ALL FOR YOU | LAUREL HEIGHTS
Anna Godwin likes it spicy.
At least she used to. Somewhere between law school and real life, she lost her sparkle. Now she wears boring business suits to boring dates in her boring life.
The last time Anna remembers feeling that sizzle was with the one man who’s all cayenne and passion: Max Corazao, the one who got away.She intends to do whatever she can to be that woman again—with his (unknowing) help…
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All for You — Chapter One
Anna Godwin stared at the man sitting across the restaurant table from her. There was something about her date that wasn’t quite right.
Only there was nothing really wrong, either. Kevin was pleasant in every way: attractive enough and presentable. He had a decent job, and he showed her the right amount of interest for a first date. She should have been into him, but she’d been fighting a yawn since she’d arrived.
He was like white bread.
Not that white bread was bad. It was tasty in the moment. Familiar, if innocuous.
Anna picked at her food. The thing was, she wasn’t a white bread kind of woman. She liked exotic, rich bread that was a little salty, a little sweet.
What bothered her was that Megan, her colleague and friend, thought she was plain enough to match Kevin. When had that happened?
To be fair to Megan, Anna had been working a lot lately.
Fine—to be honest, she’d been working hard for the past several years. First law school, and now as legal counsel at Mackenzie Wright, a venture capital firm in the city.
She’d always thought that she wanted to work in malpractice, but right before the end of law school her brother-in-law had told her about this firm. Mackenzie Wright funded a lot of Internet ventures, but the partners were also angel investors, helping small business dreams get off the ground.
She liked that. She liked knowing her work helped people.
She especially liked the security of her paycheck. Money had been tight growing up, with her sister Freya supporting her after their parents’ death. Now she was paid well, and she appreciated every dime of it.
But had she been working so hard that her job defined her? Was her life that out of balance?
Yes. The answer was swift and unequivocal. Not even she could deny it. And it had been for a long time.
It was why she and Max had broken up.
Her heart skipped a beat, just like it always did when she thought of Max Corazao. They’d stopped seeing each other her first year in law school by mutual consent, because their schedules had been at odds. He’d moved to the Mission, all the way across town. With his hours as a chef and hers in law school, it’d been impossible. When he’d suggested it, she’d agreed. It made sense. She needed to work hard to set the foundation for her life.
It didn’t mean that sometimes she didn’t wonder what if…
Max hadn’t been white bread. Max had been… Well—heaven.
Kevin was no Max. No one would ever be like Max.
She sighed and pushed the plate away from her. “This isn’t going to work, Kevin.”
“What?” Her date frowned at the plate. “Is something wrong?”
“I don’t like white bread.”
“I can ask for a different type of bread.” He looked up in search of the waitress. “I don’t know what they have, but—”
“No.” She tossed her napkin on the table and reached for her purse. “It’s nice of you to try, but bread is bread. You can disguise it with cinnamon and sugar, or spread jalapeño jam all over it, but in the end, it doesn’t change the taste. It’s bland to my tastebuds.”
Brow furrowed, Kevin shook his head. “If you don’t like the bread, I can order you something else.”
“I like the bread,” she protested, pushing her chair back and standing. “It’s just not the kind I want to eat for the rest of my life. I’m sure you understand.”
“No, I don’t.”
“You’re a nice man. You deserve someone who’s going to appreciate that.” She smiled apologetically at him and held out her hand. “It’s been real.”
He shook his head dazedly. “I—”
Since he didn’t take her hand, she patted his shoulder. “Trust me. It’s better this way.”
Before he could finish his thought, she strode out the restaurant. She felt his eyes on her, tracking her all the way out the door, and winced with guilt. But it was better this way than to chance him growing attached to her.
The second she was outside she felt like she could breathe again. She’d have to help Megan find him a better candidate. He was a nice guy. He deserved a nice woman. It just wasn’t her.
Tapping her foot as the valet brought her car around, she noticed her black pumps. She froze and stared at them, and then at her black suit.
In their office, it wasn’t necessary to dress formally. Megan always kidded her about her undertaker fashion, but Anna found it helped command respect, which didn’t come easily when you looked so young.
Except—holy crap—she was turning into white bread herself. No wonder Megan set her up with Kevin.
That wasn’t going to happen. She slipped off her shoes as the valet pulled her car around. He held out the keys to her cute little Fiat.
“Thanks.” She took them with a brilliant smile and traded them for her shoes.
The guy gaped in confusion at the black heels. “Um—”
“For your girlfriend.” She took money out of her purse and stuck it in the right shoe. “For you.”
She got into her car, a definite upgrade from the piece of crap she drove all through college and law school, took off her coat, and chucked it in the back. Maybe forever.
Her thoughts churned as she drove home to her apartment in Laurel Heights. Freya’s apartment, before she’d married Greg and they’d moved into a bigger place to accommodate their growing family.
Obviously she lost herself somewhere along the way. When she knew Max, what she wanted was security. Based on how hard Anna witnessed her sister working to support her, she didn’t think it was illogical.
But now that she had security, maybe she needed more. Security was great, but it didn’t mean she had to be stodgy. She wasn’t a naturally dull person—at least she didn’t used to be. Hell—she’d studied art for her undergraduate degree. Her sister was a graphic designer. Being a bohemian was in her genes.
What she needed to do was balance the practical with the wild. She needed security, yes, but she also needed adventure, spice, and spontaneity.
She’d had all of that with Max.
What had she been thinking, letting him get away? No, she hadn’t just let him get away—she’d pushed him away.
She shook her head in disgust as she parked on her block. Hindsight was a bitch.