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Gimme Some Sugar (E-Book)

Gimme Some Sugar (E-Book)

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Larkin Mancinkus prides herself on making the town of Whynot, North Carolina just a little sweeter. As owner of Sweet Cakes Bakery, Larkin gets all the town gossip – the sugar, the spice, and the everything not so nice. So when she finds herself on the tip of everyone’s tongue thanks to an encounter with a mysterious and handsome stranger, she learns the true meaning of ‘if you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.’

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Deacon Locke has spent his life traveling the world with no particular destination in mind. But when he rolls into Whynot on his Harley, he just knows there is something different about this town. What he doesn’t know is that out of all the places he’s traveled and all the people he’s met, the gorgeous bakery owner might just entice him to put down some solid roots.

Come on down to see what’s cookin’ between Larkin and Deacon!

Read Chapter One

Larkin

“Deacon Locke.” I release his name softly into the air, let it roll off my tongue with contemplation, and decide I like his name a lot.

Of course, he said people just call him “Locke,” and that’s cool too.

Hot, actually.

I fiddle with the garland I’d draped over the fireplace mantle a few hours ago. It looks perfect, yet I still fuss with it. Not because I’m a perfectionist, but because I’m loitering around the sitting room of Millie’s Bed and Breakfast, hoping to see Deacon Locke should he decide to leave his room upstairs.

It could be considered stalking, I suppose, but my intentions aren’t nefarious. I just want another look at the man.

The insanely gorgeous and mysterious man who has bad boy written all over his imposing stature.

Never mind the fact he rides a Harley and looks like he stepped right off the set of Sons of Anarchy.

Think Jax Teller and anyone would understand clearly. Gorgeous, longish blond hair with a neatly trimmed beard of a slightly darker blond hue.

Forget about the fact he could probably chew me up and spit me out.

Let’s hope my parents never find out about my attraction to him, because he’s clearly a wandering nomad of a man, which means he probably has a shady, dark past.

Possibly prison.

I wonder if he has prison tattoos?

My eyes lift to the ornate silver mirror over the fireplace and I realize my expression is dreamy and thoughtful.

God, I’m so weird.

With a hard shake of my head to dispel such stupid thoughts—I mean, it’s ridiculous to be attracted to all of that—I pivot sharply on my heel with the intent of marching into the kitchen to occupy myself with the evening appetizers I set out for the guests for an informal “happy hour” here at Millie’s.

I summarily dismiss any additional pining thoughts of the gorgeous guest up in room three. I refuse to believe Darby’s urgent whisper to me before she left with my brother, Colt, a few hours ago—that Deacon Locke came back to town just to see me.

Preposterous, really.

Weeks ago, I met the man briefly when he rolled through town in search of a place to stay. Millie’s wasn’t open at that point since my other brother, Lowe, and his wife, Mely, were refurbishing the place. I pointed him in the direction of Milner where there were a few motels in the slightly larger “small” town.

When I watched him rumble out of town on that Harley, I never imagined he’d be back.

Little did I imagine I’d also be a partner in Millie’s Bed and Breakfast at that time, as Lowe and Mely hadn’t yet approached me with their idea I join them in this new venture when I’d first met the dashing biker.

But they did, and after a lot of thought, lists of pros and cons, and talking it through with my family, I made the decision to go for it. I was an entrepreneur at heart, and I already owned one successful business here in Whynot, North Carolina.

So “why not” tackle another venture? Especially with the added security of working with my brother and his new wife.

I move through the sitting room, which will soon be occupied with some of the guests who will wander in for some appetizers and wine. I’ve got a total of seven registered with two more coming in tomorrow. I’m a bit nervous as I’m on my own. Mely and Lowe kind of got drunk and married in Vegas, and now are on a legit honeymoon to St. Lucia for the next week.

But I’ve totally got this in hand. I’m a thirty-year-old woman who runs a successful bakery in town named Sweet Cakes, which I built from the ground up with my own hard work and determination. I’ve got nothing to be nervous about.

Except the sound of booted feet trotting down the wide staircase that leads from the main lobby to the second and third floors.

I glance that way, consider jetting through the swinging door that leads into the kitchen to avoid my hot new biker guest, then have a weird moment of spine straightening. It’s weird because I’m inherently shy around men, but the temptation to get one more look at Deacon Locke is just too alluring to ignore.

He rounds the landing, then I’m watching powerful legs clad in faded denim bound down the stairs two at a time. His gaze lands on me and I get a wolfish smile as he comes to a stop right in front of me.

