Excerpt From Hot Buns by Marianne Stephens

Copyright © Marianne Stephens, 2016

“Tell me about Sinfully Sweet Bakery and Catering. Isabelle doesn’t know everything, I guess.”
Angela relaxed whenever talking about her company and her career dream. Vinnie had known about it. Part of their future plans together had included a bakery and catering service, except it would have been both of theirs, not just hers.
“Long story short, I finished college and culinary school, worked in Mom’s bakery while starting my own catering service. When my sister, Lydia, opened her lingerie store, it seemed like a good idea to move my business there.” She opened her purse, pulled out a brochure, and handed it to him. “My product list. Not exactly what your normal Italian bakery has. Or what the usual catering business offers.”
Vinnie scanned the pamphlet. “I looked online and saw this. Unique idea and it must be lucrative.”
“I offer things like ‘bikini cakes’ and other sexy cookies and hors d’oeuvres. People jump at the idea of something naughty and different.” She checked the timers and then leaned back in her chair. “I cater lots of bachelor/bachelorette parties. But also birthdays and whatever events people celebrate. If they call and I have openings, we cater. Or people come and pick up what they want for private parties.”
Vinnie looked around the room. “We were on track for all this.” He stared deeply into her eyes. “We could have been together.” He sighed. “I still remember our dreams and goals.”
One timer rang, and Angela jumped. She moved from the table to check the cookie oven. She, too, remembered everything they’d shared, but so much time had gone by. Business. Concentrate on that. “We need to get these trays out to cool and do the next batch.”
Their discussion ended, she enjoyed his help in removing cookies and starting the next round.
Vinnie wore his jeans again, this time with a pristine white T-shirt. If she hugged him, would they fall into a passionate frenzy, just enough to satisfy her desire for him but allowing heartache to stay at a distance?
Once the cookie timer had been reset, she checked her cakes. Fifteen minutes until they’d be done. Without looking at Vinnie, she walked into the hallway. “Be right back,” she said, and headed for the bathroom.
After switching on the light, she checked the surroundings. It had been remodeled from top to bottom. New floor, beautiful full counter with sink, light-blue paint. The tub was gone, and heat raced up her cheeks as she remembered how she and Vinnie had sometimes shared a lusty water encounter in the old, claw-foot tub. A small enclosed shower now took its place.
Angela stared into the mirror. She needed to cool down, both from the heat of the ovens and the overwhelming desire to touch the man she still loved. Damn him. Why couldn’t she forget him and the heartache she’d suffered? She splashed cold water on her face and grabbed a towel. While drying, she inhaled and relished the aroma of Vinnie’s scent that clung to the towel fibers.
God help her, but she wanted him. Business deal, heartache, or not. Not touching him or having him touch her for their week together wouldn’t work. She didn’t want it to. Being in his arms again and making love would be heavenly and satisfy every craving in her body.
But, would he want her? If she read his body language right, he did. That hug they shared aroused every fiber in her body. Had he felt the same?
She walked back into the main room. Vinnie was staring at her trays of cookies.
“I know what these will be,” he said as he pointed to the penis sugar cookies. “Use a model or your imagination?” he asked as he moved his hand as if to grab a cookie.
Angela reached over and caught his arm. “No tasting. And, no model. Why? Don’t they seem realistic to you? Are you offering to model for me?” she teased.
He laughed. “Trying to get my clothes off and take advantage of me?” He narrowed his eyes. “Hmm. Will you pay extra if I do?”