His Kind of Perfect (Sugar Bay #1)

 

His Kind of Perfect

 

By
Kinsley Gibb

 
 

HIS
KIND OF PERFECT Copyright 2014 Kinsley Gibb

 

KINDLE
EDITION

 

All
Rights Reserved. This copy is intended for the original purchaser of this book.
No part of this book may be used, reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any
manner whatsoever without written permission except in the case of brief
quotations embodied in critical articles or reviews. Please do not participate
in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author’s
rights. Purchase only authorized editions. For information contact
;
address
www.kinsleygibb.com

 

This
book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, organizations,
places, events and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination
or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead,
events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

 

Book
and Cover design by Kinsley Gibb

 
 
 

To
my kids for their love and support

 
 
 

Table of
Contents

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Epilogue

 
 
 
Chapter 1
 

If Anabelle Broussard heard, ‘Bless her
heart’ directed at her once more, she was going to hurt someone. After two
years, you'd think the good folks of Sugar Bay would find another poor soul to
pity.

But she wasn’t that lucky.

And today wasn't a good day for people to
be blessing
her
heart unless they had
a yearning to be six feet under. Jail may be a welcome respite from all this
wedding talk. Maybe the judge would set a precedent for leniency on account of the
defendant being the recipient of too many blessings that resulted in temporary
insanity.

Then again, being locked in a cell meant
too many hours to reflect upon the pitiful existence of her life. An image of
being stuck in jail, a veritable spinster according to her elderly aunt, while her
young cousin walked down the aisle in a picturesque beach wedding burned in her
mind. Heaven help her because that would mean more, ‘Bless her hearts’.

Great.

Anabelle caught sight of two pillars of
society, the former Girl Scout troop leader and the pianist at Holy Family, barrel
towards her in their souped up electric scooter. Fearing another session of
rehashing all that was wrong in Anabelle’s life, she muttered, “I’m late for an
appointment,” and ducked into the nearest store for sanctuary rather than
commit murder.

As the door snapped shut behind her and she
closed her eyes in sweet relief, she heard a faint but clear, ‘Bless her heart’.

Anabelle groaned and banged her head
against the door. It was unfortunate the momentum wasn’t enough to cause temporary
brain damage or at the least, oblivion from the day’s events. The sound of
throat clearing stilled her.

Her haven was someone’s business but as
focused as she’d been on escape, she’d forgotten.

"Anabelle."

Fudge.

The day kept getting better and better
because that voice, that deep, warm, and oh-so-sexy voice that more often than
not, wrapped her in a tidal wave of lust belonged to none other than Derek
Wheaton.

Double fudge.

"I wasn't expecting you today."

She hadn't expected to see him either but
God had a funny sense of humor. With eyes still closed, she debated the choice
of facing the geriatric set on the other side of the door or expiring from
unrequited lust in here.

Anabelle sighed. She knew another
"Bless your heart" would make her crazy. Today's outfit, a black and
white A-line dress with a deep neckline was more casual than she preferred in
his presence, but sanctuary was sanctuary.

She took a deep breath, tucked her mahogany
colored hair behind her ear and opened her eyes. "Hello Derek,” she said.
She hoped her smile was more natural than it felt but she was glad she’d taken
a moment to compose herself.

She took in the beauty that was all Derek
Wheaton.

Holy
smokes.

Derek stood a few inches over six feet with
wide shoulders courtesy of the military, close-cropped brown hair and dark brown
eyes. Those eyes were her Achilles heels since they reminded her of dark chocolate,
her weakness. Sometimes she feared she’d get sucked into a vortex of
naughtiness his wicked grin hinted at if she stared at them for too long. Since
they’d met, his gaze seemed to beckon her to misbehave.

Unlike many men of her experience, Derek
didn’t use hair products and she doubted a manicurist had ever touched his
cuticles. He was a man’s man and although his face wasn’t classically perfect, his
eyes were a little too close together, and maybe his nose was a little bit
crooked, the combination proved to be completely drool worthy.

