It’s time for five more pages. Today’s featured story is Sugar and Spice.
“Hey there, baby. What do you have sweet in those drawers for me today?”
Ginny Brooks narrowed her eyes. “I told you yesterday to stay out of my candy stash. You ate the last of the Tootsie Rolls and I really need a Tootsie Roll today.”
“Yikes. That time of the month, Brooks?” Travers joked as he pulled open the top drawer of her desk.
“Get bent.” She slapped his hand away before he could grab the last of the SweeTarts.
“What’s got your panties in a bunch?” Travers asked as Charlie Anderson came out of his office.
As office manager for her rag-tag bunch of engineers and best friends, Ginny and her desk were situated in the main entryway and surrounded by the three partners’ offices. She was used to having no privacy.
She was also accustomed to the way none of them used first names with each other—only last names. Travers had insisted that the others start calling him by his last name in sixth grade since there was another Ryan in their class and he refused to be referred to as Ryan T. Ginny couldn’t for the life of her figure out why that request had boomeranged back on the rest of them as well. Nonetheless, she’d been Brooks for nearly two decades. Hell, even her parents called her Brooks.
She spent her days working at Travers, Taylor and Anderson Engineering, or as Ginny liked to tease them, the T and A firm. At the moment, she was wondering why she’d ever thought it would be a good idea to work with friends.
“She just got the brush-off call from her boyfriend,”Andersonanswered before she could say a word in response to Travers’ obnoxious comment.
“The lawyer?” Travers asked and Anderson nodded. “Fucking bastard. I’m glad he dumped you. You don’t wanna date lawyers. They’re slimeballs.”
“Just once, do you guys think you could mind your own business?”
Anderson chuckled. “Where’s the fun in that?”
She leaned her head back against her office chair and sighed heavily. “I really need some chocolate.”
“Shit, Brooks. Don’t you have any in your secret stash? That’s why I came out here.”Anderson frowned.
“Don’t blame me,” she replied. “Travers polished off nearly half a bag of Tootsie Rolls yesterday.”
Anderson turned his narrowed gaze to his partner and she smirked at Travers.
“Snitch,” Travers snarled at her. “It’s your damn fault for keeping that candy in the office. It just tempts me. You know I’ve got a sweet tooth.”
Ginny rolled her eyes. “Oh that’s right. It’s my fault you’re a pig. I should have realized. I apologize. From now on, I’ll keep the candy hidden in my car.”
“Don’t you dare!”Anderson barked.
“Don’t you dare what?” Alex Taylor asked, coming out of his office no doubt to investigate the commotion.
Ginny rolled her eyes in frustration. How these men ever got any work done was beyond her. They were nosier than a pack of old women.
“Brooks is threatening to cut off the sweets supply.”
“Don’t you dare!”Taylor yelled, adding his two cents’ worth on the subject.
Ginny ignored him and decided she’d better nip the boyfriend misinformation in the bud. “And for your information, I didn’t get dumped. Liam was assigned a big case and he has to work through the weekend. That’s all.”
“Weren’t you supposed to go out of town together this weekend?” Travers asked. “I thought you and the asshole lawyer were doing a romantic getaway for your birthday.”
“Well…” Ginny attempted to swallow down the lump of disappointment that had been lingering since Liam’s call half an hour earlier. “We’ll just have to reschedule, I suppose.”
Travers slammed his hand down on her cluttered desk. “Dammit, Brooks, we wanted to throw you a big party, but you said you wanted to go away for this stupid weekend with Mr. Shit-for-Brains.”
“You know, Travers. He has a name. It’s Liam. Would you mind trying to refer to him as such?” Ginny was used to Travers insulting all her boyfriends and usually it didn’t bother her. In fact, most of the time she thought it was sort of funny. However, today she wasn’t in the mood.
“Well, this is just great,”Anderson added, his voice laced with annoyance. “There’s no way Taylor and I would have made plans for this weekend if we’d known your boyfriend was going to be such a jerk.”
Ginny grinned. “That’s sweet, Anderson, but don’t worry about me. Believe me, turning thirty is nothing to celebrate.”
“You gotta be kidding me!” Travers looked at her as if she’d lost her mind. “We partied our asses off for my thirtieth.”
