In Anyone Else's Shoes by M.L. Joslyn - Romance>Contemporary
Cariad means love... discover the new Cariad Singles collection of spicy romances.
At 34, Emma Green has had enough – enough of her unchallenging job, her erratic, frustrating sex life, and her best friend, full-time sex junkie Alyssa. Emma is ready for a makeover, and she's about to get it. Her employer, Untamed Soles, a chain of trendy women's shoe stores, has just hired a new Regional Vice President, Jason Eastman. Jason is smart, clever, and self-assured. He's also 24, and yummier than Emma's favourite treat, chocolate coconut cupcakes. Jason is dazzled by Emma's work ethic, and the adorable way she trips and stumbles her way through the day. He offers her a big promotionÂ – and more. But Jason is hiding something from EmmaÂ – something she never imagined.
A wedge of moonlight landed in dashes atop the acid-etched, concrete floor of Untamed Soles, a trendy ladies' shoe store on Scottsdale Road. With a large brass key, Emma locked the heavy front door behind Jan and Rachel, her hardest working part-timers, and then paced purposely to her office, scraping past freshly neatened steel-pipe display racks and a maze of black leather couches.
Mismatched pairs of slingbacks, and clipboards choked with redundant sales forms, clogged her tiny workspace at the back of the store. A single swivel chair and metal desk hogged most of the room. The top of the desk was exceptionally organised, like the rest of the store, and supported just five items: a telephone, legal pad, can of Diet Coke, a half-eaten red velvet cupcake, and a small, porcelain, heart shaped bowl crowded with business cards. Twenty minutes of paperwork, and I should be out of here, she thought. The phone warbled its urgent cry and Emma reached for it, knocking over her freshly opened soda.
'Emma Green, manager, how may I help you?'
'Hi Em-Em! Why aren't you out of there yet?'
'Alyssa, damn you! I just spilled my soda everywhere. Thanks. Not.'
'I know you very well, Em. I'm guessing that isn't the first thing you've spilled today.'
She was right, but Emma wasn't about to divulge her first-rate chicken salad on a third-rate paper plate story. 'Very funny, Alyssa. Why are you calling now anyway? Aren't you anxious to get out of your store and into the arms of one of your stud muffin boy toys?'
'I left my store 20 minutes ago, hon. What takes you so long? Oh, that's right – everything has to be perfectly arranged and merchandised before you'll set your poor employees free for the night.'
'Maybe that's why my store tends to look, you know, much better than yours. And I'm certain my work ethic has nothing to do with why my numbers are consistently higher than "Miss Alyssa's Sorry I Can't Find the Mate" shoe shack. And don't start with the "your location is so much better than mine" routine.'
'Oh, my dear, dear Em-Em. Aah. We have got to get you laid. And, by the way, we both manage Untamed Soles. They're identical stores. The only possible reason my store's sales aren't as bonus-worthy as yours is that you have the primo spot, and that's all I'm saying.'
'Do you always have to sigh when you mention my personal life, Alyssa? I'm fine. I've always been fine. In fact, I'm crazy good. Now, cut it out.'
'Now, that could be why your sales are superior to mine. You are an excellent bullshitter, Emma Green! C'mon, let me set you up with someone. They'll be hot – I promise. You have got to get over that jerk, Ty.'
Emma was over Ty. At least, that's what she'd tell herself when she bumped into him in their shared apartment. They had split up amicably a month ago, but he was never around, and they agreed it made no sense for them to break their lease. Two separate bedrooms, one separated couple. And besides, they were somehow able to maintain a semblance of a friendship, which included all the friendship perks – when he was around.
'How many guys do you know, anyway?' Emma asked derisively. 'Do you keep a couple dozen neatly folded in your dresser?'
'Yes! And that's just my dresser!'