Jobs. We all have them. Some of us would like different ones, some of us would like a day off from the ones we have, some of us covet other jobs, some of us even probably wish we didn’t have to have a job.
There are some of us who have jobs we love and adore and wouldn’t trade for anything, not really. It might not pay as great but all the sacrifice at some point becomes worth it. Hell, just working in pajamas is worth a hell of a lot, know what I mean?
But jobs, no matter what they are, are a necessary evil. We have bills to pay and well, for a lot of us, money doesn’t grow on trees and we would rather work hard for that money than not…
My characters all have jobs. They may not have started out having a job but they all end up with some sort of job in the end. Nor do they have the most glamorous of jobs… There are a lot of working man jobs, blue collar, doing jobs…
In Ink Spots, one of the things Jaz, the hero does, is tattoos…
Mandi sat backward in the chair, straddling the seat, and reclined so she was in a near prone position on her belly. She hadn’t planned on a tattoo for her birthday, but then she hadn’t planned on Jaz for her birthday either.
They’d agreed on her shoulder for the placement and he’d asked her to trust him as to what the design would be since she couldn’t seem to decide on anything herself. She hadn’t said she wanted to think about it, but he knew if he gave her a chance to do so, she’d likely never do it. He was so in love with ink and what it looked like on a body, on the beautiful canvas of skin, that he had a hard time understanding others who didn’t see the same beauty in it. His words.
He’d delivered on every other promise he’d given her that night, and she’d found she couldn’t deny him this. To give her something she’d have forever, something she’d always remember him by, remember this birthday and how very special and sexually awakening it was. And, man oh man, was it awakening her. She was bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, she was so fully awakened. She—
Behind her, Jaz chuckled. She didn’t know how long he’d been working on her, how long she’d been tense through the stinging pins and needles, how long she’d been trying to relax and breathe every time he told her to, how long she’d been riding the wet vinyl of the seat.
“You need to stay still.”
“I know. I love that you’re aroused by this.”
He slid a gloved finger under her ass to tease and stroke her. “Liar,” he whispered.
She groaned her humiliation at being caught. At the same time, there was no way she could hide it. “Maybe it’s not this that has me so aroused.”
“No doubt it’s not the only thing.”
“You think you might have something to do with it?”
“Only a few inches worth.”
It was her turn now. She giggled into the headrest her arms were wrapped around. “More than.”
Silence ensued for some minutes while Jaz worked. There was something profoundly intimate about getting a tattoo. She’d never given it much thought before obviously or she’d probably have gotten one. Though, at the same time, she’d have probably chickened out as she’d tried to do tonight.
It was permanent. It would always be there. And though she’d made the final decision, fully understanding, fully comprehending what she was doing, she wasn’t usually impulsive.
She smiled. But then, the last few hours had been anything but usual and every bit of it entirely impulsive.
Glancing around the small tattoo parlor, Mandi took in everything she could from the small bit of light coming from the lamp shining on her back.
It was a quaint shop with three mirrored stations, like one would find in a hair salon.
“How many people work with you?”
“One other full-time employee and three part-time. There’s always three people here at a time. Some tattoos take hours and I want someone to be available at all times to help other clients.”
There was a large picture window at the front of the store with the name of the business emblazoned from one end to the other. On the wall beside the front door hung a corkboard with instant pictures pinned to it. She assumed they were images Jaz or his employees had taken of freshly inked tattoos.
While she’d never been in a tattoo shop, she hadn’t expected one to feel so open and comfortable. She always thought to the uninitiated that the atmosphere would be intimidating and maybe during regular business hours it was, but right then, no.
“Why were you in jail?” Jaz tensed behind her and she turned her head to look over her shoulder. His normally open gaze was now slightly shuttered. “I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have asked.”
“No. It’s fine.”
“You don’t have to answer. I know it’s personal.”
“Yes, but then everything about the last hours we’ve spent together has been personal. Do you really want to know?”
“Yes,” she answered without hesitation.
“I snuck out of the house one night. I’d gotten into it with my foster dad and he pretty much grounded me. I was just barely eighteen and way too big for my britches. I went over to my buddy’s house with the intention just to hang out for a while. We were broke as shit and he wanted beer. There was only one option left. Stealing that beer and the packs of smokes all those years ago was about the dumbest thing I’d ever done or ever have done since. What really cinched it for the cops was that my buddy was packin’. I didn’t know but they didn’t care.”
