If i told you, p.1

If I Told You, page 1

 

If I Told You
 


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If I Told You


  Copyright © 2016 Jennifer Domenico

  All rights reserved.

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

  Formatting by Elaine York/Allusion Graphics, LLC/Publishing & Book Formatting

  Chapter 1 Brooklyn

  Chapter 2 Brooklyn

  Chapter 3 Flynn

  Chapter 4 Brooklyn

  Chapter 5 Flynn

  Chapter 6 Brooklyn

  Chapter 7 Flynn

  Chapter 8 Brooklyn

  Chapter 9 Flynn

  Chapter 10 Brooklyn

  Chapter 11 Flynn

  Chapter 12 Brooklyn

  Chapter 13 Flynn

  Chapter 14 Brooklyn

  Chapter 15 Flynn

  Chapter 16 Brooklyn

  Chapter 17 Flynn

  Chapter 18 Brooklyn

  Chapter 19 Flynn

  Chapter 20 Brooklyn

  Chapter 21 Flynn

  Chapter 22 Brooklyn

  Chapter 23 Flynn

  Chapter 24 Brooklyn

  Chapter 25 Flynn

  Chapter 26 Brooklyn

  Chapter 27 Flynn

  Chapter 28 Brooklyn

  Chapter 29 Flynn

  Chapter 30 Brooklyn

  Chapter 31 Flynn

  Chapter 32 Brooklyn

  Chapter 33 Flynn

  Chapter 34 Brooklyn

  Chapter 35 Flynn

  Chapter 36 Brooklyn

  Chapter 37 Flynn

  Chapter 38 Brooklyn

  Chapter 39 Flynn

  Chapter 40 Brooklyn

  Chapter 41 Flynn

  Chapter 42 Brooklyn

  Epilogue

  About the Author

  Sitting at my favorite table, I wait for Flynn to come out front and join me. Melissa, the hostess, lingers between the kitchen and the front door, keeping an eye out for customers. After checking that it’s all clear, she plops down in the seat beside me.

  “Hey, girl,” she says, grabbing a breadstick from the basket. “Have you seen Flynn yet?”

  “Nope. What’s up?”

  “Don’t know,” she says, eyeing the door to the kitchen. “He’s worked up about something.”

  “I figured. He texted me and said to get my ass down here. So here I am.”

  “Hmm. I gotta know. It’s killing me.”

  Laughing softly, I bite into a breadstick and shrug, just as Flynn bursts through the kitchen doors. He walks with lightening speed toward us, so fast Melissa doesn’t have time to get back to her station. For once, Flynn doesn’t seem to notice.

  Sliding in the chair on the other side of me, he takes my hand in his, grinning. “Guess what?”

  “Um. What?”

  “Guess.”

  “You found a new species of truffle? The price of wine dropped? The olive oil shipment came in?”

  Flynn laughs. “All good guesses, but no.” He hands me a piece of paper. “Read this shit.”

  Glancing down at the paper, I read slowly, then read it again. I look up with wide eyes. “No shit?”

  “Can you fucking believe it?” Flynn jumps up from the table. “I’m in shock.”

  “What is it?” Melissa asks.

  Flynn nods. “Tell her.”

  Looking back at the paper, I read aloud. “Renowned food critic, Rhys Camden, will visit your restaurant some time in the month of April. You will be alerted to his upcoming visit exactly three days prior. Please make the necessary arrangements to accommodate Mr. Camden. Regards, Felicity Grant, Secretary to Mr. Camden.” I look up. “This is big time, Flynn.”

  “It’s more than big time,” he says. “This is it. A positive vote from him and I’ll be booked up every night for years.”

  “Why?” Melissa asks innocently. “Is he special?”

  “He’s more than special,” Flynn explains, sitting again. “He’s the only person whose review can shut a place down or make it the hottest seat in town. Four years ago, he went to Remy’s, that Jamaican fusion place in Queens.”

  I tap his arm. “I remember that. After his review, you couldn’t get a seat there. They had to move to a bigger space, and the waitlist is still months out.”

  “Wow,” Melissa says.