Giggling, Ginny shook her head. “Travers, I’m still hung over from your birthday party and that was six months ago.”
“Ah crap, Brooks,”Taylor said, interrupting her laughter. “We have to leave now or we’re going to miss our flight. You sure you don’t want us to cancel?”
“What?” Ginny teased. “And stand up the poor McDermont twins? No way, fellas. I’m not having that on my head. You two have been bragging about this debauched double date for weeks. Besides, I’m looking forward to hearing all the disgustingly dirty details on Monday. Go. Have fun and don’t behave yourselves. I’ll be fine.”
“’Course you will,” Travers chimed in. “I’m taking you out tonight.”
“Travers, you don’t have to—” she started.
“To the Way Down Under Club.”
“I mean, I’d really rather— What did you say?” Ginny looked up quickly, her heart suddenly racing with excitement. She’d been begging her friends to take her to the Way Down Under Club for months. It was a new, super-exclusive sex club and Ginny had been dying to see inside the place since its grand opening. Travers, Taylor and Anderson were all gold-card members—whatever that meant—but they’d been uncharacteristically close-mouthed about the place. Every time she’d tried to invite herself along on one of their visits to the club, she’d been shot down cold. They’d teased her, saying she was too pure or too innocent for the place.
Glancing around, Ginny could see Anderson and Taylor were shocked by Travers’ invitation as well.
“I accept!” she practically shouted before they could talk Travers into changing his mind.
“Good. I’ll pick you up at nine.” Travers gave her a heart-stopping grin that would have caused her to expire on the spot if years of friendship hadn’t left her immune to it.
Still afraid Travers would change his mind, Ginny hopped up from her desk and rushed over to Anderson and Taylor. “Have fun storming the castle, guys. I’ll see you on Monday,” she said as she hugged them both goodbye. “See you later, Travers.”
Travers waved as Ginny practically sprinted for the door, still afraid her jokester friend would add a quick “just kidding” to the invite and leave her all alone on her birthday. As she heard the office door close behind her without a peep passing from Travers’ lips, she breathed a sigh of relief. Maybe she didn’t need chocolate after all.
* * * * *
As Ginny drove home, she was so excited she found it difficult to concentrate on the road. She couldn’t wait until tonight. It bugged her that her friends had always refused to take her to the Way Down Under Club. She’d grown accustomed to being a solid member of their group and their uncharacteristic adamance where the club was concerned had annoyed the hell out of her. Throughout their lives, they’d done everything together. Shared everything together. Everything.
She grinned to herself as she remembered her first kiss. Charlie Anderson, in typical fashion, had been fired up about what he’d deemed an emergency. All the sixth grade boys in their class had had their first kiss andAndersonwas worried about their gang of four being left behind…
“So thenTommy Elliot said he kissed her.” Twelve-year-old Charlie Anderson picked up a rock and threw it into the creek where he and his best friends were hanging out on a cool Saturday in May.
“Eww, gross! I wouldn’t kiss Charlotte Parkes,” Alex Taylor said.
“Well,Tommy isn’t the only boy who’s kissed a girl in our class,” Ryan Travers added. “Joel Madison has too.”
“You know, I don’t plan to be the only guy in sixth grade who hasn’t kissed a girl. Hey Brooks,”Anderson perked up as he looked at her, “you’re a girl.”
“So what?” Ginny asked belligerently. She took a step closer to Anderson, more than happy to use the fact that she was three inches taller than him to her benefit.
Andersonbacked down at her intimidating move, but Travers took up the dare with a grin. “So we could all kiss you.”
“You touch me and I’ll punch you in the gut,” Ginny threatened.
Travers laughed. “No you won’t. Come on, Brooks. Be a pal. I’ll give you my Spider-Man Nerf ball.”
Ginny’s eyes lit up at the offer. She loved Spider-Man more than anything. “You swear you’ll give it to me?”
“I swear,” Travers vowed.
“Well, okay. But just once each. This is gonna be so gross!”
Sugar and Spice is available at Ellora’s Cave, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, All Romance Ebooks, Kobo and Sony. It’s also available in print in Sugar and Spice, Everything Nice at Ellora’s Cave, Barnes and Noble and Amazon.
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