SAVE THE DATE ~ A New Contemporary Romance
Now Available on AMAZON
And also on GOODREADS
Calista Luvalle has mixed feelings when it comes to love. On the one hand, working in the bridal business means she’s basically dedicating her life to love and the dream of happy ever after. On the other, she’s a jaded, love hating cynic who isn’t about to fall for any of that crap herself.
Except of course, she already did. When she was six.
Emerson Barrett isn’t worried about finding the right woman. After a tumultuous past, he’s happy just dedicating his life to his work. Content in knowing what to expect day in and day out, he’s thrown for a loop when he’s suddenly standing face to face with little Lissy Luvalle again.
Only now she’s not so little anymore…
I was nearly there when I became aware of the thing leading my way. It was the heavenly scent of coffee. My heart sang for joy. Stephanie.
“Good morning, Lover,” I chirped happily as I walked through the large arched doorway.
“Well, good morning to you, too, Beautiful.” Not Stephanie. Definitely not Stephanie.
“Shit. Sorry, I thought you were Steph,” I mumbled as I went back to walking with my eyes closed and my head down until I ran into the back counter housing the coffee maker.
“You call your assistant ‘Lover’?” he smirked. I could barely raise my gaze to look at him. Emerson wasn’t exactly clothed as he stood there barefoot and shirtless, wearing nothing but his very well worn and well fitted jeans that hung from his hips and ass perfectly. Not that I was looking. Oh hell, how could you not look?! Those tight shirts he’d been wearing hadn’t told the half of it. His arms and chest were chiseled perfection. His flawless skin wasn’t hurting the visual either, nor was the lack of the dreaded farmer’s tan which naturally sparked images of him working shirtless on a hot summer day, doing whatever it was that kept his body in a state I would deem worthy of being labeled underwear model-like.
I took a deep breath in and exhaled loudly with no regard to the fact that I was now obviously ogling the man. Then I remembered that he had asked me something.
“I’m sorry, what did you say?” I shook my head back and forth a few times trying to jumble up the image of a half-naked Emerson I now had plastered at the forefront of my mind.
“I asked if you always call your assistant ‘Lover’.” His level of amusement was definitely on the rise.
“Oh, yeah. She makes me coffee. Most of the time it’s better than the sex I’ve been having, so ‘Lover’ seems appropriate.”
“Sounds like yet another reason to raise your standard in men,” he said smugly as he lifted his mug to those gorgeous lips.
“You know, Cal isn’t just my boss, she’s also one of my closest friends.” Steph looked like she was still focused on the file at her fingertips, but I was pretty sure we were about to discuss something that had nothing to with Savannah’s wedding. “Cal hasn’t exactly had what you might call a whole lot of success in the relationship department. She’s convinced herself that she doesn’t want one and that marriage is total bull, but look at what the woman does for a living. Obviously, the little girl who believes in fairy tales is still in there somewhere, no matter how hard she’s tried to kill her off.”
I tossed the paper I’d been holding, into my to-do pile and turned my back to the table to get a better look at Steph. “You giving me insider information?”
“Yeah, so listen up. This shit is going to make or break you. Cal is a chickenshit. She’s scared of pretty much everything and because of that, she’s also a total control freak. The two together make for a lethal combo when it comes to dating. Either something happens to make her rock that deer in the headlights look that makes her want to take control and cut the sucker from her life, or the sucker does something to screw up all the ducks she likes to keep so neatly in a row that she gets scared and bails. Either way, she’s fucked. Personally, I blame her father, but then I blame my father, too. We all have our issues.”
What she was saying was making sense. I just didn’t see how exactly it was helpful. “So, you’re saying…what are you saying?”
“I’m saying, learn from the Tyler’s she’s left in her wake. She can’t be held down or chased. So you’re going to have to find some other way to keep her put.”
I frowned. “Any suggestions? Or is pointing out all the reasons it won’t work the extent of your advice?”
“Oh, I never said it wasn’t going to work. If I thought you were just another pot hole in her path, I wouldn’t be wasting my breath, Emerson.” She broke into a smile unexpectedly. “I saw that picture Skeeter has of the two of you. The one where she’s lying on your back reading? That’s the cutest stinking thing I’ve ever seen by the way, but more importantly it speaks volumes for her relationship with you.”
Steph shrugged. “Cal hates excessive contact. Super possessive about her personal space. I’m talking, like, I’ve seen her freak out when Tyler pulled her over to sit on his lap because he thought he was being cute or something. I heard about that shit for the next three days. And I was there when it happened, so it’s not like I needed a recount of the event or anything. Anyway, her mom says she’s always been that way. Even as a kid.” She was giving me that look, the one with the raised brows and big eyes, like she had just made her point and was waiting for me to have my ‘A-ha’ moment. Only I was too busy thinking about all the times I’d crashed into Liss’s personal space since she’d shown up in Kentucky a few days ago. I’d inadvertently invaded her body countless times in countless ways, starting with taking her hand to lead the way and ending with her body pressed to mine in the kitchen that morning.
“I don’t think I’m getting the message here, Steph. I’ve been all up in her space ever since she got here.”
“That’s exactly my point. She’s comfortable with you. She trusts you. She shares her space with you.” She picked up the folders she’d been searching through and held them to her chest preparing to leave. “I’m thinking maybe that little girl she’s got locked away deep down inside hasn’t gotten very far with her fairy tale because the whole damn world’s been telling her to look for a prince, when really, all she wants is a cowboy.”