This grumpy man of the month wants to be a daddy and he thinks he’s found the one. But Candy Cane Key’s newest resident and self-proclaimed cat lady is on a mission and doesn’t have time for love, marriage, and babies. Can the town grump steal enough sunshine to woo her stubborn heart? Readers who love a little grumpy with their sunshine will enjoy Come to Papa by Matilda Martel, a steamy, small town, friends to lovers, age gap romance.
Copyright 2023 Matilda MartelStray cats need to be on their guard night and day— that’s the only way they survive. I hold my breath, watching her take two steps back and three steps forward, with one more to go. Her pupils suddenly dilate to saucers. Her back arches then a low guttural growl catches me by surprise. I scramble back like a crab, but my momentum stalls against a brick wall, and the kitty runs away. “Do you need some help?” The brick wall speaks. My head snaps up, and I glimpse the source, a fair-haired man with dark eyes, a wicked smile, and a body sculpted by the gods. I blink rapidly, blinded by the sun and his unspeakable beauty. I’ve never seen anyone who looks like him, not here or in Sycamore Mountain— not even on television. But this creeper ruined my plans and threw away five days of hard work. “No, you’ve done enough.” I groan, then bite my tongue, too frustrated to hide my intense displeasure for a man who was only trying to help. It’s not his fault, but my failure could result in tragedy if I don’t catch that cat soon. Stray dogs roam this beach at night in search of food, and they might mistake this fat little Calico for their next meal. I scramble to my feet, shifting aimlessly in the soft sand to regain my balance. The handsome stranger clears his throat and offers his hand. I hesitate but ultimately place my palm in his hand, letting him pull me to my feet. Attractive does not mean harmless. We’re alone on a beach, and my mother didn’t raise me to be a trusting fool. “Thank you, and I apologize for my snarky comment. I’ve been trying to catch that cat for the past few days, and this is the closest I’ve come.” I stammer, embarrassed by my rudeness and hoping my contrite behavior will make amends or prevent him from carrying me into the ocean and drowning me. “You mean Buster?” His deep voice jumps an octave, and he points to the chunky Calico reclining against a nearby palm tree, frantically cleaning his behind. “Buster? That’s a silly name for a girl.” I tiptoe towards the cat and consider my next course of action. He may be huge, hot, and handsome, but I have a one-track mind. There are far more important things on my to-do list than flirting with strange men who smell like cocoa butter, and what is that? Sandalwood? A storm is scheduled to pass through later this evening, and I hate to think of this little girl spending another night cold, wet, and alone. “Buster isn’t a girl. He’s a boy.” The strange man follows close, oddly fixated on lending a helping hand. I glance over my shoulder and lift my hand to my brow, shielding my eyes from the sun to get a better look at his face. There’s no denying he’s yummy, but he doesn’t know the first thing about cats. “Calicos are almost always girls,” I huff, confident with my assessment. He chuckles and points to the cat. “He’s got balls. I’m pretty sure he’s a boy.” I squint and squat to get a better look. My jaw drops. My tongue ties. “Oh… my… God. Oh, my God. We’ve just found a polydactyl male Calico. Do you have any idea how rare he is?” I flail my arms, squealing with glee, then accidentally strike his calves. He hardly flinches. He’s a golden slab of sculpted marble, and I couldn’t hurt him If I tried. “We need to get him. He must be guarded like the Mona Lisa.” I creep forward, and he drops to his knees, crawling next to me. “I’m Felix, by the way.” He stops to extend his arm, and I give him a quick shake, one eye on his sinewy forearm and the other on my fat Calico boy. He mustn’t escape. “I’m Harlow. I’m new to the island— on a mission to save the world, one cat at a time.” I laugh, crouching low, careful not to lose the element of surprise. “Can you crawl that away and block his exit?” I gesture with my head and slink forward like a snake. “That’s a lovely name.” His brown eyes twinkle as his mouth tips into a slight smile. My heart skips a beat, and for the first time, it has nothing to do with cats. “If I help you catch Buster, what do you plan on doing with him?”
About Matilda MartelMatilda is a Texas girl in love with a Philly boy who loves to write dirty books about two people who trip into love and fumble their way into a Filthy, Funny, Happily Ever After. I live in Austin, with my husband, two crazy Chihuahuas and an even crazier cat. And I spend most of my day writing dirty romance books about older men who fall in love with younger women and make fools of themselves trying to win their hearts.
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