Once Upon A Bet – A Grumpy Single Dad Read Online Penelope Bloom

Categories Genre: Contemporary, Romance Tags Authors:

Total pages in book: 86
Estimated words: 81231 (not accurate)
Estimated Reading Time in minutes: 406(@200wpm)___ 325(@250wpm)___ 271(@300wpm)

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Once Upon A Bet - A Grumpy Single Dad

Author/Writer of Book/Novel:

Penelope Bloom

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All I ever wanted was the perfect happily ever after. All he ever wanted was to ruin my freaking life. Okay, that’s a smidge dramatic, but hear me out.
My new neighbor might as well plant an “unavailable” sign in his front yard.
He’s got biceps made for pulling swooning maidens out of danger, eyes built for melting glaciers (and panties), and a smile that makes my knees want to buckle.
But he’s grumpy, stubborn, divorced with two kids, and he’s only in town for three months.
It’s pretty obvious I need to stay far, far away.
But then he kisses me. First, I see stars. Then I see babies with steely blue eyes and chiseled jawlines. I see white-picket fences and just maybe that happily ever after I always dreamed of.
He says the best he can do is three months of casual fun. No feelings. No attachments. Then he’ll move on, and so should I.
Remember the part about him ruining my life? Yeah, I didn’t even get to it yet. That all started with a bet.
Books by Author:

Penelope Bloom



* * *

I’m going to let you in on a little secret.

Wishes do come true.

Unfortunately, I made my wish when I was seven years old and thought My Little Pony was the peak of artistic brilliance.

I stole coins from my mom’s purse every weekend and tossed them into a fountain, whispering my wish. I stayed up late and watched out my window for shooting stars to boost my chances. I even called in to a psychic hotline once to ask about my future just so I could know if my wish had any hope.

Must’ve been a pretty good wish, right?


I believed all the best stories started with four words: “once upon a time.” Don’t ask me why I developed a freakish obsession with this idea, but I did. So I wished I’d find my own “once upon a time” story when I grew up.

Did I ever think to give any specifics? Of course not. I didn’t mention that the dreamboat in my story should not be a grumpy ogre of a man with more baggage than JFK airport. I didn’t clarify that it’d be nice if the guy wasn’t more than ten years older than me. I didn’t even add that it’d be nice if he wasn’t divorced with two (admittedly adorable) kids.

So my wish did come true. I got my story. The problem is that it’s more of a tragic comedy than a fairytale romance. Maybe you could call it a fairy tragedy. A tragitale comedy?

Anyway, the real title of my story would be “Once Upon A Fucking Immature, Selfish, Asshole’s Stupid Bet”.

But they probably wouldn’t put that on the cover. No, by the time you picked it up off the shelf they’d likely just call it “Once Upon a Bet.”

And every time things got worse for me, you could point and laugh, because you’d know I was the one who wished for this.



The two little people behind me giggled while we waited in line. I knew exactly what that giggle meant but pretended I didn’t. Rule number one of being a fun dad was playing along. It was honestly pretty easy to keep kids happy if you just stuck to that simple rule. Unfortunately, keeping my ex-wife happy hadn’t been nearly as simple.

I showed no sign of hearing the giggling. I stuffed my hands in my pockets and looked around, just admiring the dinky little small town general store. That was me–the totally unsuspecting dad. Just the old guy taking a nostalgic look around his former stomping grounds. There wasn’t a clue in my mind that my little angels were scheming behind me.

“You’ve got to,” one of the small voices whispered. That one was Billy, my nine-year-old.

“We’re gonna get in trouble.” That slightly lisping, raspy voice was Molly, my six-year-old.

I whistled with no particular tune, letting them know I still had no idea.

I wasn’t exactly in the mood to play games, but I knew this was hard on them. I’d just uprooted them from our lives in D.C. so we could come to the middle of nowhere town of Fairhope, Colorado. It was temporary, but three months might as well be an eternity for little kids. They wouldn’t be seeing their mom–my ex-wife, Katie–for two weeks, either.

It would’ve been easier to let them stay with her until I got settled in here, but it worked out for Katie to let me have them, and I never passed up time with the kids when I could get it. I may have never been meant to be a good husband, but that didn’t mean I couldn’t be a good dad. A damn good one, in fact.

My boss had only given me three months leave for the family emergency, but this was going to be great for all of us. I was going to make sure of that. Besides, it was good to show the kids where their old man had grown up, even if Fairhope was a little… dated.

The giggling continued while I looked around, noting the dust gathering on boxes of name-brand medication high up on the shelves behind the counter. I lifted my finger to tap a little candy-cane decoration that was about two months past the season. The whole town had a sense of being frozen in time. Like nothing had changed since I left after high school.

The downtown was a scattering of rustic little specialty shops and a few mainstays like the theater, the general store, the bowling alley, and of course, my grandpa’s inn. If you drove a minute or two in any direction, you’d be in the rolling hills that were dotted with charming little houses that were all built in the late 1800s and early 1900s.

I’d been back to visit every couple years to see my Grandpa, and the feeling struck me every time I was here. This whole place was a strange little bubble–completely insulated from the outside world. Once or twice, I’d fantasized about packing up and moving out here, but there wasn’t exactly work for someone with an M.B.A. in business in a small town like this. No. To me, this place was a dying reality.