“Coffee?” I ask, grabbing the pot I made for when she arrived. She nods, and I pour her a cup, adding a sprinkle of cinnamon to the top the way she used to like it.
“How did you know I liked cinnamon in my coffee?” She cocks her head to the side, and I realize my mistake.
“Don’t most people?” I say and then try to cover my tracks. “Why don’t you tell me about your education and what you specialize in.”
She sips her coffee and then hums in appreciation as she begins to talk about culinary school and her love of pastries. I could sit like this for hours just listening to her talk and describe the flakiness of laminated dough. The way she says “butter” is the cutest thing ever.
“I have an event next week, and I’d like to hire you for it,” I say as I take the fork out of the napkin and open the box.
“You haven’t even tried my desserts yet.” She smiles shyly, and god, it heats me from the inside out.
“I don’t need to. You’re obviously talented, I could tell that from the wedding cake. But seeing how passionate you are about cooking, that’s exactly what I’m looking for.” Her cheeks flush, and she stares down at her hands as I scoop up a bite of pie. When I hum appreciatively, her eyes lock with mine.
“Do you like it?”
“I’ve never had anything so sweet.” The words are out of my mouth, and I realize it might sound like it’s not right. “It’s perfect,” I correct, and I see her smile widen.
“So what kind of event is it?”
“It’s for Valentine’s,” I hedge, taking a bite of a chocolate tart. “It’s a big party, so I’ll need a cake.”
“I love making cakes. What kind are you thinking?”
“What’s your favorite?” I moan when I taste the chocolate, and she preens.
“I love strawberry cake with cream cheese frosting, but it’s your party; you should pick what you want.”
“I think strawberry cake with cream cheese frosting sounds like the perfect cake.”
I nod and eat something else that’s got caramel and apples in it. It’s so good I keep eating until it’s gone.
“Can you make me another box like this right now in my kitchen?”
She laughs like I’m joking, but when I don’t laugh with her, she sobers. “Are you serious?”
“Do I want to eat your treats all day?” My smile is slow and steady as I look her up and down. “Yes, I’m serious.”
Those eyes. They’re driving me crazy. The more I stare into them, the more I’m sure they’re Austin’s. Could they be related? The idea of that being possible has mixed emotions running through me.
Q’s eyes never leave me as I flit around his impressive kitchen, making him more sweets. This place is a piece of art if you ask me, and if someone could have plucked the perfect commercial kitchen layout from my mind, this would be it.
“I can’t believe you have a whole area for desserts.” The massive kitchen is split up into two sections next to each other, and he has a whole other space for baking.
“I want to have an entire dessert menu in the future, not only a handful of items. I knew the chef would need their own area, and I planned for that.”
“It’s a dream space,” I admit, wanting this job more and more by the second.
“I was actually thinking about having a dessert appetizer menu too.” I jerk my head up to gape at him. “What?” He smirks, and I swear it’s a knowing one.
“Nothing, it’s an idea I actually tossed around with a friend of mine. That restaurants should put a few sweets on the appetizer menu. Nothing sparks hunger like sugar.”
“I couldn't agree more. We always serve bread at the start too. Normally it’s a brown and white bread, but what if we served one sweet bread and one white?”
“Like a pandoro!” I squeal too loudly, and heat rushes to my cheeks. Oh my gosh. What is wrong with me? I need to act like an adult and not an excited child.
“Pandoro.” Q moans the word, his eyes closing like he’s savoring it.
The heat that rushed to my face shifts throughout my body as I watch him. Since I’d walked in the door to his restaurant, I’ve sensed something bubbling up between us. I keep telling myself I’m losing my mind. No way this man is into me that way. Not only because this is Q, but because my heart is supposed to belong to Cupid. I can’t be flirting and sending out mixed signals. Not that I know how to flirt…unless spilling drinks on people is flirting.
Cupid might not want your heart, my stupid brain reminds me, and it’s not like Q is going to want it either. I have to stop talking to myself in my head.