Authors: K.F. Breene
Tags: #love la surf true love romance office erotic romance
Growing Pains, Book
Copyright © 2013 by
Other Titles by K.F.
Building Trouble, Book
Uneven Foundation, Book
Solid Ground, Book
Back in the Saddle,
Book 1 – FREE
Hanging On, Book 2
A Wild Ride, Book 3
Lost and Found, Book 1
Overcoming Fear, Book
Butterflies in Honey,
Into the Darkness,
Novella 1 - FREE
Braving the Elements,
On a Razor’s Edge,
Demons, Novella 4
“True love cannot be found where it does not
exist, nor can it be denied where it does.”
Butterflies in Honey
“You wanna do dinner?”
Krista was sitting at her desk bent over a
graph. She’d been hard at it so long, the numbers were starting to
blur. She didn’t want to go home. All that was waiting for her was
an empty fridge, a bitchy cat, and a TV dinner.
Her not-so-new boyfriend, Chet, was standing
in the doorway of her medium-sized office, a hopeful smile on his
face. He was looking good today. He had on a blue blazer with
khakis. His athletic frame took up the doorway as he waited for her
answer. He had short brown hair, perfect skin, and deep brown eyes.
He was a model once upon a time, but now he was in Marketing. Talk
about a fall from grace.
“Oh sorry, can’t tonight. I have to get
everything together for the proposal.” Krista pointed to her desk
and the neatly stacked papers.
“Alright, no big deal. Well, maybe
Chet was nothing if not persistent. It was
why she finally agreed to date him. And then to don the girlfriend
title. And was still with him. She turned him down as much as she
said yes, but he was never deterred. “Tomorrow is fine, yeah.”
He hit the door with a smile, gave her a nod,
and walked out. He was a good looking guy with a nice body. What’s
more, he was nice to her, made a good living, and was grown up. He
was a great catch...
She sighed and clutched her lucky mug. It was
the same mug she had used in San Francisco. It was the one Sean
bought her with the gift card about a million tears ago. When she
first got the job working for Tory in Los Angeles, she thought
about getting a new mug. After all, that was the deal: with each
new semester, a new mug; with each new job, the same thing.
Except for this mug. This one was so lucky,
she hated to let it go. It constantly brought her good juju. To
prove it, all she had to do was look around. A few years out of
college and she had a high paying job with a boss that was trying
to groom her for big things, a ladder without a ceiling, and
respect from her peers. People actually greeted her by name these
days—people she’d never even met! They greeted her with smiles!
Good juju aside, the real reason for keeping
the mug was that it reminded her of Sean. He was as big a part of
her climb as anything. More so, perhaps. Together they made magic
happen, inside of work and out. She just couldn’t let that memory
go. She just couldn’t.
And so, her lucky mug shadowed her
everywhere. Business meetings, conferences, crossing borders to
went, her lucky
too. And guess what—no suicide watch needed. It hadn’t tried to
jump off a desk once!
Krista sighed again—she was as bad as Mr.
Montgomery, her old boss. For sighing, she often got Thump Birds
via Skype from her good friend, Jasmine, and rolled eyes from her
other BFF, Kate; but they didn’t help. These days she was even
imagining her lucky mug sighing with her. That’s how bad it
She allowed herself a few stray thoughts
solely of Sean. She wondered what he was doing right then. It was
too late to surf, but maybe he was running or doing their workout
routine on the beach. She wondered if he’d changed in the last two
years he’d been away from her. And most importantly, she wondered
if he ever thought of her. If he had an easy time moving on. Unlike
Kate and Jasmine didn’t have all that much
interaction with him, even though they still worked at the same
company . They didn’t have to in order to know he was hitting
Dexico, her old company, like a falling star. If sales were a
batting average, he would be batting 1,000. He had been in the
Junior VP position for a year by then and Ray was his right hand
man. The two of them were shaking it up.
Under his reign, he realigned the entire
Sales team. He cut down the staff numbers, but increased the sales,
making the company’s revenue blossom. He roped one big account
after another, managing all the sales with his expert eye. Kate
once said she was worried about him, that he worked long hours and
set overly high expectations. But he always hit his mark.
He was nothing if not ambitious.
Secretly, Krista was happy he worked long
hours. It selfishly meant he didn’t have time to find somebody new.
She felt bad for thinking it—she really did want the best for
him—but sometimes, in moments of pain, she couldn’t help herself.
She missed him terribly. There wasn’t a day that went by in the
last two years that she didn’t think of him. It was less now than
in the beginning, and she seldom cried over him anymore, but he was
always there. Sean was the one that got away.
The dad to her bastardized lucky mug.
Krista rubbed her eyes and looked back down
at her piles of graphs and numbers. Tory was right, he could wring
a person until they pleaded for mercy.
Since the day she started, Tory was in close
contact with her and her boss. She was guided and molded, pushed
and prodded. Her work ethic was preyed upon and her break neck pace
was used to its fullest. Within three months, she was churning out
work like she was born into the role. Inside of a year, she was
made head of her department, Marketing Analysis, by her boss (Tory
hadn’t made the suggestion, but approved it immediately). Krista’s
job, as it stood, was basically to meet with everyone to which they
outsourced their marketing and validate their data.
