Authors: Claudia Y. Burgoa
A Knight’s Tale #2
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, transmitted, downloaded, distributed, stored in or introduced into any information storage and retrieval system, in any form or by any means, whether electronic, photocopying, mechanical or otherwise, without express permission of the publisher, except by a reviewer who may quote brief passages for review purposes.
This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, story lines and incidents are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to any person, living or dead, or any events or occurrences, is purely coincidental.
Copyright © 2014 by Claudia Y. Burgoa
Cover Design by Damonza
Literally Alpaca Illustrations, LLC.
Centennial, CO 80111
For the best grandma in the world.
A big thank you and sweet sugary hugs to everyone that made this book possible. Jordan Rosenfeld, who guided me during the creative part. Carol Allen, my editor. My beta readers, Gloria Herrera who’s support means so much to me. Heather Ayala, Danielle who is also my fairy assistant. The team at Damonza who as usual produces the most amazing covers making my book look amazing. Dr. Christopher Thomas, a great friend and also the one who answers my medical questions so my books are as accurate as possible. If I missed something is all on me, not him. All the bloggers that have so far supported my doodles and ask more about the Knight Brothers—thank you to all and each one of you. My fellow writers, thank you for your support.
The usual suspects, my family. The husband, children and dogs who support me and keep me grounded even with all the nonsense that flows in my household.
white box with a piece of the lavender, mint green & white striped ribbon that matches the walls of the bakery and hand it to my customer.
“Thank you for your visit, I hope to see you soon,” I say to the woman who starts pushing her little boy while carrying her purchase.
Finally, the shop is empty—for now. I slowly inhale the sweet aroma of fresh baked almond vanilla cupcakes, which are waiting to be frosted once they’ve cooled down. I glance at the clock on the wall that reads twenty after ten and realize that the walls need a fresh coat of paint. It’s been almost four years since the opening of my small bakery
Pieces of Heaven,
and I believe a small renovation is in order. I retrieve my
notebook from the top drawer and write down;
Create a budget to renovate the bakery.
“My bakery,” I repeat to myself proudly while realizing it’s almost time to restock the display case with my signature cupcakes. For a Monday, this isn’t bad; I’m one of the few I know who can say I like what I do.
One of my closest friends Kendall and I have a habit of taking magazine quizzes, and just yesterday we took one titled “Ready for your dream job?” while browsing through the latest issue of
. The quiz assured what I had known all along; I have my dream job of owning a bakery. Kendall, on the other hand, has searched for her dream job since graduation last year. The only thing her degree has offered so far is a mess of student loans she can’t pay.
I wish I could offer her a job in my shop, but she lives four hours from me, in Washington D. C—besides I run a solo act. I built this business a year after I graduated high school. I am my own boss and have zero creditors breathing down my neck. What I do have though are two very demanding parents. On second thought, perhaps those monthly payments to the bank for my small business loan can be compared to her financial hassle. The downside of owning a bakery so close to home is that those two can barge in and out uninvited. After so many years, they have my schedule down; from the moment, my first customer arrives until the last customer exits. They know exactly when the morning and afternoon rush finish and I have a moment of “peace.” Those are the times my mother chooses to grace me with her presence and be… Mom.
She was not the caring mom who checks if you had a good night sleep or if you need help feeding your cat—not that I even have one. One of her missions is to have a perfect daughter and so far, in her book, she’s failed miserably. That doesn’t mean she won’t keep trying, and that’s exactly what’s on her agenda when she barges in… I mean
. Before I head to the kitchen, I divert my gaze towards the street taking in the busy city I call home: New York.
“Maybe today is your lucky day, Hayley Mae.”
Either I spoke too soon or jinxed myself because at that moment I spot her, walking at a fast pace toward the bakery. The blonde with a perfect pixie cut which defines her features, pushes the door open causing the bell to ring. Her olive skin tone pops against the coral tank top she wears, the one that matches perfectly with a tarnished colored mini-skirt and coral high heels. The monthly Botox injections smooth any forehead wrinkles along with the crow’s feet. At first glance, no one knows my mother is forty-six or that she has a twenty-two year old daughter.
