Authors: Ella Frank
by Ella Frank
Copyright © 2013 by Ella Frank
Edited by Jovana Shirley
All rights reserved.
No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system without the written permission of the author, except
for the use of brief quotations in a book review.
This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
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To someone who refused to be acknowledged for all the hard work she did on making this book pretty.
You are truly amazing at what you do, and I am extremely lucky that you put your hand up in the nick of time.
To my husband, as always, because every time I sat down to write, edit, or work on my blog, you never once asked me not to. You were just happy to be in the same room.
I love you and us for that.
“I can’t believe you just asked me that,” Shelly fumed, hands on hips, mouth open.
“Why? Come on, Shel. It’s not like you don’t have the money. Three-thousand dollars is nothing,” Adam pointed out as he sat on the couch looking at her.
Shelly took a deep breath and turned around to walk into the kitchen. When she got there, she spotted the knife block, thinking
better not tempt myself
, and made her way to the window instead.
After two years of bailing out her wanna-be-entrepreneur-slash-inventor boyfriend, she’d finally snapped at his latest idiotic idea.
Up until now, most of his “inventions” had been semi-plausible, and she’d been able to convince herself that he’d make enough money one day to pay her back. However, several thousands of dollars later, she was still out the cash, and he was
sitting at home on
couch, cooking up the next million-dollar idea. According to Adam, the latest and greatest was “The Auto-Toss,”
a moronic invention with “Want your salad tossed for you?” as the catchy slogan.
Really? Is he serious? Did he even realize the double entendre there?
Shelly raised her hand, squeezing the bridge of her nose.
Honestly, who needs an automatic salad tosser?
Okay, even thinking about that made her want to laugh at him. More to the point, she thought
, Is this who I possibly want to share DNA with and raise my children? Is this who I want to support for the rest of my life?
The immediate and very obvious answer was
“I can’t do this anymore,” she told him, shaking her head.
“Do what?” Adam demanded.
Shelly turned to face him, noticing he was now standing and glaring at her.
“This,” she motioned back and forward between them.
Adam arched a brow and crossed his arms over his chest.
She tried to look at him objectively, from top to bottom, as though she’d never met him before. He was standing in her living room dressed in Doc Martens that were unlaced. He had on his scruffy blue jeans that had a rip across his left butt cheek, which she knew from staring at his ass one too many times, and a blue flannel shirt.
She wanted to like what she was looking at. She wanted to remember why entering into this relationship had been a good idea, but as he stood there glaring at her, she just couldn’t see it—and didn’t that just piss her off.
“You don’t like the new idea? I mean, come on! It’s great—”
“Stop. Please, God, just stop,” she interrupted. “I’m done with this, Adam—as in us. It’s just not working anymore. I’ve been thinking about it for weeks. And now this, well, this whole salad-tosser thing? It’s a
idea! I’m not even remotely interested in giving you more money.”
His face contorted in anger the exact moment he realized what she was saying. In all honesty, she couldn’t tell if he was more pissed off about her breaking up with him or for telling him his idea essentially, well, sucked.
“You’re such a snob, Shelly!” He yelled, pointing his finger as if to punctuate his point.
“Excuse me? I’m not a snob.”
“Yeah, you are. The whole time we’ve been together you’ve looked down your nose at me.”
Shelly blinked slowly, feeling her temperature rise quickly. In fact, if she had to guess, she’d venture out and wager her fair skin was probably turning a nice fuming shade of pissed off, and steam was probably starting to leak out of her ears.
This fight wasn’t a new one. Throughout their whole relationship, Adam always accused her of being a snob, and up until this moment, she’d never even entertained the thought.
Up until this
“You know what? For once, you’re right, Adam. I’m sick and tired of giving you money to sit at home—
home—and come up with these stupid dead-end ideas that you never follow through with. I’ve got to admit, up until now,
have had an inkling of making it. But this one? Wow, this one really blows. So, yeah, I guess you can call me a snob because I want a man who’ll go out and get a job. Oh, and here’s a novel idea—keep it!” Shelly paused for a moment, thinking about the main example of a man in her life—her father.
All of a sudden, she saw her mother sitting at home in their kitchen, waiting for him to come home, only to find he had been held up for some reason or another.
Yeah, some reason in a skirt.
