Read Dream of You Online

Authors: Kate Perry

Tags: #Romance, #Women, #sexy, #love story, #Romantic, #fun, #sweet, #Contemporary Romance, #beach read

Dream of You (6 page)

BOOK: Dream of You
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Groaning, Lola dropped her head in her
hands.

Olivia laughed. "It was entertaining. I loved
the banter between the two of you. No wonder you want
lingerie."

"I don't want lingerie." She pointed at Gwen.
"
She's
the instigator."

Gwen patted her arm. "You can thank me
later."

"I have just the thing for you, Gwen."
Becoming all business, Olivia headed toward a table in front. "Rick
is going to love this on you."

Gwen looked at the fuchsia bra set, eyes
wide. "There are no cups."

"I know. Go try it on." Olivia turned to
Lola. "You."

She blinked. "Me?"

"I have the perfect thing for you, too, but
it'd be only for you, not because you want to please someone
else."

"What is it?" Lola asked despite herself.

Without a word, Olivia went to the back and
came out with a white lace set.

It looked unassuming. It was white and lacy,
so nondescript and innocent looking that Lola stared at it
doubtfully.

Olivia smiled. "Trust me. Take it home and if
it doesn't work out, bring it back."

She wasn't convinced that she needed lingerie
but she acquiesced. She was watching Olivia wrap the underwear in
burgundy tissue when Gwen skipped out of the dressing room, her
cheeks rosy. "Rick's going to love this," she said. "You're
right."

"I know," Olivia replied with a coy
smile.

The front door opened, and Eve walked in
carrying a to-go cup in her hand. "Delivery for the mama-to-be.
Decaf Nutella latte, as big as they come."

Moaning, Olivia held her hands out eagerly.
"You're my hero. This baby has more of a hazelnut fetish than I
do."

"How
is
junior in there?" Gwen
asked.

"Enthusiastic." Olivia ran a hand over the
small mound of her belly. "He has his father's energy."

"How are you going to run the store once the
baby is born?" Lola asked.

"I found a woman to work for me. She starts
in a couple weeks. Business is good, and then I can focus on
merchandising and being a mom." She nodded at Eve. "You'll like
Nicole. She's looking for an apartment, so if you hear of anything
let me know."

"It's too bad I just rented out my old
apartment," Eve said.

Olivia grinned as she lifted her beverage.
"You finally gave up your bachelorette pad, huh?"

"You should see the guy who rented it." Eve
leered as best as an angelic looking blonde could. "If I didn't
have Treat, I'd be taking him cookies every day."

"Cute?" Gwen asked.

"No.
Hot
."

Gwen nudged Lola. "Maybe
he's
your
inspiration."

"I don't think so." Lola had Sam firmly fixed
in her head, for some annoying reason.

"He's mysterious too," Eve added. "Kristin,
Allison, and I have been conjecturing about what he does. Allison
and I think he's a former CIA agent who's on leave, but Kristin
believes he's an undercover rock star." She perked up, suddenly
excited. "Speaking of additions to the neighborhood, guess who's
moving to the neighborhood?"

"Daniela Rossi," Olivia said.

Eve wilted, crestfallen. "How did you
know?"

Olivia just arched her brow.

"I should know better than to ask." Eve
rolled her eyes. "Anyway, she's moving into Margaret's old
teahouse. The rumor is she's opening a custom dessert
boutique."

Lola looked back and forth between the women,
feeling like she didn't have the whole story. "Who's Margaret? And
who's Daniela Rossi?"

"Margaret is Eve's future mother-in-law,"
Olivia explained.

Eve nodded. "And Daniela is my idol and the
reason Grounds for Thought has been so successful as a café
bookstore. The booksigning event she did with me really launched
the business."

"My booksigning is tomorrow." Lola made a
face.

"I know!" Eve enthused. "It's going to be
fun. I have your book displayed all over, and I'm making mini lemon
tarts for treats. Don't worry about a thing. You'll have a good
time. Just come and enjoy it."

Especially if it was going to be her last
time, because she wasn't entirely certain the current book was ever
going to get off the ground. She thought about what she'd written
today and winced.

