Read Her Charming Heartbreaker Online

Authors: Sonia Parin

Tags: #humor, #family, #family relationships, #love romance, #family and friends, #humor about romance, #humor about brothers

Her Charming Heartbreaker (26 page)

BOOK: Her Charming Heartbreaker
2.8Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

“Take a number... Get
in line. Or better still, put it in writing.” He motioned to the
twins. “We’re here for breakfast and some of those Puffy
Donuts.”

A moan or a sigh, he
wasn’t sure which, came from the other table. It was followed by a
whimper.

Mitch shook his head.
“Um. Breakfast. A pile of everything for me, something healthy for
the girls and three Puffy Donuts.”

“You sound grumpy,”
Joyce said. “What’s up with that? Never mind, I know all about it.
News is travelling at the usual speed. And my problem can’t wait.
Ever since you took breakfast off the pub’s menu people have been
coming here and I’m run off my feet.”

“And how is that my
problem?”

“When Eddie moved out
of the pub and set up house with Theo, you and your brothers lost
the plot. You need to either hire another cook or sweet talk Eddie
into multi-tasking.”

He patted his stomach.
“I’m running on empty here. Sorry, I still can’t join the
dots.”

“Look around you.”

“I’m guessing these
people are here for those Puffy Donuts you’ve been advertising all
week.”

“Puff not puffy.”

Another moan, only this
time, the woman’s shoulders shook.

He motioned for Joyce
to lean in. “I think you have a disgruntled customer.”

Joyce straightened,
drew in a deep breath, and strode over to her. Before he could stop
them, the girls joined her. Mitch watched them, his exasperation
growing as they all huddled together around the woman and talked in
quick succession. Then some sort of agreement was reached and they
all turned to look at him.

 

* * *

 

“I’ll be fine… really.
I’m...” Elizabeth looked down at the delectable treat. Her mouth
was a sea of drool. One bite and years of being shackled would be
over and done with. “It’s to do with years of conditioning, that’s
all.” Putting her hands to her cheeks, she stifled another moan.
The smell of sugary sweetness was making her head spin. “It’s been
so long—” She knew she was rambling so she stopped before she
spilled her guts and told these complete strangers her entire life
story.

“Is there someone we
can call? You look pale.”

She gave the waitress a
confident nod. “I only need one bite, but it’s... it’s
overwhelmingly big.”

“Maybe you should try
one of our button muffins. They’re tiny morsels—”

“No.” Elizabeth’s hands
flew to the dainty plate. “It has to be the Puff Donut.” She shook
her head. “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to put on a display or draw
attention to myself.” These people must think she was a raving
lunatic, or a runaway from some weird sugar-free cult.

Not exactly the best
first impression to make. She had her heart set on making a new
life in Eden. Growing up, she’d heard so much about the town. Her
friend Tash Knightly had been born and raised in Eden and she’d
always looked so happy. In fact, Elizabeth had been in awe of her
joie de vivre
and had always aspired to be a little bit
like her.

“Maybe it’s like fear
of flying. We could distract you.”

She smiled at the
little girl.

“Mitch should come
over. He can talk anyone under the table. He can help us. I’m
Belle, by the way, and this is my sister, Aimee.”

“And I’m Joyce, the
owner, but you would have guessed it because the place is called
Joyce’s Café. Although, when I first moved here it was part of
Joe’s Garage. I considered keeping the name because it would have
been quirky to set up a café and name it Joe’s Garage. Instead, I
subdivided and sold off the other half, but the new owners weren’t
interested in keeping the name, so I guess I could still use it. In
fact, the place next door is coming up for sale, so I might buy it
again. At this rate, I’m going to have to seriously think about
expanding...”

“Is it working?” one of
the twins asked.

Elizabeth sighed. Now
her head was spinning for entirely different reasons.

“I’ll go get Mitch. My
mom always says he’s a sweet talker and can convince anyone into
doing anything, even if they don’t want to, or shouldn’t want
to.”

Before she could stop
her, the girl swirled away.

This Mitch person
sounded like a manipulative—

“I’ll go help Belle,”
Joyce offered. “I suspect Mitch might need some gentle coercing.
He’s... shy.”

Moments later,
Elizabeth heard a muffled exchange followed by the sound of a chair
scraping behind her, and a gruff voice.

“Hello. I’m Mitch
Faydon.”

Elizabeth sprung
upright in her chair and lifted her gaze. He had an unshaven face,
an easy smile, and eyes that spoke of mischief.

“Girls, run along.
Joyce needs help behind the counter.”

He waited for the twins
to trot off, and then asked if he could join her. He sounded polite
enough, in a firm, yet playful sort of way.

Elizabeth nudged the
plate closer to her. Not even her embarrassment could counteract
her need to sink her teeth into what promised to be her first step
toward freedom.

Standing up, Mitch
Faydon had loomed over her. Sitting down he lost none of his
imposing presence.

“Blink twice if you’d
rather I go away. Joyce is watching, so I’m going to keep smiling
and nodding.”

She frowned.

“Was that one or two
blinks?”

“I’m sorry, this is all
very...”

“Bizarre?

“I was going to say
embarrassing.”

