Read Gentlemen Prefer Curves: A Perfect Fit Novel Online

Authors: Sugar Jamison

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Gentlemen Prefer Curves: A Perfect Fit Novel

BOOK: Gentlemen Prefer Curves: A Perfect Fit Novel
7.52Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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Copyright infringement is against the law. If you believe the copy of this e-book you are reading infringes on the author’s copyright, please notify the publisher at:
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.

 

To my mother—for always encouraging me to take risks

 

Contents

Title Page

Copyright Notice

Dedication

Prologue

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

Chapter 20

Chapter 21

Chapter 22

Chapter 23

Chapter 24

Chapter 25

Chapter 26

Epilogue

Also by Sugar Jamison

Praise for Sugar Jamison

About the Author

Copyright

 

PROLOGUE

The art of not getting caught …

“Shh!”

Carter Lancaster leaned against his pantry door watching his five-year-old daughter as she hissed at the chair she was trying to drag across the kitchen floor.

What’s she up to now?

Every five or six inches she would stop and look to the doorway to make sure she wasn’t caught.

It was too bad she didn’t look behind her, because she failed to see she had a witness to whatever crime she was about to commit.

He smiled to himself, truly amused for the first time in a long time. His little girl would have no life in crime. She was horrible at being sneaky. She was a bad liar and made more noise than a marching band at a football game as she scampered across the kitchen. But he didn’t stop her.

He was more interested in seeing what she was going to do with that chair.

Obviously something she wasn’t supposed to be doing.

He wasn’t supposed to be in the kitchen, either. He was supposed to be on his way to dinner in one of San Francisco’s finest restaurants with his boss and the potential clients they had been wooing for weeks.

His firm had put in a bid to design the brand new San Francisco opera house. If they got the job, it would be huge for his firm and for his career. It was the kind of job any architect would dream of. It was the kind of job that could put him down in the books, but right now all of that slipped out of his mind as he watched his baby girl scurry up the chair and onto the counter.

He should have made his presence known as soon as he walked into the kitchen, but he didn’t. Maybe he remained silent because he realized that he had no idea what was going on with Ruby. He hadn’t been home in time for dinner in weeks. He hadn’t put her to bed in as long, or read her a story or watched her brush her teeth. He hadn’t been there, too busy working. Their nanny, Mrs. Marsh, had taken his place.

It wasn’t the first time the uncomfortable thought had entered his head, but he had justified it to himself. This career move could be huge for them. It would catapult him to the top of his field. It would mean more money, more security. More of everything life had to offer.

Bullshit
, a little voice whispered to him. He was afraid it was his conscience.

“Ruby?” he called to her softly as her little fingers reached the top of the refrigerator. “What are you doing up there?”

She turned to look at him, her little arms crossing over her chest. “What are you doing home?” she countered. “You never come home early.”

“You answer my question first,” he said, trying to ignore the huge bubble of guilt that rose in his chest. He was the adult, after all.

“I was trying to get cookies,” she said in her soft voice. “You shouldn’t have called me when I was up here. I coulda got scared and fell and hit my head and you would have had to take me to the doctor. And then you would have said damn it and had to put money in the cuss jar because you don’t like it when I get hurt.”

He shook his head. Sometimes he felt like he was living with a forty-year-old. It was his fault. She was painfully shy. She spent her entire life with adults. She never had time to be a kid. He never had time to make sure she was being a kid. And as the days went on he saw his baby slipping away, replaced by this tiny adult. He didn’t like it.

“Why are you trying to sneak cookies? Didn’t you have some for snack when you came home from school?”

She frowned at him, reminding him so much of himself in that moment. “No. Mrs. Marsh told you I was porky and you told her that it was okay to give me raisins and dried fruit for snack so I would lose some weight. Remember?”

“Oh, no.” He took a step toward her but stopped when he noticed the hurt look on her face. He vaguely remembered Mrs. Marsh saying something about Ruby’s weight, but he’d barely listened. Yes, Ruby had round cheeks and chubby little hands and a bit of a belly. But she was perfect. His tiny little curly-haired elf. “You’re not porky. She must have said pretty. You’re very pretty.”

She tapped her bare foot on the counter. “She calls me pork chop. And Porky Pig and she pinches my cheeks and calls me a fat little thing,
Dad
.”

The way she said “Dad” made him cringe. Not Daddy like she usually did, but Dad. Like Dad equaled asshole. And in this case he truly felt like one.

“I’m so sorry, honey.” He grabbed her off the countertop and sat in the chair she pulled across the room. “I’ll talk to Mrs. Marsh about that. You aren’t fat. You’re perfect.”

She nodded and cuddled into his chest. For all her big talk she was still just a little girl. He got so caught up in his work, in his own selfish stupid bullshit, that he had forgotten that. He squeezed her tighter, unable to remember the last time he just held her. That was unacceptable.

