Nothing Tastes As Good (Cupcake Goddess)

BOOK: Nothing Tastes As Good (Cupcake Goddess)
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Cupcake Goddess:

Nothing Tastes As Good

A Novelette

By Shéa MacLeod

Cupcake Goddess: Nothing Tastes As Good

COPYRIGHT © 2012 by Shéa MacLeod

Published 2012 by Sunwalker Press, Portland, Oregon

The right of Shéa MacLeod to be identified as the author of this work has been asserted by her in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without prior written permission of the author.

This is a work of fiction. All characters in this book are fictitious and any resemblance to actual persons either living or dead is entirely coincidental.

Cover Art: Tamra Westberry

Edited by: Tamra Westberry and M. Edward McNally

Formatted by: Cyberwitch Press

Please visit Shéa MacLeod at
sheamacleod.wordpress.com

Cupcake Goddess:

Nothing Tastes As Good

All she’d wanted was a change of pace. Something different to break up the monotony of life as an immortal. Life got pretty boring without the powers that had once made her a deity.

Instead she’d wound up with the neighbor from hell. Again.

“That’s it!” Branwen hopped out of bed. “No more Miss Nice Goddess.”

Yanking on her fuchsia silk robe (she’d replaced her fuzzy pink one in deference to the heat of San Antonio) Branwen stormed out of the apartment, down the hall, to the door marked 2B. The door that was currently vibrating practically off its hinges due to the sheer volume of the music coming from the other side.

It took a good three rounds of knocking before someone finally answered the door. Someone perky and blonde with a golden tan and a perfect nose. Naturally.

“Do you have any idea what time it is?” Branwen snarled at the pretty young thing.

The girl frowned, furrowing her perfectly smooth brow and biting her perfectly lush lower lip. “You’re not one of my neighbors.”

“Yes, I’m in 2D.” Branwen pointed to the open door down the hallway. “And thanks to you, I’m missing my beauty sleep.” Which she sorely needed after her flight from Seattle. Not to mention the drive to SeaTac from Granite Falls. During rush hour.

If she’d still been an all-powerful goddess, she could have transported herself, but thanks to years without any worship from adoring humans, her reserves were pretty much empty. The only place she could zap to without much trouble was Wales, where people still remembered her. Sort of.

“What happened to Brighid? That’s her apartment.”

“I bribed her,” Branwen muttered under her breath. It had cost her three months’ salary and her favorite pair of earrings she’d picked up at one of Gilgamesh’s parties in Mesopotamia (that man had known how to throw a party). But she’d needed to get the hell out of Granite Falls for awhile. Sacrifices had to be made.

Miss Perky frowned. “What?”

Branwen sighed. “We’re old friends.”
Very
old. “We’re doing a house exchange thing. You know, for a holiday.”

“Oh, that’s cool. You want to come in? I would have totally invited you if I’d known.”

“No, thanks, I…”

“I have cupcakes,” the girl coaxed.

That was all Branwen needed to hear. By the time she was on her third cupcake she’d decided Miss Perky, real name Tiffany, wasn’t so bad after all. She was actually surprisingly amusing for a human. And she baked a mean cupcake. Branwen had never trusted skinny chefs, but for Tiffany she’d make an exception.

Tiffany’s friends were all equally bright, cheerful young things who eventually got over the shock of a chubby woman in a silk bathrobe crashing the party. They adopted Branwen as one of their own alternatively offering her treats and coaxing her to dance. Branwen could feel her strength growing by the minute. They might not have known she was a goddess, but adoration was adoration. She’d take what she could get.

She begged off dancing with yet another boy in skinny jeans (Really, what were they thinking?) and black rimmed glasses. She’d had quite enough dancing for one night.

“Oh, you should be careful with those.” Tiffany nodded at the fourth cupcake about to vanish at Branwen’s hand. “ ‘Nothing tastes as good as thin feels.’ At least that’s what my friend, Kate, always says.”

