Ok. Not that dark. By now you know the Girls took up some real estate in my brain and refused to budge until I wrote their stories. But, why a bakery? Why a fairy tale theme? Or, better yet, questioning the One?
See...what happened was I started this other book. Fantastic idea. Entered into a contest that required weekly installments. I got up to 20k on that sucker and then the words petered out. The core of that book was about deception. The hero was lying to the heroine and that always felt WRONG, but I kept pushing through because the book had so much potential. I re-wrote it tons of times and it never worked because there was that deception that I had to write. I hated it so I stopped writing that sucker. The book wasn't a waste though. And it had such good elements. Like, the heroine nicknamed her desserts. The hero was pretending to be a mystery writer who is having some serious writer's block. His name was Warren. The bakery is the hub of all that happens in the book. There's an ex that's been wronged. Bar stools for peeps to sit in. A sex siren sister. Seriously, this one failed book turned into three.
So, it wasn't a complete bust. I totally stole from it without apology when I needed to. (See how many things you can catch.) One day I'll find a way to make the hook work for another book. There's still plenty of the story that totally has the right amount of crunch. (The hook being the heroine has had a tell-all book written about her titled "Getting Over the Wrong ONE") Anyway, here's a sneak peek at the ugly step-sister that I totally rewrote and came up with A Modern Fairy Tale:
Melissa Blue Copyright 2013 Falling For the Heartbreaker (UNEDITED)
Attraction: The Tell-Tale Heart
Savannah Frank’s hands clenched on the book her ex-boyfriend handed to her only a few moments ago. “You wrote a tell-all book about me?” Disbelief rang in her voice.
The smooth caramel skin wrinkled above Larry's brows.“It’s not exactly about you.” He shifted in his penny loafers and spread his hands.
Savannah flipped to the introduction. “'I once asked a woman to marry me and she turned me down cold. It wasn't until I was recovering from the heartbreak that I saw her pattern. She's Mrs. Wrong. The type of woman who is more in love with the idea of love.'” She held the offending book higher. “But this book isn’t about me? And I am not that type of woman.”
She cracked the book open not waiting for the answer. Her eyes scanned down the chapter list and stopped. “Chapter Ten, “Did I hear her right?!! She said, “No”.”
She sucked in a breath, trying to quill the temper. She needed to keep calm. Killing her ex would probably make the book a bestseller and that was the last thing she needed.
Savannah tried again, this time speaking much softer, “Larry, I know you’re not happy with how things turned out.”
He started to back up to the office door looking like a cat right before sprinting away. She jumped out of her seat. He flinched as if she was going to strike him. Did I turn him into this wuss, or was he always like this? She breathed out of her nose. No matter what he’d been or turned into, there wasn’t any excuse for this book, much less him trying to blame her solely for their failed relationship.
The simple truth was they didn’t have the it factor. The intangible pull where if she were to look across a room and saw him her heart would do funny things, her stomach would fill with butterflies, and all he’d have to say was, “hi” and she'd melt.
He was the ONE for someone, just not her. It’d taken her eleven months, two days, and a botched wedding proposal to see that.
The book almost slid from her sweaty hand. She did not have time for this. By now the Hello Dollies mix was probably goopey. He’d interrupted her morning ritual to get the bakery ready, telling her they needed to talk. He’d kept his voice low so Tara, her sister, couldn’t hear him, stressing he needed to tell her something before someone else did. She’d expected him to tell her he was getting married. She was going to wish him the best. The guilt crept in a little closer, because when he said those words she felt relief the first time in a year. No wonder he didn’t want to tell her in the kitchen, way too many knives available.
“A tell all book?” She waved it in his face.
“The past few months have been hard for me.”
There was the guilt again until the front of the book passed her vision again. He'd named it Getting Over The Wrong One. She didn’t have much of an ego, but this morning, the little one she had, was taking a hit.
“A. Tell. All. Book.” She flipped back to the chapter list. The gasped caught in her throat. How could she have missed that chapter? “The First Sign: She fakes it.” The words meted out through gritted teeth.
He opened the door and made a run for it. Savannah chased him out, no where near done with him yet. He stopped short of the front door. “I signed it for you; I hope you do read it. Maybe you won’t do it again to some other poor sap.”
Her grip on the book tightened. “Just tell me when you got the book deal. Books don’t come out overnight.”
He winced. “A year ago, and that’s an ARC you’re holding.”
He must have known what she’d do, because the book hit the bell over the door as it banged shut behind him. The blood in her veins seemed to boil. She pressed her face against the glass counter top. The cold surface felt cool against her heated skin.
“Dare I ask what that was about?” Tara spoke from behind her.
“Larry, wrote a tell book about me. He says it isn’t, but the title makes me a little suspicious.”
Tara covered her laugh with a cough. “Where is it?”
Savannah lifted her head to see her sister. Tara’s teeth were planted firmly in her bottom lip. “Go ahead, you can laugh.”