Crap—everything she'd written in the past
month had been pure crap. She hated letting Kevin affect her that
way, but he'd derailed her.

If she were smart, she'd write about a
different couple, regardless of the fact that her fans expected
Louise's story. Fans could be appeased as long as they were given a
good story.

The only person who wouldn't be appeased was
her mom. Her mom really wanted Louise's story, too. The irony
wasn't lost on Lola. Sally couldn't remember her own daughter's
name, but she remembered everything about Louise.

In a way, it was nice. At least her mom was
indirectly interested in Lola's life.

Which was why she had to buck up and write
the story—for her mom. It was the only way they could stay
connected. And her mom believed ardently in fairy tale love. It was
the one thing Lola could give her: stories of soul mates.

She had imagination. She could make it up,
even if she was beginning to doubt it really existed. After all,
even her parents' fairy tale love ended when her dad died.

Gwen nudged her. "You okay?" she asked
softly, her large eyes warm with concern.

Lola squeezed her arm. "I will be, once I
finish the first draft of this book."

Her friend didn't look like she believed her.
Not that she blamed Gwen—she didn't believe herself either.

Chapter Eight

 

Sam couldn't get Lola out of his head. He
couldn't stop thinking about that kiss.

"Isn't the bookstore café to the right?"
Madison asked, pointing out the window. "Right there. Grounds for
Thought."

"Oh. Yeah." He made a quick series of turns
and parked a couple streets away.

Madison barely waited until the car had
stopped to jump out. Sam slammed the door shut—hard—hoping the
action would close the door on his thoughts of Lola.

No such luck, because he still saw her blue
eyes, still felt her long legs wrapped around his waist, and still
felt the way her mouth ate at his.

Like she was starving.

"Come on, Daddy." His daughter took his hand
and pulled. "We're going to be late."

"Late?" He frowned. For the first time since
he'd picked her up that morning, he realized she was up to
something more than stopping at the bookstore to pick up a book.
"What are we late for?"

"You'll see." She grinned at him with that
adorable gap on the left side of her mouth, where her last baby
tooth had finally fallen out. "And then I'll be your favorite
child."

"You're already my favorite, and do I need to
point out you're my only child?"

"Yeah, but one day you'll give me a little
brother or sister."

The picture that sprang into his mind was
holding Lola and a baby that had her big blue eyes. He frowned.
"That seems unlikely."

Madison didn't say anything, focused instead
on the store. She was literally bouncing up and down, dragging him
down the street behind her. "Come on, Daddy."

"I love that you're excited for this book,
honey, but—" His mouth snapped closed as he saw the huge poster
advertising a booksigning going on right then, for a book that was
just released.
Here and Now
by Lola Carmichael.

He stopped short and stared silently at his
daughter.

Instead of looking remorseful, Madison got
that stubborn look on her face that he recognized from his own
reflection. "You were the one cyber-stalking her," his daughter
pointed out.

"I was not."

"Yeah-huh. I saw on your browser."

"I was researching her. For another show," he
lied.

Madison rolled her eyes, let go of his hand,
and marched right in.

Jesus H
. He rushed after her. No
telling what the kid would say unsupervised. He caught up to her
and took her hand again. "I'm going to put a leash on you."

"Sure, Daddy."

"And a muzzle."

His daughter just beamed the confident smile
of a child secure in her father's love.

And then he saw Lola.

She sat at a large table piled with books.
There was an impressively long line of people waiting for her. She
smiled brightly at the woman standing in front of her and handed
her a copy she'd presumably already signed.

But even here, in a bookstore, signing books
for fans, she still didn't match his image of an author. She looked
like a classy showgirl with her sparkly pink top and flowing
hair.

When Madison tugged his hand, he realized
he'd unconsciously started to walk slower, savoring the vision of
Lola with each step. "Madison, did I mention you're grounded for
the rest of your life?"

"If I get a little brother, I'm okay with
that." With singleness of purpose, she dragged him to the
table.

Ten feet away, Lola looked up, her eyes
widening when she saw him. The blush that stained her cheeks told
him that she was also remembering their kiss.

