sidetracked by r.l. kenderson
Release Date: September 13, 2021
Ms. Sunshine meets Mr. Grumpy! From USA Today bestselling author R.L. Kenderson.
“Sometimes, not knowing where you’re going will lead you to where you need to be.”
My workplace eliminated my position the same month my relationship ended. With nothing keeping me in Richmond, Virginia, I get in my car and head northeast, unsure of where I’ll end up.
Until I walk into The Busy Bean Café.
With the Help Wanted sign and the quote on the wall meant for me, I know I’ve found my new home.
I gave up my executive job in Boston to come home to help run my family’s hardware store and to open my own handcrafted furniture business. I have specific plans for my life.
Those plans don’t include the coffee shop’s new flighty barista even if she is cute as hell.
But when I become Charli’s landlord, I find it harder than ever to stay away from her. And soon, I don’t want to.
To make matters worse, I didn’t see Charli anywhere.
Fuck. Had she already found a guy to take her home?
I looked at the only empty chair at the table and took it as my own.
“Hey, that’s—” Kyle said but shut up when I shot him a look.
I didn’t know Griffin Shipley’s cousins well, so I always forgot who was who, and I didn’t really care either.
I briefly looked up at Lauren sitting on Max’s lap and Audrey sitting on Griff’s and wondered why neither of them had taken this chair.
Before I could ask, someone spoke up before me, “Did you guys figure it out?”
I looked over to see Charli walking up to the table.
“Oh,” she said when she saw me. She smiled, and my gaze went straight to her fuck-me red lips. “You took my chair.”
She bit on the plump lower lip as she looked around, and I had to turn away as my jeans got tight.
“Darn. There are still no free chairs,” she said.
I was about to stand up and give her the seat back when one of the Shipley cousins said, “You can sit on my lap, Charli.” He held his arms out. “The offer still stands.”
Before she could say anything, I slid my arm around her waist and yanked her down.
She yelped in surprise.
I looked at the cousin. “Too late. She’s already found a place to sit.”
She looked over her shoulder at me and, in the process, grazed her ass over my swollen dick.
I groaned quietly.
“Are you okay with this?”
“I set you here, didn’t I?”
“Yes, but you don’t seem very happy to have me sitting here.”
No, I liked it way too much. Tonight, instead of fantasizing about her masturbating, I was going to picture her riding me on this chair.
“I’m fine,” I bit out.
She looked like she wanted to say more, but one of the Shipleys spoke up, “Hey, Charli. We each came up with an answer for you.”
She turned to face the cousins. “You did? Whatcha got?”
“I’ll go first,” the cousin who had offered Charli his lap said. “Are you ready?”
“I am,” she said, and I felt her body relax more into mine.
“Okay. Samuel L. Jackson was in Kill Bill: Vol. 2, which was directed by Quentin Tarantino. Then, Quentin Tarantino was in Reservoir Dogs with Chris Penn. And Chris Penn was in Footloose with Kevin Bacon. That’s three degrees.”
“Great job. What about you?” Charli asked the other cousin.
“Samuel L. Jackson was in Iron Man with Robert Downey Jr. Robert Downey Jr. was in Tropic Thunder with Tom Cruise. And Tom Cruise was in A Few Good Men with Kevin Bacon. I got the same amount.” He sounded disappointed.
“What are you guys doing?” I asked.
Charli looked over her shoulder at me again.
Fuck. I wish she’d stop moving.
“We’re playing Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon. Do you know it?”
Her face brightened. “You do?”
She’d completely missed the unfortunate part of my answer.
“We’re connecting Samuel L. Jackson to Kevin Bacon. So far, Kyle and Kieran got three degrees.”
I snorted. “I could do it in two.”
“No way,” one of the cousins said. “Not that fast. We had to think about it while Charli was in the restroom.”
I rolled my eyes. “Kevin Bacon was in Animal House with Donald Sutherland, who was in A Time to Kill with Samuel L. Jackson. Two degrees.”
“Damn,” the other cousin said.
Charli smiled at me over her shoulder. “Good job, Gabe.”
“Do another one,” the cousin demanded. “I want to see if you can do it that fast again.”
I was going to say no, but when I saw Charli’s face, I gave in. “Fine.”
“Charli, does everyone have to be connected to Kevin Bacon?”
“I don’t know the official rules, but my friends and I would sometimes pick two actors and connect them.”
“You pick someone, and I’ll pick someone,” one cousin said to the other.
“I’ll pick one,” Griff interrupted.
“Okay,” his cousin said.
“You say yours first,” Griff said.
“Alyssa Milano. She’s hot. Who’s your person?”
I smiled. “That’s easy. They were both in Where the Day Takes You.”
“What?” a cousin said. “You made that movie up.”
“No, I didn’t. It’s not well known, but it’s a great movie. You should watch it sometime.”
Kyle or Kieran grabbed his phone. A few seconds later, he said, “Holy shit, Gabe’s right.”
“I know I am.”
Charli smiled at me again, but this time, she looked me up and down, as if she was appreciating what she was seeing. “That was pretty impressive, Gabe,” she said in a low voice so only I could hear.
I wanted to pull her to me and kiss the hell out of her.
A waitress walked up to our table and asked, “Can I get anyone anything?”
I tore my eyes from Charli.
“God, yes,” I said to the server. “A beer.” And a bag of ice for my crotch.