Click on image to enlarge.
by Melanie Thompson
Category: Erotica/Gay Fiction
Description: Steven Henderson and Leslie Carlyle have been friends since childhood. When they opened Baby Cakes, a cupcake store, they had no competition. When a new cupcake shop opens and starts eating away at their business, it's war. Loner Duke Waldon owns three cupcake stores and is opening a fourth. He didn't realize his newest store had to compete against the most delicious, tempting cupcakes ever baked! When he discovers his competitors are a tall blond bombshell and a tempting young gay man, he knows he's in trouble. He decides to ferret out their secrets no matter what he has to do. Don't miss CUPCAKE BOYS!
eBook Publisher: Ravenous Romance, 2012
eBookwise Release Date: June 2012
1 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [221 KB]
Reading time: 144-202 min.
"I need another dozen Chocolate Wasted," Leslie Carlyle yelled from the front counter.
Her partner, Steven Henderson, appeared carrying a flat tray filled with forty cupcakes frosted with soft, silky delicious chocolate buttercream, a dark-chocolate ganache drizzle, white-chocolate curls, and a Dove Bar. The frosting had chocolate liquor in it, so they'd named it Wasted. It was a ridiculously good cupcake and a bestseller. They'd gone through three trays already today and it was only two o'clock.
Steven was handsome in a pretty-boy way. He had brown hair with blond streaks, soft brown eyes, high cheekbones, and a solid body with little fat but not much muscle.
"I can't believe how busy we are," Steven said when the customer left carrying two pink boxes filled with cakes. "I need to hire another baker. I can't keep up."
Leslie counted cupcakes in the two display cases and checked the racks in the back. "You're right. We don't have nearly enough peanut-butter cups or strawberry cheesecake to get through the five o'clock rush."
She glanced outside the Mill Creek store. The parking lot was empty. "Maybe we can get Marie to come in this afternoon and work the rush while I help bake."
Ever since they'd opened Baby Cakes, they'd been busy. The first day was a nightmare Leslie never wanted to repeat. Who knew they would do so well?
Steven picked up the clipboard hanging on a wall next to the desk. "We have three massive orders for tomorrow, two I have to deliver. Face it, Les, we need to hire up."
Marie came in and Leslie and Steven baked all afternoon. Marie was their best employee: stick-thin, pale to the point of looking like a vampire, short, tattooed, and pierced. But she showed up, worked hard, and didn't mind taking out all the rings and covering her tattoos with her Baby Cakes shirt. She thought working in a cupcake shop was cool and Baby Cakes's T-shirts were black with a pink-frosted cupcake on the front. Black was her favorite color--at least, until someone invented a darker one.
Baby Cakes's cupcakes were special. Steven had the pastry training and she had her grandmother's secret recipes. They made their own vanilla from one of those recipes and used liquors in many cupcakes. Their frostings were divine, created from Amish rolled butter and mascarpone or Amish cream cheese. They'd never imagined in their wildest dreams they would be so busy.
At seven, they left Marie to finish cleaning up and close and went home to their townhouse just down the road in Bothell. They only took one car to work. It was a late-model SUV Steven used for deliveries. With the business like it was, they got there at six in the morning and worked until seven p.m. every day of the week.
"Have a date tonight?" Steven asked as they climbed up the stairs.
Leslie pulled her ponytail of long, streaked brown hair over her shoulder and tightened the band. She'd had it foiled and it was filled with blond highlights just like Steven's. "Mark is picking me up at eight."
Steven rolled his eyes. "And who is Mark?"
Leslie tossed her coat on the couch and started up the steps to her room. "He's a waiter from Tapas. He came in for cupcakes and asked me out."
Steven followed her. "Darling, you do not know a thing about him."
"I know he's cute, has huge green eyes, and a hot bod. That's all I need to know."
She stripped off her Baby Cakes T-shirt and faced Steven in her bra and flour-covered jeans. "Stop nagging, Steven. I need to go out."
"You can't keep working all day and partying all night. You'll burn out on me. I need a partner who can actually think. Wednesday, you were like a zombie. What'd that guy do to you?"
Leslie thought for a minute. Tuesday night was Carl, the Swede from two apartments over. Carl was six-foot-five and built like a Norse god. She turned away from Steven's barrage of questions. "He had a lot of staying power."
"But not enough to rate a second date?"
"I told him I'd call him later in the week."
