Made For Me is Keith Sutton and Sabrina O’Malley’s story
“Damn him anyway for a handsome devil.”
Sabrina O’Malley was doing her best not to stare at Keith Sutton, but the man looked like a Greek god in his tux. With his blond hair and great height and all of that gorgeous muscle straining against his black tuxedo jacket, he was definitely god-like. On second thought, he looked more like the Norse god, Thor. She had actually called him that before, but it was more out of irritation than adulation.
From behind the steaming trays of food at the buffet table, it was easy to get away with staring. The guests normally didn’t look past the trays of pasta and chicken parmesan to chance a glance at the caterer. That was fine with Sabrina. If they weren’t looking at her, then she could get away with looking at them.
She couldn’t hear what Keith was saying to his dance partner from across the reception hall, so that was the reason Sabrina gave herself for getting caught up in the sight of him. When he wasn’t speaking, she could forget that Keith Sutton was an overgrown jerk.
Sabrina knew this would happen when she agreed to cater Tracy King and Ben Carrington’s wedding. Lord, she wanted to smack her head against a wall for that lapse in judgment. It was an excellent boon to her business but the reality of being here with the romantic music and all of the happy couples was trying on her nerves. Love was in the air and she was doing her best not to breathe it in.
Keith had glanced over a time or two but she didn’t know if he was, in fact, looking at her or checking out the array of food. It was a toss-up where he was concerned. The man loved to eat. At six foot four and at least 200 pounds, he was a giant of a man. Add in the shaggy blond hair and beautiful blue eyes and he truly reminded her of some warrior god or Viking.
Not that she needed a reminder of gods, Vikings, or Keith. He turned up wherever she went. Tonight couldn’t be helped though. He was a member of Tracy and Ben’s wedding party. Keith had been partnered with Sarah Brandon since she was a bridesmaid and he was a groomsman. Sabrina reminded herself that they were practically family since Sarah’s sister, Sophie, was married to his brother, Reed. Keith was supposed to dance with Sarah at the reception. That didn’t mean Sabrina had to like the way she was staring up at Keith and laughing at whatever charming tripe was coming out of his mouth.
It was small of her, but Sabrina wanted to shove Sarah out of the way and dance with Keith herself. She felt mean for thinking it since Sarah looked so lovely in her strapless violet gown. Her golden blonde hair was swept up in some sort of twist, and with her height, she made a perfect partner for Keith. Damn it. To top it off, Sarah was an incredibly nice person too.
Sabrina thought she would look ridiculous dancing with Keith anyway. At just an inch over five feet tall, she was a munchkin compared to him. Her head didn’t even come up to his shoulder. The last time she tried to get eye to eye with Keith Sutton, Sabrina had to stand on a chair. Not one of her better decisions.
That was months ago, but she’d learned that jumping up on furniture was a terrible way to get a man’s attention. Her incredible state of intoxication at the time added insult to injury. She hadn’t been hurt physically, but boy, had her pride been stung.
Sabrina had been out with her sister celebrating the successful changes they’d made since taking over management of the Pizza Palace. After finally seeing some positive results from the new sauce and the revised menu, they’d decided that after months of nonstop work, a drink or two at Sarah’s Suds and Spuds was just what they needed. Only, she’d had one too many. Okay, three too many, but with her size, one was really all it took.
They hadn’t been in town a week before Sabrina had heard about the Sutton brothers. Anyone and everyone dished the dirt on Reed and Sophie’s courtship. When they weren’t talking about them, they were speculating over Keith and his prospects. Since moving to Madison Falls, she’d never met the Suttons personally, but with all the details bandied about, they weren’t hard to pick out of a crowd.
Her celebration landed on karaoke night, so Keith had been there with Reed and their friends. He was the only six foot four, blond haired man in the room so she’d identified him right away. His brother sang a few times and had quite a lovely voice, really. Keith didn’t sing, but he looked to be getting a whole lot of enjoyment out of ribbing those who did.
