Authors: Sugar Jamison
This is a work of fiction. All of the characters, organizations, and events portrayed in this novel are either products of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously.
My CURVY VALENTINE
Copyright © 2015 by Sugar Jamison.
All rights reserved.
Maggie Calhoun didn’t often have dirty dreams. She dreamed about normal things, like falling off buildings, being bitten by snakes, or having small animals chase her. But this morning she was enjoying a particularly naughty dream, one that made her mouth water and heated her insides on this cold winter’s morning.
Vivid images of beautifully crusty golden brown bread flooded her mind. Hot from the oven, steam sexily rolling off of it as she broke it in half. It smelled like heaven and ecstasy and bliss if those things had a smell. It was better than any perfume or cologne ever created. If men smelled like that… She’d crawl all over them and bury her nose into their bread-scented necks.
Well… probably not. She was a lady after all, but the bread in her dream did smell that good.
She could see herself slathering a loaf with butter, and watching it melt into the delicious nooks and crannies of hot perfection. She could taste it, and as she put it in her mouth she moaned. It was crusty, yet soft. The butter was sweet, salty and fresh and her appetite had grown tenfold after that one bite.
She looked around her to see that there was more. Freshly made croissants piled to the ceiling. Lusciously frosted cupcakes on silver trays. Enormous sticky buns that she wanted to stick her face into. She was in carbohydrate paradise and with each dream bite she took she could feel her ass spreading from here to Delaware, but she didn’t care, because it was that damn good.
Her alarm went off. An annoying beeping sound caused her eyes to jolt open only to see that she was in her bedroom. No bread. No sticky buns, just a closet filled with too many clothes and an alarm clock that wouldn’t shut up. She sighed, sitting up to silence her alarm. The room might not be filled with baked goods, but the smell was still there. It was why she had that dream so often. It was a hazard of living directly over the best bakery in Durant, New York.
She hadn’t always lived above a bakery. For some people it was a dream place to live, but for Maggie it didn’t start out that way.
For Maggie, the move here signaled the end of a life she was never happy living.
It all started one day when she came home from work to find a UPACK IT moving truck in her driveway. Not just a moving truck, but two burly movers lugging boxes out of her house.
They’re finally doing it
, she had thought.
They’re kicking me out
. She was twenty-five years old. Still living at home with her parents. Still occupying her childhood bedroom with the Backstreet Boys posters on the walls even though her taste in men had changed considerably since her boobs started to grow.
She knew it was time to go. It was past time for her to go. She was almost relieved that her parents had made the decision for her.
They could have given her a little time though. Had a conversation with her before they hired a moving company and unceremoniously dumped her belongings in an empty lot somewhere.
But then her mother had stepped out of the front door. Her mother. Her hero. The reason she had stayed in her parents’ home far longer than she should. Instead of her happy face and
normally sunny welcome, she looked grim. Hurt even. It wasn’t the first time she had seen her mother like that, but this time she knew it was for more than the usual reason.
“Come inside, Maggie May.”
Maggie May. Her full name. The one she gotten because her mother had fallen in love with her father while hearing the Rod Stewart song.
“Yes, Maggie.” Her father appeared. Her military man father. Who stood with his legs apart, his hands behind his back, as if he were about to address his troops. “We’ve got something to tell you.”
They were getting a divorce.
The whole damn world fell out from beneath her then.
It shocked her. It shouldn’t have, but it did. Her father was a cold hearted son of a bitch.
There were few things she could count on in life.
The Mets never winning a World Series.
It’s a Wonderful Life
coming on every Christmas.
And her parents’ marriage.
With her parents’ split, life as she knew it was over.
It threw her for a loop and knocked her on her ass.
It broke her. But in a good way.
She was a good girl. She followed every rule. Went to the school her father had picked for her. Got the kind of job he wanted her to have. Never spoke out of turn. Or stayed out late. She had never lived the life she wanted to. So when her parents told her they were breaking up, she decided she was breaking out.
She was finally going to get to be who she wanted to be.
Little did she know, when she quit her job and asked her real estate investor neighbor if he had any rentals, that she would be waking up every morning aroused from her dirty carbohydrate dreams. She also didn’t know that his son, Alex, her brother’s best friend and her sometime nemesis, was going to be the man who was the cause of those arousing sugar-coated dreams.
She got out of bed and looked out the window to see if the snow that had been projected was on the ground. There was hardly any there, just a light dusting that turned her normally pretty town into something even more picturesque. Her building sat on St. Lucy Street, one of the most travel streets in town, but her bedroom faced the back of it. Even though she was saved from the sight of cars whizzing by and pedestrians walking to work she couldn’t help but see that the neighborhood was all decked out for Valentine’s Day. It was fourteen days away and hard to escape in Durant. There were red and white hearts plastered on buildings, pink lights strung in trees and cupids everywhere. Little cherubs with bows and arrows, there to remind people that it
was the season of love. There were sweetheart dances set up and two-for-one specials at restaurants. She couldn’t go into a store without seeing a heart-shaped box of chocolates.