Steven touched her shoulder and she turned around to look into his worried eyes. He was truly concerned. She knew that, but she couldn't stay in this apartment alone. Jeff was gone and he was never coming back, leaving a hole in her life and a heart that was raw and aching.
Steven knew. He pulled her into a warm hug. His solid body felt good. The chin whiskers he'd grown to hide his lack of chin tickled her head. "You can't replace Jeff," he said. "Not yet, anyway."
She jerked away and turned her head to hide the tears dripping down her cheeks. "I know that. I'm not trying to. I don't want to spend the night alone . . . ever."
"Jeff was a douchebag, Les. You deserve better. He used you and dumped you like yesterday's trash."
"I know, but I loved him. We were married for two years. I had plans."
"Make new plans. We have the store now. You'll find someone else. Just give it a little time."
"What do you know about relationships? The longest one you ever had was six months and he left you for a chick."
Steven sighed. "We're not talking about me. I know I have relationship issues, but it's because I haven't found the right guy. One day I will. Don't let this Mark guy wear you out. We have a lot of cupcakes to make tomorrow."
"We have a lot of cupcakes to make every day." She stopped at the bathroom door. "I guess you can start looking for someone to help in the kitchen tomorrow. Make sure they can use a pastry bag and aren't afraid to wash dishes."
"I already have someone in mind."
"Straight or gay?"
"Do you care?"
She shrugged. "Not really. I was just wondering."
"His name is Marty. He's a tall, skinny, string bean, but he's strong. I'll call him tonight and have him there early. He's worked in a small bakery before."
"Good. Maybe he'll actually be able to bake product without someone watching his every move. He's the third one we've tried. I can't afford any more disasters. Remember Celina? She said she could bake. Hah! Every cupcake she made fell like a stone."
Steven nodded. "Who knew baking cupcakes was so difficult?"
Dressed in skinny jeans that hugged her tight butt and long legs, Leslie pulled a loose silvery sweater over a white shirt and shook her streaked hair. When she looked in the mirror, she saw nothing special. Her husband hadn't wanted her. She had small breasts and no hips. Her best feature was her huge blue-green eyes. They were surrounded by dark lashes and accented by sculpted dark brows. She vaguely remembered her original hair color. It was dark brown.
She pulled her boots on over the skinny jeans and walked out the door. She was supposed to meet Mark at a bar right across from Baby Cakes. The bar was packed. It was Friday night. She spotted her date sitting alone at a two-top against the wall. She straddled the empty stool and smiled at him.
Two hours later they were back at her apartment. It was ten and she prayed Steven was in bed as Mark pressed her against her door and kissed her. She wrapped her legs around him and he carried her through the door as they kissed, kicked it shut with one foot, and grabbed the cheeks of her ass with both hands.
Heat filled her as they ran up the steps to her room. Once inside, her clothes were off and he was sitting on the small loveseat against the wall. She hit the coffee table with one foot and leaped on his lap. One leg on each side of him, she grabbed his head and locked her lips to his. His cock was pressing into her. She looked down, saw it was decently sheathed in a smooth--as-skin condom, and mounted up.
Her satisfaction erupted quickly. Mark still had a stupid look of shock on his face as she took what she wanted, pounding up and down on him while he sat there and grunted. Suddenly bored with the position, she jumped off and pulled him to the bed. She was wet with desire again as he slowly lowered himself and shoved his dick into her.
The sex was hot and over too quickly, which was probably her fault. When he finished, she pushed him off and sat up. Leslie didn't even want to look at him. She wanted him gone. Suddenly shy, she grabbed her robe and pulled it on. The two drinks she'd inhaled at the bar had worn off and intense fatigue set in.
"Listen, I have to get up really early and go to work."
Mark sat up on the bed with a bemused look on his face. "You want me to go?"
Leslie almost laughed. "I'm sorry. I really gotta get up early. We have more than a thousand cupcakes to make in the morning." She handed him his clothes and he started dressing.
"Will I see you again?"
She smiled and tucked his shirt in for him. He was cute, but he wasn't Jeff. "Of course. I'll call you. Or you can stop in and get a cupcake. I'm always there."
When he was dressed, she walked him to the front door. With one hand on his back, she shoved. "I'll call you."
When the door was shut and locked, she leaned against it and burst into tears.
Steven appeared out of nowhere and took her in his arms. She sobbed on his shoulder as he patted her back. "You can't keep doing this, Les. It's not helping you."
She pushed him away and stomped up the stairs. "How do you know what I need? I'll see you in the morning."