She swallowed. He had on a partially closed
blue plaid shirt, which wasn’t good considering on the days he was fully
dressed she had a hard time concentrating. Half dressed as he was today…
have mercy
.

Anabelle checked for drool, grateful she’d
controlled herself. It wouldn’t do to expose her appreciation.

Keep it
together
.

"Have you come for an
inspection?" He wiped his hands with a sawdust-covered cloth, his brown
eyes danced as if sensing her internal struggle. She forced another smile, smoothed
her dress with one hand and maintained a death grip on her Kate Spade bag with
the other.

"Let me take that for you. It looks
heavy." He reached for the leather messenger bag.

"That's okay. I have it,' she said and
patted it close, ignoring the crinkle sound of something being crushed.

"Come on. We'll drop it off so you
don't have to lug it around. You don't want to look like Quasimodo, do
you?" He grinned, a hand on the strap. He cocked an eyebrow at her, looking
ready to stand all day until she capitulated.

Heat emanated from him. His hair was damp
near his temple and she spotted a pool of sweat at the base of his neck. The
scent of man and wood teased her nostrils, made her think he’d been working
hard when she’d interrupted, which got her thinking why his shirt was undone,
which got her wondering what he looked like without his shirt.

Which led to bad thoughts.

Very bad thoughts.

Thoughts she shouldn’t be having regarding
her business associate.

Thoughts that came more
frequently of late.

She relinquished the bag, her last bit of
armor.

"Fine." She stepped away. Proximity
provided dangerous fodder for her overactive imagination.

Derek took the bag and led her through his
workshop. She followed and forced her eyes to remain above his butt, hoping
like heck she could control her wayward thoughts. A large worktable stood in
the center of the studio. A myriad of projects in a range of completed stages were
scattered on top and he moved rolled up plans, conceptual sketches of a
mountain home built-in and a coffee cup that read, ‘Measure twice, Cut Once
Dumbass’ to make room for her bag. His big hand brushed past the creamy pink
envelope she’d stuck in the side pocket and knocked it loose. Anabelle picked
it up and shoved it back.

“Sorry.”

“Not a problem,” she said and shoved it deeper
but the annoying thing was too large. Anabelle bent it in half and tried again;
somehow it stayed but its presence screamed at her, reminding her of her
inadequacies.

She sighed.

“What are your thoughts on my wood?"

Anabelle almost glanced down at Derek's
groin for evidence of wood but caught herself.

Not
that kind.

She swung her gaze toward the custom coffee
table he’d indicated and a painful flush worked its way up her face.

“It’s very…hard.”

Nice
word choice.

She grimaced, because suitable adjectives
escaped her mind.

Major
brain fart.

Mortification gripped her and Derek's
chocolate brown eyes twinkled in a wicked way as if he knew exactly where she
wanted to look, where she'd almost looked.

Of course, she hadn’t because drooling over
her vendor did not fall under the heading of professional behavior. And above
all else, Anabelle Broussard was a professional. Her impromptu visit may have
stemmed from a need to escape pity, but she was aware she had a job to
complete.

The Scott Beach house renovation needed her
absolute focus, her attention to detail and the professionalism she was known
for. So Anabelle patted her hot cheeks and straightened her cardigan before she
remembered she'd forgotten the stupid thing at the office.

“I mean…it’s beautiful.”

Better.

A dimple in his right cheek appeared,
joined the eye twinkling he had going and for a moment she was in jeopardy of
swooning.

Did
anyone swoon these days?

She shook her head. It was time to lay off
the stacks of historical romances she’d been devouring. But have mercy, the man
stood in front of her barely dressed with his shirt held together with three
measly buttons. If he’d finished the remaining ones, maybe she’d have a chance.

“What do you think of the walnut finish?”

She grabbed the conversational lifeline.
“Love it. It’s a perfect match to what the client requested. It’ll work well
with the other finishes yet contrast nicely with the dark bamboo flooring we’ve
already installed.”