“Did your friend go to jail too?”
“Yep. He got a couple years more than me and we’ve not spoken since.”
“I’m sorry.” She didn’t know what else to say. She definitely hadn’t done anything like stealing, never even so much as thought about shoplifting. She couldn’t imagine what it must have been like for him.
“I am too. I lost a few years that way, but from the second I got in to the second I got out and every second since I’ve tried hard to walk the straight and narrow. As far as illegal activities go. I don’t want to screw things up because they’re really good for me. I’m part owner in a couple of businesses, I’ve got good friends and a job I just lucked into being damn good at.”
And you’ve got me. She didn’t actually say those last words but they fairly shouted inside her head. She’d like to see him again, after her birthday. Jaz had admitted to having a crush on her, wanting her for as long as she’d wanted him, so maybe…
“You ready to see your ink?”
“I am. It’s just a little thing. I told you I wasn’t going to do anything fancy or big. Just a little reminder.”
He got up from the stool he was sitting on and offered a hand to help her up. “Let’s get you up out of that chair and over to the mirror.”
“I think I’m stuck.”
“Not all of you is stuck. Just use your legs and slide off.”
“Yes, and you’ve got a fine one.”
She smiled in spite of herself and slowly slid backward off the chair. Her inner thigh muscles were sore from being stretched and used in ways that weren’t normal for her, and she had a hard time walking without Jaz’s steady weight next to her.
He turned her around and thrust a handheld mirror out to her. Over her shoulder, in the reflection, she saw the fresh tattoo. A small white and light purple swirled birthday candle with a tiny yellow flame. Under the candle was the date and beside that was the name Jaz.
She couldn’t have been more in love with it. “Th-thank you. It’s… I don’t know what I expected, but it’s perfect.” She raised her gaze to meet his and found him smiling from ear to ear.
“I’m glad you like it.”
“I love it.”
“Good. Birthday girls should always love their birthday presents and get immense joy from them.”
Please visit the following blogs for more fun Job snippets:
Need. That’s a pretty strong word. We often say Need when we really mean Want. Need implies something we can’t live without. Food. Shelter. Air. So to say I Need A Hero, well… I think we mostly WANT a hero. I know I do. I want one. I don’t need one. I was raised not to need anyone, least of all a man. My mother was that kind of strong woman and she raised her daughters to not need to depend on anyone but themselves. This can be one of those intimidating things for a man. Some like strong, independent, capable women. Some prefer to have someone who is helpless without them.
I write heroines who don’t need a hero. They’d like one, sure. But they don’t need one. I cloak many of their wants into needs, including their happiness depending on their need for the hero because deep down that’s what we want and what we need.
In my upcoming release, Trouble In The Making, Liz is a capable woman. She’s single, has a career she loves, has a life she lives on her own terms, but in the midst of it all, there are things she needs Johnny for…pleasure, a smile, the love of a lifetime, to step outside herself and become someone different, even if just for a little while, someone worth taking a risk for.
Liz needed coffee. She didn’t just want coffee. She needed it. Johnny Trouble would be arriving later. Rock star. High school crush. Hottest man on the planet in her eyes. Yeah, she needed coffee. Fortifying, dark, rich and sweet.
In-room coffee just hadn’t cut it. this morning. She’d tried, but it soon became clear that only the real thing would do today. The desk clerk had told her about the espresso bar on the second-floor mezzanine when she’d checked in last night. It was all she’d been thinking about. Okay, well not all she’d been thinking about, but it did take up a huge portion of her unconscious thought time.
Damn. She’d gotten dull. Very dull. It was one of the main reasons she was there, to take a chance, to have a little fun, to shake things up a bit. She was a writer, a creative personality, and she was due for some new, exciting inspiration. The man she was meeting, the man she’d been friends with for years, the man who several years ago kissed her for the first time ever and made her feel as though she were a teenager again with very grown up desires, represented everything she was not. He was famous and an extraordinary extrovert. He took life and made it whatever he wanted it to be. And he was interested in her.
How could she pass up a chance to indulge, to bask in that kind of attention?