That was the night that her awful attraction to Keith Sutton had begun.
His wicked grin had drawn her in like a moth to a flame. One drink in and she’d been brave enough to smile at him when they’d made eye contact. Two drinks in and she’d had no problem telling her sister, Fiona, how easy on the eyes he was. In her blissful haze, she’d mentioned this loudly……and often. Three drinks in and Sabrina had decided that a kiss from Keith would be a perfect way to top off her night.
She’d made this foolish decision when Keith was about to pass by their table on the way to who knew where. In retrospect, she should have listened to her sister. Fiona had told her to stay the hell off of that chair. In her liquor-laced reasoning, Sabrina had explained it was the best way to reach him if she wanted to get her kiss. It sounded reasonable at the time.
As soon as he was close enough, Sabrina had hopped up on the chair and thrown her arms around his neck. To give the man credit, he took a strange woman latching on to him like a barnacle with remarkable aplomb.
“Whoa. Hey there, Red. Something I can do for you?”
Sabrina’s next words would haunt her for months.
“Yes. Kiss me.”
Keith had glanced down at her, then tilted his head like he hadn’t quite gotten the joke. “Excuse me?”
Sabrina remembered how good he’d smelled. Like peppermints and expensive aftershave. “Kiss me. I want to celebrate.” She’d threaded her fingers behind his neck and leaned in for a right proper smooching. That was when he must have smelled her third whiskey sour.
He’d reared back and stared into her eyes. His eyes were a beautiful, deep sea blue. She was going to tell him how gorgeous his eyes were after the kiss. Sabrina had tried to lean in again but Keith kept her at arm’s length.
“I think you’ve already done enough celebrating. Thanks, sweetheart, but no thanks. I don’t take advantage of drunk girls.” As he said that, he unlatched her hands, picked her up by the waist, and set her on the floor as if she weighed no more than a doll.
Even drunk, Sabrina was aware enough to be mortified.
Keith had eyed her from head to toe. Taking in her ginger red hair and matching crimson cowboy boots, he’d grinned as if her little stunt amused him.
“What’s your name, Red?”
She’d stared up at him, tongue-tied and wishing the floor would open up and swallow her. Adding her name to the mix would have been a horrible idea. At least her sense of reasoning kicked in before she’d told him who she was.
“You’re cute.” Cute? Yes, and so were puppies. “Maybe I’ll see you around.” Not if she could help it.
With that, he’d ambled away and left Sabrina wanting to crawl under the table and hide. Thank God the spotlight had been on the latest singer, which in contrast, left the rest of the room blessedly dark. The unfortunate guy singing Piano Man sounded like a strangled cat. All eyes were on him: some in disbelief, some in pity, and some in need of another drink. Thanks to the Piano Man massacre, Sabrina thought she’d gotten away without that many people seeing her throw herself at a man like a horseshoe. That’s what she’d hoped for anyway.
Fiona pulled her down in her seat before she could do anything else embarrassing. Her sister hissed, “I told you to stop after the second drink, but you never listen!” Seeing Sabrina’s obvious mortification, she’d softened her tone. “Don’t worry, hon, with a man that good-looking, I bet things like that happen to him all the time.”
Sabrina had sobered up enough to want to get the hell out of the bar. She’d made an ass out of herself so her celebrating was through. Thank God she hadn’t told him her name. Madison Falls was small, but she’d thought that surely she could avoid him.
A few weeks after that disastrous night, Sabrina learned that luck was not on her side. Both of her delivery drivers at the Pizza Palace had called off sick. There had been an enormous order due out to a construction crew and no one to deliver it but her. Just her luck that the order had been called in by none other than Keith Sutton.
When she’d pulled up to the site, she’d prayed he wouldn’t remember her. But as soon as Sabrina had gotten out of her car, Keith had done a double take and walked over. Damn her red hair. It was like a beacon.
