I put up with it after Melanie left, because every man is entitled to some time to get over a thing like that. Cade had nearly killed himself, putting in long hours, always trying to please his father, to achieve some impossible standard. And for what? Pleasing Jonathon Matthews was like trying to fill an endless, empty well. For a moment, Cade wanted to relent. Then you might as well leave now. This was what frustrated Cade the most about his father. His inflexibility. Nineteen years in a job I never really loved.
Hell, we might even be happy. Emmie, never an early riser, rarely worked the morning shift.
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Usually Melanie was here alone until about ten. Between the busy bursts, she liked the moments of quiet in the shop, the regulars who stopped in before work. The bell jingled and Melanie turned, expecting to see Max, the owner of the bakery on Fourth Street. He provided the more complicated baked goods—bagels, doughnuts and cheesecakes—that rounded out her food case. It was Cade, looking too handsome for a man who was at work before the sun finished breaking over the horizon. Today, he wore a light blue golf shirt that set off the color of his eyes and a pair of neatly pressed khakis.
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Melanie shook off the thought. If Cade dated someone else, or married again, it was none of her business. The calories from the sweets would be far easier to deal with than what kissing Cade could lead to. Before she could tell Cade to stay or go—or even more, kiss her again—Max was there with his baked goods, followed by a trio of customers.
Cooter wandered in, got his cup of coffee, then headed for his favorite armchair with his paper and mug. When the last customer had been served, she turned to Cade. There was no way she could tolerate a week of this. She shook off the attraction. It was simply that she had been alone for an entire year. The lack of male company made her more vulnerable. An older version of the Jeannie that Melanie remembered was indeed, getting out of an illegally parked silver Benz, striding up the walkway and toward the shop.
She was as thin as she had been in her cheerleading days, and still sported the same long, curly hair. Even her clothes were more fitting a twenty-year-old than a near forty-year-old.
She hurried across the shop and grabbed Melanie from across the counter, gathering her into a tight hug. He gave her a hello back. Melanie put a smile on her face, then grabbed a mug from the clean ones on the shelf behind her. Something non-fat, decaf and sugar-free. A tall order, but Melanie did her best, combining skim milk, sugar-free caramel and almond syrups with a couple shots of decaf espresso to make a nicely flavored latte.
Jeannie dumped in three packets of artificial sweetener, then took a sip. Who knew you could do all that with a few beans? Right in this space, actually.
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But when they passed away, I turned the space into Cuppa Life. I was up for a road trip, and then I remembered you had this shop here, and then before I knew it, like, here I was! He pressed a kiss to her hair, soft, gentle. The wall around Melanie began to crumble. She found herself leaning into him, wanting more, wanting to believe this was real—. This was, after all, their trial run. Even if right now, it felt like one of them was losing. I have another ulterior motive.
Like, definitely not the teachers or that awful Algebra torture, but the good stuff. Prom night had been the night Melanie had lost her virginity to Cade.
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It was the night that had turned the tide of her life, and though she would never want to give back Emmie, she would have loved to change the way that night had turned out. Get the crowd all revved up for the whole thing. A waiter at that. Melanie shook her head, thinking of the kid who had sat behind her in sophomore English and complained his way through diagramming sentences. Beat my record already.
No wonder Jeannie was so thin. She ate more like a bird than a human. Lead us in the first dance, the toast. All that stuff. Dance with Cade? This was going way beyond a speech. It meant taking their happily married act to a whole other level.
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Order total:. Look inside. Published: August ISBN: Add to Bag. Ebook also available to purchase from:. Product description Delivery Returns Customer reviews. Married for love Cade and Melanie were their high schools golden couple! The path to true love never ran smooth….
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