ISBN# 9780985453435

Mergenie Books

August, 2012










“Get your hands off my cupcakes.” Lara tipped the wooden spatula up toward the guy leering at her over her booth at the bridal expo. It might not be a big weapon, but a quick slap could sting, and Mr. Drunken Father of A Bride looked like he could use a slap or two.

Especially when he leered at her. “Baby, I’m not anywhere near your cupcakes, but if you lean a little closer, I’ll be happy to oblige.”

Lara snorted. That had to be one of the worst pickup lines she’d ever heard.

She flicked the spatula under the two cupcakes he’d squashed. The Romeo and Juliet models. Damn. Those were some of her most intricate designs and always impressed the clientele.

Drunk Dad didn’t stop. “How about you and I getting together later on over drinks and discuss your… cupcakes?”

“How about we don’t?”

Drunk Dad blinked. “Aw, now that’s not nice.” He walked to the end of the booth and picked up a spun sugar butterfly. “Like this one, for instance. I bet this tastes really good on my tongue.”

She would never look at those butterflies the same way again.

She took it out of his hand.

But that put her close enough for him to grab hold of her. And he did, clamping a sweaty hand around her wrist.

“Come on, baby, it’s a party weekend. All this love and sex in the air. Surely you feel it.”

“What I feel is you crossing a line, mister.” She set the cupcake down and tried to pry his fingers away. Especially the pinky. If she could bend it back far enough—

He dragged her to him, slobbering a kiss on her lips and a meaty paw on her breast.

She reared back. “Get off me—”

He went flying backward.

“The lady said to leave her alone.”

A guy in tight jeans, a cowboy hat, and a shirt opened to his waist stood there, muscles jacked, his breathing ratcheted up, looking like a hero straight out of a romance novel.

Drunk Dad tried to scramble to his feet. “What the hell was that? I’ll sue your ass—”

“Stow it, dickwad, and pray the lady isn’t going to press charges for assault.”

That sobered the guy up.

But Lara was stuck on the six-pack right there on display beneath her rescuer’s open shirt.

“Up here, sweetheart.” Cowboy dude flicked his fingers by his waist at her.

She looked up.

Oh God, he’d caught her staring. And that full out grin he had going said he knew just what she’d been looking at, and that he liked her looking.

She could feel the blush flaming up her cheeks.

He smiled and tipped the brim of his hat, then turned around to help the drunken asshole off the floor.

God, the man had one fine backside. Just like Mr. Bare Naked Ass from the hotel two weeks ago.

She shook her head. She was insane. Mr. B.N.A.’s ass had been naked; this guy’s was covered. No similarity whatsoever. Well, other than the fact that they were both perfectly formed and she wouldn’t mind getting her hands on all four cheeks.

“You got a keeper around here or should I turn you over to security?” Cowboy wrenched the drunk’s arm.

“I’m good. I got a wife.”

“Lucky lady.” Cowboy waggled his eyebrows at Lara. “How about you go find her and never come back? If I see you here again, I won’t go as easy on you as I did this time. Do I make myself clear?”

Drunk Guy ran a hand through his comb-over. “Crystal.”

“Good. Now get out of here.”

Lara tried to regain her composure as Cowboy sauntered up to her booth. And saunter he did, all hip rolling, boot scuffling sexiness.

“How you doin’, Cupcake?”

Oh my. From him, that pick-up line worked. Definitely all in the delivery.

She just wished she were immune. Jeff had done a number on her trust when it came to any guy, but especially dreamy ones.

And this one, with golden blond hair and startling blue eyes, was definitely what dreams were made of.

But no. No more dreaming. No more guys. Focus on her career. That was what she had to count on now, not some guy’s fickle libido. “I’ve heard that one before.”

He looked her up and down and Lara felt the heat as if he’d used a blow torch.

“I bet you have. How about the one about finding out if you’re good enough to lick?”

She was going to melt right in this spot. “Um, yeah. Heard that one, too.” But never like that. He was the first guy she actually thought about letting find out the answer.

For all of about two seconds. A guy like him would never be interested in her for anything more than a one-nighter—and the one she’d had had convinced her she wasn’t cut out for any more.

“Well then, I’ll have to think hard to come up with something new.”

She couldn’t help it; her eyes flickered to his groin.

Then back to his face when he chuckled.

Okay, just let the convention center floor open up and swallow her now.

No, she was not going to think about anything to do with Cowboy and swallowing.

Then Cowboy stuck out his hand. “Hi. It’s Gage. Gage Tomlinson?”

She surreptitiously wiped her sweaty palm—completely Cowboy’s, er, Gage’s fault, by the way—on her thigh. “Lara. Cavallo. Thank you for taking care of him.”

“My pleasure, ma’am.”

God, it was sexy when he affected that accent and tipped his hat. Lara was totally getting the cowboy fantasy.

“Would you like a cupcake? I mean—”She really wouldn’t mind the floor opening up right now—“as a thank you.”

His smile was devastating. So was that dimple in his cheek. “I absolutely would like a cupcake. Maybe two?”

They were talking about sugar and cake Cups & Cakes, right?

“Uh, sure. You can have two. Take your, uh, pick.” Any day now…  Big ol’ crack in the floor. It’d do wonders for her embarrassment.

He took his time, staring at each one of her cupcakes. The ones on the table, that is. An inordinately long amount of time.

Long enough that he attracted the attention of more than a few women. Who all started making suggestions as to which cupcakes he ought to choose.

She’d never had better advertising, but the winks he kept shooting her way whenever someone asked him what kind of cupcakes he liked were way more thrilling.

Sexually boring and uninspiring, was she? Hunka Hunka Cowboy didn’t seem to think so.

Lara quickly handed out her take-away brochures and sample bites of the different cakes, gathering a bunch of business cards, while Cowboy worked his magic.

Wonder what other kind of magic he can work?

He caught her staring at him, but aside from a glimmer of a smile, all he did was tip his hat.

It was enough.

“Well, ma’am. I thank you for the offer, but seems to me you’re going to need all the cupcakes you have. I’ll just wait and see what’s left when we’re done here. Okay with you?”

She nodded, but if he kept looking at her like that, she wasn’t going to have much of anything left: composure, sanity, strength in her legs...

“Okay, then. You let me know when you’re free. I’m at booth 263.”

She nodded as he turned and walked away.

Man, the guy filled out those jeans like nobody’s business.

And she wouldn’t mind making it hers.


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