“Hey there, Pizza Lady. Remember me?”
Of course she remembered him. She’d been taking turns fantasizing about and trying to forget the dazzling behemoth. “No, sorry. I have a delivery here for Sutton Construction.”
“That’s me. I mean, I’m not Sutton Construction. That would be a stupid name. But I am Keith Sutton. I called in the order.” After a sweeping once-over, he grinned, “Today must be my lucky day.”
Sabrina couldn’t say the same. “So anyway, that’ll be one hundred and twenty dollars even.” She hadn’t cared about the tip; she’d wanted to get the transaction over with so she could disappear. Note to self: stay away from construction sites.
Keith took his sweet old time counting out the money. “So, what’s your name, Pizza Lady?”
There was no way she was going to tell him her name now. Sabrina kept her lips tipped up in a forced attempt at courtesy and held her hand out for the money.
Keith raised his eyebrows. “Not going to tell me?”
She made an impatient “come on” motion with her hand.
He’d held the cash just out of reach. “Let’s make a deal. If I can’t have your name, how about you give me that kiss?” Then he’d leaned down and sniffed her. Actually sniffed her! “I don’t smell any booze on you this time, so let’s try again.”
The hot blush Sabrina felt crawling up her neck should have set her skin on fire. She gritted out, “A gentleman would forget about that.”
“I used up all my manners when I didn’t kiss the drunk girl. Still feel like celebrating?” He’d grinned as if he’d just delivered the best come-on line ever.
Sabrina, on the other hand, was left speechless, standing there and staring up at him in abject humiliation.
When a throat cleared, Keith had looked behind him and found his crew watching. “Guess now isn’t a good time either. Give me your number and you’ll get that kiss.” He leaned down and whispered in her ear, “All you have to do is ask.”
A heavyset man with a dark goatee interrupted him. “Is that the food? Are we going to eat or what?”
Keith waved a dismissive hand at the construction worker. “Yeah, Joe, in a minute.” He’d turned back to her. “So?”
Counting to ten had kept Sabrina from stomping her foot in frustration. “So, that’ll be one hundred and twenty dollars even.” Out of spite she said, “Plus a tip.”
Keith handed her the money and easily held the pizza boxes. He leaned down and whispered again. “I’ll give you a tip. Ask me for another kiss.”
Arrogant bastard! She didn’t care how good he smelled. Sabrina had turned on her heel and marched back to her car, determined never to see Keith Sutton again. She still had no explanation as to why she’d tortured herself by delivering pizza to the construction site every day for the following two weeks. Maybe it was to remind herself that Keith Sutton was resistible. Maybe it was some form of penance to remind herself never to drink more than one whiskey sour.
She’d managed to stop the deliveries, which wasn’t all her doing. For some reason, Keith had quit ordering from the Pizza Palace. Sabrina had seen him around town and even managed to talk to him at Sarah’s bar the night Tracy had been kidnapped. In his worry, he’d forgotten to flirt and tease her.
Sabrina was relieved that Ben had rescued Tracy from her evil bastard of a father. Luke King had gone back to prison and good riddance to him. That had been a few months ago and she still didn’t know whether she was relieved or disappointed that Keith had given up on getting her name. And that damn kiss.
Sabrina shoved away the memories of her temporary insanity and let her gaze roam the dance floor. Tracy was dancing with her new husband Ben. Her brown wavy hair was arranged in some complicated bun, softened by the curly tendrils surrounding her face. The exquisite mass of hair was accented by a delicate tiara that matched the sparkles in Tracy’s white satin dress. The sweetheart neckline and flowing skirt complemented her curvy figure. The most beautiful part about her though, was that Tracy hadn’t stopped smiling all evening.
Ben Carrington, the obvious reason for her happiness, cut quite the figure in his tux. Now, there was a handsome man. With his lean runner’s frame and glossy black hair, he looked like something out of GQ magazine. As appealing as he was, it wasn’t his good looks that arrested Sabrina’s attention. What made him so attractive was how he gazed down at his bride like she was his entire world. The way they moved to the music and stared at each other, you would have thought they were the only two people in the room.
