Whisper of Temptation

By: Melanie Shawn

CHAPTER 1




Chocolate.

I need chocolate.

Lots. Of. Chocolate.

Sara Kellan had one vice. Yep, that’s right: chocolate. She ate it when she was happy, sad, nervous, frustrated, frazzled. She even used it as an emotional barometer. A bad hair day was a Hershey’s Kiss. Having to pay a traffic ticket that was going to overdraw her bank account was a chocolate bar. This spontaneous road trip was a pan of triple-fudge brownies.

“Are we there yet?!” Trevor called out from the backseat.

The question was innocent enough, but right now it was also like nails on Sara’s chalkboard-soul.

Deep breath.

Only a crazy person would make the twenty-hour drive from Arizona to Illinois with a seven-year-old that had the attention span of a gnat and a three-year-old that couldn’t even sit through an entire movie at the theater.

“Yes, we’re almost there Trev,” she answered the same question she’d been asked over a hundred times in the last six hours.

“Mom, she’s touching me!” her seven-year-old bellowed.

“Am not!” Her precious three-year-old defended herself against her brother’s allegation with the conviction of a wrongly accused death row inmate.

“Are too!”

“Am not!”

“Are too!”

“Am not!”

“Are too!”

What the eff was I thinking?

Her question had only one logical answer, she wasn’t. If anything, she’d lost her ever-lovin’ mind. There were no ifs, ands, or buts about it. No gray area. It was not up for discussion. It was a cold. Hard. Fact.

The only silver lining to this entire fiasco was that at least she would have material for a post on her blog, aptly titled What The F?

The name had come from Sara trying to teach her little sister Shelby math when Shelby was in sixth grade. Her sister would just shake her head and tell her that she didn’t know “what the eff” she was talking about. Shelby was twelve at the time and hadn’t been allowed to curse. Now as an adult, she cursed like a longshoreman. Whenever Sara mentioned it, she said she was making up for lost time. Sara had done her best to explain formulas, fractions, multiplication and theories to her sister, but Shelby and math never made a love connection. For Sara, it was her first true love. Numbers had always made sense to her. It gave her comfort knowing that there was a right answer to something.

Not surprisingly Sara was drawn to a career that dealt with numbers and was a CPA. After she had Trevor she joined a Mommy and Me class where she’d been surrounded by women and a couple of men that had no clue about finances, so she’d shared her expertise. The information she’d given had helped several couples so much that they’d asked if she did any consulting. The thought had never occurred to her, but she’d agreed and slowly, over years, she’d managed to build a solid client base.

Being in a world of numbers was her bliss, but she quickly learned that numbers intimidated most people. One day in Mommy and Me class there were seven women taking notes on the advice that Sara was giving them about finding ways to trim their existing budget and putting that money into building a savings account and then eventually investing. It was honestly the first time any of them had ever heard of it. She mentioned it to Shelby who immediately insisted that her sister start a blog to help women, and men, with tips that could change their lives.

As much as Sara loved numbers she despised technology, so Shelby had offered to design her site and even post her blog entries until Sara got the hang of it. When they couldn’t come up with a name Shelby—the loveable smartass that she is—half-jokingly titled it What the F Mom Blog after the phrase that she’d repeated so many times when Sara had tried to teach her basic Algebra. Then, because her sister said that it needed to be well-rounded and have several different avenues in which she could find an audience, she added the categories: finances, family, food, friendship, fashion, fitness, and favorites with a tagline that read: Figuring life out one F word at a time.

Sara hadn’t thought it would garner much attention but within a few months one of her posts had gone viral. Soon her site was getting over a hundred thousand views a month. She had brand deals, advertisers, and her own merchandise.