Saved Mafia Bride by Mae Doyle
Leaning forward, I cup my hand around my eyes and press as close to the window as I can get to try to see inside. It’s impossible to tell anything from out here, though, not with the sun shining directly behind me.
“Hello? Is anyone in there?” Taking a step back, I rap my knuckles against the glass, suddenly feeling incredibly self-conscious. My apron is looped over one arm, I have a cup of coffee in my free hand, and all I want to do is get in there and see what I need to set up for work tomorrow.
But it honestly doesn’t look like anyone’s in there.
Walking over to the door, I grab the handle and yank, pulling back as hard as I can. Even though I’ve rattled the door half a dozen times since getting here ten minutes ago, I’m still holding out a little hope that someone will be in there, will hear me, and will take pity on me and let me in.
“Are you serious right now?” I mutter, turning and leaning against the door. I’m supposed to start work here tomorrow as a baker but nobody is coming to the door. I haven’t been able to get in touch with the guy who hired me, Scott, and I’m beginning to wonder if this was all just a pipe dream.
Did any of it really happen or did I just make it all up in my head? I need the job, that’s for sure, and it really felt fated the way it dropped into my lap.
So why the hell isn’t anyone coming to the door now?
Frustration courses through me and I have a sudden urge to cry, but I refuse to do that. My feet pinch in my shoes and I sink down to the sidewalk right outside the building, leaning against it, and consider my options.
The first one is to sit out here until someone takes pity on me and lets me in, but that doesn’t seem like a great idea when literally nobody is coming to the door.
On to idea two. I could try to find a job somewhere else, although they’re few and far between right now and I felt like I hit the jackpot with this one. All I want to do is bake and the idea of actually getting paid to do that is enough to make me pee myself with excitement.
Not literally. I’m twenty-two, not seventy-two.
Or I could call Gavin.
The memory of his gorgeous face makes a shiver race up my spine. He obviously was looking for Scott, or knew Scott, or something, and while calling him might not be the best idea I’ve ever had, it has to beat sitting here like a lump and hoping that someone will take pity on me.
Even in the broad daylight I feel a cold chill when I think about him. When we met a few days ago I’d gone right home and looked him up, but without a last name, he was impossible to find on social media. All I know is that I don’t think I’d mind looking at his gorgeous face every single day.
If you know what I mean.
Grabbing my phone from my purse, I tap on the screen to turn it on and then hover my finger over his number. Of course I entered it into my phone the day he gave it to me, but I’ve been too much of a chicken to call him until just now.
What would I say?
Hey, this is Clara. I’m screwed out of my job, apparently, but maybe you know Scott and can help me?
Tilting my head, I think for a moment. It’s honest, sounds sincere, and might just get my point across that I need his help without making it obvious that I couldn’t stop thinking about the way his eyes bored into me when he looked at me.
Before I lose my nerve, I tap his name and press my phone up to my ear. It only rings once, not giving me enough time to steel myself for what’s about to happen, then he answers.
“This is Gavin.”
I swear, just the sound of his voice makes shivers run through my body. I suck in a gasp and my fingers tighten on my phone. He really picked up.
“Hi, Gavin? This is Clara?” I have a terrible habit of speaking in questions when I’m nervous about something and shake my head, bite my lip, then try again. “We met outside the bakery the other day. You were looking for Scott. Do you remember me?”
He doesn’t pause for a second before answering. “How in the world do you think that I could forget you? What can I do for you, Clara?”
I swear, his voice is like if someone poured pure sex into a blender and mixed it up with the last twenty People’s hottest men. A shiver dances up my spine and I clamp my thighs together—hard—to try to stop the desire blooming there.
“I’m supposed to start work tomorrow but when I came by the bakery to talk to Scott, he isn’t here. You seemed to know him and I didn’t know if you had any idea where he was.”
“Scott’s gone.” He sounds confident but I frown anyway. “He didn’t tell you that he was leaving town?”
I shake my head before remembering that he can’t see me. “No, he didn’t tell me anything about that. I’ve tried calling him but can’t get in touch with him. Do you know what time today he’ll be back? I wanted to get into the bakery and get settled so tomorrow morning I wasn’t trying to find my way around while also doing the baking.”
“I’m sorry, Clara,” he says, and I almost let out a little moan at the way my name sounds coming out of his lips. “But he’s not coming back. The last I heard, the bakery was shuttered.”
“What? You can’t be serious.” I feel my blood run cold and I stand up, suddenly overwhelmed with the desire to do something—anything. “I need that job, Gavin,” I say, then immediately feel like an idiot.
He doesn’t know who I am, and he certainly doesn’t give a shit about what I do or don’t need. Someone like him probably lives a charmed life and I’m honestly surprised that he even remembered who I am in the first place.
“I’m sorry, Clara. How can I help you? Do you need a job, because I’m sure that I can point you in the right direction.”
“No,” I say, angrily wiping away the tears that are threatening to fall down my cheeks. “No, I don’t need help, thanks. I’m sorry to bother you. I just thought that maybe you knew where he was and I could get in touch with him, but if you don’t know then it’s no big deal. I’m sorry to bother you,” I repeat, then hang up before I can stop myself from cutting this conversation off.
A chill runs through me when I realize what I just did, but it was probably the smart move, if I’m being honest.
The man doesn’t owe me anything, and as much as I’d love for him to call me and sweep me off my feet, that’s just not how life works. He has no reason to do that, no reason to want to spend time with me, not like I want to spend it with him, and I power my phone off before he can have the chance to call back.
Really, though, I just don’t want to face the music when he doesn’t call back at all. It’s better to possibly send him to voicemail than to know for sure if he’s going to reach out to me.
“Okay, Clara,” I say, giving my head a little shake like that’s going to clear it and help me think more clearly, “you gotta get your shit together. If you don’t get a job then you can’t pay your bills.”
I don’t want to think about what will happen if I can’t pay my bills. I’ve been on the run for a long time and the last thing I want to do is sit and think about what will happen if I run out of money and can’t make it on my own.
Because I know what will happen. That’s why I needed this job. That’s why I’m willing to work wherever I have to in order to get a fast paycheck. I don’t like the thought of what I’m about to do, but instead of walking back to my apartment to look for jobs online, I turn towards Main Street.
Stripping sounds terrible, and I almost cut my losses and run half a dozen times before I even make it near the club, but I need the cash.
Now. I need the cash now or I need to get on the road and run, and I’m really fucking tired of being on the run all the time.