The Baker’s Touch
VIBE a Steamy Romance Book 1
by Lynn Chantale
Genre: Steamy Romance
Valentine’s is always a busy time of year for PB and J Bakery.
With love fueling the need for sweet confections, there’s always room for romance. Even the anonymous gifts left for Penelope, by a secret admirer, are a welcome distraction from the chaos of chocolate and spongecake.
Penelope Bishop has an idea who’s sending the gifts, or at least she hopes it’s her sexy mystery man who stole a kiss on New Year’s Eve. The trouble is, she’s never seen him. Her only clues are dancing skills, a great pair of lips, and a sensual voice that haunts her dreams and every waking fantasy. All that pales when her assistant, Avery, inspires those same lustful thoughts.
Avery has loved Penelope from afar, but with her recent breakup, he doubts she’ll view him beyond the current role he has in her life…seeing eye person. He has one chance to woo a woman who defines her world through touch, scent, sound, and taste–think outside the dating box. When an old flame comes courting and makes Penelope an offer she just may accept, Avery has one last opportunity to make her his Valentine…he’ll have to bare all.
The door whispered open, then closed. “Are you okay?” Avery’s voice was full of concern.
She pressed the heel of her hands against her eyes before standing. “Yeah, yeah. Just peachy.” She knew he was close and didn’t want to risk running into him, so she held out her hand.
He grasped it and tugged her off-balance.
“You forget that I can see you.” His thumb grazed the corner of her eye. “He really isn’t worth the tears.”
She shoved at his chest, but Avery retained his hold, drawing her closer. He shouldn’t be holding her in such an intimate embrace, but goodness, his nearness was just what she needed. She relaxed, resting her head against his chest as he squeezed her a little tighter.
“I just want you to be happy, Penelope. Sam was never the one for you.”
With a sigh, she untangled from his arms. “I know that now and even before. I didn’t want to believe he was such an asshole.”
Silence stretched between them. What was she going to do now? Just forget about what Sam said and concentrate on work? She lowered her head.
“Are you in some sort of trouble?”
“Then what did he mean about the bakery?”
She shrugged. “At that point, I think he’d say anything to keep me from throwing him out.”
“Don’t worry about it then, P. The guy is a jerk.”
She nodded. Using the desk as a guide, she worked her way around the furniture, trailed her fingers along the roughness of the wall, until she reached a window. She laid her palm on the beveled glass, the coolness seeping through her skin.
One of her favorite things to do was stand at a window and imagine the view. She’d never seen snow or ice until she moved to Michigan, just before she completely lost her vision. But she adored the wintery stuff. The cold came with its own special beauty. From everything her parents described, it was magic, always indulging her hours of outdoor play.
“What does it look like?”
Soft soled shoes squeaked across the floor, until a warm body met her back. She held her breath as longing whispered through her veins. A hand covered hers, while an arm wrapped around her waist and pulled her close.
“There’s frost on the windows.” He lifted her hand and dragged her fingers over one corner of the window, a fine glaze of chilliness met her fingertips. “Just outside the window, several icicles hang from the eaves, like glossy sugar cones. Beyond that is a field of white, untouched snow, surrounded by a copse of trees.
“The sun is beginning to set, made of brilliant oranges and reds. It’s like watching a flame burn across the sky, and when it hits the snow just right, the world shines like diamonds, just like your eyes.”
She stiffened against him. Did he just pay me a compliment? “Really?”
He turned her in his arms. “You heard me.” He grazed her cheek with his knuckle. His voice dropped to a familiar whisper. “I admire you so much.”
She knew that voice. How many nights had it riddled her dreams? “Avery?” Pleasure stole through her. She’d worked with Avery for several months now, but he’d always kept their banter light, just friends. When had everything changed? She chewed her lower lip. New Year’s Eve. Ever since that moment, he’d taken every opportunity he had to touch her. Her mystery man had been here all along. “It was you.”