Liz glanced down and had to force herself not to turn around and head back to her room. The hotel was richly furnished in golds, reds and dark roast coffee brown. There were bits of blue and green and the polished wood and glossy tiles… Johnny Trouble, her soon to be lover, would be used to places so opulent, but she wasn’t and her casual attire showed it. She’d left wearing lounge pants, a t-shirt and flip-flops. She’d brushed her teeth so her breath wouldn’t kill anyone when she spoke, but that was as publicly presentable as she’d attempted to make herself.
She would likely scare a few people, since she had no makeup on and had barely brushed her hair into submission before giving up and putting it up into a ponytail. At the same time, she was used to working at home as a contemporary romance author. She could stay in her pajamas and stick to her comfort zone without worrying about anyone needing to wash their eyes out when they looked at her. Not that she didn’t know how to clean up and look good, but relaxed and calm was what she was aiming for today and her present attire was just that.
It was after ten in the morning on a Thursday. Surely most guests had gone out and about in the quaint city of St. Augustine rather than lingering over a cup of coffee. She’d get hers and get back to her room before too many realized how out of place she was.
She punched the button beside the elevator door that would take her downstairs and tried to keep her mind focused on coffee, but was completely unsuccessful. Thoughts of Johnny, the sole reason for her being in a swanky hotel, kept creeping in. Why had she thought this was a good idea again? Why had she felt so compelled to ask him, of all men, to fulfill her fantasies? You know why. Liz sighed. The secret naughty girl voice inside her head shouldn’t be allowed to talk until she had coffee flowing through her veins. Her angelic good girl voice had no energy to mount a defense yet.
When the doors to the elevator opened, the aroma of freshly brewed coffee hit her before she crossed the threshold and she inhaled deeply. A sign outside the elevator pointed her in the direction of Bar Espresso and she made a beeline for it.
The first thing she noticed as she crossed the threshold was the menu. It stretched four panels long. One for coffees and teas, one for hot espresso drinks, one for cold and one for pastries. She scanned the espresso drinks. What would they think if she ordered one of each?
”Oh dear God,” she whispered under her breath as the voice rippled over her. He was early. He wasn’t supposed to arrive until late tonight or maybe even tomorrow. It was meant to be a Friday to Monday morning weekend. What was he already doing here?
The deep chuckle from behind told her she hadn’t spoken quietly enough. ”No, and I didn’t expect you to refer to me as God quite yet.”
Johnny Trouble. She knew that voice almost as well as she knew her own. His nearness, his gravelly rumble, was nearly as potent for her as the coffee she couldn’t live without.
Everything in her line of sight faded and centered on this one location. It was only the two of them in the universe as far as her mind and body were concerned. They’d spoken just last night right before she’d drifted off to sleep. She’d told him she wanted to back out, that it was a bad idea. He’d told her she was lying, and while she hated to admit it, he’d been right. She’d initiated this, she’d arranged this and no matter how scared she was, she intended to go through with it.
But that had been before he showed up. He was here in the hotel now, standing behind her with one specific purpose in mind and she was quaking in her flip-flops. Only she couldn’t move.
She’d lost her ever lovin’ mind.
”Liz.” The tone of voice was impatient. “Turn around and look at me.”
She shook her head, mute. She couldn’t look at him, couldn’t talk to him. This was crazy. She needed to get her coffee and get the hell out until she was more fortified to handle him.
The air around her shifted and crackled. He was closer, within inches of being pressed to her back. His breath fanned her ear and breezed through the loose strands of hair at her nape. Heat rolled off him and seeped through her thin, worn shirt.
”Turn around, Liz.” He spoke softer, and directly against her skin now.
He was teasing her, taunting her, and it was exactly what she needed, wanted. Only, she wanted so much more too. She just had to get her mind to communicate with the rest of her.
”Really? You’re not going to turn around and look at me?”
What was she afraid of? She’d done the hard part. Well, not the hard hard part, but she’d asked him to give her a long, fantasy weekend and he’d said yes. He wasn’t nervous, or at least he didn’t appear to be, so what was her issue? It was an easy answer. She was the wallflower. It had been her Achilles’ heel all her life. In the safe haven of her home, of her little neighborhood, she was open and comfortable with her life. He represented the opposite of all that, and though it scared her, when she was with him, she couldn’t help but be drawn to it.
