When grumpy baker Erik Andersson ends up jobless, he reluctantly joins forces with breezy marketing whiz Josie Ryan, who leaps at the chance to turn his talent into an empire. As the business grows, they give in to the temptation of their sweet-and-salty chemistry—until their clashing definitions of success threaten their partnership, both personal and professional. Can they resolve their differences to form the perfect fusion, or will the heat force one of them out of the kitchen?
Josie picked up her camera, pointed it at the row of pristine wedding cakes, and started clicking. “It all smells so good. How do you keep from eating everything all the time?”
She was surprised when Erik actually answered, a curl of amusement in his voice.
“I taste everything. Why do you think I wanted to find a gym close to the bakery?” He looked down at his forearms—his strong, corded, deliciously muscled forearms, and she lifted the camera in a flash, firing off several quick shots. When he realized what she was doing, his expression shifted to pained.
“Oh, don’t do that!” she cried. “Those were getting good.”
“You don’t need any of me for the bakery website,” he muttered, swiping a hand across his mouth.
Good thing she’d just shot the last of the sample cakes because she was ready to launch into a new fight. “I really do. You’re…” She sighed. “You’re magnificent, frankly. You’re as delicious as the things you make. If we don’t put that on your website, we’re idiots.”
He started shaking his head as she spoke, his movements becoming more decisive with each word.
“Erik.” His name, spoken in her gentlest tone, stilled him. “Trust me.”
She held her breath, wondering if they’d be in for a repeat of last week’s disagreement in the kitchen, but he froze, a giant of a man enthralled by the force of her stare.
Then his shoulders shifted downward a fraction of an inch. “I hate this.”
“I know,” she crooned, working quickly to move things into place. His apartment was shabby as hell, but that just might work. She turned her lights to face the wall, then put her palm to his chest and walked him backward until he bumped against the crumbling plaster over the brick. For the first time in their acquaintance, he looked startled. At her touch? Was the press of her fingers causing the unflappable man to flap? Without stopping to think, she smoothed her hand along his collarbones, hoping the gesture would soothe him. But she’d miscalculated; his breath caught as her fingers traveled along those long dips and curves.
She took a step back, not wanting to fluster him more than she already had, and raised her camera. It clicked as she captured his unguarded expression. “Just pretend I’m not here.”
She watched through the viewfinder as he looked directly at her. “Teach me how to do that.” His voice darkened on the last word, and she almost dropped her camera. With the soft light falling on his face, his battered apartment wall served as a compelling backdrop for his square jaw, his sharp eyes, his impossible cheekbones.
“That night we met.”
She kept clicking, too absorbed in the planes of his face to respond, and her not speaking for a change seemed to encourage him to fill the empty space hanging between them.
“That night we met,” he repeated, “you were all I could see. You’re still the only thing I can see.”