The Chocolatier

 

new Chocolater cover

Chocolate has a reputation of healing a broken-heart. Swirl through the pages of this sweet romance of two unlikely people, one a chocolate heir and the other not fond of chocolate, to see if chocolate holds true to its reputation.

Charles Riviera an heir to a chocolate empire was perfectly content as Director of Marketing over Riviera Chocolate until he literally bumps into Charlene Callaway. Would she melt his heart like heat melts chocolate?

Charlene Callaway finds herself far from home after finding her fiancé with another woman on their wedding day. The move had its challenges especially when she goes to work for a Chocolate Company and her new handsome boss.

When Charlene is abducted, her only thoughts were of Charles, The Chocolatier.

Contemporary/Romance/Suspense

Excerpt:  “The Chocolatier”

 Chapter 1

Charles Riviera heir to Riviera Chocolate peered out his office window. The tailored suit trimmed his form. It spoke of wealth even though he acted like any other employee. He turned down the CEO position his Uncle had offered on several occasions to pursue his passion, marketing his family legacy – Chocolate.

He took a sip of his mocha latte as his thoughts turned to the message on his desk. He picked up the short note and read it again. “Baby coming early. In hospital.”

Charles mind turned as spokes in a wheel going swiftly down a hill or more like a motorcycle in a championship race. Even though, he planned for his assistant’s maternity leave, the baby came several weeks early and he hadn’t found someone to replace her. He truly hoped Glenda and the baby would be all right. The years she assisted him brought organization to a new level. She’d made his life easier, but when she informed him that she decided to be a stay at home mom, he wasn’t sure how the office would run without her.

He let the note float back to the desk among the many stacks of paper that needed his attention. He unbuttons his suit jacket and lowered to his leather chair. He checked the immediate schedule. He could maneuver the reports then go to the hospital in a few hours. He flipped through the recent sales report staring blankly at the numbers as they blurred. Who would replace her? Glenda was so organized. Would this be the last morning of organization where everything was at his fingertips? He took another sip of coffee. He had become accustom to the way Glenda arranged his office each night where he could come in, sit down, and start to work. He ran his finger over his brow. Maybe, he was to routine. He held a laugh. She always told him he needed to get married. He blew out a breath. Maybe so, but the right one hadn’t come along yet.

Charlene Callaway stared down at the cobblestone sidewalk. She knew she wasn’t in Oklahoma anymore. Paved streets and high-rises replaced wheat fields and smaller buildings. Vehicle noises replaced the tranquility of her father’s farm. She drew in a breath to ease the flutters that wanted to make their way to her throat. She’d fell in love with this place after visiting her longtime friend, Julie. It was what she desperately needed after seeing her fiancé with another woman on their wedding day. The time she spent here a couple of months ago, brought peace and healing to the brokenness in her heart. A brokenness that she thinks will never be able to thread itself back together. She was glad she listened to her best friend. Jules made a very persuasive argument that convinced her come out here to live.

Never in her wildest dreams did she think she would leave Bartlesville. She assumed her hometown would be where she would marry, raise her children, and grow old with the man she loved. But, now that would never happen. She blinked the tears away that formed in the corner of her eye and felt another crack form in the wall of her heart. The memory of Ken in the arms of another woman on what should have been the most memorable day of any bride’s life swiped across her mind. She bit her lower lip. She needed a distraction. Maybe, coffee could change the emptiness that hung in the deep places of her heart.

The breeze lifted her hair as it blew through the golden strands. She glanced up seeing the white fluffy clouds as they rolled by. The streets were busy with traffic, the sidewalk congested with people and she seemed invisible. Loneliness wanted to be her friend.

The buzzing of the crowd drowned out her thoughts until a certain voice lured her attention. She glanced forward catching a profile. Was it him? She pushed through the crowd. Why would he be here? Even though, Ken betrayed her, she still missed him. She wished it was all a bad dream. That somehow, she would wake up in his arms and know it was some false vision.

Charlene’s heart began to race as she drew closer to the man just ahead. The cluster of people seemed to magnify as she pushed through them. If she didn’t know better, she almost thought they were keeping her away from him. Butterflies fluttered in her stomach. What would she say to him? Would she smile and say hi or would she slap him causing him a smidge of pain that wouldn’t come close to what she was feeling. Her feet came to an abrupt stop as the man turned when a lady approached. It wasn’t him only someone that resembled him. She released a held breath. A few more seconds and she would have made a fool of herself.

The sound of a bell dinging as a door opened alerted her that the barista was just ahead. She pushed through the doors and the aroma made her mouth water. She tucked a stand of blonde hair behind her ear as it wanted to fall in her face. She scanned the over-head menu then ordered an expresso. She might need to rethink her coffee order since she was already feeling restless. She moved to the side so others could order while she waited. She would need to grab a few things from the supermarket if the café was this busy every morning. She took a sip of her coffee and stepped outside.

The warmth of the sun seemed to brighten her day as she strolled back to her apartment. Charlene glanced around hoping to see a glimpse of the man that resembled Ken but he was gone. She held a tear and pushed the thoughts of him from her mind as she dodged passer-by’s. She glanced down only for a second and the next thing she knew her body slammed into someone. Her eyes met an expensive suit as she glanced up apologizing and was thankful her coffee had a lid. No telling what it would’ve cost to have it dry-cleaned. Her eyes traveled up meeting sunglasses. “I’m so sorry. I looked down for only a second.” She apologized again.

“No harm done,” the tall stranger said. “Are you all right?”

Charlene wished she’d paid better attention. “Uh… yeah… I’m fine.” Even though, she couldn’t see his eyes for the light tented glasses, his actions were plainly concerned for her well-being.

The man dipped his head as if to say good day and continued down the sidewalk. Charlene watched as he faded into the crowd. Goosebumps riveted up her arm, she hadn’t felt that since… Ken. What was with her today? She shook her head and started back to her apartment. Charlene’s pace was slow hoping to toss the memory of Ken out of her mind as the pain pulled her heart to the dark images as if it had just happened. A tear wanted to spill onto her cheek but she dabbed it.

A light voice pulled her from the memory and she turned. “Mrs. Tim’s,” Charlene choked out as she saw the elderly woman ambling up the sidewalk.

“Looks like you were in deep thought, dear,” Mrs. Tim’s said.

“Oh, just thinking, that’s all. How are you today?” Charlene could see the pain in her

aged eyes.

“Ah, the ol arthritis is acting up. But, I’m making it.” Mrs. Tim’s stopped in front of her to rest for a moment. “Missy and Gerdy were pecking at each other again. I reckon, I’ll have to feed them separately.”

A smile curled Charlene’s lips. Mrs. Tim’s strolled through the nearby park each day for exercise and always had a story to tell especially about the birds she fed.

“You’ll have to join me sometime?”

“I’d like that,” Charlene replied. It wasn’t her dads’ farm but it would be the closest thing that you could get being in San Francesco.

“Have you found a job yet, dear?”

“No. Not yet.” It wasn’t that she wasn’t trying, since she had put in plenty of applications

“Well, don’t fret. The Almighty knows what he’s doing.” Mrs. Tim’s said.

Charlene hoped so. It had been three weeks since she’d been here and hadn’t found a job yet.

“Would you like some tea, dear?”

“No thank you. I just picked up an expresso,” Charlene said, as she lifted the cup.

“Maybe, I’ll see you in the morning then.”

“Maybe so,” Charlene replied. She held the door open for Mrs. Tim’s as she made her way to unlock her apartment door.Do