“She does, does she?” Branwen looked around for this Kate person who obviously had way too much time on her hands if she was coming up with such idiotic, and patently untrue, phrases.

“Oh, she’s not here.” Tiffany said as she poured more pretzels into a huge glass bowl.

“Why not?”

“She won’t come to my parties. She says she feels out of place. Like my other friends make her feel fat. It’s ridiculous, but she swears she’ll come just as soon as she loses how-ever-many-more pounds she’s decided to lose this week.” Tiffany rolled her eyes.

“She’s that fat?” Branwen asked.

Tiffany gasped and shook her head. “Oh, no. Well, I mean, she’s big boned. Curvy. But she’s super pretty. She just has low self-esteem, you know? Always dieting, thinking if she’s thin it will solve all her problems.”

Branwen eyed the slender Tiffany with her ridiculously long legs and nicely formed C cups. It hadn’t escaped the goddess’s notice that all Tiffany’s straight male friends were interested in being a lot more than
just
friends.

“Can’t imagine why she’d think that.” The goddess’s voice was as dry as dust.

Tiffany shrugged as she popped open a can of diet soda. “No idea.” She sounded truly baffled.

“I’d like to meet this Kate.”

“Ohhhh!” Tiffany clapped her hands together with excitement. “We can do lunch.”

“Oh, yes.” The smile on Branwen’s face was just this side of wicked. “Let’s.”

* * *

Kate Llewellyn frowned at herself in the mirror. Mirrors added ten pounds, right? Or was that cameras? Maybe the lighting just sucked. Yeah, that was it. Dressing room lighting was always unflattering.

“Crap.” She’d tried on six different dresses and every one of them made her look like a hippo in a table cloth.

She ripped off the last dress and threw it on the pile of other rejects. Damn it all. If only she were skinny. Then she could walk right into any shop and find cute dresses in her size. Dresses that would make her look good instead of emphasizing everything that was wrong with her body.

She closed he eyes and took a deep breath. She opened them and gave herself a good hard look in the mirror. “Get it together, Kate.”

All she needed was one dress. One halfway decent dress that wouldn’t make her look completely ridiculous. Was that too much to ask?

A knock on the dressing room door nearly sent her into cardiac arrest.

“Miss? I’ve got another one for you to try on.” It was the sales girl.

“Um, great, thanks.” Kate opened the door slightly to grab the dress and stopped to stare at the thing in horror. The shapeless gray monstrosity looked like it belonged at a funeral, not a date. She grabbed the dress anyway and slammed the door shut in the sales girl’s face.

Oh, God, she was going on a date. She hadn’t had a date in…well, in longer than she cared to remember. What had she been thinking? Joining an internet dating site had to be just about the dumbest thing she’d ever done. The place was full of cowboys and personal trainers who were looking for “slender, toned, athletic” women. Something Kate was very definitely not. Two months on the site and this was her first date.

She was still kind of shocked that someone had actually asked her out. And a cute someone at that. Had he not noticed the “plus size” tag on her profile? Had he not looked at all her pictures? Didn’t he know she was…fat?

She looked at the gray blob in her hands. Might as well try it on.

The gray blob actually didn’t look too terrible on her. It fit, which was a plus, and covered up most of her flaws. Maybe with some jewelry and a nice pair of shoes she’d look halfway presentable, if completely blah. It would have to do. Kate was exhausted, irritated, and this was the only dress that had looked close to decent.

With little enthusiasm she headed to the checkout with the gray dress. Maybe she should cancel the date…

* * *

By the time she pulled into the parking lot near the Riverwalk downtown, Kate was shaking so hard she could barely steer. It was a wonder she hadn’t hit somebody with her car on the ride over. Her stomach was such a mass of nerves she doubted she’d be able to eat anything.

