Authors: Sadie Grubor
Follows you home
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
Copyright 2015 Sadie Grubor
Cover Art by VST
This book may not be reproduced or used in whole or in part by any existing means without written permission from the publisher. Contact Author at
This book is a work of fiction and any resemblance to persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental. The characters are products of the author's imagination and used fictitiously.
"We are going to Vegas. We are going to Vegas!" They used the damn Blue's Clues theme music to their lyrics.
It's a trip with friends. A single girl's celebratory getaway. Olivia Harlow finishes the biggest job she's been offered since starting Harlow Cakes, her custom and specialty cake shop and bakery. So, it's a Vegas weekend for Olivia, the level headed, single mother, with her life scheduled.
There is no way she could guess what would happen and who would follow her home.
His search is over. After rising up from the ashes of his life and the pain, he found them. Now that he has them, there is no letting go.
, you believed in this story when I didn't.
You pushed me to finish when I didn't think I could.
Thank you, I LOVE YOU!
"Olivia!" Mercedes shouted as she emerged from the office on the furthest side of the kitchen.
"Yeah?" I replied, quietly, my attention focused on creating the complicated ribbon pattern for the wedding cake I needed to finish today.
"You'll never guess the call I just had." She stopped just before crashing into my worktable.
"Ced, if you don't calm down, I'm going to ask you take three steps away from this cake before I end up wearing all five tiers of it."
Sarah, my baking assistant, giggled from my right.
Mercedes put her hands up and took two steps back.
"But, Liv, seriously, you just got the job of a lifetime!" She vibrated with excitement.
Securing the last ribbon detail, I straightened and stretched out my spine, the three pops accentuating relief. Taking a deep breath, I focused on Ced and the topic at hand.
"What are you talking about?"
"Okay, so, I was going over the books and the upcoming schedule. Because, as you know, since we were featured on that reality wedding show, our business has completely increased, and if I don't keep on top of the books and schedule, things just get hectic crazy around here. And when things are hectic crazy around here you get gar-um-pee."
Known for her ability to complete full conversations in one breath and without another person actually participating, if I didn't interrupt, we would be here for a while.
"Ced, take a breath and circle back to the phone call."
"Oh," she blinked rapidly, "yeah, thanks. As I was saying, I got a call requesting you to prepare desserts and a cake for over two thousand people." Ced's eyes twinkled with excitement. "Two thousand people, Olivia! Do you realize how big this is?"
"Wait, a wedding with two thousand people? Is it some celebrity?"
Sarah started to go over the cake details with iridescent sugar powder, giving the ribbons a glossy sparkle.
"No, no, not a celebrity. It's a corporate function." She lifted a notepad I hadn't noticed her holding. "Vivianne Lachlan will be arriving to discuss the details with you personally, but they want you to prepare all the desserts and the large cake for their company function. They are even going to pay the traveling costs."
"Didn't you tell her we account for travel and delivery costs in the fees?"
"Of course I did." She may as well have said
"But we've never had flight costs before, so I figured we would—"
"Wait, flight costs? Why am I flying somewhere?"
"It's in New York," Ced responded. "They want you to come to New York and prepare everything there. Hotel and travel expenses will be handled by Miss Lachlan and her employer."
"Whoa, Ced, I don't fly to other states to work. We can't do it. Call her back and apologize for the misunderstanding." I began cleaning up the icing bags.
"Are you crazy, Liv?" Mercedes stepped back up to the table. "This job will be enough money to pay for half of this year’s expenses. You will retain a large profit margin this year," Mercedes argued.
From Mercedes appearance — her rainbow-dyed shag hair, purple-blue contacts, and standard vintage-inspired style, along with her A.D.D. — you would never guess the girl was a numbers genius. Appearances were deceiving. In fact, Mercedes Welch graduated valedictorian at Carnegie Mellon University in Mathematical Sciences. She had been dating one of the instructors at my Pittsburgh Culinary School when I met her. Mercedes had and always would be one of the most interesting people in my life.
"I'm not going to leave Alex and go to New York. You know—"
"I believe it would be worth your while to accept."
Snapping my attention toward the unfamiliar voice, I allowed myself a moment to absorb the unexpected visitor. A very tall, thin woman with sleek, dark brown hair wrapped smartly into a bun atop her head, stood at the doorway between the kitchen and storefront of my bakery. Her skin, fair and flawless, contrasted with her dark eyes. Beside her stood Mrs. Dorn, a woman I'd hired a few years back to run the storefront.
"I'm so sorry, Olivia. She said you were expecting her, but she wouldn't wait at the consultation table." Mrs. Dorn turned her apologetic eyes from me and glared at the corporate woman next to her.
"It's fine, Mrs. Dorn. She was expected. Thank you." Forcing a smile in the new woman's direction, I turned to Sarah. "Can you finish this up and get Greg to help you carry the cake to the cooler?"
Sarah nodded and I turned back to the tall woman. A woman whose put-together, pristine appearance had me wiping my hands on my oversized, worn, and food-color-stained jeans. As if that would fancy up the old band t-shirt and knotted red mess held on my head by a bandana. I refused to wear a hairnet like a lunch lady.
"I'm sorry, Miss…"
"Lachlan." She stepped forward with her hand held out for me.
I met her halfway between my table and the door, taking her hand and shaking it.
Mrs. Dorn retreated to the front of the shop.
