Candy Store - Bella Andre Page 0,1

look his demons in the eye, support his friend on the happiest day of his life, and then get the fuck out.

Were it not for several quick swigs of tequila he wouldn’t have made it this far. And Tobey knew damn well that several more shots would be necessaryto help him get through the reception. It was the only way.

Jane’s father kissed her on the cheek and handed the bride over to the groom. Tobey saw the love flowing between them and felt nothing but emptiness inside him.

The memory tackled him again. The Candy King? Why can’t you be more like your brother?

Tobey tried to shake the shrill voice of his faithless bitch of an ex-fiancée out of his head to focus on the ceremony that had just begun. He knew she was right, though, and that was the worst thing of all. So what if he loved what he did and was good at it?

What did it matter if he was a connoisseur of candy? Who cared if he knew how to sell it, lots of it, for any company that hired him?

His skills were the skills of a child. It was time to grow up.

In a daze of self-loathing, Tobey watched James and Jane exchange rings. His best friend leaned in to kiss his new wife, but all Tobey could see was the face of his ex-fiancée, screwed up in rage at him. You’ve ruined my life! I could have married someone important. Someone successful. Don’t ever come near me again. In his mind’s eye Tobey could still see the shock on the faces of their guests. He could still see the hatred in Gina’s eyes. But worst of all, he could see how everyone agreed with her choice.

The sound of applause pulled him from his memories and he reached out his arm to the Maid of Honor. He just needed to make it down the aisle to the bartender and then everything would be all right.

* * * * *

Callie pushed the salmon around on her plate. It was delicious, but she wasn’t the least bit hungry. Her lack of appetite may have had something to do with all of the newlyweds at her table. As far as she could tell there wasn’t another singleton around for miles. If she had to hear one more word about engagement rings and honeymoon trips, she was going to puke. Abruptly, she pushed her chair back and made a beeline for the bar.

A tall, broad-shouldered man stood with his back to her. Callie hadn’t paid much attention to the wedding ceremony, but she couldn’t help but notice the striking good looks of the best man. He had looked oddly grim throughout the ceremony, but at one point when he had grinned at the groom, it was as if the sun had come out from the clouds to pour down over everyone.

Callie cursed her unfortunate weakness for tall, dark, and handsome. Her friends liked to joke that the big brutes she always fell for were the perfect counterpart to her petite blonde curves. But it wasn’t really all that funny. The truth was that if the man came with a harsh past and an emptiness in his soul, she was metal to his magnet.

Which may have had something to do with her still being single, she mused unhappily.

If she could only find a nice, simple, happy man—yes, short, soft, and pale would have to suffice—everything would be perfect.

Oh yeah, except for the fact that she was going to have to close her store if she didn’t start making a profit.

Callie fell even deeper into her misery as she made her way past the last of the tables. The best man ran a large hand through his hair and said something in a low voice to the bartender. The sound of his voice sent goose bumps running up her bare arms.

I wonder which tall, gorgeous, svelte woman he’s married to? she thought, feeling more than a tad snarky. Callie knew she was being bad, but for once she didn’t care. Not only was she totally unwedded and alone, but she was about to be out of a job too. Pretty soon, instead of spending her days making candy—the one thing she loved most in the world—she was going to be sitting behind a desk in an office typing memos for some executive, or reeking of grease and saying, “Would you like onions with that?” Callie shuddered. Coming shoulder to shoulder with Mr.