Authors: Annie Walker
Copyright © 2013 by
This e-book is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This e-book may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each person you share it with. If you're reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then you should return to the author and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the author's work. This book was previously published under the title The Sweet Spot by Mary Eason. This book has been re-edited and refreshed.
A Note from the Author
I hope you enjoy
Cara and Aiden's story as much as I’ve enjoyed writing it. Delicious is the first book in a new cooking series entitled, Cooking Up A Storm, so I hope you enjoy it.
Cara had just finished locking up the shop when she spotted Aiden Wilder's Range Rover and knew something was up.
The keys slipped from
her fingers to the ground. Her best friend and assistant Shelby Elliott glanced over at her in surprise before spotting the reason behind Cara's sudden bout of nervousness.
Aiden. It was always Aiden.
Aiden hopped out of the Range Rover and slammed the door with a little bit more force than necessary. Cara could tell something was bugging him.
She became aware of
Shelby staring at her with her usual grin plastered on her face. Shelby knew all about Cara's secret crush on Aiden. She'd been trying to convince Cara to act on it for years now.
Aiden glanced up, spotted Cara, and gave her a two finger wave
before coming to a stop in front of her.
Aiden here, standing outside of her little shop. That was another fantasy all to itself. Aiden inside the sweet shop covered in sweets.
was still trying to purge those very inappropriate thoughts from her head when she heard the question that wiped the image of his naked body away completely and reminded her of the truth.
"Have you spoken to Miranda tonight?"
Aiden was Miranda’s boyfriend. He was only her ‘buddy.’ Not even a friend, really. Just a friend who she enjoyed hanging out with and watching their college football rivals battle it out each year.
Um, what did you say?” There was no mistaking the breathless tremor in her voice.
I asked if you've talked to Miranda today.” Cara could almost feel Shelby's curiosity level hit a new record at hearing Aiden’s question. Shelby had been Cara’s trusted assistant since Delicious opened its doors just a little more than two years earlier.
At that time,
the business was barely supporting itself while going by the name of Cara’s Bakery. Then Shelby had walked into the door, bought a dozen cookies, and she and Cara had spent the rest of the evening eating cookies and talking about life. Shelby was looking for a job. Cara needed help. The partnership, as well as the new name, had formed that day. Now Cara’s every desire, Aiden Wilder, had interrupted the reciting of the list of things that needed finishing before the Bank of Dallas retirement party the following night.
braced herself as she faced Aiden because he was gorgeous and she’d been crazy about him from the minute her eyes first made contact with the most amazing blue eyes in Texas.
She forced her gaze away from his six
-foot-four, tall, dark, and heavenly built body. Those blue eyes slid over her body casually—in the good buddy sort of way. Not that it mattered. He could look at her as if she’d just escaped from a circus somewhere and her reaction would be the same. Cara had to steel her body not to react in its normal manner. She could imagine what those eyes must look like after…
She stopped that fantasy before it could go any further. She heard someone cough. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw the usual inevitable questions in
Shelby’s stare. Shelby just didn’t understand why Cara wasn’t going after Aiden like crazy.
Aiden was every woman’s dream come true. Including Shelby’s, and certainly Cara’s.
was the one who’d repeatedly told Cara she should tell her friend Miranda to back off when Cara had first introduced Aiden to Miranda and he’d had the usual reaction that most men had to Miranda’s almost six-foot lithely fragile frame. Miranda was breathtaking. Even Cara thought so. No woman stood a chance with her in the room.
Aiden had been dating before he ditched her for Miranda certainly hadn’t. If one of those beautiful creatures didn’t stand a chance against her long blond hair, green eyes, and big boobs—even if they were from her plastic surgeon’s assistance—then what kind of chance did Cara have?
Standing next to her friend and coworker,
Cara could almost feel Shelby wanting to remind her again that she was crazy for letting the perfect man who just happened to be standing right in front of her go to settle for the likes of Jason, her current boyfriend.
Cara knew her limitations. She didn’t stand a chance against Aiden’s typical date and therefore hadn’t tried.
