- Workplace Romance
From the time of Arthur and Camelot, she has traveled the world, dispensing her magical sweets. Her spells allow anyone who eats the confections to fulfill their hidden fantasies with the one they love. But if the recipient doesn’t believe their love is returned, then they are condemned to a life of knowing their lack of faith caused them to lose the one person they were destined to love.
Prudence Merriweather is a woman who knows what she wants. The only problem is that what she wants is Jonas Smith and he is totally out of her league. The curvy accountant thinks a man like him could never be interested in her.
Jonas has had a crush on Pru since he first met her. When he spots her eyeing chocolate covered cherries at The Sweet Shoppe he can’t resist buying them for her…then feeding them by hand to her later that evening.
The passion they share is more than either of them expected, but will they take a chance on love or lose it all?
This short story is a reissue and has been edited for content. It is part of the Sweet Shoppe series, but can be read alone.
Read an Excerpt
From the time of Arthur and Camelot, she has traveled the world, dispensing her magical sweets. Her spells allow anyone who eats the confections to fulfill their hidden fantasies with the one they love. But if the recipient doesn't believe their love is returned, then they are condemned to a life of knowing their lack of faith caused them to lose the one person they were destined to love.
Prudence Merriweather eyed the glorious pyramid of chocolate-covered cherries in the window and sighed. Why was it as soon as she made a resolution to lose weight, The Sweet Shoppe opened in her office building? It was cruel and unusual punishment, that’s what it was. Prudence licked her lips. There was no way she would be able to eat just one, if she bought a box. It seemed a little silly to buy just one.
“Find anything to your liking, Ms. Merriweather?” Jonas Smith’s warm breath tickled her ear.
Her gaze shot up and she saw that her coworker had snuck up on her. His chiseled face split into a boyish grin the moment they made eye contact in the window. Her face heated. So did her body. Jonas was a big man, over six-four, and had to weigh over two hundred and fifty pounds. None of it fat.
Prudence sighed again. Just her stupid Merriweather luck that the one man in her office that made her knees go to jelly every time she saw him caught her drooling over food. Chocolate, at that. Why couldn’t she drool over low-fat cookies?
’Cause they sucked, that’s why.
“Too many things to my liking, Mr. Smith.” Turning to face him, Prudence took a step back when she realized how close he was standing. She bumped into the window with a thud. His grin deepened, bringing a mischievous glint to his tawny eyes. Oh, and those dimples became more pronounced. The dark blue suit emphasized the breadth of his shoulders, while the ivory shirt complemented his tanned skin. She fought the urge to brush back the familiar lock of dark blond hair that fell onto his forehead.
He leaned closer, placing his hand on the window behind her. The sandalwood scent of his aftershave sent another little tingle along her nerve endings. She glanced at his hand and noticed his jacket and shirt had risen to where she could see his thick wrist. It would look so good in leather. Why did she have such a thing for big, hunky men?
“But I have a feeling there’s something in particular you like.” His voice was full of masculine teasing.
Prudence glanced back up at his face. Heat gathered in her tummy and slid between her legs. Her heart did a little jump when his chest brushed against her breasts.
“Ahhh ...” Great, Pru, kill him with your conversation skills. “Chocolate-covered cherries.” His gaze slid passed her to the shop window and then back again. “Dark or milk?” Was it her imagination, or did he lean in closer? “Dark or milk what?” Her question came out in a breathy sort of voice. She didn’t speak in that kind of voice. Accountants had to be businesslike and abrupt. But how could she help it when she felt the heat of him through her wool suit? She shivered.
“Chocolate.” “Chocolate? Oh, on my ... cherries.” She licked her lips and swallowed. “Milk.”
For a second or two, there was something akin to lust in his eyes. Her body throbbed just from the thought. She found herself leaning closer, wanting to capture the feeling of being in his arms. Someone opened the door to the shop, and the little bell jingled, breaking the spell. She shook her head to clear it and sidestepped Jonas. His smile dimmed a little and he looked disappointed. Puuuulllease. Men like Jonas had no interest in her. They might be the best of friends, but Prudence knew her plus-size body didn’t inspire men to fall head-over-heels in lust.
“I ... ah ... I have a meeting.”
He straightened and put his hand in his pocket. His full lips curved again. She’d bet they tasted better than chocolate-covered cherries.
