Read an Excerpt
The aroma of freshly baked cupcakes scented the air, and Ethan breathed deep, filling his lungs with the delicious smell.
"Iâ€™m still not sure agreeing to bake twenty dozen cupcakes for your brotherâ€™s convention is a good idea. A lot of those sci-fi gamer geeks should lay off the sugar if they want to get a date outside of World of Warcraft."
Ethan turned to see Jocelyn, his best friend and fellow pastry artiste, lounging against the door frame. Sheâ€™d been out in the main bakery, making sure all of the cookies, cakes, and cupcakes were ready for the customers. Heâ€™d stayed in the kitchen, baking the order heâ€™d promised his brother.
"Stop it, Jocelyn. Youâ€™re as big a geek as most of the people who are going to be there." Ethan smiled at her. "You should be happy. Since we are one of the food vendors, we get in for free."
"No way!" Jocelyn screamed.
Ethan nodded. "Yes way."
She raced across the room and jumped into his arms. He caught her easily, and whirled her around before setting her feet back on the floor.
"Do you know who the guest of honour is?" She didnâ€™t wait for him to reply. "Rafael Charmine, the lead actor from that new sci-fi series."
"Really? I never wouldâ€™ve known, considering itâ€™s all a certain someone has been talking about for weeks."
Jocelyn jumped up and down like a kid at Christmas. "Iâ€™d been trying to figure out a way to wrangle a day pass or something from your brother, that didnâ€™t involve me going on a date with him as payment."
She wrinkled her nose in disgust, and Ethan laughed.
"Earl has good taste in women, even if heâ€™s a bastard around them," he teased.
Jocelyn Street had been Ethanâ€™s best friend since they met on their first day of culinary school. By the time they graduated first and second in their class, theyâ€™d decided to open a bakery. Ethan had the money, and Jocelyn had the business sense. A year after graduation, they opened and never looked back.
Aside from both being five-eleven, they were the complete opposites in appearance. Jocelynâ€™s exotic dark looks attested to her Latin roots, while Ethanâ€™s rather plain blondness never allowed him to stand out. He placed all his energy and drive into the shop.
"Whatever," Jocelyn shot back. "Abby and Ollie will be here soon. Do you want them helping you with the cupcakes or do you want them out front?"
Ethan closed his eyes and thought about his two part-time employees. After a few minutes, he looked at Jocelyn.
"You and Abby work out front. Ollie can help me back here."
"Not a good day?" Jocelyn looked worried.
He shook his head. "I donâ€™t think it is."
Jocelyn nodded and went out front. After knowing each other for ten years, sheâ€™d learnt to accept Ethanâ€™s instincts about things. When Ollie and Abby arrived at the bakery ten minutes before it opened, she sent Ollie back to Ethan.
He glanced up as Ollie came in, and knew his guess was right. Ollie was sporting a fresh black eye. As much as Ethan wanted to ask what had happened, he didnâ€™t. It wasnâ€™t any of his business until Ollie chose to open up to him. Oh, he knew Ollie would tell him some day, but Ethan wished Ollie would do it sooner rather than later.