Dad Bod Rockstar
Part of the Melissa Schroeder Instalove Collection
A road-weary rockstar finds love with a small town baker, but will his fame destroy the one woman he has ever loved?
A lot of people look at my life and think I have it all. Multiple platinum records, more money than I know what to do with, and a seemingly never ending string of women. Everyone thinks they know me, but very few do. I’m ready to settle down, but most women see the rockstar and not the man.
She’s way too young for me, and so innocent I’m embarrassed by my infatuation. But the moment I meet her, I’m in love. I only have a couple days with her before I have to be back on the road, so I fill them with as much romance as I can and I promise to get back to her.
I’ve led a sheltered life. All I have ever wanted was to be a baker. I spent my early twenties building my reputation, and the past two years running my own small town bakery. I’m over the moon at my success, still there has been something missing.
Then in walks Niall Holden, my celebrity crush.
He loves my baking, and insists on taking me to dinner. We spend two glorious nights together because he has to be back on the road. He promises he will return as soon as his tour is done. I want to believe in happily ever after, but stories in the tabloids make me realize I’m not cut out for this kind of relationship.
Only Niall doesn’t agree, and when he shows up in my small town again, he insists that I am the woman for him. That may be true, but does he just want me…or will he want us?
This story is an age gap, small town, surprise baby romance set in Melissa Schroeder’s Instalove World. It includes a grumpy but totally sweet rockstar, an adorkable baker with a quirky way of looking at the world, cupcakes and cookies, and the antics of the Patton brothers and their wives from The Dominon Rockstar Romance series. There is no cheating, an HEA, and can be read as a stand-alone.
Dad Bods made a big impression in 2021 – and they’re not going anywhere! This January, some of your favorite contemporary romance authors are bringing you a sexy selection of brawny, hot Dad Bods and the women who love their men with a little something extra to hold on to.
These men may be built for comfort but don’t be fooled – they will stop at nothing to protect the women who’ve claimed their hearts
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Dad Bod Rockstar
Dad Bod Rockstar
“You’re going to love this place,” Abby Patton says as she practically skips down the street. Her dark curls are practically bouncing with her excitement. I share a look with her husband Knox, the lead singer of Dominion. Abby insisted that we take a day trip from their home base in Charlottesville, Virginia, to come to this bakery. We’re hopping on a plane in a week to spend ten weeks touring aboard.
Knox is holding their two-year-old and has a diaper bag over his shoulder. It’s a look I never thought would ever see him settled down. He had the worst reputation of the three brothers in the Dominion group, but apparently, all it took was the right woman.
“Normally, I would tell her to settle down, but Blossom is one of her people,” Knox says.
“Her people?” I ask, making sure to keep a tight hold on their daughter’s hand. Evie is almost four and tends to wander away. She has no fear.
“They went to culinary school together, although Blossom is a few years younger.”
I look at Abby, who is in her late twenties.
“Younger than Abby?”
He nods. “Blossom is some kind of prodigy when it comes to baking. She took her GED as soon as she could and fought to get into culinary school.”
“But she’s here, in Adam’s Run, Virginia?”
Don’t get me wrong. I grew up in a little town like this in upstate California, and I love going to them. People tend not to realize you’re a celebrity when you’re milling around Main Street. And Adam’s Run has the benefit of being filled with historical landmarks and homes. It’s not too far from Monticello.
“Yeah. She spent time working in New York and DC but moved back here a few months ago.”
We turn the corner onto Adam’s Street, but Abby doesn’t stop in front of Sweet Blossom Bakery. She just keeps going as if she didn’t just walk past the bakery. I look inside, and it’s still packed.
“What the hell is going on?”
Abby tosses me a smile. “Blossom. It’s been like this since she opened. I wonder if she wants my help.”
“Babe, you’re supposed to take it easy.”
Even though she isn’t showing, Abby is pregnant with their third child, and Knox is a pain in everyone’s ass about keeping her safe. He actually talked about canceling the overseas portion of the tour, which would have Abby back safe and sound a few months before the baby is here.
She rolls her eyes and turns down an alley. We follow her until we get to the back door. She knocks twice and waits.
