In S.M. Soto newest enemies-to-lovers romance, two neighbours will stop at nothing to make the other’s life hell, even when their shenanigans result in the destruction of two perfectly good homes, until they eventually start catching feelings for each other, and I have an excerpt for you.
I push onto my tiptoes, reaching for the last bottle. My hand is just closing around the handle, when a dark shadow falls over me, and like a cartoon when the sun has been cruelly yanked away, the bleach is ripped from my hand. When I whirl around, I see why.
My gaze narrows. Indignation burns at my throat. “Excuse me, that’s mine.”
Roman, my brutish neighbor, turns his back on me like he didn’t hear me. Resentment sparks in my veins, and I hike the strap of my purse over my shoulder and follow him.
“Hey! I’m talking to you!” I call after him, turning the heads of a few other customers. Of all the stores in Campbell, did I seriously have to shop at the same one this asshole does? When he doesn’t stop, I reach out, gripping his arm. He jerks to a halt, his body going rigid beneath my touch. Slowly, he turns, pinning me with a dark glare. Those bright eyes drill holes into me, pointedly staring down at my hand that’s clasped on his arm. I get the memo and release him, but I don’t back down.
“I know you heard me. You purposely yanked that bottle of bleach out of my hand. It’s mine.”
Roman raises the bottle. “I don’t see your name anywhere on it.”
I scoff. “Don’t be such a child. Haven’t you ever heard of ladies first? I had it in my hand, and I can assure you, I need it more than you do.”
Roman clenches his teeth together, causing the muscle in his jaw to jump, highlighting the sharp lines and angles of his face. “I don’t see any ladies anywhere around here.”
His words are a slap to the face. They’re said so cold and brusquely, it takes me a few seconds longer than normal to gather my wits. “Excuse me?”
Stepping into me, Roman bends down the slightest bit, leveling our gazes. “You heard me.”
“What the hell is your problem, dude?”
“Dude?” He laughs, but the sound is awful and cold, with no humor in it whatsoever.
“I’m not your dude. You didn’t have it first, and plenty of other stores around here sell bleach. You’ll survive.”
With that, he turns on his heels, leaving me standing there in the middle of the grocery store, gaping after his retreating form.
That didn’t just happen, did it? There’s no possible way I just argued with my neighbor over a bottle of bleach. I glance around, realizing a few patrons are still staring at me, likely wondering the same thing. Swallowing thickly, I tamp down the embarrassment and do the walk of shame back to my cart. Oh, yeah, I’m sure I look like that crazy lady right now.
Heaving a frustrated sigh, I steer my cart out of the aisle and finish gathering the remainder of my list, so I can get the hell out of here. When I have everything except for my bleach, the one item I needed most, I head to the checkout lines. I blow out a sigh of disappointment, when I see how long they are. There are about nine lanes in total, but only two are open. The lines are unbelievably long, so long, I glance down at my cart filled with groceries and wonder if I should leave everything and just call it a day and head home.
As much as I’d like to do that, I sort of need to eat, and takeout every night isn’t exactly ideal. Steering my cart toward the shorter of the two lines, out of the corner of my eye, I spot an employee opening a new lane. We make eye contact, and she waves me over.
Heading toward her now open lane, I book it there, trying to be the first in line, so I can get in and get out. I can almost taste the victory. That is, until another dark shadow passes over me and a large looming mass cuts in front of me. A sharp pin from the wheel rolls over my foot, and I jerk my cart to an abrupt halt, glaring daggers at the perfectly unkempt dark head of hair that is now in front of me.
When I spot the bleach in his cart, amongst other random things, I snap. My lips curl over my teeth, and I round my cart, pressing my finger into his back, aggressively, to get his attention.
“Hey, you just cut me. Again.”
Roman turns, leering down at me with a look of utter contempt. “How can you possibly think I cut you, when all I did was beat you here?”
“You all but ran over my goddamn foot to get here. I mean, would it have killed you to get behind me?”
“Believe me, that’s the last place anyone wants to be.”
I grit my back teeth together so hard, I swear I hear a tooth crack. “You’re such an asshole,” I hiss under my breath, so only he can hear. I can feel the unwanted stares of everyone around us, but I just don’t care. I’m tired of this guy. I’m tired of him glowering at me like I shit in his Cheerios, when I’ve literally done nothing at all.
“You think so?” he asks the question so quietly, I thought I imagined it, but I didn’t. I about blow a gasket when he stares down at me pointedly and waves the woman who’s waiting behind me in front of him. I choke on a breath, my lungs restricting air, with the torrent of absolute rage flowing through my veins.
“What the hell are you doing?” I bark like an insane woman.
“Now I’m being an asshole,” he offers, infantilely.
“You’re a child, you know that?”
“Done talking yet?”
“You seem to be obsessed with my dick.”
My gaze narrows, heat rising to my cheeks, as I glance around. “Excuse me?” I hiss.