  “Yeah, and there was this other place, Juliet’s I think it was called,” Flynn continues. “It was a pretty popular place, but he went and they had a bad night. The whole meal was a disaster, and the chef ended up screaming and crying in the back room. Two months later, poof!” He makes an explosion gesture with his hands. “Gone.”

  “That sucks,” Melissa says.

  “It does, but if you can’t handle a food critic, then you can’t be in this business. Not in New York anyway.”

  Squeezing his hand, I smile. “True story. This is exciting, Flynn. I know you’re gonna nail it.”

  “Thanks. I’ve been waiting two years for Rhys to notice me.”

  “How did he?” Melissa asks.

  “No idea. Don’t care. I’m just glad he did.” He grins, biting into a breadstick. “Oh, and by the way, I got the call an hour ago. He’s coming Friday.”

  “This Friday?” I ask.

  “Yep.”

  “That was fast.”

  “Not really,” Flynn responds. “I had the letter for two weeks, I guess. I was behind opening my mail.”

  “Thank goodness you got to it,” Melissa adds.

  “Definitely.”

  Nodding, I nudge his arm. “What are you gonna make?”

  “I’m still designing the menu.”

  The front door opens and a couple walks in, so Melissa jumps up to take care of them.

  “Will you come Thursday and sample what I come up with?” he asks.

  “Of course. You know I’ll be here.” I read the letter once more. “Can I come on Friday and just take a peek at him? I want to see him in real life.”

  Flynn tilts his head, narrowing his eyes. “Why is that?”

  “Cuz he’s hot.”

  Laughing, he shakes his head. “I knew you were gonna say that.”

  “Well he is!”

  “You can come, but be warned. I hear he’s a total dick. No sense of humor and not friendly at all.”

  “I didn’t say I was planning to talk to him. I just want to look at him.”

  “Fair enough. Maybe he’ll like the food, and you can take a picture of us together.”

  “He’ll love it.” I lean over and kiss Flynn’s cheek. “Your food is amazing.”

  “You’re just saying that because you’re my best friend.”

  “No, I’m saying it because it’s the truth. I’m so happy someone with the power to catapult you to the stratosphere is going to taste your food.”

  “No pressure.”

  “You can handle it.” I take his hand, gazing into his sweet blue eyes. “I believe in you.”

  He kisses my hand. “Thanks, Brooks. I wouldn’t know what to do without you.”

  “You’ll never have to worry about that.”

  Glancing behind him, he says, “I better get back in the kitchen.”

  “Okay. I’m gonna head out. I’m working on a new routine for Saturday.”

  “Is it going to be as grueling as the others?”

  “That’s what people pay me for.”

  “You’re right.” We stand up, and Flynn pulls me close into an embrace. “I’ll see you tonight unless you’re already asleep.”

  “Probably will be.”

  He laughs. “Night, sweetie.”

  “Night.” I kiss his cheek, then grab my coat. Stopping at the hostess stand, I say goodbye to Melissa.
<
br />   “You two are so cute together,” she muses. “You’ve never dated?”

  “Nope. Always just friends.”

  “I don’t get it.” She rests her chin on her hand. “Flynn is perfection. How do you not see it?”

  “I do, I just don’t feel that way about him.” I glance back as he talks to several of his servers and fusses over the table settings. To say Flynn is attractive is an understatement. His towering six-foot-two height, lean, muscular build, wavy brown hair that frames sparkling blue eyes, and those damn tattoos, all of it adds up to one impressive human being. That doesn’t change anything though. I shift my eyes back to Melissa. “We’ve always just been good friends. Nothing else.”

  “That’s impressive. You must be the only woman in New York that doesn’t want to be his girlfriend.”

  I laugh. “Probably. Flynn isn’t easy to be with though. He’s demanding, as you know from working with him. He’s very picky and finding the right woman won’t be easy.”

  “I wouldn’t mind auditioning.” She leans on the counter. “He doesn’t even look twice at me. I’m probably too young.”

  “More than likely, you’re just too employed by him. He’s strict about that.”

