The Aristocrat by Penelope Ward



I wondered if it was safe to look back across the bay now. Lifting my binoculars to my eyes, I flinched when I found the sexy man now wiping his still-naked body down with a towel. His huge cock bobbed up and down, and after losing my train of thought for a bit, I moved my peepers off of him and over to the left.

I jumped. Staring back at me was the other guy—with binoculars of his own. He’d been watching me watch his friend.

Oh no.

Then, to my horror, he waved, flashing a snide smile.

What do I do?

These guys knew where I lived, and I’d likely run into them around town. I couldn’t hide forever. Playing it cool was my only option. Rather than run inside the house—my first instinct—I tried to remain calm. I smiled and waved back.

I was just about to put my binoculars down when I saw him call Shower Guy over. The formerly naked man now had the towel wrapped around his waist. The guy with the binoculars said something to him, and they laughed. Then Shower Guy grabbed the binoculars and waved at me as well. He was enjoying this? They both apparently got off on my stupidity.

I awkwardly waved back and then realized I’d had enough. I turned and went in the house.

Mrs. Angelini was standing at the sink washing dishes. “What’s wrong, Felicity? You’re all red.”

“Nothing,” I said as I passed her to go upstairs to my room.

Despite ruminating about what had happened outside, I forced myself to once again focus on the summer-job search for the next couple of hours—not the most exciting Memorial Day weekend, that was for sure.

Later that evening, the doorbell rang, and I could hear Mrs. Angelini’s footsteps as she went to answer it. The door shut before she called to me from the bottom of the stairwell.

“Felicity, you might want to come down here. You have a delivery.”

Something came for me? I jumped off my bed and skipped down the steps. Mrs. Angelini was holding a bouquet of bright yellow flowers. Daffodils?

“Who are they from?” I asked.

“I don’t know. But there’s a card.”

I took the flowers from her and walked them over to the kitchen counter. My heart nearly fell to my stomach as I opened the card and read the note.



Dear redhead across the bay,



We thought these would be a perfect way to say thank you for being a neighbor. This is a flower known as the Narcissus Peeping Tom. Need we say more? Enjoy them.



Love your neighbors, Sig and Leo





Hell.

Hell was the moment I stepped into the grocery store a few days later and nearly knocked right into him.

“It’s you.” He held up a long, phallic-looking baguette and shook it. “Remind you of something?”

My face felt hot. “Very funny.”

“I haven’t seen much of you outside over the last couple of days. Did we scare you?”

This was not Shower Guy, but rather the one who’d caught me peeping. He had a strong British accent and was extremely tall, with dark hair.

“I’ve just been taking a break from the backyard.”

“Too hot outside for you, eh?”

“Look, I didn’t intend to see what I saw. I’ve been into…birdwatching this summer. Then one day you two moved in, and I—”

“Whoa, whoa, whoa...” The other guy had appeared next to his housemate. “I’m sorry for anything he might have said to you just now. Rest assured, it’s all shite. He’s just playing around.” He, too, had a strong British accent. “I don’t believe we’ve properly met.”

“Although, you’ve improperly met...” his friend chided.

“Put a sock in it, Sigmund.”

Okay, so the asshole is Sig—or Sigmund. The previously naked one must be Leo, then. They were both tall and good-looking, but Leo, with his chiseled features, lustrous hair, and striking eyes was on another level—a total Adonis, and intimidatingly gorgeous.

Sigmund shrugged. “Surely she knows I’m just kidding.”

“But you don’t know when to stop. That’s always been your problem. Can’t you see how red her face is getting? You’re embarrassing her.”

Uh…how red is my face getting? This was mortifying. I couldn’t control that about myself. After all, I was a redhead with fair skin covered in freckles. Whenever I got embarrassed, I basically turned red from head to toe.

Leo’s tone softened. “I apologize for his rude behavior.” He held out his hand. “I’m Leo Covington.”