Cara?” Aiden stepped close enough for Cara to feel the warmth in those blue eyes, along with the curiosity. He was wondering why she suddenly seemed so distracted. She pivoted her weight from one foot to the other, squirming as his eyes slid over her one more time in a less than good buddy way before asking, “I’m not interrupting anything important, am I?” Aiden had the good manners to glance Shelby’s way and reward her with one of those breathtaking little grins of his that literally had women going weak in the knees and thinking all sorts of inappropriate things.
watched Shelby’s timid answering smile and tried not to laugh. Typical. Why should her tough as nails assistant be any different? Every woman who had ever met Aiden Wilder had that same reaction to Aiden’s smile. Cara went weak in the knees and it wasn’t even directed at her. Just once, she thought, it would be nice if someone of her gender could refuse this man. But it wasn’t going to be Cara, and apparently not Shelby either.
“No, its okay, we were just leaving for the day, actually,” she told
Aiden when Shelby couldn’t speak. Cara turned to her friend and added, “I’ll talk to you in the morning, Shel, have a good time tonight, okay? But remember, I want to hear all about it!”
“Yeah, well why don’t you do the same?” she told
Cara while passing a knowing glance Aiden’s way. “Why not throw caution away and go for it.” Shelby smiled then waved completely dismissing Cara’s furious gaze. Cara took longer than necessary watching her friend leave. She knew she was red from her brown roots all the way to her passion pink toenails, thanks to Shelby’s persuasion.
was…well, Shelby was a firm believer in going after what you wanted. Cara was too, except when it came to her roommate’s boyfriend.
Shelby was always quick to point out, Cara had been friends with Aiden for a long time before she was stupid enough to introduce Lady Pariah to him, as Shelby was so fond of calling her.
was barely twenty, four years Cara’s junior and still into the trendy club scene downtown. She was constantly inviting Cara to come along, but Cara had given up on that part of her life a long time ago. Her career had become her only social life. She’d spent every single minute trying to make it successful. After six long years, she was finally starting to reap some of the benefits of that hard work.
Oh, not like
Aiden. Aiden’s life was one big success story. When she compared her life to Aiden’s, who was only two years older, Cara’s little success paled in comparison.
That was the difference between her and
Aiden. Things came naturally and easily for him. He was charming, gorgeous and dammit, he had a nice personality. He had to have been born under a lucky star or something.
Cara’s little pride and joy was finally getting noticed. She’d come a long ways from baking chocolate chip cookies in her parent’s lower, middle class home in Pineville, Arkansas.
“I’ll talk to you tomorrow,” she said to
Shelby’s dressed-in-a-skinny-black-dress-and-four-inch-matching-black-heeled figure, which garnered a slight wave of Shelby’s hand and a peek over her shoulder. She knew exactly what Cara meant by that.
Shelby and Cara were almost kindred spirits. They could have been sisters. They certainly had more in common than Cara and Miranda did. Except for fashion. Shelby loved dressing sexy. She was constantly trying to get Cara out of her casual clothing. There was just no way, Cara could see herself in a number like the one Shelby had just put on minutes before leaving the store.
“You’re sure I’m not interrupting your plans?”
Aiden asked again, forcing Cara’s attention back to him. He wasn’t smiling. Aiden looked worried. Then she remembered Miranda.
“No, I was just heading to the apartment.”
Cara turned and gave Shelby another little wave. She needed time.
Time to steel her reaction to him. Time to get control of her crazy heartbeat. Time to stop thinking about
Aiden the way she was thinking about him right now. And time to think what she was going to tell him about Miranda.
“So, have you talked to
Miranda today? She was supposed to come over to the house for dinner tonight. I told her there were some new developments on the promotion and that we needed to…talk. I’ve tried her cell phone all afternoon. She’s not picking up.”
shook her head because she couldn’t tell him the truth.
“She left me a message at the house but it was very vague and very unlike
Miranda. She said that something had come up, a photo shoot, but she didn’t say where or for how long she’d be. Has she been acting strange to you lately?”
“Strange?” She wanted to tell him, “She’s your girlfriend, shouldn’t you know if she’s acting strange or not?”
Then she remembered. Aiden had been in Little Rock a lot lately. His Ad Agency, Southern Solutions, which was the leading firm in the South based out of Dallas, was in the final stages of a take over. Aiden would be assuming the leadership role for Little Rock Advertising, a firm that had once rivaled Southern Solutions but was now, due to some very bad decision making from its leadership, on the brink of bankruptcy. After only five years in the trenches, Aiden was Southern’s top candidate for the promotion.
“In what way?”