That’s all it took for her sister.
“Oh, God, let me get it.” Her sister breezed past her to the door. Tara sat down on the bar stool near the counter after reading the title. “I tried to tell you he was a prick. Oh, no, baby sister never wants to listen.” She opened the book. “The First Sign: She fakes It. Oh, boy. I’m reading this.”
Savannah straightened. “I’m going to start getting ready. Someone has to make sure the customers get the product they come here for.”
The chastisement went over her sister’s head. Savannah tightened the strings on her apron. The first tray displayed the Hello Dollies she planned to lose herself in. Damn, Tara for being efficient. She couldn’t be like any other sibling, listening at the door for juicy tidbits and leaving all the work to be done. Savannah picked up the tray and slid it into the oven.
Her sister's footfalls suddenly filled the quiet kitchen. “I’m going to guess you haven’t read the dedication.”
Savannah grabbed the thawed dough for croissants off the counter. The action seemed to encourage Tara. She read out loud what Savannah wanted to forget existed.
“'To my Mrs. Wrong. Here’s hoping Mr. Right breaks your heart.'” Tara finally let go of the book and placed it on the counter. “Told you he was a prick.”
Her hands gripped the rolling pin like a vise. “Are you going to help me get ready or do I need to do this by myself?”
Tara moved into her line of vision. “Sweetie, I was trying to lighten you up.”
Savannah grabbed the knife, and started to cut the dough diagonally. Flour covered her trembling hands, and she sighed. “A tell all book?”
“He’s a prick, but I don’t think he was dumb enough to mention your name.”
“Like I have the money to sue him if he did.” Savannah kept her eyes averted. She should have known better. Tara’s delicate hand covered hers. “Can you just get rid of it? Then get started on lunch.”
“Look at me.” Tara spoke softly.
Savannah lowered her shoulders in defeat and met her sister’s gaze. “He wasn’t worth it. It’s probably all crap.”
“I did fake it.” The admission left her lips before she could reel it back in.
“We’ll his name is Larry. Imagine screaming that at the top of your lungs. Kills a girl's mojo.”
Savannah chuckled. “Thanks.”
Tara shrugged. “How many women can say they’ve had a whole book written about them?”
“I still don’t see how that’s a compliment. It’s not so much the book.” Tara raised a brow. “Okay, a good ninety percent of it is that he wrote a whole book, but…”
She was being put under a microscope. All her tells would be laid out for any man to read. She’d have to read the book from front to back to see if he did mention her name, but still she’d know.
Tara shrugged again. “It’ll blow over. It’s not like Larry will ever write a bestseller.”
“True.” Savannah turned back to the dough feeling her balance come back. “I’m sure it will blow over.”
The next morning Savannah’s steps faltered as she passed CeCe’s Books. Why did she expect the truth from Larry? A handbook on proper ex etiquette didn’t exist. It had never crossed her mind to ask when the book was coming out. From the four-rack front display in the local bookstore, today, apparently, was the release date.
“I’m going to be sick.”
Savannah noted the store's hours printed on the door. When it opened she’d have take a break and buy all the copies, because she'd read it. After her shift ended and Mom and Dad had taken over for the rest of the day, she’d gone home and read it faster than her favorite romantic suspense novels.
Oh, he hadn’t mentioned her name, the sly bastard, but he’d mentioned the heart tattoo on her shoulder blade, the fact she worked with her parents in a bakery shop, that she graduated from Stafford--sum cum laude, was the baby out of three siblings, and profiled her as a serial monogamist.
By the last page she started to wonder if he dated her just to write the book. He missed nothing. Chef turned pop-psychologist had detailed their relationship and repeatedly mentioned she was in love with the idea of love. Larry falling off the nearest cliff wouldn’t be good enough.
Savannah moved her hand from the glass and fished out the keys to open Mom and Pop’s. Silence and the smell of yeast welcomed her, and for some odd reason it made her stomach knot. How could she stand there behind the glass, smiling for customers, knowing that book was out there?
A note on the cash register caught her attention.
Late night. Won’t be in. Just heat up the soup. Ready made sandwiches.
She grabbed the apron from the hook by the stove. Great. Tara was bailing out on her as usual and Savannah had to get the shop ready, and that’s how she could through this morning. Her family’s burden of responsibility was far from the norm. Instead of being the rebel she was the dependable sibling, the one who took charge during family meetings, and it never failed, a big decision was left up to her. Not because her family respected her opinion more than anyone else’s, but because she’d be the one stuck with the grunt work.
Savannah took in a slow breath before pulling out the batter for truffles. It was going to be fine. Not the first time and it wouldn’t be the last she’d have to open the store. Her morning would be fine. Mid-way through mixing, the phone rang.
“Mom and Pops Bakery.”
“Am I speaking with Savannah Frank?” the smoky female voice asked.
