Sweet Valentine

By: Aria Cole

Introduction





Three things sum up Valentine Marsden at this moment: she’s got a sweet tooth so deep she opened her own bakery; she hates the holiday that is her namesake; and she just may be charged with murder when she strangles the contractor next door banging on the walls during the busiest time of her year. Working from sun up to sun down, Valentine finds herself bumping into the compeltely sexy and totally cocky stranger more frequently than she’d like. So freneutntly she’s beginnning to think he’s a working man with a sweet tooth.



Ford Knox has spent twenty-five years sucluding himself from the public, retreating to his mountain cabin deep in the woods after work everyday withitout a second thought for comicated things like woman and love. But when the totally sweet and smetimes spicy treat next door falls right into his lap, he finds himself drunk on her smile and desperate for more. Knox is a man with a wicked appeitite, and Valentine is the only thing he can see.



Warning: Sweet Valentine is cocky blue collar alpha goodness with a dash of sweet candy hearts, lush chocalte-dipped strawbberies, and sawdust-scented first kisses. Grab a chocolate martini because Knox and Valentine are about to melt your insides!





Chapter One





Knox





“Hey, Knoxie baby, why don’t you go next door and get us some of them sweet treats?” Lon, one of the contractors, called. The rest of the guys cracked up around him.

I landed another strike with the mallet on the two by four in my hand. “Nah, I’m good.”

“Knox, you’re gonna wanna check out the view next door, man!” another one of the guys called.

I shook my head, used to the filthy mouths of the guys on jobsites. It was one of the things I hated about the job--like working with a bunch of fucking animals.

Which wasn’t to say I wasn’t an animal myself.

I lived twenty-five miles up in the mountains on a two-track road. I was definitely a little —or a lot— on the animal side, just not when it came to women.

It’d been years since I’d even given a second look to a woman.

I was forced to live vicariously through these perverts anyway; the stories they told over Monday morning coffee were enough to make me cringe. And the kicker was, they all had wives or girlfriends at home. Here I was, the eternal bachelor, and yet I was the one with the most respect for a woman?

“Heyyyyy.” Mario barged through the door of the small business we were renovating. “You didn’t tell me the chick next door looks like Sofia Vergara, man! She’s my dream girl. We’re going to run off and make babies.” He made an hourglass shape with his hands, and whistled.

These motherfuckers.

If I didn’t love my job so much I’d cut and run.

But the other problem with that was there wasn’t much for work in this one-light town. If I left Caruso’s Contracting, I’d have to leave town to find a position that paid close to what I made now.

I’d been doing this job for 19 years. At this stage, I’d amassed quite a lot for myself. I’d saved my paychecks for five years until I could afford enough to buy the land up in the steep Colorado mountains I’d grown up around. Paying cash, I bought the material for a log cabin and went to work. Built ninety percent of it with my own two hands on nights and weekends. It was a labor of love.

So, long story short, I wouldn’t be leaving this place. Or Caruso’s. Or this small town of Colorado at all.

Long story short, I was where I wanted to be, even if it came with a few extra assholes I had to put up with.

“I’m breakin’ for lunch.” I tossed the mallet at my feet, unhooking my tool belt and leaving it on the ground.

“Going to check out the hot piece of ass next door?” Lon asked.

“Going to get a drink of fucking water and maybe a sandwich. Anything else you think you need to know, Caruso?” I stared down Lon Caruso, the owner’s brother and perpetual fucking douchebag.

Lon shook his head, suddenly very interested in the can of pop in his hands.

I pushed through the glass door of the store and out into the crisp February wind. The air felt good biting at my cheeks, just one of the things I loved about living in the mountains. The air up here may be a little thinner, but I was convinced it was good for the soul, it sure as fuck was good for mine.

I glanced across the street, debating running across for a cold sandwich out of the gas station deli, but the chocolate croissants I’d seen in the window of that bakery on the way in had been calling my name.

I didn’t worry much about calories, but it was probably a good thing this job would be finished in a few weeks. If I made a habit of daily croissant runs, I’d have a gut in no time.

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