All it takes is one sweet taste
Daisy Sinclair knows how to make a guy moan with raw pleasure. She should, as owner of the best damn bakery in Chicago. Her cinnamon buns are borderline orgasmic! Of course, standing in front of the city's biggest (and sexy-as-hell) food critic in her skivvies isn't the most professional first impression. Especially when he has a wicked glint in his eye
Jamie Forsythe isn't exactly a food critic; his twin brother is. One look at Daisy's mouthwatering curves, and Jamie knows only that he wants to have his cake and Daisy, too. Attraction mixed with deception is a recipe for disasterthe naughtiest, hottest kind imaginable. And there's no way Jamie can resist being sent to bed with Daisy as dessert!
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About the Author
New York Times Bestselling Author Daire St. Denis is an adventure seeker, an ancient history addict, a seasonal hermit and a wine lover. She writes smoking hot contemporary romance where the pages are steeped in sensuality and there's always a dash of the unexpected. Find her at dairestdenis.com.
Read an Excerpt
Daisy Sinclair's phone came alive on her desk, jumping and jiving to "Candy" by Foxy Brown. She'd been so absorbed in entering information into Accounts Payable that the sudden noise startled her silly.
"What's up?" Daisy said aloud, picking up the device and checking the message on the screen. It was the reminder she'd set four weeks ago. Four hellish weeks ago. And now, four weeks later, the reminder was telling her it was time. Time to face the music. Time to see whether the torture she'd put herself through had all been worth it.
After nudging the scale out from beneath her desk, Daisy tiptoed to her office door and shut it. Then she gave herself a once-over in the full-length mirror on the back of the door. There was a streak of flour on her cheek that she rubbed off with the back of her hand before her gaze dropped. Hmm. The apron she wore made her look boxy.
She untied it and slipped it off.
Unfortunately, the well-worn jeans and loose cotton blouse weren't much better, so she stripped those off, too, dropping them in a pile by the door.
There. Now she could see what was what. She'd avoided the full-length mirror for four weeks for just this purpose.
The celebrity gala that her mother had managed to get her a ticket to was on Saturday, only five days away, and she was determined to look her best in her fabulous new red dresshence the month of hell she'd endured. Daisy swiv-eled in front of the mirror, eyes narrowed, searching her figure for the changes that had to be there. Generous hips.
She turned to check out her butt. Round ass.
Standing in profile, she cupped a hand under her breasts. Biggish boobs.
Daisy sighed. She looked exactly the same.
Healthy. Nana Sin's voice was so clear it was as if her grandmother was standing right beside her, smiling, holding a tray of freshly baked caramel-nut cookies.
Stubborn cow was the endearment Daisy's ex-jerk-of-a-husband had for her. But then, she'd had a few choice names for him, too, over the course of their short marriage. The divorce would have been done with by now if it wasn't for Nana Sin's bakery.
Ahh, the bakery. Daisy closed her eyes and took a deep breath. The cinnamon buns must be fresh out of the oven because the aroma of cinnamon with an overtone of raisins, sweet and sticky with brown-sugar yumminess, was heavy in the air. Heaven. This had to be what Heaven smelled like.
Okay, once this business with the scale was over, she was going to reward herself with a bun. She deserved it.
With a deep breath and then another, she stepped up onto the scale and peered cautiously over the tips of her candyfloss painted toenails.
She blinked again.
She stepped off and checked the setting on the scale.
Yes, it was at zero. She gave it a few good shakes to reset itor whatever a good shake was supposed to doand carefully stepped back onto the thing, thinking the lightest of thoughts. An image of impossibly thin phyllo pastry, brushed with melted butter and filled with nuts and honey, came to mind. She envisioned herself sliding the baking sheet out of the oven, the phyllo a golden brown. She could practically taste it, light as a cloud, melting on her tongue, honey trickling sweetly down her throat
Hmm. Those were probably the wrong kinds of "light" thoughts to be having.
Daisy squinted hard at the number dial on the top of the foul instrument sent from Lucifer himself.
No, no, no, no, no!
How could she have spent four weeks on the Summer Size Diet Plan and not have shed one pound? Not only that, how could she have gained five? It defied sense. It was contrary to reason!