Almost normal, almost like
a professional businesswoman.

Definitely not like a hormonal teenager
salivating after the latest heartthrob, which his presence often reverted her
to.

“I’m glad.” The grin he offered struck her
resolve to remain professional. His eyes did that twinkling thing again and
held her gaze captive.

Focus,
Anabelle.
Focus.

She took a quick breath, her eyes veered from
his and landed on a partially finished library table. “This is striking Derek.
I showed my new client photos of your work and they want to commission a
farmhouse table for their kitchen.”

His eyes lit up. “That’s great. I should
pay you commission for all the work you’ve given me.” He winked and she locked
her knees just in case that swooning thing did occur. “This one isn’t finished but
it’s coming along.” He reached over and flicked residual shavings left behind.
She caught a peek of his abs mid stretch.

Holy
cow.

She nodded, murmuring, “Yes, it is.” She
probably looked like a bobble head but it seemed wrong to drool in silence.

“The boards for the table came from an old
Lenore barn. There are more beams out back if you want to see. They’ve got lots
of character. Land development is brisk over there and they called us in to
salvage what we could before demolition.”

“Good call.”

He stood.

Goodbye
beautiful abs.

“Look at the turned legs on this baby.” He
lifted the table as if the thing was weightless. Anabelle was rewarded with
another peek of abs.

Sigh.

He lowered the table and the view
disappeared.

“The details are outstanding, Derek. It’s
not a wonder business is booming.”

Derek bent to scope the levelness of the top,
running his hands over the grain in a reverent manner. Anabelle suffered a bit
of wood envy but caught a glimpse of his pecs in the process.

Sigh.

He stood.

Goodbye.

“Maybe.” He shrugged. “Whatever the reason,
I’m grateful more people are interested in pieces with character rather than
getting mass-produced items.”

Anabelle nodded. “Save us from IKEA.” She
was rewarded with another peek of his yummy abs and licked her lips. Then it
was gone again. He moved to another piece and inspected it.

Peek-a-boo
.

She couldn’t stand it.

“Button up already.”

He jerked to a stop and Anabelle froze.

Had she
said that out loud?

Derek fastened the remaining buttons with narrowed
eyes. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to offend you. It was hot and before you came
by I was hand scraping a beam and—“

“No Derek. Please, stop. I’m the one who’s
sorry.
So sorry.
I don’t know what’s wrong with me. This
day has been…”

“Been what?”

The heat from her cheeks burned, but she
couldn’t let him think he’d been rude. “You’re fine…I mean…it’s fine. Please.”
She grabbed his hands to stop him but instead brushed against his abdomen.

They both stiffened at the contact.

Hot brown eyes seared her while she jerked
her hands back. Unsure, she wiped her damp hands on her dress.

Anabelle licked her lips and Derek followed
the wet trail with his eyes. “I’m sorry. Please, Derek, it’s my fault. I was in
the wrong, I interrupted your schedule and you were kind to let me in. I don’t
know why…”

While she rambled, he finished the last buttons.
He studied her lips while silence roared between them. Derek’s study moved from
her lips to her nose, then to her eyes. She hated his unhurried inspection and how
vulnerable she felt.

Breathing became difficult.

Matt Kearney might have been crooning in
the background but mainly she heard a loud roar in her ears. It was too much
and she needed to escape. “I’ll go and let you get back to what you were
doing.”

She shoved errant strands behind her ear
and turned towards the exit but strong hands grabbed her elbows from behind. The
heat of his palms tugged a response from her nipples as if attached by live wires.
The dress was a painful source of friction. She hoped he wouldn’t notice the
hard pebbles.

“Hold on, Anabelle.” He slid a hand to her
wrist, his fingers brushed against her pulse point and she wondered if he felt
the rapid beat. “Don’t go.” His deep voice rolled over her, made her shiver. His
heat surrounded her while sweat gathered between her breasts. “You’re welcome anytime
Anabelle…always.”

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