- Author: Abby Knox
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Copyright © 2021 by Abby Knox
All rights reserved.
No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means, including information storage and retrieval systems, without written permission from the author, except for the use of brief quotations in a book review.
Publisher’s Note: This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are a product of the author’s imagination. Locales and public names are sometimes used for atmospheric purposes. Any resemblance to actual people, living or dead, or to businesses, companies, events, institutions, or locales is coincidental.
Edited by Aquila Editing
Cover Designer: Cover Girl Design
I've been obsessed with the famous baker since I was far too young to fall in love with a man so much older. My family thinks it's an innocent celebrity crush, but what they don't know is I've been saving myself for this stone cold silver fox. And now, to everyone's disbelief, I've got my chance. There's only one problem that I hope he doesn't notice: I'm a terror in the kitchen.
Everything about my life is endlessly enviable. A celebrity chef with his own television show, best selling cookbooks, and a sprawling estate-- it would seem I have it all. Except for one thing. I need someone to help me fill these empty rooms -- with love, with children, and with a feminine touch. And then one day, a single catastrophic audition video changes everything. I'm going to do everything in my power to meet this woman. I only hope she doesn't mind leaving the cooking to me.
JUDGE ME is the first sweet treat in a themed collection of very short, very hot reads serve up with the tropes you crave: age gap; billionaires; virgins; a light dusting of kink and lots of heat!
About the Author
More by Abby Knox
“Who. Is. That?”
My handful of popcorn pauses halfway to my mouth, eyes glued to the stone-cold Daddy on the screen.
My mom, who is cuddled up under a blanket on the sofa next to me, gestures impatiently for me to hand over the popcorn bowl. It’s our favorite night of the week, when we watch baking competitions together and eat junk food. We’ve already binged all of them, so tonight, Mom and I are trying out a show that’s new to us. I’m already hooked.
“Phillip Wildwood,” she answers after I hand over the bowl. “He’s supposed to be some super-famous bread chef, but I’ve never heard of him before now.”
As Mom crunches away, distracted by the snacks, I feel dormant places inside me awaken to the dominating presence on the screen, as if a homing beacon has summoned me.
I study the manners of this Phillip Wildwood as he appraises each fidgety contestant with a cool, unreadable stare. The man’s icey scrutiny has knocked all the smart words out of me.
The barrier of a television screen does nothing to reassure me that man is not also judging me. And I—always the overachieving oldest child—like to be judged. All my life, I’ve thrived under stern guidance from teachers, coaches, and tutors. This feels different. Phillip’s seemingly cold countenance, and the way his aura makes everyone around him twitchy, rouses not my instinct to win at something, but to win…him.
My awakening also feels like a fortune teller has pulled back the curtain dividing my present from my future. I’m looking straight at my life in a few years, and my future world is staring back at me with unyielding regard. The man seems committed to intimidating people, but my body, mind, and soul feel something else.
I don’t know the first thing about baking, except as a spectator sport. But I do know one thing. One day I’m going to marry that man.
As a rule, I regularly crush the high school competition in chess, debate (comedic monologue, thank you very much), and Model United Nations. Baking, cooking, and domestic talents are the domain of my sisters Cara and Cherise, ages fifteen and thirteen, respectively.
Tonight, Cara’s busy with her study group, and perky Cherise is at cheerleading practice. Middle child, Diana, my closest confidant, has snuck out of the house with her stoner friends—again—and has sworn me to secrecy. The youngest, Cecily, is holed up in her room, writing the great American novel.
Just as well my sisters are not joining Mom and me tonight; the four of them become ruthless little badgers whenever they see my cheeks turn rosy, and that’s usually when Henry Cavill’s chin dimple appears on screen.
Henry has a lot going for him, but I’m very sorry to that man today. Because when Phillip Wildwood opens his mouth to speak, the accent bowls me over. I’m finished. Dead. Ruined. “Oh. Wow. He’s…wow.”
Mom lifts one shoulder casually. “Meh. Seems a little full of himself.”
But I can see there’s plenty more to Phillip Wildwood than ego. Beneath the layer of ice lies oceans of warm currents.
“I’m going to have his babies one day.”
My mom snorts, thinking I’m exaggerating for comic effect. “He’s older than your father.”
“You don’t know that!” I laugh. But if she’s right, does it matter?
A realization dawns on me, however, that could potentially pose an obstacle.
“Wait a minute. He’s in Great Britain?”
Mom speaks through a mouthful of popcorn, watching a contestant jump a whole foot in the air in fright upon noticing a silent Phillip standing behind her, observing her technique of folding dried cherries into her biscuit dough. “The location is, like, in the name of the show, Pop Tart.” My mom’s nickname for me makes me grin and roll my eyes. Pop Tarts are pretty much the only thing I can’t mess up in the kitchen.
And here I am, on the other side of the pond, experience my sexual awakening.
This just won’t do.
One way or another, I am going to meet this Phillip Wildwood. And I am