“Yeah, I know. It’s in my office.”
“Right.” She stepped back. “For the year-in-review thingy.” Oh, yeah, good. Use your intelligence to entice him.
“See you in a few, Ms. Merriweather.”
She nodded, then turned and hurried to the elevator. A few minutes to regroup and a cup of coffee were what she needed. Spending an hour in the company of Jonas Smith could lead to fantasies. Not businesslike at all. She might just forget her audience and mention tying him up and jumping his bones. And then she’d have to find another job.
As she stepped into the elevator and turned, she noticed he was standing by the window and peering at her chocolate-covered cherries. A moment later, he went into the shop. Prudence wondered just what a man in his shape wanted in a shop like that.
Jonas studied the pyramid of chocolate cherries as he thought about Ms. Merriweather. Prudence. Pru, as he’d heard a few people call her. Was there anything more tantalizing than a woman with a look of such wanting on her face? Especially one with a body like Prudence’s. Full-figured, curvy, full hips, and breasts that he was sure would overflow his hands.
If he knew women–and he did–he would bet that Prudence would have given over a fortune for one chocolate-covered cherry. Silly woman probably thought they were too fattening. He’d grown up with a mother and a sister who were constantly on diets. Both of them tended to be a tad underweight, in his estimation. Fragile. He loved both of them, but he would never be attracted to a woman he was afraid of touching. Since the time he’d started dating, he’d always felt like a big brute next to most of his dates. Football players dated the cheerleaders, who barely weighed more than a chicken bone.
Now, Prudence Merriweather looked like she could handle a little touching. He could still smell her scent. Cinnamon. The woman smelled of vanilla and cinnamon. How could he not want to eat her up? She’d taste sweeter than any chocolate he’d ever had. He’d bet his life on it.
His blood heated as he remembered the way her tongue had darted out, licking her lips. He shifted from foot to foot, hoping to ease the erection that sprang to the ready whenever Prudence was around. Or within a fifty-mile radius. Hell, all he had to do was think of her, all that curly brown hair and her blue eyes, and he had a hard-on.
He made his way into the shop, the little bell tinkling as he entered. Instantly, the aroma of cookies baking filled the air. It was almost intoxicating. He turned and walked to the display of cherries and decided he would have to fulfill one temptation for Prudence. In return, maybe he could convince her to fulfill one for him. Jonas lost most of the blood from his brain thinking about getting her into his bed, or hers. Didn’t matter. He’d been lusting after the woman for the last six months. If she would say yes, he’d take her in the middle of Harry Hines Boulevard.
“You see something you want, yes?”
He turned and then had to look down. A woman dressed in a peasant shirt, a long broomstick skirt, and a kerchief on her head stood a few feet away. The top of her head reached just about his mid-chest area. She smiled at him, her ancient face creasing. He couldn’t see what color her hair was, but black-painted eyebrows rose, and ebony eyes studied him. The jangle of her many bracelets caught his attention as she gestured toward the window.
“You want some of my cherries? I dip zem myself.” Her voice was heavily accented, something old-worldly.
“Yes, I do want them. Do you have a special box for gift-giving?” Her eyes sparkled and she nodded.
“Yes. Zis is for a friend?” He couldn’t help smiling when he thought of Prudence. “Yes, a ... ah ... lady friend.”
“Ahhh.” She turned and hobbled over to her counter. He followed in her wake. “I will haf zem ready for you by five, good?”
No, he wanted them for their meeting. “Well, I thought you could box up the ones in the window.”
She stopped abruptly and spun around, amazing him with her speed, considering her age. “Non. I will make new. Fresh. Zese have been setting in zee air, not good. Five o’clock.”
“Do I pay you now?”
“Non.” And with that, she disappeared behind the counter and through a red curtain. He
shrugged and headed out the door, contemplating all the ways he could get Prudence to eat those treats.
For some reason, every one of them had Prudence naked. And in his bed. Or on his desk. Or anywhere. He stifled a curse when his pants drew tight over his cock. If he didn’t have the woman soon, he was going to go out of his ever-loving mind.
Somehow he had to convince her to come to dinner tonight, and then he could give her the cherries. If she didn’t accept, there was a good chance he would pass out from lack of blood in his brain.
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