Four weeks of abstaining from tarts and pies.
Four weeks of drooling over sweet breads and butter-frosted cupcakes, only to pass them up.
Four weeks of avoiding cheese buns and chocolate mousse tortes and baklava and angel food cake and whipped cream and apple strudel and all for nothing?
Daisy paced her office while she contemplated the miserable joke the universe had played on her. It wasn't fair. She'd been a saint, exercising and cutting back and avoiding the baked goods, which was tantamount to pure torture when she owned the flipping bakery. And her bakery wasn't just any bakery, but the best damn bakery in Buck-town, the city of Chicago, the state of Illinoiswhy, maybe even the whole country, for all she knew. Sure, that was hard to prove, but the point was, she'd managed to abstain from some pretty fine friggin' food and the result was a gain of five pounds?
Daisy kicked the scale.
She lifted her foot to massage her stubbed big toe while hopping around on the other. Once the throbbing stopped, she picked up the offending scale and waved it in the air, speaking to whoever might be up there listening. "Do you think this is funny? Do you think you can knock me down? Ha! I'm not some fragile waif, so bring it on, Universe. Come on. I dare you. I can take whatever you dish out."
With the scale poised above her head, its destruction imminent, she watched the door to her office open. A tall, broad and, most importantly, clothed man walked in.
He was followed closely by Lizzie, her assistant baker, who ended up bumping into the back of him because he'd stopped to starewith his mouth hanging open.
"Boss!" Lizzie cried. "What the"
Her heart went thrump and Daisy felt her face turn the shade of maraschino cherry juice.
"Oh." The manwho was so conveniently dressedjust stood and stared.
Daisy tried in vain to cover her bits and pieces with the scale. "Get out!" When the man didn't move, she shouted,
"Hello? Out!" She pointed to the door.
Lizzie scampered through the door but the man did not. He stood frozen like the ice-cream cake stashed at the back of her freezer.
"Is something wrong with you?"
He shook his head, not embarrassed in the leasthorrible, horrible man! He opened his mouth as if to say something, but then stopped himself and finally ducked out the door. Before Daisy had time to collapse in mortification, the door opened a crack and the guy stuck his head back through. "Break that thing."
"Oh, my God!" She hugged the scale to her chest. "Go away!"
The door shut and Daisy kept the scale close until she reached her pile of clothes. She dropped the scale and then struggled into her jeans before fumbling with the buttons on her blouse. Once dressed, she looked up, catching a glimpse of her haphazard appearance in the mirror. Her cheeks were flushed, making her eyes overly bright. Daisy covered her face, hoping the action would block out what just happened.
No such luck.
There was a tentative knock at the door, and Daisy wrenched it open to find Lizzie standing there looking sheepish.
"Oh, so now you knock?"
"Why on earth didn't you knock the first time?" Daisy demanded.
"I did," Lizzie explained. "I thought I heard you say 'come in.'" She frowned. "You were saying a bunch of stuff. I didn't catch the last part. Something about bringing a dish out?"
Daisy pressed her fingers to her temples. "That makes no sense."
"I know. But you're always saying stuff that doesn't make sense. I was sure I heard you say 'come in.'" Lizzie tilted her head, thinking. "Or maybe it was 'come on.' Either way."
Daisy collapsed in her chair. "So, who's the guy I indecently exposed myself to?"
Lizzie cleared her throat. "Colin Forsythe." She forced a smile.
The name had Daisy sitting up straight in her chair. "Oh, God. No. Tell me I didn't."
"Mmm, you kind of did."
"As in food critic and columnist from the Tribune, Colin Forsythe?"
"That would be the one."
"No." Daisy dropped her head into her hands, the world collapsing around her. She buried her face, hoping she'd get sucked into the black hole created by the implosion of her life.
There was a knock, and Daisy whipped her head around to stare at the door in horror.
"The man himself beckons." Lizzie twiddled her fingers in the direction of the door like an amateur magician.
"Tell him to go away. Tell him I'm Maisy, Daisy's deranged twin sister, and that the real Daisy will be back from vacation next week."
"See?" Lizzie said, pointing at her. "This is what I'm talking about. You say these things sometimes. Then I think you're telling me to come in when really you're doing some weird underwear dance. What were you doing, by the way?"
