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Best Served Cold
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Revenge is a dish best served cold.
Ice-cream store owner Raelynn Fortune has everything but her last name—fortune.
Despite living in a Floridian hotspot for tourists, she just can’t get her business back off the ground. And she knows why.
Her rival store next door is run by nobody other than her ex, and with his fancy-schmancy concoctions, he’s taking all the clients two generations of her family cultivated. Never mind that Raelynn taught him all he knows, and his revenge for her breaking up with him was putting her plans into reality—and her almost out of business.
But, she has a plan. The height of the season is just two weeks away, and she’s tired of playing second fiddle to her ex. She’s going to take back her crown as the queen of ice cream, even if it means getting close to Chase once again.
After all, all is fair in love and war, and you know what they say about keeping your enemies close…
Although maybe Chase is a little too close…
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CHAPTER ONE – RAELYNN
Chase Aaron was a douchebag of the highest degree.
If I sat here behind the counter of my failing ice cream store and told you all the reasons why I knew that to be true, you’d be here all day. Not that being stuck in an ice cream store all day was a bad thing, but I digress.
No, he was a douchebag because he was the reason my business was failing. The no-good asshole had taken all my plans, all my dreams and my ideas, and he’d opened his very own ice cream store.
Right. Next. Door.
Why had I told him all my plans, you ask? Well, the first answer was simple: I, Raelynn Fortune, was an idiot.
The second answer was, at the time I told him, he was my boyfriend. He’d been my boyfriend for two years, and I was excited. I’d planned the overhaul to my family store, the one we’d run for generations, and I couldn’t wait.
Best Served Cold had finally been mine.
And, one month after I’d broken up with Chase, he’d handed me a sundae full of revenge on a silver platter when he rented the space next to mine and opened his own damn store.
The Frozen Spoon was everything Best Served Cold was not.
It was fresh and modern. It was bright and airy, and the modern diner-style set-up was eye-catching for everyone who walked past. The neon sign literally screamed at you to come and get the best ice cream in Key West.
Of course, I’d never stepped foot inside the traitor’s store. You’d catch me swimming naked with sharks before I ever walked into the place that was full of my ideas.
In contrast, Best Served Cold was tired. Antique, my grandparents called it. A classic.
I preferred to call it old and dated, but whatever.
Put simply, it wasn’t as bright as it used to be. The sign at the front was at least thirty-five years old—a decade older than I was. The writing was chipped and broken, and the bulbs that lit it up in the darkness, well. Only one of those suckers worked.
Hence my plans to liven the place up.
Plans that would have been in place if it weren’t for Chase.
I hated him.
Hate was a strong word, and not one I used lightly. It was reserved almost entirely for my ex-boyfriend—and brussels sprouts. That was how serious my feelings toward him were.
I hated him. More than I’d ever hated anyone or anything.
I blew out a long breath and slumped against the counter. A glance at the clock told me to give up. Nobody had been in here since one-thirty, and even then, it was the older generations in town who refused to change who they went to for their sweet treats.
The bell above the door dinged. Unfortunately for me, it wasn’t a customer. Fortunately, it was my best friend, complete with her four-year-old niece.
“Hey,” Sophie said, shutting the door behind her. “I was going to ask if you were free, but…”
I rolled my eyes. “You’re so funny.”
Her niece, Jessica, bounded up to the counter. She had to stand on tip-toes to see over it, but that didn’t stop her from leaning against it, gripping it with her little hands. Sparkly pink nail polish adorned her tiny fingernails, and on her head, she wore a unicorn headband.
I see that obsession was still going strong.
“Hiya, Rae!” she said brightly. “Can I had an ice cream, peas?”
I leaned forward on my forearms, so I was down to her level. “I think I can do that for you. What would you like today? A cone? A little sundae?”
“Little sundae,” she replied, making a circle with her hands. “Can you make a unicorn one?”
I glanced at Sophie, but she shrugged.
“A unicorn one, huh? How would I do that?”
“I dunno,” she whispered. “Mix the colors?”
I pursed my lips. “Why don’t we take a look at the ice creams and you tell me how to make it?”
She nodded and bounced over to the ice cream display case. It was full of tubs of different flavor ice creams, everything from mango to blueberry to cookies and cream. Most of them were untouched since the old people in town tended to shun anything more exotic than chocolate.
“I fink strawberry, booberry, and…” She tapped her finger against her nose. “And backberry.”
“Uh-huh. Pink, purple, and boo. That’s unicorn colors.”
I guessed it was. “All righty then.” I turned and grabbed a plastic pink sundae dish that I kept especially for kids. “One scoop of each?” I asked Sophie.
She shrugged again, a small smirk on her lips. “I only have her ‘til five. You give her ten if you want.”
“Three it is,” I said before Jess got any ideas.
I rinsed the scoop between each flavor, then added her regular toppings. Strawberry sauce, complete with multi-colored sprinkles and pink stars.