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Grooming Mr. Right

Part of the Rom-Com

Fired, broke, and nowhere to go, Luvie Beiderman moves back to her hometown and opens up Primp My Pet Mobile Pet Spa.

Jase Nelson is hot, smart, and has a big heart. Especially when it comes to his Irish Setter Duke. After Primp My Pet pulls into the dog park and Luvie gets out, Jase knows there is definitely enough space in his big heart for another redhead.

Jase isn’t as perfect as everyone thinks. Can Luvie groom him to be Mr. Right?

Grooming Mr. Right

Part of the Rom-Com

Grooming Mr. Right


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Chapter One

“I’ll have a Java Chip Frappuccino in a Trenta cup, 16 shots of espresso, a shot of soy milk, caramel flavoring, banana puree, strawberry puree, vanilla beans, mocha powder, protein powder, and a drizzle of caramel and mocha.” I smiled as I rattled off the high-dollar drink to the cashier behind the Starbucks counter. It was exactly what Sasha ordered every single day when she sent her errand girl to go get it. I had memorized it by heart.

The high-priced coffee was a stretch for my budget, but would be well worth the payoff.

“Hold on.” The cashier’s mouth dropped open and her eyes narrowed. She looked back at the drink menu that hung on the wall and scratched her head. She turned back around and held up her finger. “One minute.”

She reached over and tapped one of the baristas on the arm, and then nodded for her to come over.

“What was that again?” The barista’s lip curled up. She was holding a paper cup with a cardboard sleeve in one hand and a Sharpie marker in the other.

I repeated my order verbatim, spewing off the ingredients like I had bought it a million times, only I hadn’t. This was my first time. It was exactly how I had rehearsed it and exactly how I had pictured the reaction.

“Can you slow down, please?” The barista leaned to one side and raised an eyebrow.

Slow down? There was no slowing me down. There was no time to slow down. Sasha Designs’ new spring clothing line was waiting to have my signature on it. And my big corner office overlooking the fashion district was waiting for me. I could see the bright shiny doorplate now: Luvie Beiderman.

The time had finally come. My time. 

A couple of months ago, Sasha Designs, which was my employer, put out an all-call for designers to send in their fresh-sketch ideas. I gave Pete, my boss and Sasha’s right-hand man, my entire book of sketches. They were announcing the winner this week and I still hadn’t gotten my book back yet…which can only mean one thing. It’s my time.

“Java Chip Frappuccino in a Trenta cup,” my mouth opened wide with each pronunciation. I paused until the barista caught up and slowly went on, “Sixteen shots of espresso, a shot of soy milk, caramel flavoring, banana puree, strawberry puree, vanilla beans, mocha powder, protein powder, and a drizzle of caramel and mocha.”

I ran my hands down my new and expensive (but on sale) baby-blue Sasha pantsuit that fit my five-foot-nine slender frame perfectly, and looked down at the tips of my black heels peeking out from the cuffs. A perfect fit. I looked up at the barista and smiled. This was going to be a fantastic day. I just knew it. 

“Name?” She cocked her right eyebrow.


“Luvie?” She questioned me as if I had lied.

“Yes, why?” So my name wasn’t exactly one that was heard on a regular basis, but it was my name and it made me unique. At least that was what my dad said to make me feel better about it when I was a kid.

“Of course.” There was a smirk on her face as she looked me up and down. She scribbled something on the side of the cup. 

“Wait!” I shook my hands out in front of me. “It’s not for me, so…no name.”

“Too late.” She turned and set my cup next to the line of cups waiting to be filled.

I didn’t come to Starbucks often since I was on a strict budget, but that was going to change after today. Still, I had forgotten they print your name on the cup. I’d be sure to use a marker at work to scratch it out and replace it with Sasha.

After all, yesterday, after Sasha told me to be at the office for an important meeting, I knew it was because I had put in so much hard work that finally the time had come to promote me to trials. Actually, she didn’t tell me; she sent a memo through her assistant, who told my boss, who told me. Still it was as good as Sasha telling me herself.

“What people would pay for a cup of coffee,” the barista murmured and shook her head before she turned to get the pumps. 

There were a few snickers heard behind the thick glass barrier and a few glances from the other baristas, but I didn’t pay any attention to them. 

A copy of New York Magazine stuck up out of my Prada Saffiano computer bag, which was my first purchase after I got that amazing credit card deal when I walked off the bus from Kentucky on my first day in New York City—that I still happened to be paying for after three years. 

I’ll show them, I glared at the women who snickered at my fancy cup of joe, and looked lovingly at the magazine where there was a picture of my new uptown condo I planned to purchase as soon as I got my big promotion today. 

Even the furniture was on my list to buy . . . and the guy in the ad. I ran my finger over the guy sitting on the couch who was obviously a model. Too bad he wasn’t for sale; I’d buy him too. The new promotion would open up a little more time for me to focus on my love life, which at this moment was nonexistent. 

Patiently, I waited for the cashier to finish tapping on the cash register. “That will be fifty-five dollars.” The cashier raised her brows.

Fifty-five dollars? I crinkled the magazine in my fist.

The cashier could obviously see my surprise because she said, “If you can’t afford it, you shouldn’t order it.”

“Afford it?” I glanced down at my wrinkled condo and shoved it back into my bag. I laughed, “Of course I can afford it.” I gulped and pulled out my wallet to retrieve my ever-mounting-balance credit card and handed it to the cashier.

The cashier swiped the card, announced, “Declined.” And took out a big pair of scissors.

The woman behind me wearing the new and fabulous Tory Burke black wedge pumps, not only made me envious of her shoes, but made fun of me as she turned and whispered loudly to the people behind her, “Her card was declined.”

“Wait!” I put my hands in the air like a stop sign and begged the cashier before I glanced around. It was too late; everyone in line was getting fidgety and murmuring under their breath. I leaned in and whispered, “Please don’t cut up the card. I have cash.”

Reluctantly, I reached into my bag and pulled out a Ziploc baggie that had rent printed on the front of it in bright red lipstick. Where was a pen when you needed one? The baggie was full of coins and dollars to cover my part of the rent in the 600 square-foot apartment that I shared with a girl I had found on Craigslist who was looking for a roommate. 

I had to scrape pennies to make up my part of the rent, which was one thousand dollars. This promotion couldn’t have come at a better time. Regardless, the Ziploc had the exact amount I needed for rent and I had to give it to my roommate after work. Not only that, but I was going to tell her that I was moving out and moving up.

“The Jeffersons” theme song played in my head, we a-movin’ on up, movin’ on up, reminding me of my Granny. She kept her TV on the ME Channel that played the older TV shows and “The Jeffersons” happened to be one of her favorites. She is the only person I had texted about my big news. Maybe I was putting the cart before the horse, but the promotion was as good as mine.

Without much more internal debate, I whipped a fifty and a ten out of the baggie and held it toward the cashier. The line of people behind me sighed with relief.

“See?” I waved the cash at the woman behind me, and then slapped the money in the cashier’s hand. “Can I have my card back?”

“Fine.” The cashier tossed me a glare before she held the card out for me to grab. 

“Luvie!” The barista screamed and put the marked up cup on the ledge. 

“Thank you so much.” I heard the words of my Granny in my head; kill them with kindness. 

Granny was right. The barista smiled as I left.

end of excerpt

Grooming Mr. Right

is available in the following formats:

Tonya Kappes Books

Sep 7, 2013




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