”I get it,” he said, coming to stand beside her now. ”You’re taken aback by my celebrity, aren’t you? It’s finally hit you just how famous I am.” Johnny sighed dramatically and Liz couldn’t stop herself from looking at him. He didn’t turn his head to meet her gaze, but there was a little smirk on his lips that, as she stared at it, started to ease the nervousness coursing through her. ”I knew it would catch up to you sooner or later. I know I’m quite the catch for women. I mean, look at me? I’m the quintessential over-the-hill rock star who still wears leather, has long hair and thinks he’s smokin’ hot. Chicks still dig me, baby.”
Liz laughed and nudged him with her shoulder. The familiarity of their long-standing friendship settled in the small space between them. He was as much a smartass now as he’d ever been. He knew his celebrity didn’t matter to her. She was proud of him, proud to know him as a person, as an imperfect, but gorgeous man. She was proud to have known him before he’d ever struck it rich with a hit song, and he knew how hard something like this weekend was for someone so quiet, how out of character it was for her to make the first move. Her inability to turn around and face him was not for any reason other than fear, a little anxiety and a whole lot of discomfort with the immediate situation. She didn’t like being this way sometimes, but more often than not, the homebody in her kicked in and she stayed rooted to what she knew. ”Thank you,” she said softly.
”There’s nothing to thank me for.”
”There is. You’re helping an old friend step outside herself for a while.” She’d spent a great deal of time living vicariously through other people, the characters from her books and, well, then Johnny. He was well traveled and he never failed to entertain and amuse her with some of his stories, the antics of his band, the daring things their fans would do just to be able to touch their coattails.
It was high time she did some real life living of her own.
Please be sure to visit the following blogs for more snippets…
I’m late! I’m so sorry. Ever since I walked away from social media this morning, I’ve been embroiled in the drama of housework and laundry.
I found a few minutes though so, here I am, finally doing my snippet.
City as a setting. I have several different cities in my books, but I’m having to think a lot about this theme. I don’t use cities very much and there’s not as much that happens outside as inside in my stories, but the one that sticks out most for me at this moment is Melting Jane. Jane and her best friend/business partner Edward, share loft space in downtown Denver. The urban setting makes impromptu morning shopping easy and accessible and for Jane, this isn’t always a good thing where Edward is concerned…
“He drove all the way into the city, and he left just like that?” Edward questioned. He drained the rest of his latte and carefully wiped his mouth. Jane wanted to slug him for always being neat and tidy and so put together when half the time, she was less than all that.
“Yep.” What the hell was up with that? All because she told him to go? He didn’t have to give up so easily.
She really was better off that he did go, she knew that. There were just too many complications that came with being involved with a man like him. Life would be simpler without the want, the lust, the sheer hunger to crawl naked all over him.
If he had stayed, would she have given in? Of course she would have. She huffed out a frustrated sigh. She needed to shed the leftover shit from her relationship with Phillip. More than anything, reminders lingering in the house weren’t helping her move on. What was that thing about writing a letter and then burning it being somehow cathartic? Would the same hold true if she burned all the stuff he’d left at her door? Most of it was what she’d given him as gifts, so perhaps that would count as sort of her “letter.”
Indecision gnawed at her. Might be worth a shot. She didn’t want to hold on to someone that had walked away without a backward glance. She didn’t want to hold on to someone she had proved to herself she could live without, even if she had done so while consuming untold pounds of chocolate.
“Hey.” Edward snapped his fingers in front of her face. She blinked and focused on him.
“Where’d you go? I was talking to you and you zoned out on me.”
“I’m tired,” she lied. “You know I don’t get up until the sun is high overhead.”
“Time to get over that. C’mon, finish up.”
“It’s illegal to be this perky this early.” Jane lowered her head to the table. “I don’t want to go shopping.”
“Am not,” she whined. “You said we were going out for breakfast and coffee.”
“And we did. Now, I want to go shopping and don’t want to go alone, so you’re going with me.”
“What about your date from last night. Why not call him to go with you?”
“Because he’s the reason I’m going shopping.”
Edward usually didn’t need a reason to add to his wardrobe, but this was kind of interesting. “Are you ever going to tell me about this guy?”
“Are you ever going to stop moping around the apartment?”
Oh that was low. He was right, but still a low blow. “I’m not moping at the apartment right now.”
“No, you’re moping in this lovely little café.”
“I wouldn’t have to if you hadn’t promised me espresso drinks and pastries I don’t have to make.”