She frowned having expected Tara. It was barely 6 o’clock in the morning. Only bill collectors called this early. “Who is this?”
“I’m Vanessa Heaton from the Colby Journal.”
Why was the local newspaper calling her? The spit dried in her mouth as her hand tightened around the phone. Oh, no, Larry and his damn book. Any reporter worth their snuff could have found out they’d been an item. If you sneezed too hard in Colby you’d make the front page, above the fold. And Larry, chef extraordinaire, had written a book.
Savannah backtracked to the front with the cordless glued to her ear. She picked up the paper left on the doorstep. Larry’s wide forehead took up the front page. The headline, “Local Author with Bestseller Buzz” made her stomach knot harder. She placed the paper up to her face and finally answered her worst nightmare, “She’s not here right now, but I can take a message?”
“Mom and Pops is family owned, so I’m sure you know her. What does she think of her ex-boyfriend penning a tell all book about their failed relationship?”
“I wouldn’t know.” Savannah finally glanced up from the paper in her hand. A woman with a cell phone up to her ear, leaning against her car was looking at her.
“Are you sure she’s not there?” Vanessa asked.
Savannah saw the smirk from across the street. “Sorry go to go.”
She went back inside and locked the door pulling down the venetian blinds. Why had she expected everything to go right in her world? Nothing ever did, and now this. She splayed the paper on the counter next to the cash register.
Chef of famous hometown restaurant, Colby Corner, spills his heart in self-help novel. Larry Benedict’s debut novel speaks to every person who’s gotten their heartbroken by the wrong One.
“You think the person loves you, they show all the signs of being in love, but when it comes down to it they aren’t willing to really love you,” Benedict confesses.
He’s keeping mum on who the inspiration of the book is, “It’s not her fault. I don’t think she knows the difference between being in love and loving love.”
Savannah crumbled the newspaper and dialed Larry’s with the other. It rung five times before the answering machine turned on. “Sorry, but I won’t be in for a while. I’ve headed out for my thirty city book tour. I’ll check my messages daily.”
The beep seemed to stab the headache pounding on her temples. “How—” She started then stopped. Much like being arrested, anything she said could be used against her. She punched the off button on the phone. Someone knocked on the door. Sooner or later she was going to face what was on the other side that glass, but first she had to make some damn truffles.
Warren Marks jolted awake when something plopped into his lap. His boss, Taylor, stood over him. He glanced down at the book that had been dropped on him.
“I want you to cover this story.” Taylor motioned to the book. “It’s got bestseller written all over it.”
He turned to the back cover and the face tickled his memory. “Wasn’t he on the Today show this morning?”
“Yup, but I don’t want you to cover him. I want you to get the story out of Mrs. Wrong.”
His editor had to be kidding. Taylor wanted him to travel fifty miles to interview a woman with a string of broken hearts in her trail when the real story was why a man would put his business out there for the world to read. “I thought I was going to cover the literacy banquet?”
“You’re bored with this job. You think I don’t notice. I just had to wake you up when you should have been writing.”
He tossed the book on the desk, because he couldn’t argue with Taylor. He was bored. He figured about six months ago his brain leaked out of his ears, but this is the life he wanted. If he had to pick the stories he once covered to the society page stories he did now, the latter would always win.
“From what I’ve heard she’s not talking,” Warren pointed out.
“Actually she’s playing the 'I have no idea what you are talking about' card.”
The old itch crept up his back. “No.”
“Then you can write your resignation paper now.”
Warren leaned back in his chair and really looked at his old college friend. Taylor wasn’t bluffing. “If she’s not giving the goods, how am I supposed to get the story out of her?”
The corner of Taylor’s mouth quirked up before he said, “Be creative.”
He glanced down at the book and held back his laugh at the title. Those suckers were going to sell like hotcakes. The man who wrote it wasn’t going to need the extra publicity. The story was going to be covered from every angle possible. Warren wouldn’t be bringing anything new to the audience.
“Why me?” he asked his friend, his editor.
“You’re the only one I know who can expose her for what she is?”
Warren's head snapped back. “And what do you think she is?”
“The type of woman who gets what she wants and loses interest. The type of woman who says she wants to get married, but you practically have to put a gun to their head to do it. The type of woman who can chew men up and spit them out,” Taylor started to nod, “we’ve all dated them. Larry was either dumb or brave enough to write about one.”
The itch crept up higher and Warren shifted in his seat. “No.”
“At least read the book and if you don’t get any ideas on how to get the story I’ll let you rot at banquet on Friday, and any other high society get together in the tri-state area.”
The offer sat on a silver platter before him. The itch turned into a burn on the back of his skull. Just like the old days. “I’m not making any promises.”
“You’ve got the look. I’ll book the ticket.” Taylor muttered, but Warren barely heard him already engrossed in chapter one.
There's a release to get ready for. So, when that dies down, and if you guys want, I can post the second chapter. That's when things get really similar. lol