To say Krista did her job well would be an
Where Sean was earning a reputation as an
unstoppable force, Krista’s reputation was a giant brick wall. It
was rare that she didn’t ask for more thorough information from
presenters. She could catch a trick of numbers without batting an
eye. In the beginning, she would point it out right away. Learning
from Tory, though, she started to set traps with the information
and wait to see if the company was trying to pull a fast one, or if
there was a legitimate explanation available. Maybe even a mistake
The companies she dealt with often, which
numbered about ten, started learning what she wanted to see, and
started giving her exactly that. She also got presents at
Christmas, and on her birthday. She even got her coffee in pourable
containers so she could use her lucky mug. One company got her a
mug stand, of all things. It was a heating pad you could put your
mug on to keep the contents warm.
Krista worried the heat directly on the
porcelain would crack it, so she didn’t use it. She never saw the
mug stand again. That was how pampered she was.
Krista felt like a celebrity sometimes. A
mean, bitchy, cold-hearted celebrity that gave bad news as often as
But still, she felt like a celebrity.
Everyone had to be known for something.
Krista saw Marcus and Ben often. Tory wanted
to structure them into the Marketing department together since they
knew each other so well and fed off each other. They might be out
for coffee, or lunch, and come up with a fantastic idea. Marcus was
the dreamer, Krista, the do’er, and Ben, the gloss. Once, they even
came up with a product idea. Tory laughed himself silly with that
one. But it sold. Not a ton, but it did sell.
And they got royalties!
Like she wanted to a million years ago, she
finally picked up surfing on the proper California beaches. She
headed out to the waves whenever she could. That and running were
the times she turned off her brain and just went with nature.
Sometimes, when she was sitting out in the ocean waiting for the
perfect wave, or pushing her legs to the next mile on the beach, or
even doing a new yoga pose she hadn’t quite mastered, she would
smell the ocean breeze and feel the sun on her face, and feel close
Those moments were probably the happiest
moments in that strange new city. They were also the loneliest.
Krista sighed again and brought her mind back
to work. She didn’t really have much more to do. It was all just
organization. She really
have gone out with Chet. She
really could use some sex.
Krista shut everything down. As she was
putting away her pens, Marcus sauntered in. Happy to see a face she
knew longer than two years of her life, even if not much longer,
she leaned back and smiled. “Marcus, just the man I wanted to
“Perfect reception,” he said, sitting down in
her visitor chair and stretching out his legs. He worked as hard as
she did, but managed to keep his social status alive and well. The
Dark Hub, what he called his desk, was in full scale social
networking action. There wasn’t much that went on that Marcus
didn’t hear about. Beside his paycheck and various boyfriends,
nothing changed with the striking fellow.
“I need a dose of gossip. What are my people
saying about me?” Krista asked, leaning back and putting her legs
on her desk.
“Eh. Same ol’, same ol’. You are a slave
driving bitch of a boss, but at least you are the coolest one in
Krista rolled her eyes. “I still don’t get
“They don’t know what working hard is unless
they’ve worked for Tory. By the way, he put another trip on our
She groaned and closed her eyes. Marcus and
Krista traveled constantly.
. She went somewhere
at least twice a month, often once a week. Sometimes they were sent
just to check on a current client— to hear an idea or go over some
data. Lately, he had them checking on other branches, looking at
numbers, but only meeting low-level number crunchers instead of the
usual high-level idea people.
Tory had something in the works, but damned
if they knew what it was. It was big, they were involved somehow,
and that was all they knew. Not even Marcus could figure out why a
creative marketing person would need to go on all the numbers
excursions. Nobody was talking.
“Where this time? I just got back from
Texas,” Krista asked, once again rubbing her eyes.
Marcus paused a beat before he said, “San
Krista got a jolt of apprehension. “Which
company?” she asked quietly.
Marcus just looked at her, raising his
eyebrows slightly. Krista broke out in a sweat and tears came to
“Have you talked to him since you left?”
Marcus asked. They both knew who he meant.
Krista shook her head. “Not once. What have
“I’m still in contact with Judy. How much do
you want to know?”
Krista didn’t want to know anything, but at
the same time, she wanted to know everything. She figured she
should get the worst out of the way now before she was slapped with
“Is he… does he…” She couldn’t finish the
“Have someone? The rumor is that he was
seeing someone regularly for a while. A tall blonde. Beautiful
girl. He hasn’t been with anyone in the office since you left,
though. Not even an ‘oops.’ But Judy thinks there might be someone
outside the office. Probably that blonde.”
Krista nodded. Sean was an outrageously
attractive guy. How could she possibly have thought he wouldn’t
easily find another girl?
Still, she couldn’t help but wonder—with as
close as Sean was to his sister, Cassie, and the fact she’d moved
to San Francisco, and that the description was basically hers—could
Krista dare hope the rumor mill was just that? Unfounded