Nope, Shelly swore she wouldn’t be
“But I’ll tell you one thing. The man that
end up with will be honest, he’ll be hard working, and he will
sit on his ass while I’m out busting mine.”
Adam came around the table and stopped right in front of her. Looking down, he sneered. “You’ve always been such a fucking princess.”
Shelly felt like he’d slapped her. Her father called her that, and honestly, he hadn’t meant it in an endearing manner either.
“I think you need to leave,” she told him through clenched teeth.
“What about all my stuff?”
Shelly glared up at him, not one to be intimidated. “You can come and pick up your
“Well, Dr. Monroe, I’d love to say it’s been a pleasure, but hey, even the sex these last few months hasn’t been.” With that, he turned, grabbing his cell phone from the table.
Shelly glared holes in his back as he walked to the door.
Asshole! Like the five minutes he spent on top of me was the highlight of my week!
Without a backward glance, he walked out, slamming the door behind him. It crashed shut with a resonating boom.
As Shelly stood in her empty living room, she made a promise to herself.
No man will ever use me again.
She vowed to only date a man who could give her what she needed and did
look to her to be the sole provider.
It was a promise she intended to keep.
Shelly knocked on the back door of Exquisite, and waited in the chilly February air. Coming from a hectic Monday at the hospital, she thought she’d be late but she still managed to arrive by 7:30.
Ever since Lena and Mason had gotten engaged, they’d moved the traditional Langley dinner down to the restaurant. It just hadn’t felt right to any of them to go back to the cottage without Catherine there.
So, they’d switched to the restaurant, which had worked out well since Exquisite was closed on Mondays. Somehow, ever since Lena had been welcomed back into the Langley family unit, Shelly, too, had found herself adopted by them.
Hearing the click of the lock, Shelly turned to see Mason pushing open the door.
“Shelly,” Mason greeted her as he reached out and pulled her into a tight hug.
Shelly gladly returned his embrace. After all, it was Mason Langley, and she wasn’t going to pass up a chance to get her hands on his sexy body, even if he was engaged to her best friend.
“Mason. How are you tonight?”
“Great, just great. Get in here. The food’s cooking, the wine’s open, and Lena’s at the bar making margaritas.”
Shelly smirked as he tugged her through the door.
Making her way inside, she walked down the main kitchen aisle that led them out to the dining area. Shelly looked to her left and saw her friend standing behind the huge mahogany bar that ran down the side of the restaurant. Lena raised a hand, waving at her.
Shrugging out of her coat, Shelly smiled as Mason took it from her.
“Full service tonight, Chef?”
As he grinned, matching dimples appeared. “Nothing but the best here at Exquisite,” he winked.
Nodding, Shelly tugged at her tight, little red skirt. “That’s actually true, including your alcohol. So, I’m going to go over to your woman and grab some.”
“Let her know I’ll be in the kitchen if she needs me.”
Already making her way toward the bar, Shelly called back over her shoulder, “Will do.”
Turning back, she stopped in front of her friend and colleague. “Where’s my usual Cosmo, huh?” Shelly grinned at Lena.
Lena arched a brow. “Sit down. Tonight, you’re trying Lena’s Margarita.”
“Oh, am I?” Shelly questioned, watching as her friend started to salt the four large glasses in front of her.
“Yep. You, Rach, and Wendy are my guinea pigs.”
“Lucky us.” Sighing, Shelly looked around at the now familiar bar and dining room.
“Hey, what’s up?” Lena asked.
Turning to face her friend, she shrugged, and then shook her head. “Nothing. I’m just feeling sorry for myself.”
Lena frowned and reached over the bar to grip Shelly’s hand. “Well, you shouldn’t. You’re wonderful, and we all love you.”
“I know you do, but I can’t have sex with you.”
Lena laughed, pulling her hand back to pick up the pitcher of margaritas. “Oh! I see. It’s
kind of feeling sorry for ourselves.”
Picking up a straw from the container on the bar, Shelly twirled it between her fingers. She blew out a breath and felt her blonde hair ruffle against her cheek.
“Yeah, it’s that kind of ‘I feel sorry for myself
’ I hate being sexually frustrated,” Shelly whined. “It sucks. Well, not literally, obviously, but you know what I mean.”
Lena rested a hip against the bar and pushed a margarita toward her. “Actually, no, I don’t. I’ve never felt like that.”