A Taste of Love (Quick Read)
A Taste of Love (Quick Read)
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- Forbidden Workplace Romance
- Hidden Identity
This story is a bit spicier than general Clean & Wholesome and contains a sprinkling of mild swear words.
When he makes her an offer she couldn’t resist, it just might open the door to a whole new set of possibilities…for them both.
If David never saw his grandfather again, it’d be too soon. But if he wants to see his greatest dream come true, he might not have that choice.
Too bad it means destroying Therese’s career.
Just when it seemed her business was on the rise, Therese’s dreams were quickly deflated.
Having to meet the mysterious man behind that dose of reality is just salty icing on that already bitter cake.
Only thing worse...would be to have to work for him.
Intro Into Chapters 1 & 2
Intro Into Chapters 1 & 2
A leaf of paper slipped from her fingers; the white flag fluttered to the floor in surrender.
Hunched over its landing place, Therese sucked her teeth, squeezing her eyes shut as she let her head fall into her open hands.
“Not now. Not now,” she groaned, her palms cradling her face. “I’m so close.”
“I was so close,” she whispered, her voice breaking.
It’d been a long day, and David Lin had just shut down his computer when the bank’s vice chair walked in.
“I see you got those letters out. Good work cleaning up Howards’ ‘charitable contributions’”, the man said, his hand raising in the air to surround his last two words with air quotes.
David offered a curt nod, the snap of the laptop closing filling the air. Standing, he opened his stiff, leather briefcase and placed the computer in its allotted pocket.
“Just doing my job, Mr. Hsu,” he said, shutting the case. He straightened, facing the older gentleman with a blank expression that mirrored that of the man before him.
“Of course. And I expect we’ll see more of the same in the coming weeks,” the vice chair said, striding over and stopping at David's desk. “I appreciate you and your assistant—”
“Her name is Mrs. Travis,” David inserted.
Mr. Hsu grunted, continuing. “I appreciate your taking immediate action on this. This isn’t a food bank. Howards didn’t seem to ever get that—particularly during his last years here.”
The older man’s lips bowed downward.
David kept his face passive.
Apparently, it was common knowledge as to why Mr. Hsu held Ronald Howards in such disdain: Howards’ father-in-law also happened to be the mayor—or rather, the outgoing mayor given that the recent election marked the end of his two terms. But while his father-in-law had been in office, Howards had become an even less malleable employee than in years past. From what Mrs. Travis shared about her former boss’ endeavors, David figured it was safe to say that—especially for those eight years—Ronald Howards had been a real pain in Mr. Hsu's backside.
Until Howards’ retirement, that is.
And now, here stood David.
David, who had committed himself to this predicament; to be placed in a situation where he had little voice.
He fought the urge to grind his teeth.
No room for self-pity, now.
Besides, this was only temporary.
If he played his part, the day would come when he would be in the position to make decisions of his own.
“I’m sorry, Sweetie,” Therese heard her cousin tell her over the phone. “I can’t believe he just up and retired like that. You think he just forgot about your loan application?”
“I don’t know. I mean—it doesn’t matter, really. Mr. Howards was the only loan officer in town willing to give me a chance. And I’d only heard about him because of other people in our neighborhood who he had helped. Seems like he was the only banker out there who didn’t exclusively offer loans to people who didn’t, actually, need the help,” Therese bit out.
“And now, this new guy expects me to keep the appointment I’d made with Mr. Howards in a couple weeks; something about bringing my accounting information, discuss my credit history, all of that. For what? He’s already told me that my application was declined, like every other bank in town. Now they want me to beg for reconsideration so they can tell me ‘no’, again? But to my face this time?!”
“I’m not going, Nyla. I’m not going to another meeting just to have my dreams torn to bits right in front of me.”
“You’ll figure this out, Terry. I know it. Lord knows, if I had some money to lend you I would. But—maybe…hey, have you thought of trying another fundraiser? Maybe Kickstarter or something?”
“Girl, you know I’m no good at that stuff. You remember what happened the last two times? All the promoting and…well, you have to know people, still. And my introverted self knows you, my mother and a couple friends who I talk with every few months.” Therese sighed. “But I guess I gotta do something.”
“I mean, what other choice is there, Terry? You gotta try.”
“Or, I could just figure it wasn’t meant to be, Nyla. Maybe this whole thing was stupid to begin with. I’m no chef. I just love to create new things. I’m no business person. I hate worrying about numbers and taxes and marketing and all that stuff.”
“But you love getting the chance to create, like you said. And you love seeing people enjoy the experience that you’ve prepared for them. You love this work, Therese. You’re not giving up on it. It’ll happen.”
“Since when do you get to tell me what I will and won’t be doing with my time and money and life?”
“Since you began talking foolishly about giving up. That’s not the Therese I know. Whoever that is talking from behind your lips needs to go.”
“If that woman had started talking a year and half ago I’d be richer and less stressed.”
“No, you’d be sorry. You’d be regretful for not trying. I’m proud of you, Cuz. You’re inspiring me. You’re inspiring a lot of people!”
Therese felt the telling pang at the base of her eyes.
In a hushed tone, she confessed, “I just don’t know if I can keep trying.”
“Maybe you can, with some help? Listen, I got some vacation I need to take, anyway. Let’s figure out this fundraiser thing. We’ll work together. I can get some of the family together, too.”
“I can’t ask you to do that. You work too hard to be working on your vac—”
“You’re not asking me. I’m offering. And my vacation is for me to use the way that I choose. Come on. Let’s do this! You’ve still got the event tomorrow night, right?”
“Yeah. And it’s using up the last of the savings I have available for the business. The rest has to tide me over til I get some real income.”
“Okay, okay. You get past that. Do an amazing job. Get your cards and name out there. And we’ll start planning right after. It’s not over til it’s over, Therese. And it’s not over. We got this.”
Therese inhaled deeply, letting her eyes shut, letting the tears that’d been forced out to roll down her cheeks.
“Okay,” she responded in a choked whisper.
David checked himself in the mirror and straightened his black bow tie. It’d be his first appearance at the bank's annual masquerade gala honoring the outgoing and incoming mayors, as well as the bank’s most prestigious members.
A corner of his lips lifted at the image he had in his head of Mr. Hsu being forced to cordially greet Mr. Howards, who would surely be in attendance.
The smirk disappeared as he continued staring at himself.
Had it really come to this? That he would get his thrills from the petty prospect of someone else’s ire?
Perhaps he was more like his grandfather than he cared to admit.
His lips tightened and he spun away from the mirror.
On his way to his apartment’s exit, he plucked his black scarf from the coat rack before flinging the door open. He charged down the hallway, whipping the scarf around his neck as he breezed toward the elevator doors and the fall chill.