Read Love on the Rocks (with Salt) Online

Authors: Charlene Ross

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Love on the Rocks (with Salt)

BOOK: Love on the Rocks (with Salt)
9.77Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

on the

(with Salt)


a novella







Published by Velvet Morning Press

Distributed by Smashwords


Copyright © 2016 by Charlene Ross


All rights reserved. No part of this book may
be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means,
electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by
any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in
writing from the author, except for the inclusion of brief
quotations in a review.


This is a work of fiction. Names, characters,
businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of
the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any
resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is
purely coincidental.



Cover design by Ellen Meyer and Vicki

This book is available in print at online



For Lisa

You are simply, the best


of Contents




Chapter 1

Fall 2007

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Fall 2008

Chapter 5


Chapter 6


Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

The Perfect


About the


Summer 2006


Chapter 1

I’m getting married,” Andy says
as I pull my sundress over my head. So that was it. The wall he put
up. The melancholy look in his eyes even when he was

I swallow the lump in my throat.

Two years. After she finishes
grad school. Everything is reserved; down payments made. We’re
moving in together in June.”

So, I was the last fling before
real life? Or are you a serial cheater?”

No. I don’t know. I’ve never
cheated before.”

I roll my eyes. I hate men. All of
them. I knew Andy was a fling. The fact that he lives in San
Francisco and I live in Los Angeles was enough to ensure that. I
mean, what are the odds of meeting your soulmate at Club Med? I
didn’t expect to find true love, but I don’t do casual. OK, maybe
this was a bit casual, but he’s only the second guy I’ve ever slept
with. I’ve never had a one night stand. It took three nights and
too many margaritas for Andy to convince me to sleep with him.
Well, not convince exactly, I was more than willing. We’ve been
inseparable since we met the first night here. I became that stupid
girl who ditches her friends. I’ve barely seen Amanda and Alison
this past week.

I’d expected an “I’ll call you”
that never happened. I know romances like this are intense, but not
real. But still. I think I was falling in love with him. He just
got his MBA, and I’m starting an amazing new job designing wedding
dresses. We have our whole lives ahead of us. I’d started to
daydream that those lives would be together. Yesterday as he was
rubbing sunscreen on my back I had a vision of us in a backyard by
the pool, kids splashing.

I turn and face him. “Why
couldn’t you have told me before?” I ask, my voice breaking.

He wipes the tear that falls from my eye
before I can stop it.

Because I knew you weren’t that
kind of girl. At first I thought we could just hang out and be
friends, but I’d never felt such a pull toward anyone before. I
couldn’t keep away.”

That has got to be the lamest thing I’ve ever
heard. I take his hand away from my face and start looking around
the room for my sandals.

So why tell me now? Today was
goodbye anyway.”

He shoves his hands in his pockets
and starts to rock back and forth on his heels. “This is more than
a fling for me. I’m starting to fall in love with you.”

Don’t say that.”

It’s true. I don’t want to say

But you’re not going to break up
with her?”

He sighs and sits back down on the bed.

I’m nobody’s whore,” I say
grabbing my purse and walking out the door.

The maid looks at me with my unbrushed hair
and last night’s make-up and smirks; a witness to my walk of shame.
If she only knew.

Fall 2007
Chapter 2

I’ve seen
The Devil Wears Prada
least a thousand times. OK. That’s an exaggeration. Obviously. But
one hundred for sure. No lie. It’s my go-to guilty pleasure when
I’m folding laundry, toying with designs, giving myself an
extremely bad pedicure.

It’s hard not to draw comparisons
between Miranda Priestly and my boss, Gabriella (one name, like
Madonna). I mean, Gabriella isn’t a steak-eating, fur coat-wearing,
dismissive, conniving fashion editor. She’s just a credit-stealing

Gabriella is a former runway model
who married a big-time financial analyst and became the designer
and owner of Gowns by Gabriella, a custom wedding dress boutique on
Rodeo Drive. The only problem is that she couldn’t design her way
into an elementary school art contest. She’s got great ideas and
can visualize things. And she knows how to ask the right questions
to get into the brides’ heads and get them to express exactly what
they want even if they come in with only a loose idea. She just
can’t draw for shit.

The amazing thing is, and
where I give Gabriella credit, she’s able to convince these women
the dresses. Most of them anyway. And the ones who do figure it out
(it’s not hard) pretend not to know. Funny how people only see what
they want to see. It wouldn’t be difficult to pull the curtain and
see Kim and me toiling away behind it. But why spoil the fairy

The craziest thing is that
we actually meet all our brides. Gabriella has an initial meeting
and will call Kim or me in to “take notes” while the bride
describes her perfect dress and maybe shows some pictures from a
bridal magazine (or more likely
). Then we’ll take our pad
over to Gabriella, and she’ll mutter in French while making a few
pencil marks on the page and
! She’ll flip the sketch pad
around, and like magic, Kim or I have disappeared. All they see is
Gabriella and a rough design of the dress of their

Laney, dahling, we have a client
meeting in ten minutes.”

Yes, Gabriella,” I say, perfectly
aware of the time.

Don’t forget your sketch pad. And
remember, sit quietly and take notes. Let me do all the talking,”
she reminds me before disappearing into her office.

Of course,” I sing-song, rolling
my eyes behind her back. “I’ve worked here over a year and have
never been late nor have I ever forgotten my sketch pad,” I
complain to Kim once our boss is out of earshot.

It must be because she reminds us
every single time, not because we know what to do,” Kim

I smile and think again how I would have never
lasted this long here without her.

The new bride is ushered into
Gabriella’s plush office promptly at eleven. Gabriella gives the
client and her mother a minute to take in the splendor of her
shrine. Eleven-by-seventeen photographs of Gabriella on the catwalk
cover one wall. Another wall has professional photography of
Gabriella’s best designs. And by “Gabriella’s best designs,” I mean
mine and Kim’s.

,” Gabriella greets the bride
and her mother to remind them of her Frenchness. Well,

Je suis
. This is my assistant, Laney.
She’ll be taking notes during our meeting.”

By taking notes of course she
means sketching the dress that my faux French boss will be taking
credit for, but why get bogged down in details?

Nice to meet you,” I say through
smiling teeth as I extend my hand.

Nice to meet you too. I’m Sarah,
and this is my mom, JoAnne.”

We take our seats in the sitting
area. Sarah and JoAnne on the loveseat, Gabriella and I each on a
chair opposite them.

Can I offer you ladies something
to drink? Coffee, champagne, water?” Gabriella asks motioning to
the bar cart beside her.

I still haven’t gotten over the
absurdity of drinking champagne before noon on a weekday, but Sarah
and JoAnne take it in stride. Of course they do. They’re about to
spend twenty-five thousand dollars on a dress. They probably drink
champagne before noon on a weekday all the time.

BOOK: Love on the Rocks (with Salt)
9.77Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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