Sabrina sighed at the romance of it. What she wouldn’t give to have something like that.
“Hey, Pizza Lady. Any rigatoni left?” Somehow, Keith had snuck up and managed to startle her. Sabrina put a hand over her now racing heart.
“Keith Sutton, don’t you go sneaking up on a body like that!” She waved at the aluminum tray obviously full of pasta. “As you can see, yes, there’s plenty.”
Heaven above, he looked even better up close. How was that even remotely fair? He was mouthwatering in plain old jeans and a T-shirt. Clean him up and put him in a suit and she was left speechless. Momentarily.
“Why aren’t you dancing?” Okay, so that came out as more of an accusation than a request for information. She was still dealing with heart failure and a GQ Keith up close with no warning.
“I’m hungry.” She wondered how many times a day he said that.
“I’m not surprised.” Sabrina grabbed a plate off the stack. “What can I get for you?”
He quirked his lips and stared at her as if he had all the time in the world. The room was candlelit but there were a few lights on near the buffet so people could see what they were getting. His teeth gleamed white, even in the dim light.
Sabrina reminded herself to quit staring at his mouth.
“How about a dance?”
“I thought you were hungry.”
Keith’s gaze skipped along the trays of food. “I could always eat. How about you dance with me first?”
Did he not see her white button-up shirt and black tie? Fantasy was one thing, but this was real life. “I’m working.” In case he didn’t get it, she explained further. “I can’t just dance at a reception I’m catering! I’m not a guest.” Sabrina waved her hand toward the room full of people. “Go dance with what’s-her-name.” Why did she have to add that?
“Who?” He glanced over his shoulder and then back at her. “Sarah?”
“Yes. Her. If you aren’t here to be served then you need to get back to your dancing.”
There went that deliberate, meant-to-make-you-melt smile.
“Come on, Sabrina. Dance with me.”
He knew her name. “You know my name?”
“Of course I know your name. I have for a while now. I also know that you’re not a delivery driver. The Pizza Palace is yours.” He held his hand out to her. “Come on. I saw you watching the dancers all dreamy-eyed.”
“I was not all dreamy-eyed! I was waiting to serve dinner!”
How much could she protest before he believed her?
Fiona sidled up next to her. “Go on, Beanie. I’ve got this. No one is ready to eat yet anyway.”
“Beanie?” Keith’s eyes sparkled in delight.
Sabrina scowled at her sister. “It’s Sabrina. Don’t even think about calling me Beanie.”
“Okay, Bea…” She glared at him.
“Sabrina. Dance with me.” He kept that tempting hand out, trying to lure her away.
Yeah, why not? “I’m working.”
“But no one is eating right now.” He snatched a buttered roll and bit into it. “Do you want me to ask Tracy if it’s all right?”
“No! Absolutely not. I am not dancing with you, Keith Sutton.” She shooed him with her hands. “Go away now.”
Keith wasn’t going away. As a matter of fact, he was walking around the buffet and heading straight for her. Jesus, Mary, and Joseph. This couldn’t be happening.
“No. I said no, Keith!”
He took hold of her hand and pulled her away from the buffet. Sabrina looked over her shoulder at Fiona, hoping for a rescue. Her sister simply waved.
“You can’t drag a woman around because you get the notion.” She tried to tug free. Her heart was thumping like a kick drum in her chest. Her protests sounded lame, even to her. “I need to get back to the food. I’m not going to dance, so you can’t do this.”
Before she knew it, she was in the middle of the dance floor with Keith Sutton’s muscular, tuxedo-clad arms around her. No one had seen anything wrong with him pulling a clearly (not really) reluctant woman onto the dance floor.
She’d been wrong. Apparently, he could do this.
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