Today’s theme is Unusual Professions. I don’t know that I’ve written unusual professions per se. At the same time, perhaps I have…cake baker, professor, race car driver, classical flautist and instrument tech (however those last two are in a book awaiting edits).
I spent some time in conversation yesterday with theblackraven and we decided on my candy maker, Jane from Sugar Rush. She makes chocolate truffles infused with chilies.

“All right, so, you’ve seen me. You can go now. I believe you know where the door is.”

“I appreciate the invitation to leave, but I was hoping we could have dinner together.”

“Nuh-uh. No, sorry. I’m not dating right now.” And she wasn’t. She’d given two years to a guy who had sweet-talked her, who wasn’t even in the same yummy ballpark as Cowboy Surfer, and look where that got her? Nowhere. She was safe like this, living vicariously through Edward’s tireless, sex-filled search for “the one.”

“Fair enough, but just so you know, I don’t believe you.”

“It doesn’t matter what you don’t believe.” She turned off the stove and poured the scalded cream over chopped bittersweet chocolate. The aroma filled the immediate air around her, and she inhaled deeply. The scent of excellent chocolate never got old.

“What are you making?”

He’d stepped close, standing just behind her shoulders. She could feel the heat coming off his body and if she leaned back, she’d be touching his chest. Instead of doing just that — because she so wanted to — she pressed herself closer into the edge of the counter, picked up a wooden spoon, and slowly started to stir the cream into the chocolate. “Truffles. Like the ones you didn’t get this afternoon.”

“I smell chili peppers.”

“Mmm. Yes. We infuse the cream with them. It is a very delicate balance of flavor, the chocolate and the chili. It’s sweet at first bite, but then a blast of heat erupts on your tongue, completely intoxicating your mouth with flavor.”

“You know they say that chili peppers are an aphrodisiac, stimulating the blood and nerve endings.” He leaned closer still, his breath blowing against her hair. “Maybe we should try it out.”

“Not on your life.” Go away go away go away.

“We’ll see.” His breath brushed the edge of her ear, sending a shiver up her spine. What did she have to promise the universe to get him to leave and stop tempting her? “Is this your business then?”

“It’s mine and Edward’s. We started it after he went through a hard breakup with a guy he’d been dating at work. He quit shortly after and decided that the way to mend a broken heart was through chocolate.”

“I know many women that would agree with that. How did you meet? You and Edward, I mean.”

Many women? Of course there were many women in his life. Just look at him. She was nothing more to him than a blind date. It didn’t really explain what he was doing in her kitchen though. Blind dates that didn’t go right usually didn’t get a second chance, and guys like him didn’t chase after women like her either. “In a candy making class a little over a year ago.”

“And? I want the whole story.”

Jane sighed and fought against grinding her teeth in frustration. “He was taking the class to learn to make candy for Valentine’s Day for his boyfriend. When they broke up, I made these for him one day to try and cheer him up and, well, here we are.” Having Graham so near made concentrating on anything difficult. It was a wonder she could think straight at all.

“So, are these what he was talking about when he said you were sitting around eating chocolate all the time?”

There was laughter in his voice. While not surprising, it stung that he was laughing at her, teasing her about it. “He said that?” Mortified, she whirled around and wished she hadn’t. He was standing right there, her nose not even an inch from his chest. He was broad and solid, and she wanted to be wrapped in his arms. Stop that. She looked up at him. Something else she wished she hadn’t done.

“Yes. And it turned me on immediately.”
   
“Don’t say that. Don’t say you were turned on because I eat chocolate. I swear I’m going to kill him.” She was struggling not to cry, but more from anger and humiliation than sadness. “He shouldn’t be telling people that! Dammit!” She began to turn away, but Graham’s hand on her arm stopped her movement and held her firmly between his body and the counter. She tried to move, tried to push against his grip on her, but he wouldn’t let up. Fucking truth be told, she didn’t want him to let go. She wanted him to really, really want her.

“Jane, it’s okay. He’s worried about you. And…” His gaze traveled up and down her body, heat flaring in eyes she shouldn’t be looking into, voice dropping low. “It’s true. I happen to like that you aren’t afraid to indulge yourself in chocolate. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want to know what else you like to indulge in.”

She gave a self-depreciating snort and fought to keep the negative words on the tip of her tongue from spewing out her mouth.

“You’re insufferable, and I still think you should leave. You know as well as I do nothing could ever work between us. All we’ve done is argue since we met earlier.” With a sharp tug, she broke free of his grasp and turned back to the chocolate. She pulled the spoon out and took the bowl to the refrigerator. Once she put it inside, she closed the door and leaned her head against it.

“No, I actually don’t know that and neither do you. What’s more, I don’t believe it. We’ve only argued because you’re too stubborn to admit you want to see me naked.”

She couldn’t believe he just said that, that he’d come to that conclusion. “What?”

But, oh dear God, he was right. She wanted to see him naked. She wanted his hands all over her as he kissed her harder than he had at the cabin. She…she had to stop thinking like that. She didn’t want to be hurt again, and man oh man could he hurt the hell out of her. “Then I’ll believe it enough for the both of us.”

“Are you sure you want me to go?”

No. “Yes.” She closed her eyes and waited without turning around. A few heartbeats later, the door closed and when she looked up, he was gone. So, why didn’t she feel better?

Because you really didn’t want him to leave.

“Oh shut up,” she murmured.

Sugar Rush will be available from Loose Id later this month. Please enjoy Snippet Saturday by visiting the blogs of the following wonderful authors:

McKenna Jeffries
Vivian Arend
Ashley Ladd
Kelly Maher
Mari Carr
Jody Wallace
Shelley Munro
Taige Crenshaw
~lissa