Always room for cupcakes, p.1
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       Always Room for Cupcakes, p.1
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         Part #1 of Cupcakes series by Bethany Lopez
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Always Room for Cupcakes


  Always Room for Cupcakes

  Copyright 2015 Bethany Lopez

  Published December 2015

  Amazon Edition

  Photography by K Keeton Designs

  Cover Design by Makeready Designs http://makereadydesigns.com/

  Editing by Red Road Editing / Kristina Circelli

  Ebook Formatting by White Hot Formatting

  Amazon License Notes:

  This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this ebook with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you’re reading this ebook and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please return to your favorite book retailer and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author. All rights reserved.

  All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission. Please don’t participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author’s rights. Purchase only authorized editions.

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

  This ebook is also available in print at most online retailers.

  Table of Contents

  Title Page

  Copyright

  Other Titles

  Dedication

  Prologue

  Chapter One

  Chapter Two

  Chapter Three

  Chapter Four

  Chapter Five

  Chapter Six

  Chapter Seven

  Chapter Eight

  Chapter Nine

  Chapter Ten

  Chapter Eleven

  Chapter Twelve

  Chapter Thirteen

  Chapter Fourteen

  Chapter Fifteen

  Chapter Sixteen

  Chapter Seventeen

  Chapter Eighteen

  Chapter Nineteen

  Chapter Twenty

  Chapter Twenty-One

  Chapter Twenty-Two

  Chapter Twenty-Three

  Chapter Twenty-Four

  Chapter Twenty-Five

  Chapter Twenty-Six

  Chapter Twenty-Seven

  Chapter Twenty-Eight

  Chapter Twenty-Nine

  Chapter Thirty

  Chapter Thirty-One

  Chapter Thirty-Two

  Chapter Thirty-Three

  Epilogue

  Acknowledgements

  About the Author

  Books by Bethany Lopez

  Young Adult:

  Stories about Melissa – series

  Ta Ta for Now! FREE eBook

  xoxoxo

  Ciao

  TTYL

  With Love

  Adios

  Nissa: a contemporary fairy tale

  New Adult:

  Friends & Lovers Trilogy

  Make it Last – FREE eBook

  I Choose You

  Trust in Me

  Indelible

  A Time for Love Series

  8 Weeks

  21 Days

  42 Hours

  15 Minutes

  10 Years

  3 Seconds

  7 Months ~ Releasing March 24, 2016

  Contemporary Romance:

  An Inconvenient Dare (A Dare to Love Kindle World Novella)

  Always Room for Cupcakes - Releasing Feb 2, 2016

  Short Stories:

  Christmas Come Early

  Leap of Faith

  Cookbook:

  Love & Recipes

  Books by Katie and Bethany Lopez

  Katie and the North Star (Children’s)

  I would like to give a shout out, and say "thank you", to Heather Hildenbrand. A smart, savvy writer, businesswoman, and mentor of authors, who I am proud to call a friend. Always giving and inspirational, I'm so happy to have her in my life.

  One day you’re be-bopping along, jamming to the music in your head while wondering if your thighs can handle grabbing a cupcake on the way home. The next thing you know your entire world crashes and burns.

  I used to wake up at night in a sweat, crying because I’d dreamt that my husband was cheating on me, or that he hated me and resented my kids. He’d always hold me close and tell me it was all just a dream, that he loved me and our family and that he’d never let me go.

  He was a fucking liar.

  Instead of being the sweet, affable, hard-working man he projected to me and the outside world, he was actually a cheating, vagina-licking asshole, who only cared about getting off and being free of responsibility.

  I’d gone from sweet and caring housewife to bitter, hard-as-nails single mom, who worked her ass off to give her kids a quarter of the life they were used to. Putting my photography skills to use, I’d gone to work for a scumbag PI. He used me to dig up dirt on his clients.

  I was happy to do it.

  I was doing a public service for women like me who thought the men in their lives could actually be trusted, and I really enjoyed my job.

  I’d learned quickly that men suck, my children are my saving grace, and there is always room for cupcakes.

  “Get it in focus this time, Lila … none of that grainy shit you sent me last week. I need to actually see what’s going down, or in this case, what’s entering what.”

  “Ugh, thanks for that mental image, Moose,” I said with a grimace into my cell. “It’s bad enough I have to see that shit through my lens, I don’t need you constantly talking about it.”

  “Quit your bitchin’ and get me some good shots. This one’s a high roller.”

  “Got it, boss,” I replied, and pressed end on the call.

  My boss may be a creepy, low-life PI, but he’d taken a chance on me when my douchebag ex left me high and dry. So even though I regularly gave him shit, he knew I’d do anything for him.

  Especially if that meant a more lucrative paycheck.

  That’s why I was currently scrunched down in my caravan outside a seedy hotel, a half-eaten sandwich on my lap and my camera at the ready.

