Up by Five by Erin Nicholas
Counting on Love, Book 5
He’s in the middle of the last thing he wanted… and the best thing to ever happen.
Ace paramedic Conner Dixon has sworn to never live with another woman after raising his four younger sisters. They have been giving him gray hair since they lost their father fifteen years ago. Now they’re all in love and Conner’s ready to retire– from worrying, fixing problems and cleaning up messes.
Of course, when his fellow paramedic, Gabrielle Evans, needs a place to stay after her apartment burns down, Conner can’t say no. But it’s no problem– Gabby’s just one of the guys.
Gabby’s penchant for poker and her ability to overhaul a transmission definitely make her different from Conner’s usual women. She also has no interest in getting involved with him. Conner’s crazy mix of family and friends is the last thing Gabby needs right now. She has her sights set on medical school in the fall and knows success depends on focus and commitment.
But within forty-eight hours of moving in, Gabby’s in the middle of a family crisis that could disprove all her I-don’t-need-anyone bluster and Conner’s in the middle of the last thing he wanted-a girl and all her stuff, all over his stuff. Still, the more she makes herself at home, the more he thinks that’s maybe exactly where her stuff should be. For good.
Warning: Contains a girl who thinks she wants to be just one of the guys, a guy who happily proves why that won’t work, and a very good reason to buy cinnamon roll icing-you know, other than for use on cinnamon rolls.
“It’s usually more difficult for a woman to get me wound up than just saying one word.”
“So, what’s going on here?”
“I’m going to chalk this up to the damsel-in-distress thing.” He was staring resolutely at the road in front of them.
“The damsel-in-distress thing?” she repeated. Then her eyes widened. “Are you referring to me as the damsel?”
He lifted a shoulder. “Yeah. A woman I know and care about is in trouble and I get all protective.”
There was a crazy warm feeling that filled her stomach at that. She frowned. That was a bad idea.
“Protective and turned on aren’t the same thing,” she pointed out. “And I wasn’t in distress the other day when I said—”
“We both know what you said,” he broke in. He gave a disgusted sigh. “If it’s not that, then it’s simply that I finally realized you have boobs. And that does kind of make me an asshole.”
She couldn’t help her grin. “You’re an asshole because you just now realized I have boobs—”
“It would also be great if you didn’t say boobs.”
Her grin grew. “Or you’re an asshole because you’re all worked up simply because I have…those.”
He shifted on his seat again. “Yes.”
She laughed at that. “In all fairness, I’ve been hiding…them…from you. So it’s not totally your fault that you didn’t notice.”
He glanced over. “What do you mean?”
Did she want to get into this? It seemed like they were putting it all out there and maybe that was a good idea. They were going to be living together and she did not need Conner to hit on her now. She did not need any further complications in her life. She was trying to simplify. Nothing about being involved with Conner Dixon would be simple.
“I’ve been downplaying the whole girl thing. I dress down, avoid makeup, wear my hair up.”
His gaze went to her hair. “I do like your hair down.”
“Exactly. I’ve kept you from noticing that.”
“Because I didn’t want you hitting on me.”
“And all it takes to keep me from hitting on a woman is her hair up and no lipstick?”
She smirked at him. “Apparently.”
He narrowed his eyes at her, then looked back to the road. “And you were so turned off by me that the idea of me flirting was disgusting.”
Gabby wondered if any female, anywhere, would find Conner disgusting. “No,” she said honestly. “I knew if you flirted, I’d flirt back and it would be distracting. We work in situations that require our full concentration and dedication. And I definitely didn’t want to deal with working with you after we broke up.”
He looked over again, his eyebrows up. He looked mildly amused. “How do you know it would have gone beyond flirting?”
“It would have.” She couldn’t say exactly how she knew, but she did. She’d been around men all her life. All of her brothers and cousins had friends. She’d been flirted with plenty. And it was very rare to feel a spark like she felt with Conner.
His smile grew. “Then how do you know it would have gone beyond just a one-night thing?”
She gave him a look. “You would have never been able to keep it to one night.”
He chuckled. “You might be right about that. I like you. I don’t always really like the women I take home.”
She didn’t say anything, but she did roll her eyes.
“I know how that sounds,” he said, even with her lack of response. “What I mean is, I don’t really know them. I know you. We probably would have dated for a while. If you were my type.”
“I thought we just established that I do have boobs.”
“Touché,” he said with a tip of his head. “But I’m not into tall brunettes. I like curvy blondes.”
Uh-huh. It did seem that way.
Gabby didn’t analyze her actions. She simply let the blanket fall away from her shoulders as she reached for the Carl-Mart bag.
Conner glanced over and she felt the truck swerve slightly. “What are you doing?”
“I realized you were right,” she said, pulling the candy bar from the bag.
“I’m not your type. So there’s no reason to worry about being modest.”
“Put the sweatpants on.”
She looked at him as she bit into the chocolate. “No. I’m warm now.”
He hit the button to turn the AC on.
To celebrate another amazing read in the Counting on Love series, I’m giving away a Kindle version of Up by Five. Just leave a comment telling me your favorite Erin Nicholas’ book. If you haven’t read one yet, check out Erin’s books and tell me the one you want to read most. I’ll pick a winner tomorrow night.