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Dad Bod Rockstar
Author: Melissa Schroeder








“You’re going to love this place,” Abby Patton says as she practically skips down the street. Her dark curls are 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 less than a week to spend ten weeks touring aboard.

Knox is holding their two-year-old and has a diaper bag over his shoulder. I never thought I 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. Still, the idea of some prodigy hanging out in a bakery in this tiny town is kind of strange.

“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 our destination. 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 due.

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,” Abby says.

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 has a massive amount of hair up in a messy bun. She’s got flour on her face, chocolate on her apron, and the biggest, most beautiful smile on her face.

“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.

“Uh, hello,” I say.

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 her funk.

“Come on in, but don’t touch anything.”

Mick 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. 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 since I just turned forty. 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 growl. I see the crowd back up a little, and I don’t blame them. 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 the woman by your side.”

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.

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