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Hello Temptation

Hello Temptation

by kelsie hoss

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He’s my new coworker with a heart of gold and looks that could kill. And me? Well, I'm so perpetually single my grandma is setting me up on dates with guys from the grocery store.

By thirty, you’re supposed to have a home, a dog, a boyfriend or at least a string of lovers in the past. Instead, I’m a twenty-eight-year-old virgin living with my parents to save money. My job managing an apartment complex is the one thing I’m proud of–and that’s not just because a complete hottie just walked in the door.

Tyler Griffen is here working on a construction project for nine months, which means we’ll be seeing a lot of each other. Which I don’t mind one bit if it means getting more face time with those tattooed, muscled arms and his heart melting smile.

When my boss lays down a no-dating-coworkers rule, I almost laugh. Tyler and I couldn’t be more opposite if we tried, but the thing is… I think he likes me. He’s always helping me with my hunk-of-junk car problems, saves me from the most awful blind date, and even appeases my grandma’s wish to attend my nephew’s birthday party.

What do you do when you’re thrust from being the funny fat friend into the main character of a steamy rom com you never expected?

And more importantly, how do you handle the heartbreak when he leaves?

Hello Temptation is a relatable, laugh out loud romance with sweet moments, steam, and a happily ever after!

 

NARRATORS: Luke Welland and Starr Williams

*Note: This book was previously titled Confessions of the Funny Fat Friend

Why you'll love this book:

  • Plus size heroine
  • Hot hero who loves her curves
  • Heartfelt happily ever after

Preview the Story

Chapter One

Henrietta

Confession: I’m a 28-year-old virgin.

I was back in Vestido, bridesmaid dress shopping for my best friend’s wedding, and I was starting to see a pattern. A pattern I didn’t like.

I met Birdie and Mara two years ago. We’d become fast friends, all single girls in our late twenties, transitioning into our thirties. It helped that we had a mutual love of breakfast food and mojitos.

Then, I witnessed Birdie fall in love with a hot single dad and stood by her side a year later as she got married.

I’d never really been the kind of person to have a lot of girlfriends, always being a loner who was more worried about school and work than fun. It didn’t help that my grandma couldn’t drive anymore and took up lots of my free time with her appointments and outings.

Or maybe that was just an excuse.

Because after Birdie got married, Mara, a famous romance author and the self-proclaimed eternally single woman, fell in love.

She got engaged.

And now she was six months from getting married.

And me?

You guessed it.

Still. Single.

Still a virgin.

I’d never had a boyfriend in high school, and I’d been too busy working in college to ever make time for a guy. At least that’s what I told myself. But the truth was, the guys I met in person just weren’t interested in me like that. And online dating at my size? I’d rather help my mom weed her massive garden or... be single for the rest of my life.

Before I knew it, they’d be printing my face on the back of a set of Old Maid cards.

Mara held up a deep-green dress that pinched in around the waist and flowed to the ground. She smiled at the gown, making her brown eyes crinkle at the corners. “What do you think about this one? It would look beautiful on all your body types and skin tones.”

Birdie laughed. “I love it. It might actually make me look like I have a waist.”

I laughed with her. Even though we’d all been friends for two and a half years now, I was still getting used to the way she and Mara so easily accepted themselves. I hoped I’d get there someday.

While Birdie was what my gran described as “apple shaped,” I was built like a brick shit house. (That’s what my grandpa used to call it, before he passed a few years back.) Square and strong enough to throw down on the football field with my brothers and bigger than half the guys I came into contact with.

This dress would look pretty on me, but I wished it had straps to hold up the girls. They did not play well with a lack of support. “Do you think we can get straps added?” I asked.

Mara nodded. “I bet Jonas’s tailor could sew some on. She does incredible work.” She winked.

I laughed. That boy did fill out a suit better than most. “Then let’s get it,” I said. It wouldn’t really matter which one we got, at the end of the day. I would feel uncomfortable in my body whether I was wearing sweatpants, business casual, or a beautiful dress worth hundreds of dollars.

Mara left, taking the dress to the saleswoman, probably to order enough for all of us bridesmaids. In just a few months, Birdie and I would be standing beside Mara on her big day, along with her future sister-in-law, Tess.

Tess’s wedding, just shy of a year ago at Emerson Trails, had been so beautiful that Jonas and Mara had taken the first opening the park had available when she wasn’t writing for TV in Atlanta. Bonus that it was during Birdie’s summer break from school, and I had enough PTO saved up to take a few days off for the event.

