Is it a mistake? Yes.
Do I regret it? Maybe.
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When brilliant, logical Owen Miller walks into my bakery and witnesses the worst break-up in the history of public, mortifying break-ups, I can only think of one thing to do… so I kiss him.
Is it a mistake? Yes.
Do I regret it? Maybe.
Friends aren’t supposed to kiss—or have red-hot moments next to the bread oven. And respected bakers with designs on a San Francisco bread empire aren’t supposed to manhandle their customers.
It’s a rebound, pure and simple. We both admit it. I don’t have time for anything more, especially when I’m on the cusp of achieving my dream—expanding my business into hand-picked, perfect locations.
But Owen is a savvy hotel owner who knows a thing or two about business. So when location scouting leads to wine tasting, long leisurely drives, and a hands-on meeting in a wine cave, I decide mixing business and pleasure with the smoking-hot charmer might be the best of both worlds.
Until an anonymous competitor seems determined to sink everything I’ve put my heart and soul into. Maybe it’s time to end our friends with benefits arrangement before I lose everything.
But what if losing Owen is losing everything? What if I’m falling for my rebound guy?
“So . . . I’m going to hope the third ask is the charm here. Can I buy you some dinner? Or even a snack? There’s a CVS down the block. How about a Twix bar? Lays chips?”
It was like he was speaking a foreign language. After getting used to Tom’s big fancy dinner invitations to private tastings at Michelin-starred restaurants, I’d forgotten what it felt like when someone suggested grabbing food because it was dinnertime and I might be hungry.
“Yes,” I said, nodding at him, still a bit dazed. “Yes, okay. Except for Lays. I don’t like them. I need a thicker chip, like kettle baked or Ruffles.”
He nodded slowly. “Noted.”
“And I like sour gummy worms, not that you asked.”
I knew I sounded like a loon, but it felt important that he knew I wasn’t going to be satisfied with any old snack.
There were standards.
Plus, he’d thrown me off and I was having trouble recovering.
The one thing I knew for sure was I wanted to get out of the bakery and have dinner with him. It didn’t matter if he wanted to go to KFC or make me a peanut butter sandwich on the hood of his car. I was hungry.
We were standing in the middle of the bakery floor with the only light coming from the Edison bulbs hanging from two industrial chandeliers overhead. The night beyond him outside the door to the shop was dusky and I could hear the occasional voices of people walking past on the sidewalk.
Watching me with his placid blue eyes, he waited for me to work out the questions that were still coursing through my brain. He seemed unhurried and I wasn’t used to people like that in my life. My sisters were all crazy and my best hires tended to sprint around like caffeinated bunnies.
I had so many questions, namely why he, of all people, had chosen to show up here.
“I’m just…” I didn’t know what.
He waited patiently to find out.
My bakers had watched my meltdown after seeing the pictures of Tom and none of them had asked me to dinner. They’d taken off as soon as their shifts were over, mostly without saying goodbye as though they didn’t want to disturb the crazy person who might bite their heads off or cry. For the record, I was planning to do neither.
I’d called my middle sister, Becca, and the next-youngest sister, Cherry, and vented at them for twenty minutes apiece, but they hadn’t shown up to make sure I remained well-fed.
So what’s with this guy?
Maybe it was gratitude mixed with curiosity or maybe it was that I’d just noticed his lips looked particularly pink and plush, but I reached for his face and ran my fingertips over his cheek and over to his lips, which were just as soft as they looked.
His eyes clouded a little when I touched him and he stood frozen, as if waiting to see what else the crazy baker lady planned to do.
What I planned to do was kiss him.
About Stacy Travis
It’s a rough world out there, and we all sometimes need a good, romantic beach read, even if we can’t make it to the beach. I’ve spent many lazy days walking the streets of Paris and other gorgeous European cities, and if I’m doing it right, I’m bringing you a dash of romance and a vacay fantasy.
I can’t sit still, so when I’m not hiking, biking or running, I’m playing a very average game of tennis. Background music for writing undoubtedly features some U2, Lizzo, Billy Joel, Pink, Taylor Swift, and Led Zeppelin. Not necessarily in that order. And if I could only eat one food group, it would be cheese. Or wine. Or bread. Are those food groups? Whatever.
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