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Both of his friends sucked in a breath. "Shit."

"That must have pissed Haley off," Brad said.

"I don't think she had time to notice. Not with half the men in my family hitting on her," Jason bit out angrily.

"That's f**ked up," Mitch said.

It was pretty f**ked up. No one listened to him. It was one of the most annoying parties he'd ever been to. When he wasn't trying to get away from some really annoying clingy woman his mother had invited with the sole purpose of marrying him he was busy getting into arguments with whatever bastard in his family was asking for Haley's phone number.

Like every single other time Haley was completely oblivious to it. Every time he pulled her aside to talk to her about it she just laughed until tears were rolling down her cheeks. When they returned to the room it was obvious that she had cried and every man would glare at him. They acted like Haley needed protection from him.

It should have been painfully obvious to everyone in the room how he felt about Haley. He made no secret that she was his world, not that anyone believed him. Why was it so hard to believe that he'd straightened out for Haley? He didn't think there was anything difficult about it. Even if he wasn't constantly hugging her, putting his arm around her, holding her hand or trying to kiss her he told them, but had that stopped any of those bastards from trying to make a move on her?

"Your family probably thought you brought Haley there as a decoy to get your mother to stop harassing the hell out of you about settling down and to use her as an excuse to avoid those women," Mitch pointed out.

Jason crushed his empty beer can and tossed it into the bucket in the corner of his deck. It should be obvious to everyone that he'd changed. Hell, a year ago he would have had Mitch toss that beer can up in the air so he could shoot it with his paintball gun. Didn't it strike any of his friends as odd that not only did he toss it into a bucket but his deck and patio furniture were also cleaned and repaired, his lawn freshly mowed and the inside of his house was clean? Those were big goddamn changes in his book.

"That's what I was thinking," Brad said, tossing his can at the bucket and missing. It landed on Jason's freshly cut lawn. Jason gestured angrily for him to pick it up. With an eye roll Brad did just that.

"Whatever. This is really boring sitting around here talking about relationships like we're a bunch of women," Mitch said. "Let's get the hell out of here." He stood up, waiting for the other two men to follow.

Brad and Jason shared a look, shrugged and got to their feet. What the hell, it wasn't like they had anything better to do since Jill was off with a client and Haley was off hitting yard sales.

"Great, let's go hit the strip clubs," Mitch said merrily.

"Whoa there, Skippy," Jason said, coming to a sudden halt. "That shit isn't happening."

"What the hell do you mean?" Mitch asked, sounding like a petulant child. "I want to go stare at hot chicks getting naked."

"I'm out as well," Brad announced, not that it was really necessary. The man hadn't been to a strip club since he met Jill.

"Come on, it's Tuesday. It's all you can eat hot wings at the Hot Bunny Club. We can go there, fill up, and get a few lap dances. We can hook up with Candy and Mandy afterwards. What's more fun than stripper sex?"

Jason could only look at his friend dumbly for a moment. Mitch was serious, really serious.

"Have you forgotten about something?" Jason asked calmly, more calmly than he felt.

Mitch looked truly confused when he asked, "What?"

"I have a girlfriend!" Jason snapped, quickly losing patience. "Why in the hell would I want to pay some woman to show me something I'm not interested in when I'm dating Haley? And why in the hell would you think I wanted to cheat on my girlfriend?"

If humanly possible Mitch looked even more confused. "How is it cheating if you're not married?"

Brad and Jason just stared at Mitch. What the hell was he supposed to say to that? Actually, it worried him that not a year ago he would have been on Mitch's side of this argument. That was truly frightening.

Hell, he would have been the one starting that argument before Haley. It wasn't exactly the best feeling in the world to discover how big an ass**le he once was. He'd really changed since getting to know Haley and shockingly for the better. Surprisingly he didn't feel pissed off or scared that she'd been able to bring out these changes in him.

"Come on, man! Come with me. It'll be fun," Mitch pleaded.

Jason grabbed a fresh beer and dropped back into his chair.

"What the hell, Jason?" Mitch whined.

Shrugging, Jason took a long sip of his beer.

Mitch folded his arms stubbornly over his chest while he scowled at Jason. "I never thought this day would come," Mitch said with obvious disgust.

"Oh, what day is that exactly?" Jason asked as he leaned his head back to catch some sun. Anything was better than watching a grown man pouting.

"The day Jason Bradford became pu**y whipped," Mitch announced, earning a chuckle from Brad.

Jason threw Brad a killing glare, but the man ignored him. He focused his attention on the little bastard who was obviously drunk or possibly high, probably both.

He snorted. "I'm not pu**y whipped," he said. Since he'd done everything but slide into that little piece of heaven he didn't think the term applied to him. The things they'd done together made him stifle back a groan. He loved what they did and at the same time he absolutely hated it.

Having Haley but not having her was difficult as hell. For any other woman he would have simply shrugged at the "no actual sex" rule and walked away. But for Haley there wasn't anything he wouldn't do. She was the love of his life, his future and the woman he planned on spending the rest of his life with.

So for now he'd grit his teeth and fight against the urge to jump her every time he saw her. His little grasshopper wanted to stick with foreplay so that's exactly what he was going to do. As long as she kept doing that unbelieving erotic thing with her tongue and teeth along the ridge of his-

"I'm surprised he's not panting after her right now," Mitch said, yanking Jason away from his thoughts of Haley, naked, bending over.... He shifted uncomfortably in his seat as discretely as possible.

"We don't spend every minute of the day together," Jason shot back.

Mitch shrugged. "Pretty much."

"Well, I'm not with her right now, am I?" Jason snapped back.

"Probably because she didn't want you with her," Mitch said, snagging another beer. "She's probably getting sick of you."

Tags: R.L. Mathewson Neighbor from Hell Young Adult