My phone rang, and I pulled it from my purse seeing my boss’s name on the screen. Stepping away from Birdie and Tess, I answered the call. “Hey, Janessa,” I said. “How are you doing?”

“Great! I just wanted to let you know that the head contractor’s plane just landed, and he’ll be at the building in an hour to get his keys.”

“I’ll be there,” I promised. Even though it was a Saturday. Even though I was supposed to be dress shopping. Even though I’d been looking forward to a late afternoon dinner at Waldo’s Diner with my friends. I couldn’t afford to lose this job.

I put my phone in my purse, and Birdie touched my arm, her wide blue eyes on me. “You have to go to work?”

I pouted. “Yeah, I have to get this contractor some keys. I’m not sure how long it’ll take. I might have to miss dinner.”

She shook her head, her blond curls bouncing. “We’ll wait for you.”

“You sure?” I asked, looking to Mara, who was busy chatting with the dress salesperson. Of the three of us, she was easily the most extroverted. “I feel guilty, like I’m already failing my bridesmaid’s duties.”

“Don’t worry about it. She’ll understand. And you call us when you get done, okay?”

“You’ll fill her in?” I asked.

Birdie smiled. “Of course.”

I left Vestido and went to my car in the parking lot. It was cheap and in regular need of repairs, but my dad had taught me enough about cars that I didn’t often have to spend money on a mechanic, which helped me tuck away that much more. With my new promotion, I was less than a year away from my savings goal. After that, I had no idea what I would do.

As I drove away from the store, I tried to imagine what life would look like when I finally had the savings I wanted after eight years of scrimping and living with my parents. I’d probably keep my job—I loved managing an apartment building and giving tenants good care and a safe place to live. There were so many shady rental companies out there, and luckily, I didn’t work for one of them.

They’d hired me as a move-out cleaner back when I was in community college, getting a business degree. When a manager spot opened, I applied, and they promoted me. Now that the company was developing a completely new apartment building, they’d given me a raise to liaise with the head contractor on the build, and I’d eventually manage the new complex.

It was exciting.

Even if it was a little inconvenient today.

But this would be my first time working with a construction company, my first time having a hand in something from the ground up. I couldn’t wait to see how it came to be. (And the extra pay wasn’t bad either.)

I reached Blue Bird Apartments and unlocked the main office. The building was fairly old, but I’d spiced up the office and its whitewashed wood paneled walls with lots of plants and some artwork from my mother’s studio. She worked at Brentwood University, teaching art classes to college students.

My favorite piece she’d created for me was a colorful chicken in my namesake. Henrietta. It was kind of an inside joke at this point, and my family’s entire home was decorated in chicken décor, from our kitschy salt and pepper shakers to the metal napkin holder shaped like a rooster.

At least we’d been able to talk Dad out of putting a weathervane on top of our suburban home.

Since I was already at the office, I worked on printing off some new unit applications, as we had a few coming available soon.

The bell rang over the door, and I stood up to greet the head contractor. Unfortunately, this wasn’t him. This guy couldn’t have been more than thirty, and he had thick black tattoos swirling down one of his tan arms. Part of me wondered how much his tattoo covered under his tight white T-shirt and jogger sweatpants, but I quickly shut down that thought. He did not look like the kind of guy in charge of a multi-million-dollar operation, and I had a diner to get to.

“Sorry,” I said. “The office isn’t open right now.”

“You’re here, aren’t you?” he replied, the slightest hint of a southern drawl in his voice.

I raised my eyebrows, so not in the mood for sass from a walk-in on a Saturday afternoon.

“Janessa told me to come this way to get my keys?” he said.

My eyes widened. “Janessa?” She was my boss stationed in the corporate office in LA and didn’t work with regular tenants... Shit. “You’re the head contractor?”

“That’s me. Tyler Griffen.”

“Henrietta Jones. But everyone calls me Hen.”

He extended his hand for me to shake.

My cheeks felt hot as I slipped my hand into his. It was large and warm and calloused. So freaking hot. Not to mention his grip was just the right firmness. “Sorry,” I said, turning and looking for a key in the lock box as I tried to calm my thoughts. “I thought you were someone else.”

When I turned back to him, he had an amused look on his chiseled face. Now that I looked a little closer, I could tell he worked outside. His white skin had a deep tan, like he spent a lot of time in the sun, and his strong jaw had a light cover of stubble. Not to mention, there were flecks of paint on his hands as he reached for the key. Interesting. This head contractor wasn’t just a stand-by-and-tell-everyone-what-to-do kind of guy. He must have been highly involved in the work. And that made me even more interested than the tattoos or his defined biceps.