“I’m a sneaky bitch.” Edward winked at her and Jane couldn’t stop the laugh that bubbled up but she did her best to cover it up with a sip of espresso. Straight, unsweetened, smooth, rich espresso. If that didn’t wake her up, nothing would.
“That you are.” She took a big gulp of air and let it out in a huff. “Two stores. No more and if you don’t find what you’re looking for, tough.”
“Four stores and I’ll buy you lunch.”
“Three stores and you buy me lunch anyway.”
“Deal. And you have to try on this hot little black dress I saw yesterday.”
“No deal on that. I don’t need a little black dress, hot or not. I don’t want any new clothes. You can’t tempt me with them.”
“Again with the lies.” Edward shook his head. “Jane honey, you do need that dress and you do need new clothes.”
“Can we just go and get this over with? I want to get back to my sweat suit before it thinks I don’t love it anymore.”
“I’m going to burn it when we get back.”
Jane got up and set the pretty cup and dessert sized plate on the counter. “You’ll do no such thing.
“You’re right. I won’t. At least not the gray one. That one I tossed it in with the trash this morning when we left,” Edward said in his sing-song voice as he pushed the door open and walked outside. Jane was speechless. Momentarily so before she went chasing after him.
“You did what?” she asked, out of breath from jogging to catch up.
“I stuffed it in the trash bag while you were in the shower.” Edward paused outside his favorite kitchen store. “Do you want to go in? We could use a few more silicone spatulas.”
“Don’t change the subject. Why would you throw out my sweat suit?” Edward pushed open the door to the store and disappeared inside. He kept walking away. Did he think she wouldn’t kick him in the shin if they were in a crowded place? “And stop trying to get away from me,” she hissed.
“I’m not trying to get away from you. We need spatulas.”
“Will that be all?” the clerk asked her. Jane was quick to hand the dress over and nodded.
“No, we’ll take these, too.” Edward placed a knee high pair of black boots on the counter. They were beautiful, elegant. Lace up the front, a short curved heel. She loved them immediately.
“Edward, really,” she whispered heatedly, ignoring the curious glance from the young woman behind the counter.
“These will be all.”
Jane knew when she was beat. She walked away, all the way out the door, letting Edward do what he did best. Have his way.
The air was crisp, cold, tolerable. She liked the dry air, was happy there was no wind and that it wasn’t snowing. “Well, this has been a huge success.”
Jane turned to Edward as he joined her on the sidewalk. “What has?”
“Ah yes.” She started walking. “Where are your purchases for your man?”
“Oh I got them the other day.”
“Meaning this was all a ploy again, a set up.”
“I didn’t set you up with anyone other than me. I thought a morning out would be a nice change.”
“I don’t like that you’ve taken to lying to me.”
“If you liked the truth, I wouldn’t have to. Do you want to see him again?”
“I have his number.”
“No, thanks. I said I want to, not that I’m going to. It’s pointless.”
“I don’t think so.”
“I love your optimism.” They walked in silence for a couple of blocks. The sun reflected off the glass of the high rise office buildings and coffee shops along the streets were full of customers. There was energy on the streets of Denver in the mornings, really at all hours of the day and sometimes into the nights. “I’ve missed this,” she admitted, when they stopped at a corner waiting for the street crossing signal.
“I know. You’re not meant to be holed up inside for months at a time like you have been.”
“No. I’m not. I like getting out. I like being around people.”
“You just needed a push.”
“More like a kidnapping.”
“I didn’t kidnap you, but the thought did cross my mind once or twice.” They reached for one anothers hands at the same time, clasping fingers tightly.
“I get it. I’ll try to get out more.”
“I doubt I’ll be hearing from him again. I threw him out last night.”
“He doesn’t strike me as the kind of man who gives up all that easily.”
“Maybe not, but I’m sure he isn’t used to having a door slammed in his face.”
“True. Let’s hope he surprises you and comes back.”
“You know I don’t like surprises.”
Edward laughed and opened the door to their building, ushering her inside. “I know, but he doesn’t.”
Please take sometime today over a nice cup of tea, coffee, cocoa and take a gander at some of the following blogs for their snippets:
It’s cold today, y’all! But then it’s been cold for most of the season. Which brings me to our theme for today. Holding out… Waiting…
Imagine our hot, hunky heros waiting for that one woman, that one soulmate. Many of us write that way, there’s only one man for that one particular woman (or two men or three or… well you get the idea). The gist is the same though… He or they are waiting for the just that particular heroine, or hero, to show up, be dropped off, be stranded, or hell, even come looking for them.