He had almost lost her once. He smoothed his thumb over the scar that covered half her arm, remembering that. After that dark time in his life he swore she would always come first. Somehow he had let that promise slip.

When he took over sole responsibility of raising her, he knew it was going to be hard, but he didn’t expect it to be
this
hard—and as she got older he screwed up more and more. If she gave him heart palpitations at five, what the hell was going to happen when she was fourteen?

“Why did you come home early? Are you staying?”

She looked so damn hopeful.

“I’m sorry, Rube.” He felt like an asshole just saying it. “I just came home to get a file and say hello. I have an important dinner meeting tonight.”

“Oh.” Her face fell. “Mrs. Marsh says all you do at those meetings is drink and talk about money. That doesn’t sound very important. You could do that here and send Mrs. Marsh home and I could help you with your meeting. I know how to make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and I can pour the milk without spilling it now.”

“That sounds very nice.” He ran his hand over her curls. “I wish I could, but we can’t have little girls there. It’s really important that Daddy goes out to dinner with his clients, and his boss.”

“Why? So you can make more money? Mrs. Marsh says you’re richer than God and don’t need any more money. She said if you had your nose any farther up your boss’s behind, it wasn’t going to be the only thing that was brown.”

He took a deep breath to prevent himself from cursing and then kissed his daughter’s cheeks. He was going to have to get rid of Mrs. Marsh tomorrow. She talked entirely too much. “I’m sorry, honey, but I have to go. This is important.”

“Okay.” She got off his lap, and watching her turn away from him almost killed him. “I’m gonna go to my room now.”

“Wait.” He called her knowing there was little he could do to fix this short of buying her a pony. “I thought you wanted cookies. I’ll get them for you. As many as you want.”

“No, thank you. My tummy hurts.”

He sat back in his chair, loosening his tie to try and relieve the suffocating feeling. Ruby wasn’t happy. That thought had been sneaking around in the back of his mind for a couple of months now, but he’d ignored it. No parent wanted to accept that their child was unhappy. He had to change that. His actions now would shape her future. And the image of his baby, all grown up dating a guy with a face tattoo and a rap sheet longer than his arm, entered his head. He couldn’t let that happen.

Pulling out his cell phone he called his boss, realizing he was about to commit career suicide and not really caring. He had to make a lifestyle change. He had to do it for her. “Mr. Allen, I’m afraid I can’t make it tonight. My kid needs me.”

He disconnected and went to the stairs. “Ruby! Put your shoes on. Daddy’s taking you out tonight.”

 

CHAPTER 1

Parents just don’t understand …

Parents. Can’t live with them. Can’t toss them off the roof.

Belinda Gordon walked up her parents’ driveway. She had moved out of their home practically on her eighteenth birthday but in the last five years she had probably spent more hours in her parents’ home than her own. Her mother had called half an hour ago, for the third time that day, this time begging her to come over.


I need you, Pudge
,” she’d purred in her lispy Spanish accent. “
Please.

She found it hard to say no to her mother—to both her parents, actually. She could say no to men who had asked her for dates over the years. She could say no to donating to the countless fund-raisers the high school kids kept bringing her way. She could even say no to those cute little Girl Scouts who tried to tempt her with boxes and boxes of those damn delicious cookies. But she couldn’t say no to her parents.

Ever.

How annoying.

She was their only child. After years of fertility problems they had only produced her.

You’re all I have.
Her mother never let her forget it.

Her mother was damn good at guilt. A master at it. But then again most mothers were. She wondered if that came naturally when one became a mother or if it was something one had to work at. Were there guilt drills? Little sayings mothers everywhere practiced every night to ensure their children turned into guilty balls of mush?

You never call me.

Why don’t you want to spend time with me?

But Belinda had deserved being the recipient of such guilt. She had made some pretty big mistakes in her life.

Colossal mistakes.

Breathtakingly stupid mistakes.

Like moving across the country alone on a whim. And turning down a high-paying job at an insurance company because it would have stifled her creativity. She made the mistake of buying two pairs of harem pants because she thought they were coming back in style. And her biggest mistake, the one she could barely bring herself to think about: falling in love with a man who was totally wrong for her.

She had disappointed her parents with her choices and now she was still trying to make up for it.

So she was here, in her sexiest black dress and her newest pair of Spanx, prepared to spend the last remaining minutes before her second date with Brian Warren with her parents. She had to admit she was also there because she needed the distraction her parents would inevitably provide.

She was nervous about her date, and she was woman enough to admit it.

She was nervous about going out with Brian again because … well … everything had gone so freaking well on their first date. That was
not
the norm for her. Since she had started dating again, just after her thirtieth birthday in February, she hadn’t had one good date.

But then there was Brian. Brian was the type of man—a sensible man—a thirty-year-old woman should date. He was cute, worked in finance, owned his own condo, smelled like he bathed regularly, and always paid for dinner.

BOOK: Gentlemen Prefer Curves: A Perfect Fit Novel
7.52Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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