  “I’ve heard.” She fluffs her curly, black hair. “Do you think he likes brown girls?”

  “He likes all women. He’s an equal opportunity kind of guy.”

  Melissa laughs. “So you’re saying there’s a chance.”

  I shake my head and wrap my scarf around my neck. “You never know, Mel. Have a good night.”

  “You too, Brooklyn. See you soon.”

  I walk outside where I’m assaulted by cold air. I’m dying for Spring. Heading down the sidewalk, I peek inside the restaurants as I pass, admiring the beautiful people that fill them. Groups of friends laugh together, couples lean in close, while others sit silently across from each other. There’s always a story in New York.

  A few blocks down, I turn the corner to our apartment. When I reach the building, I trudge up the stairs and let myself in using my access code. Inside, I hit the elevator button and wait the few minutes before it arrives. The doors open and Chris and Gene, my across-the-hall neighbors, step out.

  “Hey, gorgeous,” Chris says, kissing my cheek.

  “Hey, guys. Going out?”

  Gene rolls his eyes. “He’s dragging me out for dinner.”

  I smile. “Is that a burden for you?”

  “It’s cold out there.”

  “That’s true.” I pat his arm. “Just cuddle close. You’ll be alright.”

  “That’s what I said,” Chris says. “I told him I’d keep him extra warm tonight.”

  “Always bribing me with sex,” Gene says, allowing a grin to sneak onto his lips. “I mean, it works, but still.”

  I just laugh. “Have fun.”

  “Where’s that smoking hot roommate of yours?” Chris asks.

  “At the restaurant where he always is.”

  He fans himself. “Was hoping for a glance of all that sexy manliness.”

  Gene shoves his husband. “You’re giving me a complex.”

  “Sorry, sweetie, but you know he’s the filling in our sandwich.” He winks at me. “If he’d say yes, we’d do very bad things to him.”

  “You guys,” I reply, shaking my head. “That’s not gonna happen. He’s one hundred percent into women only.”

  “A guy can dream,” Chris says, laughing.

  “That’s true. Have a good night, guys.”

  “Bye.”

  They wave as I step onto the elevator. Even Chris and Gene want a slice of Flynn. I’d be lying to myself if I said the idea never crossed my mind. Flynn is sexy, strong, smart. His body is phenomenal—all lean muscle and ripped abs. His arms alone are orgasm worthy. I love how his jaw twitches when he’s serious, and his eyes sparkle when he’s not. I love how sweet he is with me and gruff with everyone else. He can be a total dick, but I know how to keep him in line. He might be a handful sometimes and the hottest guy in New York, but he’s also my best friend, and I wouldn’t change one thing about him.

  The next morning, after opening the door to my studio, I stop in the doorway and look around for a minute. It’s super clean, much cleaner than it was yesterday. The wood floors seem to sparkle and the scent of lemon lingers in the air.

  A moment later, the door opens again and Jill, my assistant manager, walks in all bundled up from the unseasonable cold weather we’re having.

  “Morning,” she greets. “You’re here early.”

  “Morning. Do you know how the studio got so clean?”

  She smiles. “I do. Bridget and Sammy were here teaching classes last night, and I was bored, so I just decided to clean. It felt like the place needed a good scrub down.”

  “You did this?”

  “I did.”

  “Wow.” I glance around again. “It looks amazing.”

  “Thanks.” She pulls her scarf off and shoves it under the desk. “Truth be told, I clean when I’m anxious.”

  “Oh?” I lean on the counter. “Anything going on?”

  Jill nods her head, unbuttoning her coat. “Jake and I broke up Sunday night.”

  “Oh no. I’m so sorry. What happened?”

  “Nothing major, just…” she shrugs. “No spark. We’ve been hanging out for months and already it’s boring. We were having dinner, and he brought it up. I didn’t really want to break up, but what do you say when the other person suggests it?”

  “That sucks. It was so cute with the Jake and Jill thing.”

  She laughs softly. “Yeah, I guess we rolled down the hill, but couldn’t make it back up again.” She tucks her coat under the desk. “Anyway, the idea of hitting the dating scene again makes me a little anxious. I just feel like I’m older than everyone. And fatter.”