Cara hedged, hoping that Aiden wasn’t noticing all her nervousness. He wasn’t. Aiden was too distracted.
“I don’t know? It’s hard to say. Maybe it’s just me, but ever since I mentioned the move to
Little Rock, she’s been acting strange. Has she talked to you about it?”
ow to answer that. Miranda had mentioned the move. In fact, she’d told Cara that the last place on earth she would ever consider living was in Little Rock. Especially when Aiden, in Miranda’s opinion, was going to ask her to give up her glamorous career as one of the top models around and settle down to become a wife and possibly mother. Miranda had said quite a lot about the subject in fact. None of which Cara should repeat to Aiden.
There were times when she wished her roommate of three years wasn’t quite so eager to share the details of her life.
Miranda had told her all about Aiden. She had been crazy about him in the beginning and had spent hours sharing Aiden’s…attributes in bed. Miranda had even been thrilled that she’d lasted past Miss April in his monthly dating rotation. She’d breezed past being Miss May and was now into possessing the title of Miss June, which in Miranda’s opinion meant Aiden was getting too serious. Cara had to agree. She’d been just as surprised. In the year that she and Aiden had been friends, he’d gone through at least a dozen gorgeous models. Aiden had a weakness for them. Which was why in the beginning of his and Miranda’s relationship Cara hadn’t been too worried. However, when April slipped to May and then June, well, she’d decided Aiden was gone.
Then the promotion had come and the talk about moving to
Little Rock, which in Miranda’s opinion meant he was one-step away from popping the M question meaning she’d lost interest.
had found it again when she’d met some ultra rich billionaire at her last Paris shoot, two months earlier. Aiden had begun traveling back and forth to Little Rock by then for the negotiations.
Miranda claimed to be crazy about a billionaire, who in Miranda’s opinion was even better in the sack than Aiden and a whole lot richer. And he didn’t want kids or for her to give up her career.
had seen the end in sight for weeks. She just didn’t have the heart to tell Aiden on those occasions when he’d call to talk with Miranda.
“No. She hasn’t talked about it. Why?” It wasn’t as if
Cara approved of her roommate’s behavior. Especially not with the way, she felt about Aiden. After all, how many sexy men did one woman deserve? Miranda had her share. There were others out there who could use the benefit of a few.
Cara only had herself to blame for Miranda and Aiden being together in the first place.
The girls had first become friends when
Miranda was still a struggling model and Cara a waitress at a ritzy restaurant in town. They’d met at one of those expensive upper crust parties. Cara had crashed the party. Miranda came in as arm candy to an older executive who was recently divorced.
had accidentally caught a glimpse at the birth date listed on Miranda’s driver’s license one night. Miranda was pushing forty, and yet she’d somehow managed to convince Aiden she was only twenty-seven. Miranda knew enough tricks of the trade to pull it off.
“I mean, I hadn’t noticed. But then, I really haven’t seen that much of her,
Aiden. I’ve been tied up at the shop and Miranda’s been…” She’d come close to saying literally “tied up” if Miranda’s detailed description of the man’s fetishes were to be believed with her newest love interest. Somehow, Cara managed to catch herself before the words were actually out.
“Do you mind helping me look for her?” he asked quietly in a most un
-Aiden like manner. What was up with him? More importantly, how could Aiden really be so blind? Could he honestly be in love with Miranda?
Cara considered the best way to tell him no, Aiden took her hand and turned on the charm. Of course, she gave in almost immediately. Aiden had no idea the effects those blue eyes had on her.
Before she knew what hit her,
Cara sat next to Aiden in the Range Rover speeding away from her little car and her safety.
“I thought we could check out some of the clubs that she likes to hang out at. I’ve called everyone that I could think of in town.” He named off a list of
Miranda’s top party buddies. “Can you think of anyone else?”
Blue eyes left the road and focused on
Cara, narrowing slightly. Aiden was finding her silence right now puzzling.
Not unless you want to call her latest boyfriend, she thought but merely shook her head and turned away.
“Do you mind if we stop by my place for a second? I’d like to make sure she hasn’t turned up there and maybe check the machine.”
Another puzzled glance; another nod.
Aiden’s house was located in the Park Cities suburbs, one of the more exclusive neighborhoods in the hills of Dallas. The house set off to itself at the end of a gated cul-de-sac sitting some distance from the road against the rugged hills.