Lizzie reached across the desk and patted Daisy's arm. "You know what? So you traipse around in your office nakedish. Who cares? You're the boss. Just get out there and pretend like nothing happened. Do it with a smile." She demonstrated an example of a big, fake smile. Not helpful.
It was easy for Lizzie to tell her to face the man with a smile when she wasn't the one who had just been discovered pacing her office in her unmentionables. Daisy plucked her blouse from her chest for a quick peek to remind herself exactly which unmentionables she was wearing. Well, at least it was her new Victoria's Secret satin set. So, her undies were nice; that was hardly a consolation.
She looked up at the man standing in the doorway to her office. Yes, he was Colin Forsythe all right. His wavy brown hair might have been a bit longer than in the picture beside his column, but he had the same square jaw, the same nosethough in person it was a little crookedand the same full lips. While he was recognizable, his byline picture did not do him justice. In that picture he came off as stern, albeit in a well-coiffed, intellectual sort of way. Actually, his picture made him look snooty. In person? Wow. He looked anything but. His eyes sparkled with irreverence, his lips turned up at one side as if he was trying to keep a sinful smile in check, and he was just bigger. More like a professional athlete than a distinguished foodie.
His eyebrows rose under her appraisal. "Do I pass?"
Daisy cringed. Good-looking. Big ego. No surprise. Obviously, he was going to make this impossible for her. But he was Colin Forsythe, and she'd been anticipating this interview ever since taking over Nana Sin's bakery three years ago. Of course he had to show up today of all days. That was just her luck. Someone, somewhere had a warped sense of humor where she was concerned. Daisy paused, cocking her head. Weird. Sometimes she was sure she could hear her grandmother chuckling, as though she was standing right behind her.
"Is everything okay?"
She sent an incredulous look at the much too tall, far too self-assured man standing in her doorway. "Are you kidding me?"
"Please don't be embarrassed."
"Can we pretend, for my sake, that we're meeting for the first time, right now? That you didn't just " Daisy paused to take a deep, composing breath. She stood, shoulders back. "Hello, Mr. Forsythe." She walked around her desk, hand outstretched. "I'm Daisy Sinclair. Welcome to Nana Sin's."
He rubbed his jaw as if trying to massage his face into a serious expression. It didn't work. When she was close enough, he took her hand and shook it firmly. She thought he might take the opportunity to say something crass, but all he said was, "It's Colin."
"Colin." She set her lips in a grim line and sauntered past, head held high. At the door she turned. "Shall we?"
"Shall we what?"
Daisy rolled her eyes. "The bakery." She indicated the kitchen with the motion of her head. "Aren't you here to see the bakery?"
In one step Colin was beside her, looking down at her. Damn, the man was tall. Not fair. And what the hell was he doing, blasting her with that sinful smile of his?
"I've already seen everything." He grinned.
His gaze held hers for a second before flicking toward the front of the building. "I'm talking about the bakery. I spent the last half hour in the front, interviewing customers and your staff."
"Yes. Customers here all ask for you. By name." With a shrug, Daisy said, "The bakery's been here a long time. People are loyal."
"Only when they have a reason to be."
He came closer, spoke more softly. "What I'd really like is a taste."
The way he looked at her made Daisy think he wanted to taste her. Of all the ridiculous, embarrassing, appealing ideas she'd ever had, this one took the cake. With a huff, she marched past him into the kitchen, her jaw clamped shut, ignoring the deep rumbling sound of his chuckle. Wicked, wicked man. When she caught sight of Lizzie punching some dough, she snapped. "Lizzie, it's the morning rush. Julia can't handle the store alone."
"But the dough."
"I'll take care of it."
Lizzie scurried out through the double doors to the front, leaving Daisy with the dough and Colin Forsythe. After donning one of the extremely unattractive hair netsshe was beyond caring how she lookedand thoroughly washing her hands, she took over Lizzie's job. Punching dough was exactly what she needed right now.
"You're really letting that dough have it."
"Some doughs need a gentle touch. Others need a good, hard spanking." Daisy regretted the words the second they came out of her mouth. "Please don't quote me there."