“Hey Charlie, let me in this room.”
“Why do you need in there?”
Carson Jenings sighed and scrubbed a hand over his face. He was tired. Tired of dreams, tired of wandering the woods at night, restless, tired of waiting on the woman to show, and now that she was finally damn here, he couldn’t get her to wake her ass up and answer the door. “I need the person inside, and she’s not answering.”
“Well maybe she’s not there.”
His patience was wearing thin, and he hadn’t slept in days. Dreams of her kept him up, kept him hard and aching and hungry. All he could do to try and ease the frustration in his body was run and hopefully wear himself out. Knowing she was coming though just kept his nerves on edge. She wasn’t here for him, but she was his. Melanie said Ruby would come, and she’d been right. Now all Carson needed to do was get to her without scaring the shit out of her by breaking the door down. Not to mention, his brother Patrick wouldn’t be happy with him if he did it either. “Charlie, it’s seven in the morning. She flew cross-country so she’s got jetlag more than likely, and she’s not used to our little world up here. Trust me, she’s in there and chances are, she’s still getting her beauty sleep.”
“Okay, well don’t tell anyone. I’ll get in trouble for it if Patrick finds out.”
“Won’t breathe a word.” Carson made a motion of locking his lips and throwing away the key. Charlie seemed to believe him and slid the master into the lock, and it popped open. Carson mouthed a thank you and slipped in silently. Sure enough, she was still asleep. The curtains were drawn over the windows, and what little light there was came from the small lamp on the chest of drawers on the opposite side of the room. The only sound was his breathing and the small nasal snore from the woman in the bed. His woman.
Melanie had been concerned with how her sister was going to take that bit of news, but it didn’t really matter much to him. He’d convince her, coax her, seduce her, whatever it took. He needed her, probably in ways he didn’t even know of yet, but the immediate need was her; her body, her sex.
He pulled the padded chair over from the sitting area and sat, propping his feet up on the end of the bed, careful not to jar it too much. For the first time in days, he started to relax and the tiredness began to take over. He could use some sleep. Hell, he could use a whole month of sleep. Crawling into bed next to her seemed like a damn good idea. He knew why she was here, but her sister wasn’t lost somewhere in the wilderness. He knew exactly where Melanie was, and it wouldn’t take long for him to get Ruby to her. The sooner he got her in front of Melanie and proved that the other woman was alive, safe and sound, in love with James, the one fool-headed romantic brother of his, the sooner he could get Ruby into his home and into his bed.
She rolled over, and he caught sight of her face in person for the first time in the low lamplight. She was pretty with soft, welcoming features. He knew from the pictures Mel had shown him, Ruby was soft and round from head to toe. She wasn’t willowy and thin which was a damn good thing as far as he was concerned. He was a good-sized man, and he didn’t want to worry about breaking the woman he was fucking, especially when he planned on doing a whole lot of it.
And that thought of her naked, him naked, of them naked together sealed the debate going on in his head of either dozing in the chair or crawling into the warm bed with her. He wanted to feel her against him. He’d been dreaming of her, imagining her, thinking about this one woman that the spirits had chosen for him and now that she was here, within reach, within his grasp…
Y’all stay warm, grab a cup of coffee, tea, or hot cocoa and go visit the following blogs for more snippets:
Author’s Choice. I love these days. I don’t hurt my brain so much trying to figure out what book to use and post from. I don’t have to dig through my book files to find the right book for what that week’s particular theme is.
At the same time, I love participating in Snippet Saturday for those very reasons. I know, I’m a little goofy. It’s all right. I know it.
Pink Buttercream Frosting has been on my mind a lot lately. Lately being since August when more than a handful of people came to me and wanted to know when I was going to write more books like it. Emotion. D/s. Frosting. So, today, I though that my choice for snippets would be from Pink Buttercream Frosting…
Aidn sat outside the front of Bailey’s townhouse. What in the hell was he doing? Cutting the engine of the Jeep, he looked around the area a little.
Bailey Bakes was painted in swirls of pink, purple and brown on a wooden sigh that hung from an iron rod beside the glass door. It had a touch of class to it, historical. “Now or never,” he murmured, getting out and locking the Jeep’s doors. Before he could think about it again, he crossed the sidewalk and pushed open the front door, stepping inside the small bakery. A bell jingled above his head and the smell of vanilla assailed him.
