The Sticky Cowgirl
Samuel Stevenson gazed down at the white flour now coating the front of his gray suit. His incredibly expensive gray suit. His incredibly expensive, custom tailored gray suit. “Was that really necessary?” he asked softly as he met the angry gaze of the woman standing on the other side of the large worktable. He composed himself, but the urge to reach out and strangle her was strong and it took everything he had to resist it.
It would, in fact, be wrong for him to do so, though it would make him feel so much better. It would solve part of his company’s problem, too. She’d been the biggest pain in the ass since the beginning. She was the last holdout. She was the last obstacle blocking his path.
And she’d just flung pastry flour at him. He sighed and curled his fingers into his palms.
“Get. Out. Of. My. Store.” Her words were measured, spoken low, and held back a temper that probably rivaled his. He couldn’t deny the attraction he’d felt for her the first moment he walked into her little bakery. But while the physical attraction to her blonde wavy hair she liked to wear in pigtails and her cute little sundresses that always drew his eye to the V between her breasts, her dark chocolate eyes and feet always clad in cowboy boots was strong, her less than willing attitude to listen to him and his proposal, left a lot to be desired.
“Miss Dawson,” he started again calmly, barely holding his anger in check while he brushed at the flour, which only made the stain worse. He gave up. “If you’d give me five minutes I know I could make you ?”
“There is nothin’ in the world you have to say that I want to listen to. You’re not gettin’ my business.”
Samuel glared at her. “With the money you would make by selling me this…this hole in the wall store, you could open a bigger one. You could afford to build one to your specific needs and design, state of the art. You ?”
“I don’t want any other store front or location. I want this hole in the wall and I’m not selling it to you.”
“Why are you being so difficult about this? It’s a good offer.”
“Maybe for you. I’m still not moving.”
“How did you end up being able to purchase it anyway? Most of your neighbors leased, yet you own. You’re also a start-up.”
“What? You can’t do your own research?” When he didn’t answer, she gave a frustrated growl and he had to bite back a smile. She was ladylike, but she was also a mama bear and the bakery was her cub. He might not like her tenacity, the difficulty she was causing his company’s project, but he had to admire her.
“The building was just sitting here. The owner was behind on property taxes and it was going to go up for auction. I wanted it. It was a candy store years ago. All kinds of homemade candies and whenever we’d come into town, my parents would bring my brother and me here. My father paid the taxes and helped me set up shop. And now you…” She pointed at him. “You want to take it away from me.” She slapped her wooden rolling pin down on the dough in front of her and began rolling, moving it smoothly back and forth until the ball took the shape of a flattened circle. The more she rolled this way, then that way, the circle reformed into a rectangle. “It has sentimental value to me. It’s more than just a building. Besides, it wouldn’t set too well with the people around here.”
Her words mirrored and confirmed his thoughts and he nodded, even though she wasn’t looking at him. “I know, but you can open up a new place. I’m offering you more than enough to buy into a bigger and better location.” He knew the answer though. No matter what he offered or said, she wouldn’t change her mind. He couldn’t let her sentiment cloud his objective.”
“I don’t want a bigger or better location. I want this one. Right here. The one you’re trespassing on all the damn time. We don’t need any more riverfront condos that no one in this economy can afford anyway.”
“It brings work to the area.”
“For a little while, sure. And then what? Half of the units sit empty and those who built it are out of work again? No. You’re not getting my store just so you can tear it down.”
“I’ll add another twenty thousand to my offer. That’s considerably more than any of the other owners have received. They were happy to sign on the dotted line. You’re the last one, Miss Dawson.”
“Then I’d say they were too damn easy.” She wiped her brow with her arm and brushed a strand of hair out of her face. “The answer is no. I lucked into this little piece of property and it’s been perfect for me and my business, so I’m not giving up without a fight.”
“What are you making?” Samuel blurted. He hadn’t meant to ask, but ever since she rolled out the dough, then brushed it with butter, he hadn’t been able to look away from her hands. They weren’t exactly the prettiest ones he’d ever seen. The nails were short and there was stuff caked under them. He suspected it was the sugary mixture she was currently sprinkling across the dough from one end to the other and back again. She moved quickly, efficiently, but she was precise in her movements. He imagined she could do her job in her sleep and whatever she was making would turn out as perfect as if she were wide awake.
“Sticky buns. My grandmother’s recipe. Don’t you know anything about the businesses you’re buying out?”
Samuel shrugged. “It’s simpler to ?”
“To bury your head in the sand? To see numbers instead of people?” she finished for him.
“Something like that,” he murmured. “I ah… I don’t believe I’ve ever had a sticky bun.” Her eyes suddenly lifted and met his. He smiled at her surprise.
“Never?” He shook his head as her eyes widened. “But how is that possible?”
“There weren’t a lot of sweets allowed in my house growing up and I guess I’ve never felt the need to change that. Sweets like what you make, while they look good and smell good, aren’t good for you.” Her gaze narrowed as the words left his mouth. Great. Now he’d just insulted her business even further. Way to score points there, buddy.
“There are a lot of things that aren’t good for you, but if you’ve ever stopped to look, some of those things bring the purest joy to someone’s face and my sticky buns happen to do just that.”
“I didn’t mean ?”
“Miss Daw ? Samantha, can we please…?” He didn’t even know how to talk to her now. She went back to her task and he once again was captured by the effortless motion of her hands. She started with the side of the dough farthest from her and began rolling it toward her. Every few seconds she’d stop and tuck in an edge or smooth out a crease, but then she’d start rolling again until she was finished.
He’d never watched anyone in the kitchen before. His house had cooks and butlers and he hadn’t been allowed in the kitchen. He actually hadn’t been interested in what went on behind the scenes. He couldn’t even remember if he’d ever said thank you to any of the servants who’d worked for his family.
Lost in his own thoughts, he hadn’t realized she’d been talking. His face heated with embarrassment as he tried to recover. “I’m sorry. What?”
“I asked if you wanted to try one.”
The smile on her face, just a small one, barely more than a tilt of her lips endangered his thoughts again. The soft look she leveled at him did funny things to his insides, things he wasn’t accustomed to having happen in business situations.
He was stunned that she would ask, but recovered quickly enough. The professional thing to do here was to turn down her offer. “Yes, I would love to.”
She nodded and wiped her hands on the apron she wore, not that it helped much. She was as covered in flour as he was. “Come with me.”
Available as an ebook:
Lone Star Sweets, Book 2
Life is about to get sticky for by the book businessman, Samuel Stevenson.
Raised in Texan society, groomed to take over his stepfather’s company, and the hope of every debutante mama this side of Dallas, he wasn’t supposed to fall in love with a thorn in the company’s side: Samantha Dawson, owner of The Sticky Cowgirl.
But, fall in love he did.
Now, his job is in jeopardy, his mother is beside herself, and Samantha won’t budge an inch. Will Samuel lose everything, or will the boot wearing, sassy mouthed rancher’s daughter show him exactly what he’s always wanted?
Series: Lone Star Sweets, Book 2
Publisher: Lissa Matthews
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Length: 137 pages
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