  Moose got the clients, then hired me to get the goods. This usually involved taking pictures of men, and women, having affairs, but sometimes it was as easy as following someone and snapping a shot of them being somewhere other than where they were supposed to be.

  Being a wronged woman myself, I didn’t feel guilty about catching liars and cheaters in the act. I just wish I’d had an inkling that there were problems in my own marriage, and had thought to hire someone like Moose and me to get evidence against The Douche. Instead, I’d been clueless.

  I thought my twelve-year marriage was perfect. I was a doting housewife, who’d loved raising our kids, keeping the house spic and span and having a hot meal ready for our family dinners every night. My husband made good money, we had a nice house, and we lived in a neighborhood where the kids could play outside and we didn’t have to worry.

  Then, one day he was supposed to be out with his buddies watching the game at a local bar, and Elena, one of our twins, had a sharp pain in her stomach that wouldn’t quit. I got scared and tried to call him, but he didn’t answer. Since our town was small enough that I could drive around it in fifteen minutes, I packed the kids in the car and went to the bar.

  Imagine my surprise when neither he nor his buddies were there. Figuring I got the place wrong, I activated the phone finder app I’d installed on all of our phones and ended up in the parking lot behind Starbucks.
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  Seeing some movement in his car, I told the kids I’d be right back and jogged over to the vehicle, which, although it didn’t register at the time, had foggy windows.

  Filled with worry over our daughter, I didn’t think, I just acted, and yanked the car door open. That’s when I saw Slutty Shirley Finkle, legs spread wide, bare cunt lifted in the air, with my husband’s face buried nose deep inside.

  “You mother-fucking son of a whore!”

  Yup, I’m pretty sure those were the exact words I’d yelled in the Starbucks parking lot before snapping a picture with my phone and hightailing it out of there to take my kids to the hospital.

  Now my kids and I lived in a shitty three-bedroom apartment in The Heights. I worked for Moose, and picked up shifts at my best friend Amy May’s bakery whenever I could. They saw their dad most weekends, while I avoided him at all costs.

  He’d humiliated me, broken my trust, and made me feel like an idiot for having such blind faith in him all of those years. I hated everything about him. His blond wavy hair, his chiseled jaw, and the stupid way he looked in a perfectly tailored suit. I wanted no reminder of the life we had together, except for our beautiful children, of course, which was why I’d left all of our material possessions behind with him and the house we’d once shared.

  And as I watched a slick-looking middle aged man guide a heavily breasted, much younger woman into the seedy motel, I thought, this one’s for the sisterhood. I pumped my fist as I watched them walk back out of the office and down a few doors, then got ready to strike.

  First floor … nice.

  At least this time I wouldn’t have to climb anything.

  When I’d first started out, about ten months ago, I’d been woefully out of shape. After being chased down the street by a heavyset woman wearing only a teddy and almost getting tackled, I’d decided it would be in my best interest to join a gym and take up running.

  It made all the difference. Sometime I had to get creative, but, knock on wood, I always got the shot … even if it was sometimes grainy.

  Taking pictures of people in the act is actually easier than you might think. People are stupid. Especially the ones who think they’re untouchable, they’ll never get caught, and that their shit don’t stink.

  I eased out of the van, looking around the mostly empty parking lot as I walked casually toward the door they’d entered. I even started whistling, just to make myself more conspicuous.

  Hiding in plain sight actually worked.

  “Thanks for leaving the curtains cracked,” I murmured as I slid up to the window, camera up and ready, and peeked inside.

  Unfortunately for me, but fortunately for my pocketbook, they’d left the lights blaring and must have done some heavy petting in the car, because they were already going at it.

  “Sixty-nine … classic.”

  I snapped quickly, making sure their faces were in frame as I captured each lick, suck, slobber, and moan.

  “Gross,” I grumbled as I hurried back to my car.

  One of the downsides of the job was that it sometimes took hours to get the sordid visions out of my head. On occasions like these, there was one thing that helped ease my pain.

  I needed a cupcake.

  “You’re a genius,” I moaned as the chocolaty goodness hit my tongue.

  Amy May was on the other side of the counter pouring me a steaming cup of coffee as I made love to one of her cupcakes from a cherry-red stool on the other side.

  Amy May was a Midwestern girl who’d married her high school sweetheart, Jason, and traveled with him when he joined the military. She’d always had a love of sweets, and had picked the brains of bakers all over the world. Amy May had fused everything she loved into one kick-ass idea and opened her bakery on Main Street. Even if she didn’t own the only bakery in town, her diner-inspired motif coupled with her assortment of French, Italian, and Polish pastries, and sinfully delicious cupcakes, would have made her the town treasure she is.

  “Rough morning?”

  “You have no idea,” I said with an eye roll, popping the last bit of cake in my mouth. “I’ll spare you the gory details.”

  “What else you got on tap today?” she asked, pulling her shoulder-length, dirty-blonde hair back into a small tail at the nape of her neck.