  I laugh, shaking my head. “You are not even kind of fat. You know that.”

  “I know, but when I go out, it seems like all the other women are tiny and twenty. I feel like an amazon. An old amazon.”

  “Nothing wrong with being tall. I wish I had a few more inches.”

  “I wish I had any inches.”

  I tilt my head. “Are we still talking about height?”

  “Nope.”

  I laugh. “I hear ya. It’s been a while for me, too.” I run my fingers through my hair, then remove a few blonde strands that strayed to the shoulders of my sweatshirt. “I’m not sure what’s holding me back right now. I guess I’m waiting for someone spectacular. All the guys I’ve dated this year have been duds, both in the head and in the bed.”

  “Spectacular would be nice.”

  “I wonder if it even exists.”

  “Oh it does. You live with it.”

  Chuckling, I shake my head. “Flynn?”

  “God, yes that man. He’s spectacular.”

  “He is, but, you know.”

  “Yeah, yeah I know. Just friends.” She grabs my hand. “Just tell me what it is. Tell me the dirty fatal flaw he has that keeps you in the friend zone. You must know.”

  “There isn’t one.”

  “Did he kill someone? Or does he chew with his mouth open? Does he leave dirty socks everywhere or drink out of the milk container? Ooh, I know. He leaves the toilet seat up.”

  “You’re cracking me up right now. He doesn’t do any of those things. He’s very neat and tidy around the house. More than me I think. I’m pretty sure he’s never killed anyone, and he has his own bathroom. He’s a good guy.”

  “But?”

  “But nothing. Can’t a male and female just be friends without everyone questioning why?”

  Jill shrugs. “I mean I guess if you were both normal.”

  “We’re not?”

  “Uh, no. Have you looked in a mirror recently? You’re gorgeous. And Flynn is just, wow.”

  “So we should be together because we’re both attractive?”

  “No, but why wouldn’t you?”

  I laugh, tracing my finger o
ver a scratch on the counter. In the six months Jill has worked for me, she rarely asks about my personal life, so I decide to give her a little info. “Okay, the truth is, when I first met him, I was attracted to him, but we spent time together, and there just wasn’t that thing you need. We worked together at the time and just ended up being friends. There’s really nothing else to the story.”

  She nods. “Hmm, okay. How did you decide to live together?”

  “That was just timing. I had just taken over the studio from the previous owner and Flynn just got his loan for the restaurant. We were both struggling financially and working insane hours, so one night over beer and pizza, Flynn suggested it. It just made sense so we found a place.” Laughing, I continue. “It was terrible. So small, but that’s all we could afford to stay close to here and the restaurant. Flynn slept on the couch and let me have the only bedroom, which was more like the size of a walk in closet.”

  “I can imagine.”

  “A little over a year ago, we upgraded to the place we live in now. It’s expensive, but splitting the costs makes it manageable. He’s actually a great roommate.”

  “Oh, I’m sure of that. I imagine him walking around the house without a shirt on, looking all sexy with those bedroom eyes and that deep voice. I think you have superpowers not to jump all over him.”

  I chuckle. “I still think he’s attractive. I think he’s sexy, but I see him…” I pause, considering my words. “I don’t know. The place he holds in my heart is so much more than what he looks like.”

  “Makes sense. I’m just being a shallow, horny bitch.”

  Her comment makes me burst into laughter. “Nothing wrong with that. I’m gonna head into my office and get some paperwork done.”

  “I’ll be here manning the front.”

  “Thanks again for cleaning. It really looks amazing.”

  “My pleasure.”

  Just as I’m about to walk away, the front door opens and in steps the topic of our conversation. Jill’s cheeks immediately blush.

  “Hey, Brooks,” Flynn says, nodding at Jill. “Brought you something.” He pulls his hands from behind his back and shows me the coffee cup and bag he’s holding. “Java.”

  My eyes light up. “Awesome. You’re my hero today.”

  “I was up early and figured we could both use a treat. I got the chocolate croissant, too.”

 
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