“You must be new to
Eden. Actually, I’m sure you are because I’ve never seen you
around.” He folded his arms on the table and leaned closer. “Here’s
the thing, Joyce has a lot riding on these donuts and you sitting
there staring at the thing and moaning is making people wary.”

“I’m...” She buried her
face in her hands.

“Do you suffer from
some sort of eating disorder? Is that it?”

Her hands dropped down.
“Absolutely not.”

“That’s a hearty
protest. Are you sure? You look... excessively trim.”

Trim... The fact he’d
noticed made her even more determined to shake off the look
fashioned by her calorie counting, portion obsessed boyfriend—

She lifted her chin.
“My pride... my entire future is on the line. I need to do this for
me.”

He looked down at her
plate. “And that donut is the key?”

She gave a small
nod.

“So what’s stopping
you?” He studied her, holding her gaze as if trying to see deep
inside her.

Yes, she was
afraid.

“How about I take a
bite. Show you it’s harmless—”

“No!”

“All right. Let’s calm
down. Take a deep breath. No one’s going to take your Puff Donut
away from you.” He sighed, looked around the café, and then he
settled his bright eyes on her again. “I don’t want to pressure
you, but if you don’t do this, Joyce is never going to pull up her
polka dot socks and get my breakfast.”

In hindsight, Elizabeth
wished she’d asked for a take out bag. She could’ve been sitting in
the privacy of her car, enjoying the moment without any
distractions. She’d already made her decision, now she only wanted
to focus her attention on the experience. To savor every second of
it.

“Why don’t we start
with your name?”

She swallowed past the
tightness in her throat. “Elizabeth... Charles.” She wondered if he
worked for the local law enforcement. He sounded as if he had
experience talking desperate people off ledges. Or maybe he was a
horse whisperer...

“Do you need some
water, Elizabeth?”

“I’m fine.” She took a
sip. “Just give me a moment.”

“Take your time. Focus
on what you want.”

She nodded and scooped
in a big breath.

This was it...

Her fingertips grazed
the edge of the donut. Pushing out a quivery breath, she lifted the
pastry and drew it toward her mouth. Her lips trembled. Her eyes
watered. She tensed against the need to look over her shoulder.
Andrew was a continent away on his business trip. Yet the
compulsion to check and make sure he wasn’t hovering nearby ready
to snatch the donut away from her—

Elizabeth sunk her
teeth in and tore off a mouthful.

Not a dainty bite, but
rather enough to fill her entire mouth with layers of crisp
croissant like pastry and lemony cream and, oooh... chocolate. A
symphony sprung up in her mouth, the music resonating throughout
her body as she began chewing, the pastry releasing a powerful
surge of—

“Take it easy. You
don’t want to rush it.”

Oh yes, she did.
Focusing on swallowing, she closed her eyes and would swear she saw
lights dancing behind her eyelids, sparkling brighter and
brighter...

Something was
happening. Her skin tingled, her stomach quivered.

“You should have some
water now.”

She shook her head.
“Coffee would be good.”

She kept her eyes
closed. A moment later, her nose tingled as the aroma of freshly
ground coffee wafted around her.

“Sugar?”

“Yes, please.” Gauging
her body’s response, she decided she could handle some more. This
time, she took a more sensible bite.

“How many lumps?”

She nodded three
times.

Feeling something warm
touch her lips, she knew he was holding a cup up to her mouth.
Elizabeth took a sip. And moaned. “Oh, that’s good.”

Somehow, she managed to
open her eyes. He was smiling at her. Not with his mouth, but
rather with his eyes.

“Why are you doing
this?”

He shrugged. “I have a
certain skill set and Joyce knows how to exploit it. She wanted a
quick solution, and like I said, I just want my breakfast.”

“Thank you. I’d shake
your hand but I’m all sticky.” She slid the tip of her tongue along
her lip. Oh, God. She could still taste the combination of
chocolate and lemon... She dropped her gaze to his lips.

“No, there’s no need
for that.” He pushed back his chair and surged to his feet. “I
guess I’ve done my job. Here comes my breakfast. Try to take it
easy and enjoy the rest of your stay in Eden.”

Don’t call us, we’ll
call you?

One sweep of her eyes
and she’d gone from demented, sugar deprived public nuisance to
floozy. The man had his children in tow... Did he honestly
think...

She wouldn’t beat
herself up about it.

Whatever magic Joyce
had employed to persuade Mitch Faydon into intervening had clearly
lost its fizz.

Elizabeth looked down
at her half eaten Puff Donut.

Maybe another bite, she
thought. This had only been the first step. Now she had to face the
rest...

 

* * * * *

 

For updates and tidbits
on the characters appearing in this story as well as updates on
upcoming releases, please visit
soniaparin.com

 

BOOK: Her Charming Heartbreaker
2.8Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

Other books

Promises to Keep by Haynes, Elizabeth
Happiness is Possible by Oleg Zaionchkovsky
Return to Eddarta by Randall Garrett
The Stranger Beside You by William Casey Moreton
Bound by Lust by Shanna Germain
Bouncer’s Folly by McKeever, Gracie C.
The Haunted Igloo by Bonnie Turner
Love's Blazing Ecstasy by Kathryn Kramer
Soccer Halfback by Matt Christopher
Creation by Gore Vidal