"Shame. It's a good quote." Colin said, coughing to cover up a laugh. "I thought bakeries did all the baking in the early hours."
Daisy scratched an itchy spot on her chin with her shoulder and then gave the dough another punch, getting less satisfaction than normal from the warm, airy flour as it enclosed her fist and the smell of yeast that always accompanied the task. At the very least, his question was professional, so Daisy answered, hoping her voice sounded more composed than she felt. "It's one of the reasons we're so popular. We offer fresh baking all day long, featuring different bestsellers every day of the week. Tuesdays are cinnamon-bun days. These should be ready for lunch, and we'll do another batch for the after-work crowd."
"You're always this busy?"
"How many people do you have working here?"
"Two full-time girls at the counter, although Chrissy's sick today, and Lizzie and Bruce help me in the kitchen. Then I've got five part-timers for evenings and weekends." It was then that Daisy noticed Colin Forsythe had no pen. No paper. He wasn't even recording this. She frowned. "You're not taking any of this down?"
He tapped the side of his head. "It's all up here. Don't you worry."
After finishing with the huge bowl, Daisy covered it with a clean, damp cloth and placed it in the warmer to rise. Then she started on the next. She found it much easier to talk to Colin when she didn't have to look at him and her hands were busy, keeping her mind focused on something other than the fact that he'd seen more of her than any man had in a very long time.
Colin pulled up a stool and sat down, watching her work. "How do you keep up with it?"
"It's easy." She glanced up. "I love it. Spending my time here isn't work. And the staffwell, we're like one big family." The only person missing from that family was Nana. God, how she missed her.
"The sign on the door says Nana Sin's been around for fifty years. How did you acquire it?"
"It was my grandmother's. After she died, I inherited it." And it did belong to her, no matter what Alan's lawyer said. Daisy glanced down. Seeing her ex's face superimposed on the bowl of dough, she gave the lump a good hard whack.
"How long have you worked here?"
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This was a yummy novel that made me hungry for more than just food. St Denis’ delightfully vivid descriptions had me smelling the scents of the bakery and drooling over everything coming out of it. I also enjoyed the range of emotions that went through this novel. Sad and heartbreaking moments are contrasted by hot and/or happy ones to give readers a satisfying read. I enjoyed how St Denis developed her main characters both physically and intellectually. Jaime’s bitterness and Daisy’s optimism were the perfect case of opposites attract. I would have liked to know more about the relationship between Daisy and her mother. It keeps coming up as being important to making Daisy who she is, but St Denis only hints at the crux of the relationship. This novel was my introduction into St Denis’ work and it was a good one at that. It was short & sweet & an enjoyable way to spend the afternoon. Please note that I received a complimentary copy of this work in exchange for an honest review.
I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I’m craving cinnamon rolls. Anything from a delish bakery. Be warned: read this book and you are going to want something ooey and gooey. There are so many funny zingers in this book that it will make you laugh from the start. Great storyline, no spoilers from me, and it had both highs and lows. Daisy and Jamie both have family issues that they need to work thru but they do get their HEA. My only ding would be that there was a bit too much angst in both Daisy and Jamie for me but again, it my personal taste. It was a great read, I enjoyed, and recommend.
This is the most blazing hot, sensual, delightfully lustful story I remember reading in a long time. Jamie and Daisy has all the chemistry, fascination and gravitation people can have for each other. Their thoughts are so filled with each other from the moment they meet, while Daisy is nearly naked, that it takes humorous sides. But the story is not only just naked fun and games, there are other feelings in the picture as well, and those feelings take on some kind of roll-a-coaster ride, as Jamie and Daisy are trying to figure out their lives, their feelings, and their future. While Daisy's bakery is in danger, Jamie puts his career in line, to try to save her. Daisy is not only battling with her ex husband, trying to save the bakery, but also built a relationship with her mother. Jamie has his own issues, to deal with, that makes him feel inadequate to Daisy. Lots of story fit into the book, story with high emotions, legal battles, boxing matches, baked goods, friends who are willing to go the extra mile for you, dough therapy, and passion that burns hotter than most. And if you manage to read the whole story, without stopping to bake some cinnamon buns, you are stronger than I am ~ Four Spoons with a teaspoon on the side