“We could have gone in the front door, but people might have noticed us, and well, people get a little mercenary when it comes to Blossom’s goodies.”
The door swings open the next second, and my world tilts on its axis, leaving me dizzy and breathless.
There stands a petite brunette with big blue eyes. She’s got flour on her face, chocolate on her apron, and the biggest, most beautiful smile on her face. She has a massive amount of hair up in a messy bun.
“Abby! What are you doing in the alley?”
Abby throws her arms around her friend’s neck. “It looked crazy in there, and I didn’t want to cause a ruckus since I have these two with me.”
It’s then that she shifts her attention over to us. “Hey, Knox.”
Then, her gaze lands on me, and she freezes. Like every muscle in her body just stops moving, and she has this weird look in her eyes.
I glance at Abby, who is shaking her head.
“Don’t freak out. It’s just Niall.” Abby turns to me. “Blossom gets a little star-struck when I bring people here to meet her. You should have seen the first time she met the Patton brothers. She had a meltdown.”
The cute baker’s face flushes. “I did not.”
“Yeah, but what about when I brought—”
“Stop telling stories about me.”
I want to demand who has been getting to meet Blossom, but I don’t. It’s not my place, but fuck, I want to know. Also, I want to demand that Abby doesn’t introduce her to more men.
“Nice to meet you, Blossom.”
Her eyes widen, and her face goes a little pale. I’m worried she’s about to pass out, but someone shouts her name from inside. It seems to pull her out of whatever that was.
“Come on in, but don’t touch anything.”
Dylan reaches out for her, but she shakes her head. “Give me a minute, my little prince. I need to see what the problem is. It probably has something to do with us running out of the red velvet whoopie pies.”
Then she turns to hurry off.
“Some things never change,” Abby says as she holds the door open for me. “I don’t think she ever has enough of those, especially on a Saturday.
As we make our way down a long hallway, the scent of yeast and sugar hangs in the air around us as we walk down the hallway. There’s a reason Abby thought of me for this bakery. I have a monster sweet tooth. Don’t get me wrong. I have to be in good shape to tour the way I do, especially in my thirties, but part of the reason I do it is so I can eat what I want. Still, I have a bit of what they call a dad bod, and I am okay with that. I could have the rock-hard abs like some guys, but then I would miss out on chocolate. Only monsters would choose abs over chocolate.
“What I don’t understand is why you can’t go back there and make some more,” an angry male voice shouts. I frown as I strain to listen to Blossom’s answer. Her voice is softer, so I can’t hear what she says in response.
“I demand to speak to the owner.”
Now the man is screaming, and I’m moving before I can think twice. No person should be yelled at like that, but definitely not Blossom. I hand off Evie to her mother before stepping out to the kitchen into the service area.
My gaze zeroes in on Blossom and the man who is now leaning over her. For the most part, she looks calm, but I don’t like it. I stride over and insert myself between the jackass and Blossom.
I’ve seen men like him before. My mother worked service jobs most of her life until I made it big. He’s in his forties, hair thinning on top and wearing a pair of khakis and a polo shirt. Men like him make a sport out of attacking women.
“Do you have a problem?”
“Yes. I want a red velvet whoopee pie.”
“So you think that you can threaten the owner of the bakery? What gives you that right?”
He scoffs. “You expect me to believe that little thing owns this place?’
“Thing?” I say. I see the crowd back up a little, and I don’t blame them. I practically growled the question. This fucker. “I think it’s time you leave.”
“And why would you say that?”
I lean closer. “Because I have a feeling that’s not your wife.” I nod to the young lady behind him. “And you would have to explain to her why you got the shit kicked out of you at a bakery. Especially since she isn’t with another woman in attendance.”
His face pales, but before he can say anything, the woman asks, “Hey, aren’t you Niall Holden?”
Fuck. We were trying to avoid this, but I just couldn’t stand by and let this happen to Blossom.
I don’t acknowledge the question and continue to stare at the man.
He grabs the hand of the young woman who had been standing behind him, but she keeps her eye on me as he drags her out the door.
I watch him until he leaves. Before I can turn around, someone pokes me in the back. I turn and find a frowning Blossom. It doesn’t make her any less beautiful.
“I had that handled.” She sounds completely put out by me.