His thumb caressed her lips, and a tingle thrummed through her entire body. Nipples puckered, while desire moistened her panties. Her breath hitched.
“Yes. I can’t resist this any longer.” Their breaths briefly mingled before his mouth slanted over hers.
The kiss was unexpected but welcomed. If she had any doubts before, they were now erased.
Desire flooded her veins, trickling between her thighs with every flutter of his lips. He held her closer, molding her soft front to his hard frame. How had she missed this before?
Her breasts ached for attention.
She dreamed of being in his arms, his kisses trailing her skin, for too many nights to count, and now, she found him. She curved her arms around his neck, her fingers drifting over his smooth scalp. But why had he kept his feelings secret?
Abruptly, she pulled away.
He sighed, lowering his head. “Yeah. You’re right.”
She clutched at his shoulders to keep him from moving. “Right about what?”
“I shouldn’t have kissed you.” The dejection in his voice tugged at her heart.
She chuckled. “That’s not it.” She sounded breathless to her own ears, yet…she stepped closer.
“In all the time I’ve known you, I’ve never taken the time to learn what you look like.”
“Please, take your time.” He rested his hands at her waist, holding her in place.
Maybe she was still a little muddled from his kiss, but she needed to know.
She drifted her fingertips over his head. Completely bald…well, a few downy patches, as if he’d missed a couple spots. Wide forehead met thick, bushy brows. He had long lashes and deep eyes above a narrow nose and flared nostrils. His ears came next. They sat close to his head and studs hung from his lobes. She lingered there a moment, trying to decipher the stones.
“Diamonds,” he answered her unspoken question.
She nodded and moved to his strong jaw which tapered to a rounded cleft chin. He was simply handsome. She cupped his cheek and traced the outline of his lips. Not too thin, not too thick. Rising on tiptoe, she brushed her lips to his.
His hands tightened at her waist.
“No?” She stayed where she was, locking her fingers behind his head.
“Don’t tease me, Penelope. I can’t handle that right now.”
“I’m not the one who started this.” She pressed her mouth to his, not giving him or herself an opportunity to say no.
He tasted so good, like chocolate and sin, of decadence and indulgence, of promises better left unspoken. There was so much in his kiss; she wanted to stay right there, in this moment and take it all in.
He cinched her tighter as his mouth moved over hers, accepting her invitation and issuing one of his own. His erection pressed low against her abdomen. She wiggled her hips, and he lifted her, bringing her core in full contact with him.
Lightning whipped through her veins, and she clung to his shoulders as he thrust against her.
Taking the kiss further would be a simple and easy task, one she could do without hesitation. But she needed to know why he kept his feelings a secret?
Loud knocking reverberated through the room, they broke apart, but Avery did not release her.
“Penelope, are you still in a consult? One of the vendors needs your signature, and I can’t find Avery.” The voice belonged to one of the cashiers, Becky.
“I’ll take care of it,” Avery murmured against Penelope’s lips. “Be right there, Becky.”
Penelope rested her head on his shoulder a moment.
“Oh, okay. Thanks.” Footsteps faded.
“Seems as if duty calls.” He lowered her to the floor.
“We’ll talk later.” He rested his hands on her shoulders, then gently raked his fingers through her hair and smoothed down the front of her shirt. “Now, it doesn’t look like you’ve been making out with your assistant in the consult room.”
She giggled while heat touched her cheeks.
He tugged on a lock of her hair. “I love the color you went with this time. A beautiful deep red.”
He pressed her cane into her palm and left.
She touched her lips. He sure does know how to kiss.
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Lynn Chantale resides in Southwest Florida and she is determined to enjoy all that life has to offer. She has a mad affinity for milk chocolate, preferably Dove chocolate truffles or the
caramel-filled squares (Godiva is acceptable), and plays the bass guitar when the Muse begs for a bit of distraction.
She’s a multi-published author in ebooks and has recently stepped into the self-publishing world. So far both experiences have been rewarding.