She wanted to roll her eyes at it all. She wanted to say what every single girl said on the holiday. That it was a stupid fake holiday thought up by corporations to get suckers to part with their money. But she couldn’t really be bitter about it, even though she had sworn off love and men and all things that signified commitment. Because her funky college town went all-out like this for every holiday. They dyed the Shawnee River green on St. Patrick’s Day. The mayor dressed up like a turkey on Thanksgiving Day and marched in the parade, and during the December holiday season, the town transformed into a nondenominational winter wonderland. At twenty-seven years old, Maggie still was filled with a childlike excitement when she saw her town all dolled up. And secretly she couldn’t be so mad at Valentine’s Day, because even though her own parents’ love had crashed and burned horribly she still kind of believed in love.
For other people. Her? Well, maybe not so much.
The upcoming Valentine’s Day also meant she would be swamped at work. So she pulled herself away from the window to get ready for the day. She was the assistant manager of
Size Me Up
, a boutique in town that specialized in dressing hard-to-fit women like Maggie by tailoring clothes to fit their unique bodies. She loved spending her days helping women that fashion often ignored feel beautiful. Her parents weren’t thrilled that she was working in a clothing store instead of using her master’s degree in biomedical engineering, but she decided, when they split, that she wouldn’t be like them and spend thirty years in a place that made her unhappy.
She dressed that day in black skinny jeans, a gray sweater with black lace detailing on the sleeves, and her brand new gray suede boots, all found at
Size Me Up
that morning. She had
spent a quarter of her paycheck on clothing, something she had never done before she started working there. Feeling pretty was something she had never felt before either. She had been a misfit most of her life, too chubby, too shy, too smart to fit in with most people, instead hiding herself by burying her nose in books.
Size Me Up
had changed her more than she could say.
She walked down the staircase and headed for the door at the back of the building. Away from the amazing stomach-rumbling smells of the bakery. She had spent entirely too much time there since it had opened a few months ago. And way too much time with its owner. After the dream she had this morning, she could stand to avoid them both for a couple of days.
“Maggie May!” A familiar deep voice barked at her. “Just where do you think you’re going?”
She turned around to see Chef Alex Sanna standing in the back doorway that led to his bakery,
“Shit.” So much for avoiding him that day. Alex was like a drug-sniffing hound dog. He always seemed to find her no matter how well she hid from him.
“Is that the way you say good morning?” he asked.
She turned to look at him. He was leaning against the doorjamb, arms crossed over his white double-breasted executive chef’s coat, looking at her like she was a naughty puppy that needing punishing.
“Bite me,” she retorted.
He grinned, bringing her attention to that mouth of his, with his full soft lips and straight white teeth. She might find it attractive if something obnoxious wasn’t always coming out of it.
“Only if I get to choose where.” His gaze traveled down her entire body, apparently searching for a good spot to sink his teeth into.
Her stomach did that stupid fluttery thing. It had been doing that a lot lately when he was around. She found it annoying. She found most things that had to do with the chef were.
Especially how good-looking he was. He bore a slight resemblance to David Gandy, the British model, with his sharp green eyes, dark wavy hair and chiseled jaw, but there was nothing model-like about Alex. He was too big. Six and a half feet tall, a former rugby player who seemed to take up all the space in the room. He had big hands and large feet. He walked with purpose instead of grace which somehow made him much more attractive than any male model. And to top it all off he made her feel small, which was hard to do considering she was the height of most average men. He was sexy, but he wasn’t supposed to be. He was Clayton’s best friend. And sometimes he was a big fat jerk.
“Why do you have to do that? Why do you have to be yourself?” she asked.
“Why can’t you just say good morning like the nice little girl your mother raised you to be?” He left his spot by the door and took her arm, tugging her into the bakery. He was always touching her. Ever since they were little kids. His favorite pastime had been putting her in a headlock. He didn’t do that anymore. His touches now were altogether different. “I thought you Midwesterners were supposed to be polite.”
“I’m not a Midwesterner. I lived in Iowa for two years because my dad was stationed there before we moved to New York. You know that.”
“Yeah, yeah. You’re a tough, hardened New Yorker. Sit down.” He guided her to a chair and helped her out of her coat. He was being bossy again. She knew he had never been in the
military, a commanding officer like her father and older brother, but there was something about him that made her feel like he was. Maybe it was the way he stood tall in his chef’s coat and black pants. Maybe it was because she had seen him in action in the kitchen before, barking out orders like a drill sergeant and demanding that every item that came out of there was no less than perfection. There was something about him that told the world he was in charge.
After growing up in a house with a father who never yielded power she knew she couldn’t deal with a man like that.
“Why are you avoiding me lately?” He turned away from her, going behind the counter to get her coffee.
“I’m not avoiding you,” she lied. “I just have to get to work.” She looked around her at the little bakery that opened a few months ago. The first word that came to mind was cozy, which was the opposite of what she thought when she thought of him. But he designed it all himself. It was decorated in light wood tones and had chalkboard menus lining the walls, making it feel rustic and homey. But the most beautiful part of the entire place was the long glass display case filled with the most decadent pastries on the planet.
“Bullshit. You didn’t have to get to work. You don’t have to be there for another half hour.”