Tamping down the urge to bolt into the kitchen, I give him a welcoming smile as I tip my head to peer up at him. “Everything okay with your room, Mr. Locke? Anything I can get for you?”

He’s got to be close to six-foot-five, which is way taller than my five-three, and I find the way he towers over me slightly exciting.

I mean intimidating.

“It’s just Locke,” he says in a rumbling voice of amusement. “Or Deacon. I’ll answer to either if you’re the one calling my name.”

My face flames hot, my gaze immediately darting left, then right. He’s out and out flirting with me, and I have no clue how to respond.

I mean… why flirt with someone like me? My hand involuntarily comes up to tug at the short wisps of hair at my neck. I’d cut all my long hair off a few weeks ago, just feeling the need for a change of some sort. I’m regretting it now because I think it makes the few extra pounds I bear settle into my round cheeks for some reason, which are so hot right now, they’re pulsing like a beacon.

And then, a suspicious thought strikes me. He knows damn good and well he’s way out of my league, so the only reason he’s flirting with me must be to get his own jollies with the shy, chubby girl who blushes when the hot guy pays attention to her.

I snap my head up, glaring at him while my spine stiffens. Lifting my chin, I say quite primly, “I’ll stick with Mr. Locke. Now, is there anything I can do for you?”

This amuses him even more if the sparkle in his eyes and his curved mouth is any indication. He pats his stomach, which is barely concealed under a form-fitting black thermal tee shirt. “I’m starting to get hungry. Need to figure out where to scrounge up some dinner. Maybe you can help me out.”

I blink in surprise. “You just ate lunch a few hours ago.”

After he checked in, he said he was hungry. Like a stalker, I’d watched him walk down the block to Central Cafe, where he stayed for forty minutes before he left. He then meandered around town square, before moseying back to Millie’s where he’s been holed up in his room ever since.

“I’m a big man, darlin’,” he drawls, patting his stomach again. “And when I’m hungry, I eat.”

“Well, if you can wait an hour, I’ll have some appetizers and wine to serve in the sitting room.” I jerk my head in that direction. “And then, Central Cafe has their fried chicken special tonight. Clementine’s is good, but no jeans allowed. Or you can head over to Chesty’s, which is my grandpap’s bar. He has pizza, burgers, and such.”

“I went by there earlier today,” Deacon says with a fond smile. “I take it your grandpa was in the Marine Corps?”

Another blink of surprise. “He was. Since you know what Chesty’s means, I take it you served in the Corps too?”

“That I did,” he says, but he doesn’t elaborate.

We stare at each other a moment. When he doesn’t say anything else, I nod to the sitting room. “Feel free to go relax a bit. I’ll start getting the appetizers ready, then put it out a little early for you. How’s that?”

“Sounds great,” he replies.

I give him a short smile before turning to the kitchen. As I’m pushing open the swinging door, I feel his presence at my back. I glance over my shoulder to find him following me.

As soon as we’re both in the kitchen, the door swinging shut behind him, I pivot and put my hands on my hips. “You can’t be back here.”

“Why not?” he asks. “I can help get stuff ready.”

“No,” I exclaim, totally affronted. “You’re a guest. You can’t do that.”

“Who says?”

“Well… um… I do,” I stammer.

“Are you the boss?”

“Yes.” I’m starting to feel confused and off kilter, his confident and domineering tone making me doubt my own Southern manners and sensibilities regarding customer service.

“Then you have the power to let me back here to help you,” he says as if it’s the most common-sense thing in the world.

“But—” I say, not really knowing why I want to argue with him, but I do.

“What’s your name?” he asks, and I blink again.

“My what?”

“Your name?” he repeats.

“Larkin,” I reply automatically.

“That totally matches,” he says with a confident nod before moving over to the refrigerator. It’s a commercial-grade sub-zero Mely bought, and I’m a little in love with it. He opens it up and sticks his head inside, seemingly forgetting I’m here.

“Um… excuse me?” I ask tentatively as I inch across the kitchen toward him. “But what matches?”

Deacon turns from the fridge, then closes the door. “Your name to you,” he says and then boldly runs his gaze up and down me. “Your beautiful name matches the rest of you.”

This so stuns me I can’t even think to argue with him. Instead, I mutter, “My last name is Mancinkus.”

Deacon grimaces, then gives me a sympathetic smile. “Yeah… not a very sexy last name. Good thing the whole package you have going on overshadows that.”

“Thank you,” I murmur, feeling more than a little perplexed. “I think.”

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Product Release Date: June 11, 2019

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