I'm Ivy Clarke. Bartender, best friend, and disbeliever in love.
And now I'm in over my head, trying to flip a house all by myself.
I'm not too proud to admit I need some help. Too bad the only one who can help me is the same man I want to throw out this house's second-story window.
Jackson Gamble and I can't be in the same room together for more than a minute without devolving into a sparring match.
Except for that one time…
But enough about that. Jackson's looking for forever, and I don't believe in love, remember?
Get in. Renovate. Get out. Keep my heart firmly in tact.
Because it's much easier to fix up a house than a broken heart.
Full of humor and dripping with delicious tension, Nailed It proves that every heart can be ready for a little rehabilitation, if only you're willing to open it up.
Jackson sighed and rubbed a hand along his jaw as he took another glance at the mess that was the kitchen. Then he turned back to me. “There’s no reason for you to use up every penny you have, and you definitely have enough stubbornness to spare, but maybe hold it back for one little minute while I suggest something…”
I opened my mouth, and he arched an eyebrow, like he was challenging me to make it that one little minute. “Fine. You’ve got one minute.”
“I’m actually finishing up a project, and my crew can handle most of it. I don’t have another big one scheduled for a little over a month, and I was wondering what I was going to do with all my spare time. If you’re open to an arrangement, I could…help you out.”
Taking him up on the offer called to me, despite his obvious hesitance, but I was worried about attached-strings and crossed-lines. Then again, I was also worried about failing and messing up badly enough it ended up costing Dixie and me our life savings, which made me circle back around to wanting to say yes. “I’m not looking for a handout.”
“And I’m sure as hell not offering one. I’d expect to be paid for my time and services, but I’ll give you the family discount. I can promise you that I’ll do it for less than any other contractor in the area, just like I can assure you that you need one. Ivy, this is a huge job. This isn’t like those TV shows where they show you the before image, fail to show you how many people it takes to do the work, and then reveal the final shiny project. This house needs a lot of work.”
My cheeks flushed at the mention of the TV shows that’d instilled me with too much false confidence in my abilities. Add that to their sins of lying and brainwashing. I needed the team of people, and Jackson practically counted as a team himself. “I’ll admit it sounds like a good deal…”
“But you and me working together? Wouldn’t your family miss you if I killed you?”
“You’re forgetting something…” He took a few long strides toward me, and I nearly backed up like a frightened little rabbit. Probably because there was a gleam in his eye that did seem almost predatory.
Or maybe those fumes were getting to me again. I lifted my chin, working to find the feisty attitude that usually kept me safe. “What’s that?”
He braced a hand on the wall by the side of my head and leaned in, so close I could feel the heat radiating off his body. “Aunt Velma would avenge me.”
A laugh slipped out, and then I mocked fear. I even grabbed hold of his shirt. “Please, Jackson. Please don’t tell her I said that. I’ll do anything! Even…” I made a big show of gulping. “Work with you.”
“Without killing me?”
I acted like it was the hardest decision I’d ever made and let out a huge exhale. “Jeez, that’s asking a whole lot. I’m going to have to think about it.” I bit my lip. “And let’s say I was thinking about it. What kind of terms are we talking?”
Jackson glanced around, his gaze back to assessing. “I need to take a look at the rest of the house, and then we’ll discuss the nitty gritty details over dinner.”
“Yeah, you know. Food that’s typically eaten around this time of day. Especially if someone worked a long, physically grueling day only to give in to his sister’s beck and call and come see what kind of mess her best friend had gotten herself into. You’re probably already full from all the guys’ souls you’ve been devouring, but I need to eat actual food.”
I rolled my eyes at the succubus slam and slipped out of the cozy little pocket his body had formed. I needed as much air as I could get, especially if I was going to suppress the temptation to strangle him. “Well, I certainly can’t subsist on the kind of vapid girls you go for—I’d starve.”
“Ooh, that was a pretty good insult before you were one of them, but now it’s a little self-deprecating for my taste. Sorta takes the fun out of my job.”
I clenched my jaw so hard I thought I’d crack a molar. Clearly our temporary truce had expired, our war back on. But he could go ahead and bring it, because it’d take a lot more than a few jabs to make me wave the white flag. “Fine. Let’s order dinner. Your treat since you’re applying for the job.”
“You’re shit at saying thank you, Ivy Clarke.”
Oh, I knew. I also knew us working together had disaster written all over it.
Watching him get hot and sweaty as he did all that manual labor? Fighting off sexual frustration as my ovaries did their best not to implode?
Arguments around every corner, ones we’d have while armed with tools like hammers and crowbars…?
Yep, it was going to be a disaster.
But I was smart enough to realize that at this point, it was also my only choice if I wanted to fulfill my promise to Dixie and to actually make a profit for my efforts. In a way, not letting Jackson help would be another way of letting my feelings about a guy get in the way of my dreams.
So disaster or not, here I come.
About the Author
Cindi Madsen is a USA Today Bestselling author of contemporary romance and young adult novels. She sits at her computer every chance she gets, plotting revising, and falling in love with her characters. Sometimes it makes her a crazy person. Without it, she’d be even crazier. She has way too many shoes, but can always find a reason to buy a new pretty pair, especially if they’re sparkly, colorful, or super tall. She loves music, dancing, and wishes summer lasted all year long. She lives in Colorado (where summer is most definitely NOT all year long) with her husband and three children.