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Sweet Love
Author: Mia Kayla

Chapter 1




My father had always said, “Love what you do and love the job you choose.”

I wished I had taken him up on his advice because as a computer tech, my job was okay at best, but today, my view was quite interesting.

Milk chocolate bars. Chocolate-covered almonds. Hazelnut bars. Sour candies. Gummy candies.

This was every little kid’s dream—a real-life candy wall. And it was right in front of me.

I would have been in heaven if I actually liked chocolate, if it didn’t leave a bad taste in my mouth, if it didn’t remind me of things I’d rather forget.

When I had walked in through the pink glass revolving doors on my first day of the job at Colby Chocolates and Candies corporate office, I had known I was in for a treat. Literally.

Unlimited sweets was one of the perks for working for one of the biggest manufacturers of candy and chocolate in the nation.

I wrung my hands together, waiting for the cute, short girl who was giving me a company tour to come back from the restroom, when my eyes widened at the guy right next to me.

Sweet, sinful, dark chocolate male brown eyes stared down at me.

“You look like a candy cane,” I said. The moment the words left my mouth, I smiled, all teeth, because … awkward. Immediately, heat rushed to my cheeks because what kind of introduction was that?

“It’s a pretty impressive outfit. I wish I could say I’d designed it myself.” His voice oozed with masculine sophistication, opposite to the white pants and his candy cane–striped red and white shirt and suit jacket.

It was as though I were on a candy commercial—or a bad porno. Right next to me, in front of this candy wall, stood the finest guy I’d ever laid my eyes on—tall, insanely handsome.

Whoa, de whoa.

I blinked and then double-blinked. Then, I shut my mouth because it’d slipped open.

Six foot something. Smoldering chocolate-brown eyes. Chiseled chin. Dark brown hair. Face of a god. Smile of an angel.

I looked around me as though a cameraman were going to walk in, following this guy, taping a commercial in front of the candy wall.

I gave him a once-over again because I couldn’t for the life of me stop staring.

“It’s not Halloween. Why are you dressed like that?” I bit my tongue before some other stupid thing flew out of my mouth.

“How do you know I don’t dress like this on a regular basis?” He quirked an eyebrow, his gaze traveling languidly up my body. “Pretty impressive …”

I swallowed.

His gaze faced forward. “Pretty impressive wall, right? It’s good candy. Especially the signature Colby’s Chocolate Bar.”

When he smiled, my stomach flipped and flopped and flopped and flipped again.

“That one’s the worst. Their candy is eh at best.”

The smile slipped from Mr. Candy Company’s beautiful face.

He reached over me and plucked a Colby bar from the wall. This one had nuts. “You know, if anyone caught you saying that”—he wrinkled his nose—“they’d throw you in one of those machines that melted the chocolate.”

I shrugged. “The truth hurts. And plus …” I plucked it from his hand—maybe because I wanted to touch him, maybe because I was flirting. Yes, very much flirting at this point. “Why is the biggest thing on the packaging the company’s name?” I was just rambling, trying to spark conversation. “Like, oh, it’s not enough that Colby’s is written on the factory walls and the company cars and vans. It must be written on the candy bar too, in big, fat letters. It just has to. Why couldn’t they have called this bar the Nutter Bar or something more interesting? I don’t see Hall’s Chocolates branded this way. It’s mostly to the actual feel of the chocolate. Or if you are branding to Colby’s, I feel like it should be branded to the essence of family, but you can do it without using the family name in giant letters.”

Colby’s was the biggest candy and chocolate manufacturer in the nation, and Hall’s was its direct competitor.

Candyman paused, his smile slipping. In the next second, he composed himself and then tapped at my temple, touching me.

Maybe he is flirting back? Or maybe it is wishful thinking on my part.

“You’re right. The other candy companies don’t do that. They have weird candy names, and their family logo is branded smaller on their bars.”

“And this packaging …” I scrunched my nose. “I think it’s the same original packaging. They need to brand to future generations too, cater to families. I swear that’s why only old people eat Colby’s.”

He looked at me as though I’d offended him in some way.

I bit my lip from talking any further.

After a beat, our gazes went back to the candy wall.

“Sweet, tart, or chocolate?” he asked.

Candyman was staring at me as though the answer to this question would unlock some deep, dark secret. I thought about it. I preferred gum. Gum kept me from saying too much or falling asleep on a job, and it caused me to stop binge-eating when I was just plain bored and not even hungry.

“Neither. I’m not really into any of this.”

He tilted his head and assessed me. “That’s crazy. Why would you work for a candy company if you weren’t into candy? And I have never met a woman who doesn’t like chocolate. You don’t even like chocolate?”

“Nope. Not even the ones with caramel and nougat inside.”

Plus, chocolate didn’t bring back the best type of memories.

He reached on the shelf and grabbed another candy bar named Goodlicious. When he tore it open, I peered around me. It felt like I was opening a candy bar without even paying for it yet. He broke the piece in half and extended it my way, and nausea slapped me in the face.

The smell of cleaning solution mixed with chocolate hit me in the nose, causing me to relive a memory.

I pushed those thoughts aside and forced myself to straighten.

He didn’t have to literally shove their product down my throat.

“No, it’s okay. You have it. And to answer your question, why can’t I just be here for a paycheck?”

He reeled back, actually shocked.

Because that was what it came down to. This job was just a means to an end. Money to pay for the space for my exhibit.

“Tell me you love your job as the spokesperson for Colby Chocolates.” I lifted my chin and quirked an eyebrow, curious. “Like, really love it and that’s why you do it and you wouldn’t mind not getting paid.”

He could very well love being the pretty-boy face of Colby’s.

“How do you know I’m the spokesperson for Colby’s?” He popped the chocolate bar in his mouth and began to chew, and momentarily, I was stunned and fascinated at how he chewed, staring at his lips.

I blinked back into focus. “Because you’d sell more in that candy outfit than dressed up in your regular uniform.” And now, I was definitely flirting and had no filter. What was wrong with me?

Someone should’ve told him he could be modeling instead of working here. His mother and father had definitely failed him.

He sported this evident smirk, and the longer our eyes locked, the hotter my cheeks flamed. But for the life of me, I couldn’t look away.

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