“Hi, can I help…”
Bailey’s words trailed off once she raised her eyes. She was wiping her hands on an apron adorned with cupcakes and had a smudge of white across her forehead.
She swallowed visibly. “What are you doing here, Aidn?”
“Honestly? I don’t know.” He looked around, taking in the tiny shop, knowing his answer wasn’t adequate. His eyes lit on the front window display of three very beautiful, very different in design wedding cakes. He walked over, stuffing his hands in his pockets for lack of anything better to do with them other than to reach for her, to know if she was as soft and exciting to the touch as before. “Did you make these?”
“I decorated them. They aren’t really cakes.”
I really need to get the hell away from you. There was such warmth in the bakery, like coming home after school on a spring day to a house smelling of fresh baked cookies. He wasn’t a homey kind of guy, he wasn’t nostalgic, but one would never have known that if they were privy to his thoughts in that moment. Robert would be having a damn field day with this. He needed to get away from her and the good-bye word was on his lips but that’s not what was coming out. “What are they?”
She giggled and the sound caused something in his heart to tighten and then loosen. Big fucking danger zone.
“They’re actually made from foam that is cut and shaped, then covered with icing and fondant and decorated.”
“Huh. Learn something new every day. You do bake real cakes though, right?”
She rolled her eyes and his hand itched to spank her for the gesture. She was teasing with him, but still, the urge to bend her over his knees and yank her jeans and panties off so he could give her a good bare-hand-to-bare-ass spanking was nearly overwhelming.
“Yes, of course I do. I wouldn’t make any money otherwise.”
“Did you go to school to learn this?”
“A few years before my divorce, I started baking a lot, took some cake decorating classes. I found that I enjoyed it, that I was good at it. I took some business courses, a few pastry courses and well, here I am.”
“This is why you were so in love with the lotion, isn’t it?”
She nodded along with letting another giggle escape. He should leave, but he was going to kiss her instead.
And he did. With all the tenderness he could muster, he cupped her face with one hand and pulled her flush against his body with the other, lowered his head and kissed her surprised mouth. It was soft and gentle, a mere tasting of her.
When he lifted his head long before he wanted to and looked at her, her eyes slowly opened to meet his. She licked her lips and he bit back a groan.
“Oh wow,” she whispered.
“Indeed,” he whispered back, tasting the corner of her mouth.
“I…” She blew out a breath then gulped another back in. “That was…”
He focused his gaze on her face. Her cheeks were pink, her eyes were bright with hunger, and he could see her pulse beating wildly in her neck. She wanted him. She was aroused and hot for him just like that. In the space of a heartbeat, she’d gone from wary and business-like to lusting. It was incredibly tempting, knowing he had that kind of power over her.
“Ask me for another kiss, Bailey.”
“Please, may I have another kiss?”
Her eyes widened once the word registered. He wasn’t sure why he’d put it out there, put the line in the sand, but he wouldn’t take it back. It seemed the right thing to do.
“Please, may I have another kiss, sir?”
He couldn’t explain his reaction to hearing her say ‘sir’…pride, power, happiness.
“I want to try something. Will you let me?”
“I want you to close your eyes. Just listen to my voice. Trust me. Please, Bailey?”
She twisted the apron strings between her fingers and looked down at the ground. “Why?”
“In one of the books on your bookshelf you tagged a page about sensory deprivation and while I could likely find something to blindfold you with, I’d rather just ask you to close your eyes, to listen to my voice, to just talk to me and let me in.”
Aidn could see she was struggling just as much as he was with the request. She was fidgeting with her fingers, wouldn’t look at him, and worrying her bottom lip with her teeth. When she finally lifted her head, her eyes were closed and his heart skipped a beat. “Good girl. Now, say it again. Say ‘sir’ again.”
She licked her lips and swallowed hard. “Sir.”
He dropped his hands from her hair and took a measured step back, taking in some air. What was he doing? Why wasn’t he leaving? Why was he leading her down a submissive path when it was all kinds of wrong for him to do so? Why couldn’t he resist her?
“Oh yes, such a good girl.”
Okay, so yeah… Anyone else want some frosting? Homemade, of course…
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