Gus grunted a painful chuckle. “How do you fight for something that’s already yours?”
“People aren’t property, Gus. You can’t possess her. You can fight for her attention and maybe even her heart, and that’s enough to live out your ’til-death-do-us-part.”
“I kissed you.”
Biting her lips together, she nodded. “Total prick. I can give you womanly advice, but I can’t make you less despicable.”
He set his beer on the counter then stepped closer to her. “You kissed me back.”
She no longer berated herself for the way his nearness sent chills along her spine and heat to other places that seemed to crave his touch. “You said it yourself. Desire is not love. We’ve known each other less than two weeks. I’m young and incredibly hot.” Parker smirked. “You’re old and my standards are clearly a bit too low, so we’re physically attracted to each other. It’s just biology. ‘Carnal.’ Nothing more.”
“Old? You still think I’m—” He took a step closer and frowned as he sniffed several times. “Did you step in dog shit?”
Her confident grin waned. “Oh … um …” She retreated backward. “Not exactly.”
Gus continued toward her.
“Good night!” She turned to make a quick exit.
“Parker? Did you shit your pants?”
She groaned, shaking her head, eyes closed. “No, I didn’t shit my pants. Rags did.”
Gus barked out a laugh. “Pray tell, how does a dog shit your pants?”
Whipping around, she folded her arms over her chest. “Ha ha. He didn’t shit my pants. I sat in a pile of his poop.”
“How did you not see—”
“Just …” She held a flat hand up to him. “Shhh. Good night, Mr. Westman.”
“For the record, Parker, I don’t find you all that ‘incredibly hot’ at the moment.”
“Screw you, Gus, you hairy, gray-balled bastard.” She stepped over Rags sprawled out on the mudroom floor and didn’t look back.