I’ve been working on this book for a long time. It’s the first in a new series set in San Antonio, Texas, called Lone Star Sweets. I have proofs for the covers for the first two books and will set up a cover reveal for the them when I have the finals. I will also then let you know the release schedule for the books. In the meantime, I thought though I’d give you a little taste…
Cassandra Jamieson checked her watch again. Another ten minutes had passed. Really? She sighed and fanned herself with her hand because she didn’t have anything else with her. It didn’t do her any good. She’d had no idea the line for cupcakes would be so long in front of her, or, she turned to look, behind her for that matter. She’d had no idea it would take to so long to order a cupcake either. It was a little cake and dollop of frosting. It wasn’t rocket science and it wasn’t something one’s life depended upon if they didn’t get one.
Yet, it would appear many people took their cupcake selection pretty seriously. Her free period would be over soon and though the truck was parked somewhere in the downtown area during the same hours every day, too many of those days had passed without her doing anything about him. Or the feelings still resonating within her.
The mid-day sun streamed bright and scorching. She’d be too hot to eat a cupcake by the time she got to the front of the line, but she’d be willing to pony up every dollar she was carrying for every bottle of water the vendor might have. Chef’s jackets weren’t exactly made of the most lightweight, breathable material. Oh, she knew she could have changed, but she only thought she’d been in line for a few minutes and the few blocks she’d had to walk were fine, what with a little cloud cover and a slight breeze. Those two things had gone away the second she’d spotted the line to side of the cupcake truck.
Karma was laughing at her.
Three more people to get through and she’d be in a little shade under the retractable black and white striped awning.
Another step forward and only two customers in front of her.
Cass got a good look at the menu from where she stood. There were very simple cake flavors; chocolate fudge, vanilla bean, red velvet, spice, lemon, and coconut. Nothing fancy, nothing earth shattering. What was fancy and earth shattering was the variety of frostings and fillings. From a basic buttercream to a triple chocolate ganache to a lemon chiffon cream cheese with blueberry preserve swirl, the frostings filled up two chalkboards. Two other chalkboards listed the fillings. One could choose from peanut butter, Bavarian cream, strawberry jam, pureed cherries jubilee, or homemade marshmallow cream made with local, micro-brewed dark beer. Beer and marshmallows? In a cupcake filling?
At the same time, there were an array of fun cupcake flavors such as S’mores, Blue Velvet, and Cotton Candy.
She suddenly had more of an appreciation of the decision making ability of anyone who was stood in front of the menus of the nearly overnight sensation that was the Cupcake Cowboy’s mobile bakery.
Cupcake Cowboy. Jackson. Cass sighed and smoothed her hair back. Not that she could see if it looked decent or not. She’d been sweating enough that all her make-up was probably collecting in a pool on the sidewalk somewhere ten feet back. She knew she looked a sight and not a pretty one, but then the reason she was standing in line wasn’t a pretty reason and had nothing to do with cupcakes, either.
Now or never, girl. Cass stepped forward, straightened her jacket and looked up, waiting for his eyes to meet hers, waiting for him to realize who was standing in front of him. The longer it took him to see her, the more her nerves kicked in and nausea settled in her gut. What if he yelled? No, he wouldn’t make a scene in public like that. What if he completely ignored her? That might happen. What if he walked away again and refused to talk to her? That was the most likely.
This was all teenage behavior too. Cass was well aware of how it would appear. Older woman chasing younger man after being spurned months before. His attitude had left a lot to be desired in the heat of the moment that afternoon in her office, but she was the one still pining for the jerk, still trying to reach out, still trying to capitalize on that spark between them, especially since he was no longer her student.
She was forced to admit, even if just to herself, that the simple fact of the matter was, she missed him. His grudge holding irked her. The memory of his kiss made her yearn.
And, Cass had learned, ‘What if’ questions were never a good thing. They usually happened in the form of the negative rather than the positive and wreaked havoc. Those questions had been plaguing her ever since she made the decision to force his hand, to put an end to the silent treatment he’d been giving her.
If he chose to keep this separation between them, she’d have to accept that the feelings she’d developed for him weren’t reciprocated, but she had to try first. Didn’t she?
Cass cleared her throat but Jackson continued writing on his little order pad. His fingers, stained with icing gels and fresh fruit juices, tightly gripped a green pencil. She’d dreamed about those fingers for months, longer than that if she were honest with herself. It started, this fascination with him and his hands the first day he walked into her dough class. He’d had the most beautiful hands, with long, strong fingers. There were some calluses on the pads and outer edges of his palms, which she guessed were from when he worked his family’s ranch, but that didn’t detract from the reality that he had a gentle and steady, yet forceful and insistent touch with pastry. He’d had such a knack for ingredients, an incredible palate and ability to blend tastes, but he lacked the patience dough making took.
As he tried to progress through his classes, she and his other instructors realized one thing about his ability. He sucked at all things pastry, except cakes, frostings, and fillings.
“Sorry ‘bout that, ma’am. What can I get ya?” he asked as he tore the page he’d been writing on and handed it off to someone just out of sight.
He’d looked up just as she spoke. A surprised, wide blue gaze whipped over her face before narrowing until she could barely see the irises. He schooled his features quickly and plastered on a tolerant smile. He was all business now. “Ms. Jamieson. I didn’t expect to see you. What’ll you have?”
“You talking to me again and to offer an apology.”
“Unnecessary, but accepted. As you can see,” he said with a sweeping gesture of his arm to encompass both the truck and growing line behind her, “you were wrong in your assessment of me and my plans for a cupcake business.”
Cass didn’t consider herself a proud or boastful person, but this humiliating and humbling experience was not one she wished to prolong or repeat. “Yes. It does seem that way, which is why I’m here trying to apologize.”
Jackson waved off her comments. “Appreciated, but again, unnecessary. Now, as we are rather busy, unless you’re gonna order somethin’, I’m gonna have to ask you to step aside.”
And just like that, the infuriating, hot as a Texas summer cowboy dismissed her. He motioned the woman standing behind Cass to move forward and for a moment, Cass was unable to move. Should she stand her ground or move out of the way? He’d made it clear he didn’t want to talk to her so maybe that was all she was going to get from him. Maybe he was going to keep up this immature slight forever. Maybe there was nothing more she could or should do. He made the choice to shut her out, to forget the heat that radiated between them, and perhaps it was Cass’s turn to do the same.
Decision made, she turned away only to immediately turn back. She tapped the shoulder of the woman who’d taken her place in front of Jackson. “Excuse me. I wasn’t done.” Cass slipped in and let the woman’s huff roll right off her back. This thing with him was more important than some cupcake order and he was just going to have to deal with it.
He sighed. “Ms. Jamieson, I told you I?”
“Yes, I know what you said. You also told me I needed to order something or move, but you didn’t give me the chance place my order for what I want.” Of course, she didn’t want a cupcake. It was too damn hot out for a cupcake. But it wasn’t too damn hot to want Jackson. Naked. Pressed against the back of his truck. Audience or not.
As I said, I’ll be letting you know more about the plans for this book and the others in the series soon…