I was a normal teenager who loved music and dancing, until the day I was attacked in my favorite record store. A few years later when my mom succumbed to depression and took her own life, I couldn’t stay in my hometown with all the memories and the curious stares. I decided to get in my car and just go – except my car decided it was done going outside a tiny place called Evergreen Grove. That’s where I found Jake. Or I guess Jake found me.
For the last eight years, all I can think about is the day I ended another man’s life. Then I manage to save Cassie’s, and I feel like maybe I’ve got some kind of second chance. To do what I couldn’t before, or maybe even for something bigger. Something like love. If only I could feel like I deserve her...
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You see, a couple of years ago I started writing a book that didn’t fit anywhere in my plans. It wasn’t paranormal, which is what I usually write, and it wasn’t the next book in my office romance series, which was my only non-paranormal work so far. It was a story about a college-aged girl who was lost and at the end of her rope, and the guy who saved her but hadn’t exactly wanted to.
It was one of those stories I didn’t want to write, but I had to write. I stopped and started a million times before I finally finished, but Cassie and Jake persisted.
She brings him baked goods to say thank you for helping her:
... Across the street, Cassie smiles at a passing teenager and turns to open the bakery door. I can’t hold back my laugh when I see the flour handprint on her ass.Then he buys her lunch to give them an excuse to hang out, on their way to running an errand:
Next thing I know I’m laughing while munching one of those damned muffins, and I’ve forgotten I wasn’t all that interested...
He points to my lap, which holds an opened but uneaten shrimp wrap. “Eat up. Come on. I want to show you what I brought you here for.”And even Jake, who has been on his own since seventeen and has never been good with communication, knows he’s really falling for Cassie when he decides to make her breakfast for dinner. He might not be good with feelings and he might not have the language to tell her with words, but making her the one dish his mom taught him as a kid isn’t something a guy like Jake does for anyone and everyone.
I glance around the back yard. It’s large for such a small house. There’s a big grassy area, some trees along the back, and a covered car that looks like something he must be working on. “If you brought me out here to kill me and bury my remains, I only ask that you dress me in something tasteful before you put me in the ground.” I smile and gesture at my ripped jeans and coffee-stained T-shirt.
The skin around his eyes crinkles when he laughs. I think this is the first time I’ve seen him really relax. “You know, you’re kind of nuts.”
Jake is a fighter. A mechanic. A bartender. An I-don’t-do-relationships kind of guy. He might not do hearts and flowers, but he can do scrambled eggs. When he makes them for Cassie, it’s a big deal:
“Breakfast for dinner. Best meal ever. Make fun, and you’re out on your ass.” I say it like I don’t give a shit, but really it would suck if she turned her nose up at this meal. This was my favorite thing when my mom was alive, and it still is.Maybe I fell so in love with Jake because he’s a guy after my own heart. To this day, when I don’t know what else to do in a situation, I bake. Because hell, the world may be going to shit, but cookies make people feel better. Right? And I like to make the people around me feel better. And because shoving calories into my kids is one of the ways I can show them I care about them growing up big and strong, now that they’re too old for me to hug and kiss constantly without going “Geeeeze, Mooooom, you’re being weird again!” It’s not always logical, but it makes sense somewhere in my emotional lizard brain. Or something.
And hey, we all have to eat. Might as well take care of each other while we’re doing it. Right?
What do yall think?
Do you show your love with food?
What's your favorite thing to make or get for those you love?
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