Be Mine… Or Else

By: Alexa King


Chapter One





Dove





"Ouch!" I squeak as I poke myself in the eye. I drop the contact and let out a deep sigh.

"What are you doing?"

I glance over at Tia with my one good eye. She’s leaning against the bathroom door frame, looking at me with curiosity. Her jet-black hair is in messy tangles, and she’s still in her pajamas.

"Trying to put these stupid contacts in," I tell her and grunt. Turning around, I blink a few times and look into the sink for the contact I dropped. I don’t see it anywhere and frustration gnaws at me.

"Is this about Mr. Venti?" she asks.

My cheeks flame at the thought of him. I’d given him the nickname before I found out who he was. Every time I saw him he was ordering a venti coffee, so it stuck. His real name is Beau, which sounds like a Nicholas Sparks hero, and he’s got the face to match.

I meet her eyes in the mirror. She is studying me with a smile on her face. Normally she’s got on heavy eye makeup with dark lipstick to match her dark eyes. She’s covered in tattoos, but somehow she still looks like the girl next door. She’s got a baby face that sees everything, including right through me.

Clearing my throat, I try to focus on the task at hand and ignore the fact that Tia might be able to read my mind. I've had these contacts for months, but every time I try to use them I give up. I can't ever get them in and once I do they drive me crazy.

She’s right though. He is the reason. I’m trying not to look so young because I know Beau has to be at least ten years older than me.

"Dove." Tia says my name softly. "If he's been flirting with you already you don't need to change anything."

I bite my lip. I thought he'd been flirting with me. It's been going on for weeks but he never takes it any further. He hasn’t asked me on a date or even for my phone number. Maybe I’m reading it wrong and he’s just being nice. I'm terrible at flirting and knowing when a guy likes me.

It started off with smiles that turned into hellos. Soon we were small-talking and introducing ourselves to one another. Then last week he reached out and brushed my hair back away from my eyes, like it was the most natural thing on the planet. My heart stopped for a moment and I swear I can still feel the light brush of his fingers on my skin even a week later.

He’s ridiculously handsome and probably way out of my league. I work at a florist shop and he’s a lawyer. He dresses like he’s loaded and I’m sure he is. Everything about him is polished and put together. The one thing that strikes me as odd is that I’ve never seen a man so big in a suit before. He’s the size of a football player, but never once did I feel intimidated. When he looked at me with his soft brown eyes, with little lines at the corners, I felt so warm and happy.

I shake my head and come back to reality. We’re on two different playing fields, and I need to let go of the fantasy of him.

"You like this dress?" I ask her, turning so she can see it. “It's new.” It's a simple yellow sundress. It hugs tight on the top and flares out at my waist. I can wear pretty much whatever I want at the shop and I have a thing for dresses and bright colors. Ninety percent of my wardrobe consists of dresses identical to this, but I love them.

"It's adorable."

I huff at her response, picking up my glasses from beside the sink and sliding them on. "I didn't want to be adorable. I wanted to be sexy."

"You're wearing Converses," she laughs in response.

I look down at my shoes. I always wear shoes like these, or slip-ons. Especially to work. Sometimes I have to do a few deliveries and they work best for that. Plus, they’re comfy.

I can tell Tia is fighting a smile. "I'm sorry, Dove, but you,"—she shrugs slightly—"are never going to be able to fight the adorable thing." She reaches out and tugs on one of my big blonde curls. "Yellow makes your eyes pop."

"Like you can see them behind my giant glasses.”

"No missing those baby blues." She laughs and heads toward the kitchen for coffee.

I used to bring a travel mug of coffee to work so I didn’t waste extra money at the coffee shop. But that all changed the day I forgot it and popped into the coffee shop next door and ran into Beau. Now I'm there every morning hoping to run into him.

I look in the mirror, giving myself a once-over. I put on light makeup and have my blonde locks down instead of my usual ponytail. Grabbing my strawberry lip gloss, I swipe on a quick coat before flipping off the light and heading for the living room.

Our place isn't big, but it's cute. There are two small bedrooms and a shared bathroom. The kitchen and living room are tiny, but it's not bad for the two of us. I jumped on the place when I found an ad in the paper for someone looking for a roommate. I'd just graduated high school and for some reason I didn't have the drive to go to college. Even with my good grades I really didn't know what I wanted to do. My parents didn't take it well, but I have to live my life.

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