“I have no doubt. I just don’t like men talking to anyone like that, especially women.”
Something in my tone must tell her that I believe she could handle it. She is small, but I can tell she has a titanium spine.
The crowd starts whispering, and I realize that word is probably spreading even down the street that I’m here. I can move within crowds without people knowing most of the time, as long as I wear a ball cap and sunglasses. It’s going to be hard to avoid now.
I look at Knox, who is smiling like a loon. I have no idea why he’s doing that, but that’s Knox. The boy always has something going on in the back of his mind.
“Okay, that’s it. Close it down, except for the people who had ordered,” Blossom tells a young woman wearing a Sweet Blossom apron.
She turns around, an apology written all over her face. “Come on back here,” she says to us. Again, we follow her to an area in the back where a long table has been set.
“I set this up for y’all before all of that.”
“That’s normal, though,” Abby says.
Blossom is shaking her head which makes her ponytail swish back and forth.
“No. We were featured on some blog about best small-town bakeries, and things just went a little crazy.”
“You have no one to blame but yourself,” Knox says as he settles Dylan next to him on the highchair that Blossom has set up. Evie insists on sitting next to her father, and then there are two chairs left.
She laughs. “True.”
Damn, she’s confident. Most people would defer and try to change the subject. Not Blossom. She knows her worth. I find that beyond sexy on a woman.
“I know y’all don’t have any allergies, but I’m not sure about you, Mr. Holden.”
“No food allergies, and please call me Niall.”
She gives me a small smile as she sets a plate and silverware in front of me. I realize that she wasn’t expecting me.
“I don’t want to put you out.”
She shakes her head. “There’s plenty. I made Abby’s favorite.”
“Huzzah!” Abby says, pumping her fist.
“Be right back.”
Then she slips away.
“I love how this turned out. I knew she wanted a chef’s table, but they aren’t that normal in bakeries.”
I look at Abby. “A chef’s table?”
“I would think someone with your pedigree would have been to one.”
“You mean the ones where you can sit and watch the cooking?”
She nods as I keep taking in the view this does afford us. People are cleaning now, but I can imagine it would be fun to watch when they are bustling around baking.
It’s an odd feeling that I want to sit here and watch her bake. I’ve never been a homebody. For about twenty years, and I have never wanted to settle down. Now, I could imagine settling down with a woman like Blossom.
I blink at that thought, then push it aside. I just met the woman, and while she probably smells of sugar and sin, I don’t need a complication right now.
“Here we are,” she says, coming back in. “I had it in the back fridge to make sure none was sold. My workers still panic when a person like that man comes in sometimes. They aren’t used to the attention.”
The cake she sets down on the table looks like it’s made of fifty different layers. And in all my years of extravagance, I have never seen one so high unless it was at a wedding.
“I get the first piece,” Abby demands.
“Of course you do, love,” Knox says. “You don’t have to yell. Our firstborn will understand.”
Blossom chuckles as she cuts the cake. Watching her, it’s easy to tell that she has done this often. Each time she cuts the cake, it’s almost perfect, with no wobbles. I guess chefs are used to this kind of thing. When she takes my plate, I can’t take my eyes off her hands. Their small, but even at a distance, I can tell they are strong. What I wouldn’t give to have those hands on my body, feel them slide over my flesh. She sets the plate in front of me. I notice she has a tattoo on the inside of her wrist. It’s a cherry blossom branch, delicate and beautiful like the woman herself.
“Nice ink,” I say.
She blushes. “Thanks. I was named for the cherry blossom tree, so I thought it appropriate.”
She settles in the chair to my right, and I fight the urge to pull her closer to me. I keep reminding myself that we are only here for a few days, and I have a feeling Abby would beat me up if I fucked around with her friend and then left.
Still, I can keep myself from wishing things were different. But I learned early in my career that wishes and dreams only happen with my music. Life has only so much to give me, and my success with music is it.
But I can’t sit here being melancholy about that. Instead, I will enjoy this cake and let everything else go.
End of Excerpt
Dad Bod Rockstar
Jan 3, 2022
is available digitally exclusively from Amazon
Dad Bod Rockstar
Excellent short read!
These instalove stories always make things better!
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