Suddenly he wasn't as reluctant to see her.
In fact, for the first time in years, he felt that initial rush he
used to get before a show when he’d first started in radio, the
same kind of adrenaline surge he’d gotten before a football game,
back in the day.

Showing the casual disregard that only a kid
on the verge of adolescence could exhibit, Madison marched them up
to the front of the line and held her free hand out. "I'm Madison
Taylor. We talked on the radio a couple days ago."

"We did," Lola said, giving him a questioning
look before she turned all her attention to his daughter. "This is
a surprise."

"We're here to buy your book. For my
dad."

"We are?" he said.

Madison shot him a withering look before she
smiled again at Lola. "He's your biggest fan. He can't wait to read
it."

"Really." Lola arched a brow at him. Then she
pulled a short stack of novels and began signing them. "Then I'm
sure he'll want more than one copy."

What the hell was he going to do with six
copies of a romance novel? Pass them out to the boys at poker
night? "Madison, forget grounding. You've moved up to a life
sentence."

"Daddy doesn't mean it," his daughter assured
Lola. "He may be like a guy and talk tough, but he's only ever
thought about swatting my butt once, and just the thought made him
cry."

He tugged Madison's ponytail. "It's making me
pretty gleeful at the moment."

His daughter grinned at him and cuddled into
his side. He ran his hand down her soft hair, already feeling how
this would all change soon. In a couple years, she'd be a teenager
and not want anything to do with him.

Lola stared back and forth at them like she
was trying to figure something out. Then she shook her head and
shoved the books at him. "You can pay for them at the counter."

"Awesome," Madison exclaimed. "I can't wait
to read it."

"You aren't," he and Lola said at once. They
stared at each other, confounded by the connection.

"Lola, my dad's taking me to get a hamburger
after."

"I am?" he asked.

His daughter ignored him, focusing all her
cuteness on the author. "Would you like to come? We'll wait for
you," she added, dragging him away before Lola could say
anything.

He let her take him to the register.
"Madison, I'm not sure what you're up to, but I don't like it."

She made a noncommittal noise.

"What if Lola didn't want to go to lunch with
us?"

"She totally did." His daughter gave him a
pitying look. "Women can tell these things."

"You're not a woman. You're a menace." He
frowned. "What if she's a vegetarian?"

"Daddy." Madison shook her head and walked up
to the counter. She smiled at the woman behind the counter. "We're
buying those books, and I'd like a hot chocolate, please. And a
Madeleine."

"Sure thing, honey." The woman winked at him
as she picked up a carton of milk. "You big into romance, sugar, or
are you into Lola?"

"Both," his daughter answered for him.

"Two life sentences," he promised her as he
slid the books across the counter. "And you have to clean the
bathroom."

Madison giggled and hugged him around his
waist.

Touchdown Taylor, buying romance novels. He
could hear the guys in the locker room giving him a hard time.

Then he saw the back cover of the book, with
Lola's beautiful face smiling on it, and he was surprised by the
urge to pick it up to read. Not that he'd tell anyone that—not the
boys, not his daughter, and especially not Ms. Lola Carmichael.

 

 

 

Somehow Lola found herself sitting in a booth
at a burger joint in the outer Richmond, having burgers and fries
with Sam Taylor and his daughter. She could hardly believe it, and
she was sitting there, living it.

Sam and Madison shared the other side of the
booth. Sam had his arm draped over the seatback and he casually
played with the end of Madison's ponytail. Madison leaned toward
him as she ate and talked about her friends at school.

Chewing thoughtfully, she listened to them
banter. They had a good relationship—that much was obvious. Sam
doted on Madison, and Madison clearly worshipped her father, even
if she gave him a hard time.

Astonishing. Lola took another fry as she
watched their interaction. She missed her dad. They hadn't had
quite the same easy camaraderie that Sam and Madison had, but she'd
never doubted that he'd loved her.

Madison turned to her. "What do you think,
Lola?"

She shook her head. "I was daydreaming. What
do I think about what?"

"Bras."

She looked at Sam. By the furrow of his brow,
she took it that he didn't like this conversation. So she said, "I
have a friend who sells bras. Well, really all lingerie, but
especially bras. She thinks they're very important."

BOOK: Dream of You
10.39Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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