder, looking at me like I’m crazy.

Maybe I am; her side is organized and beautiful, while mine looks like the do-it-yourself project that it is.

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