“A little makeup wouldn’t hurt you, Hayley,” Mom crooks her head, then gives me a disapproving head shake. The scent of her citrus and amber signature perfume overpowers the sweetness lingering in the air. “Those ugly t-shirts don’t help that shape of yours either. I’m going to stop there.” My mother rubs her temples and sighs.
“I heard about the wedding this weekend, and you haven’t said a word about it, Hayley, I had to find out from someone else. Why?”
“Hi, Mom, I’m doing great, thank you for asking,” I decide to ignore her remarks and veer her away from the wedding conversation, which is actually in two weeks. “What can I do for you this lovely Monday morning, Mom? Can I interest you on a muffin? Or you can go for a sweet treat, like a mini-tart or—”
“Tell me about the wedding,” Mom interrupts. “I don’t have time for small talk. I’m busy,” she taps her watch a couple of times. “You may have all day, but I have things to do. Wedding.”
Things to do?
My mother’s social life consumes her entire daily schedule and has since the day I was born; I don’t remember her ever working. Over the years, I’ve been able to learn that the day she announced to my father about her unplanned pregnancy; she became a full-time socialite and received a monthly stipend from Dad—the only thing my father has been faithful to in his life.
I take a cleansing breath before speaking.
“Mom,” as she continues tapping the display case, I have the impulse to slap her hand but of course, I won’t; she’s my mother. “If I worked in an office would you barge inside the building and interrupt me just to find out about the wedding that doesn’t pertain to either one of us?”
“Of course not, Hayley.” She rolls her eyes. When I was younger, she’d do the same and add the phrase, “
You’re a frustrating child, why did
have to be your mother?”
“If you had a
job, I’d call your office or wait until you were at home and call.” She huffs. “But with your hours it’s impossible. Have you given it any further thought about getting a college degree?”
Incredible, she’s never going to take my career of choice seriously. Pastry chef is underneath her expectations: cake decorator, “
Anyone can do what you do, Hayley
,” she tells me repeatedly. Doctor, lawyer, a business major… anything, I need to do something real with my life.
“I hold an associate’s degree in business, Mother,” I remind her. One I obtained with all the advanced placement classes I took during high school and a few other online courses. “This is a real job.”
I point at the phone hanging on the wall.
“Next time try the phone.”
“Watch your tone, Hayley.”
“Yes, mother.” My shoulders automatically slump, an involuntary move when I know I have pissed her off.
I head to the kitchen trying not to stomp my feet. I must pack the cake for Mrs. Darling before she picks it up at eleven; she’s one of my most loyal customers and my liaison for a lot of important people.
As I cross the swinging doors back to the shop with the cake in hand, I find the second half of my worst nightmare…
“Why are you here, Caroline?” Dad asks her using his somber tone. “Don’t you have some charity to attend, a painting class or … whatever it is you do Monday mornings?”
“My life is none of your business, Augustine,” she tilts her head.
Mom and Dad sharing the same space is on my list of things to avoid; right next to skydiving or become live bait for lions.
“What else can go wrong?” I mumble and then suck in my bottom lip.
The phone rings as my father tells Mom that it is his business when it comes to me. As I try to answer the phone, the cake slips from my hand and the lavender and white fondant calla lilies now decorate the floor. I jinxed myself.
a catastrophic action followed by one of my absurd rhetorical questions.
What else can go wrong?
” Or when I think that everything’s perfect and then things do get worse, like when my parents separated and couldn’t avoid insulting each other when stuck in the same room. Perfection disappears like today; it appeared to be the perfect Monday. Can’t forget the famous, “
It already happened once, there’s no way it’ll happen to me again
.” I have multiple examples: breaking an arm, walking in on my parents having sex, a cheating boyfriend—wait, I had two cheating boyfriends…
Thankfully, I like to cover my bases when it comes to my cakes usually baking two. I learned that the hard way after experiencing a similar situation last year.
“I’m here to have a nice chat with my daughter,” I hear Mom say.
She ignores the accident that happened right in front of her. I rush to get the trashcan, my cleaning supplies and hurry to clean up the mess.
“Need help, Hay-Bear?” Dad asks, and I shake my head.