Curvy Valentine Match by Piper Sullivan

1206

Curvy Girl Dating Agency Book 6

A High School Sweetheart Second Chance Romance

You pretend as if you hate his guts, that’s what.
Then you stop pretending, because you dohate his guts.
Even though he’s bigger and stronger and more handsome than when you were high school sweethearts.
But history can’t repeat itself where Sheriff Xander is concerned.
I won’t let it.
So I’ll just scowl and growl at him, while he smiles.
I’ll just use my sharp tongue to keep him at a distance.
Until he makes it impossible to ignore him and impossible to forget our past.

♥ Welcome to the Small Town of Pilgrim, Texas… home of women with curves and the men who can’t get enough of them!

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Excerpt from Curvy Valentine Match © Copyright 2023 Piper Sullivan

Xander

I gave you my chance at a real life.

What the hell did that even mean? I didn’t know, but Mara’s words continued to echo in my head for the past two days. What did she give me other than a broken heart and maybe a healthy dose of abandonment issues?

I needed to talk to her again, but I knew I needed to give her time to cool down first. She looked really angry and hurt when I stopped her on the street, and that look burning in her eyes wouldn’t leave me. Every time I blinked or tried to sleep, or had a moment of peace, that look flashed behind my lids.

Haunting me.

I couldn’t stop thinking about Mara or wondering about her past, but until I found the right moment to approach her again, a man still needed pastries. At least that’s what I told myself as I stood in line at Bread Box staring at Mara with a tight smile on her face, pretending everything was fine. But now that I’ve seen her up close again, I could see that everything wasn’t fine. I could see the lines of stress around her eyes, the stiff way she held herself and the tightness around her smile.

She was a trooper though, smiling at every person who approached the counter and even engaging in small talk with many of them. If you didn’t look too closely, it appeared as if nothing was amiss.

“Next!”

I bit back a smile at her abrupt manner. It was a miracle that the folks of Pilgrim were no longer put off by it. I bravely stepped up to place my order. “Good afternoon, Mara. How are you?”

“Just peachy. What can I get you?” I really hated that bored expression she gave me even though I knew she was anything but bored by me.

“Half a dozen lonely hearts truffles and three of those heart shaped cookies, please. Long day?”

“Same length as every other day. Coffee? Tea?”

Damn, nothing. “Coffee please, caramel syrup and whipped cream. Please.” She turned away and I stared at the way her hips flared out from her narrow waist and the shapely legs encased in jeans. Back in the day Mara had been curvy as hell, but now she was a complete knockout who didn’t realize her power. Even in the light blue Bread Box t-shirt she wore a size too big, her large breasts were the same perfect teardrops I remembered. Hell, those tits had a starring role in my fantasies for years after we’d parted ways.

Is that what we’re calling it now? Parting ways instead of saying she vanished without a trace, ripping my heart in a thousand little pieces.

“Why did you move to Pilgrim?”

She turned, big honey brown eyes filled with what could only be described as hate and quirked a brow. “Full fat or low fat cream?”

My shoulders fell in disappointment and if it was anyone else, for any other reason, I might be impressed by her stubbornness. “Full fat.”

“Coming right up.” There was a hint of a smile on her plump lips and I thought maybe Mara had fun torturing me, and sadly, I was all right with that. If this was the only way I could interact with her, then so be it.

“So Mara, how’s your mom? It was really good seeing her the other day.”

She snorted a laugh and handed me my coffee. “Helen is my foster mom, and she’s good.”

I blinked, stunned at that news. “You never said.” In all the time we’d spent together, she’d never once hinted that Ms. Landon wasn’t her real mother. “Why?”

“She was the only mother that mattered.” Mara shrugged like it was no big deal, but I was completely shaken to my core.

“But you never…excuse me,” I told her and answered the phone ringing at my hip. “Sheriff Willowby.”

“This is Anne Jacobs, Sheriff. My son, Kyle, hasn’t been home in three days.”

I frowned, wondering why this woman was calling my cell phone. “You’ll need to go through proper channels to file an official missing person’s report. How old is Kyle?”

The woman sighed as if she were annoyed. “He is a high school senior, Sheriff. Just seventeen years old, so you understand my sense of urgency, don’t you?”

“I do, Mrs. Jacobs. But without the official report we don’t have a proper description to send out to all the officers in the area.”

“Yes, yes, I’m aware. Could I convince you to come here for that technicality? My husband Craig is on a very important call, but he should be finished shortly.”

I nodded, unwilling to listen to any more excuses, because during my time in New Orleans I learned it was easier sometimes to just give in to the wealthy and influential, especially when a missing kid was the problem. “Sure, I’m on my way Mrs. Jacobs.”

“Thank you, Sheriff.”

“Of course.” I ended the call and looked at Mara’s face, she was annoyed that I’d kept her and the line waiting. Figures. “Sorry about that.”

“Kyle Jacobs is missing?”

My brows dipped low. “According to his mother, but you remember what it was like to be seventeen.”

She gave one short nod. “Yet, off you go, running to do her bidding.”

“You know Kyle?” There was something odd about Mara’s tone, and my instincts were telling me she knew something about this kid.

“I know of pretty much everyone in this town. Don’t know if you heard, but I make the best cookies, muffins, croissants and cupcakes in the land.”

“I may have heard that particular rumor, but that doesn’t answer my question. You know him?”

“Of him,” she repeated this time with steel in her voice. “I’m sure you’ll make sure his rich parents find their precious little boy in no time.” Realizing what she’d said, Mara shook her head and pasted a phony smile on her face. “Thanks for choosing Bread Box. Enjoy your baked goods!”

I stared at the confusing woman for a long moment before I left to go in search of the missing teenager.

Once again, I would have to wait to deal with Mara.

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