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Love and Candy Canes M.K. Moore 2022/8/3 13:51:58

I start to pack my things up when a shadow comes over me. I look up and see the hottest man I’ve ever seen in my life. He’s wearing a short-sleeved button-up shirt, some swim trunks and a pair of boat shoes. Whoa. My heart skips a beat.

“Hi,” he says, taking off his sunglasses. His eyes are a whiskey color and so rich I know I could get lost in them. His voice gives me fucking goosebumps. Goosebumps in ninety-five-degree weather. That should be impossible, right?

“Hi,” I say breathlessly.

“I’m Emmerich Tresoro. I noticed you from the boardwalk.” His voice has me mesmerized. So much so, that I forget to answer him. “Sweets?” he questions, jarring me to the present. I am not even sure where I was.

“I’m Savannah Echols and the boardwalk huh?” I ask looking over at the boardwalk. “The boardwalk is like a thousand feet from here,” I say. Shit, do I look like a blimp or something? Fuck, I hope not. Being around delicious and interesting food all the time, I eat a lot. I am what I would consider to be curvy. Not skinny and not exactly fat, but definitely bigger than the average woman.

“I have excellent eyesight,” he says chuckling.

“So, um, how can I help you?” I ask, standing up. I am more than a little mortified. Man alive, even standing he’s at least half a foot taller than me. Did I mention he has a beard?

“Let me buy you dinner?” He poses it as a question, but he says it so casually that it seems like he’s been asking me forever.

“I could eat,” I say, sassily shrugging. I have no idea who I am right now, but I am going to go with it. He takes my bright pink beach bag with navy blue anchors from my hand and slings it over his shoulder. I smile. With his other hand, he takes mine and leads from the sand onto the sidewalk. With our hands clasped, I feel as if everything in the world is right. How can that be? I literally just know his name. We walk the thousand feet over to the boardwalk.

“What do you feel like having?” he asks.

“Pizza?” I ask. I am a cheap date I guess, though I wouldn’t actually know that since I’ve never been on one. I also don’t know if this is a date.

“Sounds good. Gio’s is up ahead and it is really good.” He leads me in the direction of the famed pizza place. It’s on the opposite end of the boardwalk from where we are.

“I know. It’s my favorite. I get it every time I am home.” I usually just get delivery. I haven’t been inside since I was a little girl.

“So, you are from AC then?”

“Port Republic.” Something in the back of mind dings at the mention of Port Republic and the fact his last name is Tresoro, but I push it aside.

“Ah, a local boy then,” I say laughing.

“Near enough, but I assure you I am all man,” he says it like I don’t know that. Oh God, do I know that.

“So, what brings you to the beach?”

“I had to get some air. My cousin is getting married tomorrow. We are here for his bachelor party.” At the mention of marriage, I discreetly check his left hand and thankfully it is ring-free. Thank God. I am not a homewrecker.

“Oh, strippers or poker?”

“Unfortunately, both. Neither is my scene.”

“Well, this must be a terrible weekend for you then,” I say, but I stumble over my words because he has started to rub little circles over the underside of my hand with his thumb.

“It’s getting better. Much better.” I smile. We arrive at the restaurant and I am so glad that the place is beachy. I am completely underdressed for anywhere else. We sit at one of the indoor picnic tables, within seconds a waitress appears as if from nowhere. She notices Emmerich but to his credit he doesn’t pay her any special attention.

“Welcome to Gio’s. I’m Harley. I’ll be your waitress. What can I get you to drink?”

“I’ll have any IPA you have on tap,” I say handing over my ID.

“Savannah Echols, from TV?”

“Yes,” I say smiling.

“Oh My God! Daddy!” she yells as she rushes away from the table.

“It’s nothing, really,” I say downplaying the situation.

Suddenly, an adorable older man covered in sauce and flour approaches the table.

“The Savannah Echols in our little pizza place? To what do we owe the honor?” he asks, extremely excited.

“I’m just getting dinner with my new friend here. I don’t mean to cause a scene. I love your pizza. It’s the best around.”

“That means a lot coming from you. Can we take your picture for the wall of fame?”

“Of course,” I say standing up. Harley appears with her phone and I stand next to Gio and smile my “work smile.”