Why had she let Tiffany talk her into keeping this date? Tiffany had no idea what it was like to go on dates when you were a bigger person. The men always stared at you like you were some kind of vermin, judging you if you ate too much, rushing out the door as quickly as possible, falling off the planet never to be heard from again. Sometimes the rejection was too much to take.

Kate climbed out of the car, clenching her fingers around her purse straps until her fingers turned white. She could do this. She could. If she ditched this guy, she’d never hear the end of it from Tiffany.

She managed to make it down the walk to
Durty Nelly’s
despite the shaking of her legs and the skyscraper high heels (something else Tiffany had insisted on). The Irish pub was heaving with tourists and locals alike, drinking cold beer and bobbing to the Irish rock music from the live band. Normally she’d love a place like this, but all Kate could see were all those eyes watching her, judging her.

A couple of overly muscled guys near the door nudged each other so hard they nearly spilled their drinks on their too tight t-shirts. Their stares made it clear they thought she shouldn’t be here. She could almost hear them calling her a fat cow in their minds.

Shame turned Kate’s cheeks bright red. This was why she didn’t go to bars; to avoid asshats like those two. It seemed she couldn’t go anywhere without someone making fun of her because of her weight.

She struggled to hold her head up high and ignore them. She could do this. But Kate was this close to slipping back out the door when she caught sight of her date at one of the tables. Unfortunately he saw her too and waved her over, a broad smile on his face.

Oh, God. Oh, God. He was going to see how fat she really was. He was going to be terribly polite and buy her a drink or two. Then he was going to make some excuse and duck out as quickly as he could. She just knew it.

Think positive, Kate
, she told herself sternly. That’s what Tiffany always said. Not that Tiffany needed any positive thinking. She was beautiful and skinny and had men salivating over her left, right, and center. Still, Kate would do her best. She plastered on a smile as she squeezed her way through the crowd and up to the table.

The two muscle-heads behind her continued their mooing and laughter until the music finally swallowed the noise. Kate breathed a sigh of relief.

Her date stood up revealing six feet of muscles and broad shoulders. Okay, so he had a tiny bit of a stomach and a touch of padding over those muscles, but guys could get away with that. He was still hot with a capital H; with dark hair that held just a slight wave and brilliant green eyes framed in ridiculously long lashes. If Kate could have made up her perfect dream guy, he’d probably be it.

“Kate, it’s so good to finally meet you. Thanks for coming.” He held out his hand and Kate shook it politely.

“Thanks for inviting me, Kyle.”

He grinned again, flashing ridiculously straight white teeth, as he waved her to a seat opposite him. “Sorry, I’d do the gentlemanly thing and seat you, but…” he nodded to the crowd that was growing thicker by the minute. “I’d probably get trampled to death.”

She laughed a little at that.

“I took the liberty of ordering you a drink. I hope I got it right.”

Kate took a small sip of her drink. Amaretto and cola. Her favorite. “You remembered.”

“Of course. I remember everything we talked about. After all the online conversations we’ve had, I feel like we’ve known each other for ages.”

Kate’s heart fluttered at the expression on his face. He was looking at her as if…as if she were…beautiful. “Um, excuse me for a moment, would you?”

She practically bolted from the table, ducking through the crowd and into the ladies’ room. Locking herself inside one of the stalls, she focused on her breathing. In and out. In and out.

Surely Kyle didn’t think she was beautiful? No way. He was faking it. Had to be.

She let herself out of the stall and hurried to the mirror for a quick once-over. She was the same boring old Kate: pasty skin, plain brown hair, unremarkable features, and way too many “curves.” The only thing special about her were her eyes. They were a big, soft gray with a slight almond shape to them like cat’s eyes. She liked her eyes.

A skinny redhead shoved her way into the restroom. She was clearly three sheets to the wind. She glared at Kate for a minute out of narrowed eyes and said, “Hey, aren’t you with that hot guy? The green-eyed one sitting in the corner.”

BOOK: Nothing Tastes As Good (Cupcake Goddess)
7.11Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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