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Sweet Cheeks – Sweet Enough to Eat
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I hate Valentine’s Day.
You won’t need chocolate after reading this sweet and steamy book! You might need a cold shower though!
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“Watch out you dumb fuck!” a man screams as he flies by me with his hand on the horn.
I swerve my bike toward the sidewalk and huff out a breath as he sticks his middle finger out the car window.
Not exactly the words I was hoping to hear on Valentine’s Day.
Whatever. It’s not like a few swear words are going to make this day any worse.
I’m biking through Manhattan in February with two dozen roses in my basket. My hands are freezing, my legs are soaked, and I’m counting the seconds until my least favorite holiday is over.
I hate Valentine’s Day.
I know that sounds cliché. What millions of single women say to get through the tough day with a little dignity, but they don’t really hate it. They hate that they’re single. They don’t hate the actual day.
Well, I do.
I hate it, hate it, fucking wish it would die a slow painful death hate it.
I hate it the way turkeys hate Thanksgiving, the way Santa’s elves hate Christmas, the way bartenders hate Saint Patrick’s Day.
You see, my family owns a flower shop. So, Valentine’s Day has always been hell.
It’s thorns in fingers and endless bouquets and dealing with my dad’s stress. It starts in mid-January and is a long month of hell.
“Just a few more hours,” I whisper to myself as I pedal and pedal and pedal some more. Where is this damn building?
This Valentine’s Day is extra crappy because sales have been plummeting. Everyone orders from massive online companies who can offer rock bottom prices and we just can’t compete. Add to that our rent going up and Carson Flowers is on its last leg.
We needed a big day to sustain us throughout the year, but it doesn’t look like we’re going to get it.
The orders were only two-thirds of what they were last year and the number of walk-ins has been the worst year yet.
I hate watching the effect this is having on my dad. He looks like he’s aged ten years in one.
He wants out. I can tell.
But no one is going to buy a failing flower shop and besides, he doesn’t know how to do anything else.
This shop has been the Carson curse. My mother got fed up with spending every day in the store and bounced about six years ago. She’s currently married with some shiny new step kids living somewhere in New Mexico.
My sister Kara and I stayed with dad. He needed us to work in the shop and that’s what we did. When our friends went off to college, we pruned daisies. When they started getting fancy jobs, we pruned tulips. And when they get married and have kids, we’ll be pruning roses.
I told ya. The Carson curse.
I’m out of breath and my legs are aching when I finally arrive at the building. It’s massive and seems to reach into the sky with its imposing concrete body.
I wipe a bit of slush off the wax paper that’s protecting the flowers, lock my bike up on the rack, and head inside.
“Who are you?” the big security guard asks as he walks up to me with a grumpy face.
“Pizza delivery,” I tell him.
“That was a little flower humor,” I mutter. “I have flowers for a Mrs. Graham on the forty-second floor.”
He crosses his big arms as he glares down at me, not saying a word.
“It’s Valentine’s Day,” I say with a shrug. Geez, someone is in desperate need of a Valentine’s day treat. I pull one rose out of the huge bouquet—my dad always gives an extra few flowers because it’s not like they’re going to sell anyway—and slide it into the pocket of his jacket.
His face softens a smidgen and then he steps to the side. “Elevators are over there,” he grunts. “Make it quick.”
“Thanks, Duncan,” I say with a smile after glancing down at his name tag. “And Happy Valentine’s Day.”
He just grunts again as I head over.
I catch my reflection in the stainless steel doors and sigh. No wonder I’m single. I’m not going to find a man if I go out looking like this all the time.
I take off my bike helmet, fluff up my brown hair, and put some lip gloss on. It’s not perfect, but at least I don’t look like I crawled out of the sewers anymore.
On my way up to the top floor, I’m thinking about my sore feet, the dozens of packages at the shop that I still have to deliver, and then my mind starts going somewhere else. A place where I can feel the hot sun on my face and the soft sand between my toes.
I’ve never been anywhere.
Actually, that’s not true. I went to New Jersey for the weekend. And it wasn’t even to go to the beach, it was to visit my aunt in Trenton. It was horrible.