Fairy Tales in a Small Town, Book 1
A retelling of the classic Rapunzel fairy tale set in a small town contemporary romance atmosphere.
October 30, 2016
Fun fact: An eighteen year old boy having racy pictures of his seventeen year old girlfriend is against the law. Jacob Brimm is handed the option to leave their small town or face legal action from his girlfriend’s mother. He vows to return for Violet, but hearing she married and started a family quickly after his departure, Jacob gives up on their happily ever after. Only when work brings him home twelve years later does he return, bitterness weighing heavily in his heart.
Violet Gothel doesn’t know why Jacob is angry. He abandoned her. He left her pregnant with their twins to raise alone and he didn’t answer her calls. When Jacob sees his son, the manipulation tactics used by Violet’s mother begin to untangle. While they put the pieces together, Violet can’t help but fear what else her mother has done with her carefully built tower of lies.
Happily, North Carolina was turning around, cleaning up and putting its last bit of spit shine on the town sign. Real things were about to happen here. For so long Happily had served as a tourist spot discovered by word of mouth, but not anymore. They were going on the map. Violet Gothel headed down the sidewalk, pleased with the knowledge that her and her two friends were contributing to the coming changes. She practically squealed as she walked by the festive new fall decorations placed around downtown. Bales of hay, scarecrows, and pumpkins were tucked in every nook and cranny. As utterly cute as the adornments were, they didn’t distract her from the excitement that had kept her awake all night.
They could do this. She and her best friends had stashed away a hefty sum from their work so far. Their sales of restored and repurposed items had built up enough capital to buy into the lease agreement. While they were succeeding with their backyard business, they couldn’t keep hauling stuff from the junk yard to restore and weld together on their porch. The little things, sure, but the more popular their upcycling business became, the more requests for larger pieces they were getting.
They’d turned down three clients as it were. If they managed to get this building in downtown though, things should flourish. No, not should, would. A storefront in downtown with all the tourists passing through was practically a shoe-in for success. Unique souvenirs plus their online contracted work. They could all quit their jobs and be one hundred percent focused on their business, Happily On Your Shelf.
Violet just had to nail this presentation and secure the building. She blew out a breath full of nerves and shook her fingers loose. The glass doors of their future storefront were oversized and practically made for the name of their business to be displayed on the pane in elegant font. Vintage golden metal awnings hung over each window and door. The old cream brick lit to a shine in the morning sun. She pulled the handle with one final you got this, girl vote of confidence and came face to face with the last person she ever wanted to see on earth, ever again.
Ever. The hope and excitement and promises of the future gathered like a hard lump in the pit of her gut.
Jacob Brimm caught the door and leaned all his weight into it, propping it open, and stood in the entry. She was struck by lightning at the sight of him and it wasn’t the good kind of bursting fireworks that makes a girl want to kick up a foot as she sank into a kiss. Oh, no no. She’d already had those moments with Jacob. Her throat squeezed impossibly tight as he blocked her path. His dark hair was disheveled in that messy way he wore it. A longer cut that he simply raked a hand through as means of fixing it and that was it. How could it be that a man who treated her the worst possible way could have grown up to be knock your breath out handsome? It wasn’t fair.
It simply wasn’t fair.
The corner of his mouth kicked up in a grin that didn’t give off any sort of friendly vibes. “When I heard who wanted to rent half this building from me, I couldn’t wait.”
Oh god. Oh god, oh god. It was like all feeling slipped out of her arms. Out of her body. Her knees wobbled and she mentally slapped herself together. Not that it mattered a whole heck of a lot.
They were so screwed.
Her best friend Lanie, with her loveable, awkward and introverted self, would have a better chance of buying this building for a penny than Violet would ever have if she offered ten times the value to rent it. Words strangled in her throat. She clutched at her purse straps, unsure what that would do for her, but for god sakes, it had to do something. Her future—their future—could not be in the hands of this, this mean person. Cripes, she couldn’t even think with him staring a hole through her.
Do something mouth!
Abort, abort, abort! was the only signal passing through her head.
What was he even doing here? His brow arched in the most impressive of ways while they stood there. Well, that was, everything about him was impressive, but his brow didn’t seem pleased with her standing there fumbling for an answer. He was supposed to be living somewhere else, some place where she was not. That was the choice he’d made years ago when he deserted her. Certainly he should not be standing right in front of her, staring into her with his dark chocolate brown eyes like she was the interloper here. Eyes she’d once looked into and thought she could see the whole world. In that dark gaze she had seen them together, forever.
Load of crock. Now she could clearly see they resembled a muddy pot hole. Or maybe a pile of something an animal would leave behind. Or at least some combination of both. He’d left after she’d—instinctively, her gaze connected with his left eye. Or with a marble. Or false eye. Dear lord, why was she just staring at his fake eye and how come she couldn’t look away?
He reached up and tapped on his eyeball. “Apologies for that are a little late, Sweetheart.”
Panic flittered through her struggling lungs. There was a whistling sound that wheezed out of her. Why was he here? Anywhere else but here. And certainly not living here and claiming to own this building. No. That wasn’t right. He was being a dick over an accident that happened a long time ago. A smirk swished across his mouth as the bastard enjoyed her shock and struggle. Her backbone finally crawled out of its hiding place. The surprise was passing, the pain and heartache of his leaving knotted all her rattling bones back together and she found her voice. Jacob and whatever he was doing here could just go away, like he had years ago, when he disappeared and abandoned his pregnant girlfriend. Anger seeped into her pores and left no room for all that panic nonsense. She held her head high. “Hank Rault owns this building.”
She’d like to punch him right in the middle of that smug look. Sure, now he would talk to her. Couldn’t say one damn word to her when she’d been seventeen and pregnant as he flew out of town. She’d called at least a hundred times. Left voicemails trying to tell him the news. Never a call back, not so much as a text. Days passed of calling seemingly into an abyss until at the end of the week, some guy who’d just gotten the number answered. Jacob had wanted so far away, he’d changed his number.
All the anger she thought she’d long moved past returned with a vengeance. It rolled through her in a fiery wave that licked the tattered wounds he’d torn across her heart. “Yes, I speak. And my appointment is with Hank.”
“Actually,” he backed, still holding the door and gesturing her through, “your appointment is with Hank, Eriksen, and me, but Eriksen isn’t going to make it. Hank owns the building, but we’re in business together and it’s a group decision. I thought there were three of you?”
They needed this building and she’d just have to push her history with this man to the side and get to Hank. Hank owned this building. Whatever nonsense Jacob rambled off about could go take a hike. After all, he was good at walking away. “They’re at work.”
“The lion’s den is this way, if you dare.” He sauntered off, hands pushed in his pockets and was he…humming?
She took all her apologies back. In the weeks after he’d fallen out her window, she had gripped the new iron bars of her bedroom prison and sent out prayers, hopes, and apologies into the night and wished someway he’d hear them. If he managed to get the messages delivered on the wind, she took every last one of them back. She wasn’t sorry at all for shoving him out a three-story window. If she could go back in time she would purposely kick him out and intentionally aim him at her mom’s thorny rose bushes below to get both eyes.