By Shayla Kersten
Available now at Ellora's Cave
http://www.jasminej ade.com/p- 8289-icing- on-the-cake. aspx
Copyright © SHAYLA KERSTEN, 2010
Jeff Morgan’s life is all about career. Relationships aren’t on his radar. His friendships are limited to a very few and his sex life consists of wham-bam-thank-you-man sexual encounters. He doesn’t do long term. He doesn’t even do breakfast.
Then the fate of a cake brings Ollie Cranford into his life. Shaved head, tats and piercings, the baker is far from Jeff’s type but Ollie is as luscious as the icing he whips up in his bakery.
Now if only Jeff can relax long enough to enjoy the icing on the beefcake.
Jeff Morgan stared at Clarissa as if she’d grown two heads.
“You have got to be kidding. You know how I feel about weddings.” She might as well have asked him to be the groom.
“It’s not as if you have to plan the entire wedding. Just order the cake.” Clarissa grinned. “You’re my maid of honor. It’s your duty to help me.”
“You have to stop calling me that.” Not that he really minded. In spite of his negative feelings about marriage, he’d been honored when Clarissa asked him to stand up with her. He didn’t have many close friends. Well, any who he allowed to get close. Clarissa managed to push through barriers most people didn’t know were there.
But wedding plans? He’d barely managed to pull off the bridal shower at the office. “Why don’t you ask Randa? She helped me with the shower that almost wasn’t.”
She wrinkled her nose in distaste. “Because Randa would pick out some hideous pink-flowered cake with silver bells and cherubs all over it. I still have nightmares of the fourteen shades of pink at the shower. You know my taste.” Clarissa reached over his desk then grabbed his hand. “Please. You’re my only hope.”
“You don’t do damsel in distress that well.” He shook her grip free. “You could postpone.”
“No way. Larry finally asked and I’m not giving him a chance to second-guess himself.”
Jeff returned her grin.
Larry wasn’t the hold up on the marriage. Clarissa had turned him down a half-dozen times. When she finally said “yes”, she’d slammed together a wedding in less than two weeks. Well, almost slammed together.
A last-minute snafu with a client’s computer system had Clarissa flying to Denver this afternoon. The client specifically demanded Clarissa’s presence. Considering the size of the retainer, what he wanted, he got. Employee personal lives didn’t matter.
Now she wanted Jeff to pick out a cake. By himself. Him, the Scrooge of wedding festivities.
“Come on, Jeff. You’re the only one I trust to take care of this.”
“Fine. But I don’t want to hear one cross word about the cake you get.”
“Thank you!” Clarissa blew him a kiss. “And make sure you go to Cranford Designs on Tremont. They’re the best in town.”
“And probably the hardest to get an order in at the last minute.”
Clarissa lifted one side of her lip in a mock snarl. “Turn on the charm. I’m sure you can get results.”
“Yeah. Whatever.” Jeff flapped his hand at her. “Get out of here or you’ll miss your flight.” He tapped a few keys to save his file then shut down his computer. “I’ll head over there now. The sooner I get there, the sooner I’ll get this over with.” As if he had time for this. He’d been running at warp speed for the last two months, thanks to his schedule. Exhaustion had already pushed him to the edge, but the work just wouldn’t stop.
“You are such a ray of sunshine.” Sarcasm roiled through her words. “Stop being a bitch.” Her tone warmed back to normal. “You’re my best friend and the only one who can do it right.”
“Insults followed by flattery. You sure know how to charm a guy. And I didn’t say I wouldn’t find you a cake. I’m just not happy about it.”
* * * * *
Jeff couldn’t help staring. The tiny table in the corner of the back office of Cranford Designs barely separated him from the beefcake of a baker. The building didn’t look like the fancy bakery he expected. The way Clarissa gushed over the place, he expected better than an old brick building with etched metal signage.
Bulging muscles, shaved head, tattoos, open rings in his ears—gauged ears. The name of the piercing style popped into his mind. A hint of rings showed through his shirt near his nipples. Other piercings too? So normally not Jeff’s type, but damn, the man should come with a drool alert.
Something about Ollie Cranford in baker’s whites splattered with a rainbow of colored icing… The shirt was just a little tight around the chest and arms, showing off really nice biceps and pecs.
Jeff suppressed a shudder of desire, but he couldn’t stop the growing tightness in his slacks. Maybe exhaustion from the last two months of eighteen-hour workdays was catching up with him. Weakening his control.
And the man’s voice—deep with a little rasp of a growl—was enough to drive need pulsing through Jeff’s veins.
“The wedding is when?”
“Saturday.” Jeff’s cock interpreted the simple question as “Wanna fuck?”. Desire curled through his body. It had been awhile since lust hit him with such ferocity.
“This Saturday?” An arched eyebrow accompanied the question.
“Yes. My friends decided last week to get married before they went on vacation next week.”
“My waiting list is usually a little longer than three days.” A slight frown creased Ollie’s brow.
“I’m sure it is, but I promised I’d see what I could do.” What Jeff really wanted to know was the wait time on Ollie’s social calendar. He forced his gaze back to the man’s face. He didn’t even know if the baker was gay and already his imagination had him pushed over the small table separating them. Or Jeff on his knees. His libido couldn’t make up its mind.
“I’m surprised the bride didn’t send her maid of honor for this chore.” His left eyebrow arched just slightly. A hint of a curl dimpled beside his lips.
A flush of embarrassment crept up Jeff’s neck and face. “She did.”
Ollie’s face split with a wide grin as he chuckled. “Sorry. You’re the first.”
“Male maid of honor?” His half smile widened to match Ollie’s grin.
“Nope. The first one who would admit it.”
Ollie’s knee brushed Jeff’s under the table. A rush of a different kind of warmth shot up to his groin.
Jeff jumped as the door burst open.
A young man stuck his head into the small office. “Hey, boss, you need me to stay and frost that last cake?”
“No, you can go. We can finish it up tomorrow.”
“I’ll lock up the front then.” He flashed a grin and a half wink before he disappeared through the door.
“Thank you, Ricky.” Ollie’s gaze stayed fixed on Jeff, almost as if he was waiting for a reaction.
The warmth of Ollie’s knee pressed against Jeff’s again. This time, the contact was a few seconds longer than just an accidental brushing.
“Okay.” Ollie twirled a bound notebook around on the table so it was right side up to Jeff.
“Here’s a catalog of a few of the simpler designs. We won’t have time to do anything really complicated but we might be able to work something out.”
Jeff drew a slow, deep breath. “I hope we can.” He hoped the double meaning wasn’t lost on the luscious baker. Moving his leg slightly, he met Ollie’s. He bit back a grin as Ollie increased pressure.