Sometimes the path to happily ever after runs through all the wrong places...
Xavier was my first love. My first everything.
But he had a habit of running away when I needed him most, so I married someone else.
Now, I’m back in my small hometown. Romance is not on my agenda. Being a divorced single mom is complicated enough.
Then he walks back into my life, wanting a second chance.
Well, if he thinks I’m letting him anywhere near my heart again, he’s sadly mistaken…
I don’t blame Maggie for hating me.
My commitment issues are legendary. Overcoming them seemed impossible.
But I never tried harder than I did with Maggie.
Now that she’s back—and we’re in forced proximity nearly every day—I want to make things right. Let her know how sorry I am.
Take her in my arms (and my bed) and never let her go.
I know I don’t deserve her. But I won’t ever stop trying to earn her…
Rosa Oaks Series, Book One
I let out a growl as I ended the call. This couldn’t be happening. No. I wasn’t going to just take this news over the phone. I grabbed my purse and keys and left my office. I let Alaiya—one of our part-timers at the coffee shop—know that I’d be back in an hour or so and told her that she could call me if she needed anything as I headed for the front doors. I climbed into my SUV, throwing my purse on the passenger seat. It took me only a few seconds to get the car started, and I was backing out of my parking spot. My hands gripped the steering wheel tightly and my teeth were clenched. When I made it to Robertsons Organic Market, I parked and only grabbed my phone and keys before I was swinging the door open. I looked around until I spotted the person I wanted to see.
The tall, bald man who was my brother’s age turned to look at me. “Maggie.”
“We need to talk.”
“I’m a little busy here.”
“We need to talk now, Richard. I think you owe me that much.”
He looked at the person he’d been speaking to when I stormed up. He said something quietly to him and the man left us alone. Richard turned his full attention to me.
“I’m sorry, Maggie,” he said. “The deal was too good for me to turn down.”
“But we had an agreement. You already agreed to sell us the building so that we could expand the coffee shop. You know how long we’ve been waiting for y'all to sell, and now you’re telling me it’s going to go to some random person who swoops in at the eleventh hour?”
“That’s exactly what I told you on the phone. I’m truly sorry, but you can’t expect me to turn down cash—the full amount and then some—that we’re asking for that building. Unless you can offer more money, then I’ll be selling to the other buyer.”
“I can’t believe you’re doing this.”
“It’s not personal, Maggie. It’s just business.”
“That’s bullshit, and you’re a dick for even entertaining other offers when we already started the process,” I snapped.
“No papers have been signed. Last I heard from Ms. Natasha was that you all are still waiting on approval for the loan from the bank.”
I clenched my teeth. I was so pissed right now. There was no way we’d be able to come up with an offer better than the other buyer. Who would even do this? Everyone in town knew we were in the process of buying that building. I had so many plans for the expansion that would bring in more money for the coffee shop and allow us to branch out. We would have been able to serve food. We were losing some opportunities by not doing so.
“Who is it?” I finally asked.
“I don’t know if I should give out that information.”
I stepped closer to him, and he stepped back. “Who is it, Richard?”
He seemed to think it over before he finally said, “Xavier.”
“You’ve got to be shitting me.”
“Nope. His realtor contacted me on Monday to meet, which we did. He put in an offer then, and as I’ve said, I’m ready to accept.”
My teeth clenched again as I blew out a harsh breath, spinning on my heel and storming back to my car. Once I was inside, I started it quickly and pulled on my seatbelt aggressively before turning around to face the road again. Now I had a bone to pick with my brother’s best friend.
I rubbed my eyes as I stumbled out of my room. Whoever was beating on my front door like a mad person had better have a good reason for waking me up. I just fell asleep a couple of hours ago after being up all night working on an art piece for the gallery in Los Angeles. I didn’t bother looking out the peephole. But maybe I should have. The last person I was expecting on the other side of the door, with daggers in her dark brown eyes, was Maggie. She pushed her way into my house before I could even invite her in.
“How could you do this?” she demanded.
I had no clue what she was talking about. “Do what?”
“You really don’t know what I’m talking about?”
“Apparently not, so if you could get me up to speed, that’d be great, Firefly.”
She narrowed her eyes. “That building you offered cash on was mine. I was in the process of buying it to expand our coffee shop. We’ve been working on that deal for weeks, and now you’re trying to take it from under us.”
Well, damn. “I didn’t know that, Maggie.”
“Really? Zane hasn’t mentioned how we’re trying to expand?”
She scoffed as if I was lying to her. Zane hadn’t talked about it with me. But I’d only been back for a few weeks and the coffee shop just hadn’t come up very much in our conversations.
“You need to withdraw your offer, Xavier.”
I leaned against the back of the couch, crossing my arms over my bare chest. It’d taken me weeks to find the space that’d work for my art gallery. That building was a prime location, and I loved that it was located in Rosa Oaks. When Shannon told me about it a couple of days ago, it’d felt like kismet. When Richard was willing to accept my offer of cash, I knew I had to take it. Giving up the perfect location wasn’t something I was going to do just because this spitfire of a woman was demanding I do so.
“I’m not going to do that,” I finally told her. “I can offer Richard more money, and it’s the perfect spot for what I’m trying to do. It’s mine.”
If I didn’t think she could get any angrier, I was sadly mistaken. I’d only seen her this angry on a few occasions. And I was man enough to admit that I was a little scared right now. She was seething.
“Why are you doing this?” she asked but didn’t wait for me to respond. “Is it because I won’t be your fuck buddy?”
“Maggie,” I said.
“Fine,” she snapped. “But we’ve been waiting so long for that building to go up for sale. Whatever you’re planning to do with it can’t be more important than ours.”
That was presumptions of her, and I didn’t feel the need to correct her. There was no telling if my plans would feel like they were more important than hers. It really didn’t matter. I wasn’t giving up the building. It was perfect and nothing else was available right now. Well, there was one store located on the corner of Main Street that could work, but it wasn’t for sale.
“Sorry, Firefly,” was all I could think to say. Her jaw ticked and her dark eyes narrowed, but she didn’t say anything else. She just turned on her heel and stormed out the front door the same way she’d stormed inside. I let out a hard breath. This just got a whole lot more complicated than it should've been. I swore as I went to the front door to see if Maggie was still out there. Her car was gone, so I locked it and went back to my room. But sleep was the last thing I could do now. I didn’t want to be in a feud with Maggie, but I also didn’t want to give in to her demands. What the fuck was I going to do?