"Miss Lachlan, there's been a misunderstanding. I don't travel. I can send a team from the shop to put together—"
"I'm afraid Mr. Knyght is requesting you be on site to handle things," she said, matter-of-factly, as she reached into the leather bag at her side. Pulling out an envelope, she handed it to me. "You will be well compensated. Oh, and this does not include the travel. B.I.G. will make all flight and hotel accommodations on your behalf.
Slipping the check from out of the envelope, I read the amount three times to be sure my vision wasn't doubling. It held far more zeros than I'd ever seen in person. For a moment, my greedy side wanted to drop to my knees and thank the woman, but my realistic nature tampered down the impulse.
"I'm flattered to be so in demand, but I'm afraid it just simply isn't possible." Handing the check back to the shocked corporate woman, her dark eyes grew wide with what looked like worry.
"Olivia," Ced hissed, stepping in front of me, "are you crazy?" Giving me her back, she turned toward Miss Lachlan. "Give us a moment, please?"
Grabbing my arm, she pulled me across the kitchen and into her small office. In a hush, she began her reprimand.
"Are you an idiot? You'd have to be to pass up this opportunity." She sighed heavily, grabbing the financial breakdown she must have created while on the phone with Miss Lachlan earlier. "Do you see this?" She held the clipboard in front of me. "This is a ton of money for the bakery, you, and Alex."
She put her hand up, halting my protest.
"You can go to New York, take Sarah and Greg with you. You have Emily so groomed that between her, Mrs. Dorn, and Jeff, we can take care of the bakery. I'll call some of students at the culinary school to do some temp work if needed."
Before I could try to protest again, she put her hand over my mouth.
"I will stay and take care of Alex. We haven't had any Auntie Cedie time lately. Everything will be perfectly fine for one day and night."
A light tap on the half-closed door interrupted our discussion.
"Miss Harlow?" Reaching out, I pushed the door all the way open. Miss Corporate Ladder stood there looking haughty. "I just got off the phone with my employer." She raised the cell phone she held in her left hand. "He is prepared to double the offer."
"She'll do it," Ced blurted.
"Excellent." Miss Lachlan held out the same envelope holding the check.
"Mercedes," I hissed.
She covered my mouth with her hand once more and took the check with her other. I pushed her hand from my mouth.
"The other half of the payment will be given after you have completed the job." She pulled more papers from her bag. "Now, we need to discuss the details."
Mr. Damon Knyght
After all this damn time and effort, she's turning down the offer. It's enough money to give her business a major gain at the end of the fiscal year. I should know, I've seen her financial records.
I clenched my free hand into a fist.
"Vivianne, offer whatever she wants," I growled through clenched teeth.
"Sir? Are you sure about this? I mean, I can arrange—"
"Don't question me! Double the offer! Give her the initial check and she will receive the other half upon completion of the job. Don't fuck this up, Vivianne!" I slammed my desk phone down and moved to the small bar in my oversized office.
As I poured the whiskey into the chilled tumbler, I caught a glimpse of the silver frame turned over on the bar. Knowing the absolute torture I would be putting myself through, I slid my fingers across the cool silver and picked it up. Inhaling deeply, I flipped it over and looked at him. Tightness in my lungs suffocated me. I slammed the frame back to the bar and the glass shattered from the force, scattering across the lacquered wood. Grasping a tumbler and filling it halfway with whiskey, I tossed back the aged smoothness in one swig.
"M-Mister Knyght?" My secretary's timid voice carried across my vast office from the partially opened doorway.
"Yes?" I replied, my voice gravelly. I cleared my throat.
"Is, uh…is everything okay, sir?" She fidgeted, well aware of my temper.
"Yes," I answered, curtly. "Could you please have housekeeping clean the glass near my bar?"
"Of course, sir." She smiled and turned to tend to the task.
"Don't let them touch the picture frame!"
She snapped her head around quickly.
"Y-yes, sir," she said, continuing her retreat.
Sitting back into the chair at my desk, I impatiently waited for another call from Vivianne. This time, it had better be a confirmation of Olivia Harlow taking the job.
When the intercom buzzed, I grabbed the phone.
"Is it Vivianne?"
"No, sir. It's your brother." My secretary's voice wavered.
"Send him through," I said with a disappointed sigh.
Our father, Damon Senior, remarried after he and my mother divorced. I had been two. He wanted a housewife and my mother, much too independent and intelligent to waste away in a house with multiple children, refused to comply with his desires.
The conflict brought about the divorce. Luckily for me, my parents worked hard to remain civil with one another, mostly for the sake of the public eye. With my father being a world-renowned surgeon and my mother residing as the CEO of B.I.G., they needed to keep a certain level of professionalism, even in their private lives.
Damon Senior remarried about six months after the divorce and soon produced Hugh with his wife, Heidi. She is much younger than my father and more than content to be a trophy housewife. Her dependence on him also made his affairs easier for him to get away with.
The phone buzzed again. "Hugh?" I answered.
"Good morning, Damon," he greeted in his usual pleasant tone.
"So, to what do I owe this call? We didn't have a call set up, did we?" Scanning my calendar, I saw nothing.
"No, I'm just calling to let you know Scarlett and I have finally set a date."
Settling back against my chair, I took a deep breath and smiled.
"That is…great news. So, when are you finally going to make an honest woman of her?"