  “Headed to the library to shoot these pics over to Moose, then see if I can get a line on this chick who’s been supposedly working for Clarice’s Nail Salon. The husband says no money ever comes in … Should be pretty low-key.”

  “Kids with you?”

  “Yeah. They don’t go to The Douche’s until Friday this week.”

  “You wanna come over for dinner?”

  “Nah, it’s burger night at Casa Horton, but I’ll take a rain check.”

  “Sounds good, babe, see you tomorrow.”

  “Yeah,” I replied, standing up and picking up my trash. I’d tried to pay my bill when Amy May’s had first opened, only to be told I got the best friend discount for life.

  It’s a good thing I’d found exercise, or my ass would be the size of a house. As it is, it’s only about the size of a singlewide.

  “Thanks, girl.”

  Amy May gave me a little wave, then blew me a kiss and I was gone.

  Rather than drive twenty minutes to my place in The Heights, I usually worked out of the Greenswood Public Library. It was only a couple blocks from Amy May’s and was a nice quiet place to do what I needed to do.

  “Hey, Clare,” I called, keeping my voice loud enough for her to hear the greeting, but low enough so she wouldn’t shush me.

  Clare had been working the desk at the library since the first time I’d stepped foot in it to check out Shel Silverstein’s Where the Sidewalk Ends. I’d been eight and could have sworn Clare was a hundred.

  She still looked exactly the same.

  I wandered through the aisles, back to the workstation I’d claimed as my own, and logged in. After sending Moose the pictures, I checked my email, then signed off.

  Moose’s “office” was actually his screened-in back porch, so I tried to keep all of our communication over the phone and through email, only going to his place if it was absolutely necessary. Not to say that I didn’t feel safe around my boss or anything; he was just a little creepy, so I felt better with things this way.

  Moose shot me a text saying he got the photos and that he’d just driven by the nail salon and saw our next perp’s car.

  Now, I’m not a cop, and the clients aren’t always correct in their accusations, but still, I had to call the people we were spying on something, so I called them perps. I sure as shit wasn’t going to remember all of their names so perp was just easier. Plus, I thought it made my job sound cooler, like I was actually doing something that made a difference.

  Anyway, after reading the text, I turned on my heel and headed down the street toward Clarice’s, wishing I’d worn sneakers instead of my boots today. I’d gone for style rather than comfort, which was never the smart choice. The boots paired with my skinny jeans and long pullover sweater looked much better than sneakers.

  “Hey, Lila,” Clarice said in greeting when I walked inside.

  “What’s up, Clarice?”

  “Same shit different day.”

  “I hear that,” I replied. See, although my town was small, I’d managed to keep a lid on my side job. The town loved to talk, and with the way I’d caught my husband and Slutty Shirley Finkle, promptly left my cushy home in The Woods for a shitty apartment in The Heights, then started working for my best friend, they had plenty to talk about when the subject of me came up.

  This was good for me, and for Moose, because it meant people never suspected when I was around, that there was a possibility I was looking into them. I didn’t know how long that shit would last, but I’d been lucky so far … No one really suspects a single mother of twins who drives a minivan and has an ongoing love affair with cupcakes to be sneaking around and capturing their bad deeds on camera.

 
I looked around the salon, and, not seeing the perp, I walked up to Clarice and whispered, “Can I use your bathroom? Sorry to bust in, since I don’t have an appointment, but I think I just started my period.”

  “Yeah, girl, of course.”

  “Thanks,” I said sheepishly, then pushed through the curtain into the back room.

  I tiptoed quietly, pulling my camera out of my oversized Coach purse, one of the few things left over from my previous life. Keeping my eyes peeled and my ears open, I searched the back.

  A sniffling sound had me turning right. I peeked around the corner just in time to see my perp bending over a table, getting ready to snort the three lines of coke she had cut out.

  I’d spent an entire day trying out different cameras until I’d finally found one that didn’t make a sound when a picture was taken and still came out with quality images. That meant I could lift my camera, get my shot, and be gone without the cokehead even realizing I’d been there.

  After I got a couple shots, I decided it was best to sneak out the back, rather than show my face in the storefront again, I slowly pushed the back door open and eased out.

  “Who the fuck are you?”

  I whipped my head up as I was shoving the camera back in my purse, and saw a strange man standing by a rehabbed old Camaro, smoking a cigarette.

  “Uh … a friend of Clarice’s. I was just using the bathroom,” I managed, not sure who the guy was, or what my next move should be.

  “Yeah?” he asked, throwing his cigarette to the ground and taking a step toward me. “You need a camera to do that?”

  Shit.

  Before he could make another move, I secured my bag on my shoulder, turned and took off like a shot.

  I hit Main Street, cursing myself for wearing the damn boots when the sound of a motorcycle pulling up along side of me caused me to turn my head.

  My first thought was, where the hell did the bike come from?

 
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