I tilted my gaze down as I realized I was ogling. Clearing my throat, I tucked my relaxed hair behind my ear and said, “Why don’t you let me show you around the unit?”

“That would be great,” he replied with a crooked smile. “Thanks, Hen.”

God, the way my name sounded off his lips. “Is that a Texas accent I hear?” I asked as we pushed out the door and stepped outside.

He chuckled. “It’s that obvious? I’m from the Fort Worth area.”

“It’s subtle,” I replied. Cute, I didn’t add. “I thought you Texans weren’t fans of California.”

He laughed. “You can get us to come here from time to time—if the price is right.”

I smiled, stopping in front of Unit C. “This is the building you’ll be in. There’s a laundromat downstairs with a few coin-operated washers and dryers. Your apartment’s on the third floor, so we have a bit of a climb. But it is nice and quiet up there, and you have an amazing view of the park from the balcony off your living room.”

Usually people weren’t so happy about all the stairs, but he rubbed his hands together and said, “Can’t wait to see it.”

As we hoofed it up the flights, him with ease and me trying not to breathe hard and embarrass myself, I wondered why he was staying here at all. He had to be making hundreds of thousands of dollars a year, and this place definitely wasn’t the best he could afford. But I’d already been rude enough for one day, so I didn’t pry.

We reached unit 303, and I said, “This is it. Why don’t you test the keys?”

He leaned forward, slipping the key into the lock and turning. It opened easily, and he walked in, examining the two-bedroom unit. “It’s nice,” he said, setting down his duffel bag beside the couch.

He was full of surprises. “I keep trying to talk corporate into replacing the carpets,” I admitted, “but they’ve been freshly cleaned by a great local company. Most units aren’t furnished, but they gave me a small budget and I personally picked out some pieces for you so you’ll be comfortable while you’re here. If you get situated and realize you don’t have something you need, give me a call. I’ll make sure to get it for you right away.”

He turned from his examination of the apartment and laid his eyes on me. They were captivating, a mix of green and gold and brown that I’m sure my mother would have loved to paint. “That’s real nice of you, Hen.”

God, could he stop saying my name so my heart would slow down?

“Of course,” I said, straightening my blouse. I found myself lost without something to do with my hands. “I’ll let you get settled in.”

I turned to leave his apartment, but he said, “Wait up.”

Standing in the hallway, I faced him again. “Did I miss something?”

“Your number,” he said with a smooth smile. My heart skipped a beat, and I was about to say something stupid before he added, “In case I need anything?”

“Oh, right.” Of course he wanted my number for business, not for any other reason. I reached into my purse hanging from my shoulder. I always kept some business cards with my cell number written on the back, just in case. “This is the office number, but you can use my cell on the back if I’m not in there. My office hours are eight to five, Monday through Friday.”

“Great. And we’re meeting at the building site Monday at four,” he confirmed.

I nodded. “That’s Pacific time. In case your phone isn’t set to change time zones automatically.”

“Good thinking,” he said, and damn, why did that compliment have my cheeks all flushed? Good thing my dark skin hid things like that. I could always tell when my white friends were embarrassed just by the color of their cheeks.

“Well, I’ll let you get settled in,” I said again, turning and walking away.

“See you Monday,” he replied.

I walked down the stairs, trying my damnedest not to trip. That was the last thing I needed to do, embarrass myself yet again in front of this person I’d be working so closely with for the next several months. I needed this experience to go off without a hitch. If all went well, Janessa had already hinted I could be traveling around the country, managing new builds for Blue Bird, Inc. Me, with my little associate degree that everyone said would never be enough.

I bit my lip, worried if I’d made a good impression. I’d been a little harsh at first. And there was no time like the present to make things better.

On the second landing, I turned myself around and marched back up the stairs, knocking on Tyler Griffen’s door.

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About Kelsie

Kelsie writes steamy rom coms that will make you laugh, cry, and dream of happily ever after! Her heroines are real, curvy women and her heroes are the kinds of men we deserve!

When you buy from this site, you're supporting Kelsie and her work directly, all while getting an amazing story!

In all of Kelsie's books, you’ll find amazing curvy women, heartwarming moments, and plenty of laughter.

She currently lives in Colorado where she watches way too many rom coms, chases her three boys up the mountains (huffing and puffing), and writes books for lovely readers like you.