eBook Publication: IN LIMBO – PLEASE SEE MY BLOG POST
Publisher: ManLove Romance Press (print Hot Comfort Anthology)
Genre: Contemprary Erotic Romance
Release Date: August 14, 2009 (ebook) and September 2009 (print anthology)
Order Bittersweet as an ebook from Aspen Mountain Press
Order Bittersweet as an ebook from Fictionwise
Order Bittersweet as an ebook from Amazon for Kindle
Order Bittersweet as an ebook from MobiPocket
Erotic chocolatier Brandon makes all sorts of tempting and tasty creations that celebrate love and sex. Too bad he’s given up on finding love for himself after his last lover told him he wasn’t worthy of a real relationship just before he dumped him.
When David picks up an order of chocolates for his best friend’s wedding, he wonders if the muscular, tattooed Brandon will taste sweet or bittersweet… After David finds out that Brandon is gay, he needs to step up and let the sexy chocolatier know he’s interested, but can he screw up the courage to do it?
Aha! A parking spot right on the street in Freemont. That was rarer than three dry spring days in row. David pulled his little Mazda into the open space with a sigh of relief. Chris had said she’d promised to be there to pick up the naughty chocolates at six, and it was already a little after that. He’d rushed out of the office as fast as he could after getting her frantic reminder phone call, but being waylaid by a coworker along the way had cut things very close to the designated pickup time.
He hopped out of the car, taking advantage of a brief gap in the street traffic, and raced over to the ominously quiet-looking shop. A glance at the hours listed on the glass door showed that they closed at four p.m. on weeknights. The lights were still on, but no one seemed to be inside.
“Dammit!” How was he supposed to pick up something at six when the shop closed at four?
Ripping his cell phone out of its holster, he stabbed the keys to call Chris. Just as he heard the phone begin to ring through, he saw movement in the back of the shop. A powerfully built man stepped out of a back room and came around the display case, wiping his hands on a towel. David couldn’t help staring as the man walked toward the door.
A long-sleeved black t-shirt clung to the heavy muscles that bunched and flexed beneath it. Worn black jeans snugly fitted lean hips and thick thighs, with black harness boots finishing out the other man’s outfit. Everything that turned David on, wrapped up in one bad-boy package. Not at all what he’d expected to find working in a chocolate shop.
David glanced back up the sexy man’s body again and looked through the glass door into the most amazing pair of steel-grey eyes edged with the lines of a man who knew how to smile and did so often. Goosebumps erupted on David’s arms, and he swallowed convulsively. Holy crap, this was every wet dream he’d ever had, come to life. The white paper hairnet wasn’t quite in keeping with the rest of the fantasy, though. Not that it deterred David’s now-throbbing cock.
Hell, if his luck ran true to form, the sexy-as-hell man would be decidedly straight, and David didn’t want to get on Chris’s bad side by risking her chocolate fix. She might be his best friend, but she had a temper he’d rather not run afoul of.
When a tanned hand reached out to flip the door’s deadbolt, just the edge of a colorful tattoo peeked out from under the black shirt cuff. If possible, David’s cock got even harder. Just what ink lay under that dark cotton? He forced himself to stop staring at the man and pasted a shaky smile on his face as the door swung open.
“Hi, I’m David Sterling, here to pick up an order for Chris Mortenson. I hope I’m not too late, or she’s gonna kill me. And she’ll make sure it hurts.”
The amazing smell of chocolate seemed to explode over him in a rush through the shop’s doorway. He savored the rich smell. One deep breath, then another, and his eyes drifted closed in ecstasy.
A laugh, as dark and rich as the smell of the shop, sent a shiver up his spine, and David’s eyes snapped back open. His cheeks grew hot with the blush he’d never learned to stifle.
The other man tugged off the hairnet to reveal curly black hair in a riot of disarray, as if fingers had been run through it over and over.
“Come on in. I’d hate to be the cause of your death.” The husky voice was laced with humor. “I’m Brandon Williams, the owner. Sorry you had a scare, but the shop was closed and I was working in the back. I don’t like to leave the door unlocked if no one is out here.”
David stepped into the chocolate shop, still savoring the smells, and tried to will his hard-on away, without much success. The shop was bigger than he’d expected, with a bit of bordello in the scarlet and black décor, but the huge variety of chocolates in the display cabinets was impressive.
Stepping past him, Brandon tossed the hairnet and towel on a table behind the counter and gestured toward three large boxes in the same scarlet and black as the shop’s décor.
“Here’s the order for Chris. Twenty-five dark chocolate sex toy chests, with toys.” He pulled off the piece of paper taped to the lid of the top box and set it on the counter with a pen. “Can you sign that you’ve picked them up, please?”
David scrawled his name at the bottom of the form, distracted by the smear of chocolate he’d seen on the other man’s hand. Damned if he didn’t want to lick it off … slowly. Obviously it had been far too long since he’d gotten laid, or even gotten close to being laid. Helping Chris with her wedding had taken a lot of his time the last several months, and it was longer than that since he’d found a man he wanted to get close to. Most gay men he met in the normal course of his day were more prissy and metrosexual than he was attracted to. This man was anything but.
He looked up and saw Brandon’s grey eyes staring at him with what looked like interest, but as soon as the other man saw he was being watched, he hurried to take the signed form and toss it into a tray with some similar forms.
Hmm. Very interesting reaction. Maybe the hunky candy man wasn’t straight after all.
“I’ll put these in the car for you.” The chocolatier picked up the three boxes with no effort at all and nodded for David to precede him to the door. David held the shop door open for Brandon, then clicked the remote to unlock his car. Thankful for his spacious trunk, he popped it open and made sure the boxes were settled in, flat on the trunk floor so they wouldn’t tip or fall over while he drove to the party.
Once the trunk was shut again, Brandon held out his large tanned hand to shake David’s. “Hope you and your fiancée have a great party and enjoy the chocolates.”
Stunned, David stood motionless for a moment. Talk about the wrong idea completely. Where did candy man get the idea he was the groom?
He reached out for a solid handshake, and as Brandon released his hand and turned to go back into the shop, David called out, “You know, I’m not Chris’s fiancé. I’m the man of honor. I love Chris, but she’s my best friend. I’m just not into dating women.”
Laughing at the stunned look on Brandon’s face, he waved as he drove away.
Chocolate Minx at Literary Nymphs gave Bittersweet 4 of 5 Nymphs! She says (in part):
Bittersweet is a wonderful story of a budding romance. Beneath the bad-boy image of his appearance, Brandon is a friendly and sensitive man. David is down-to-earth and shares most of Brandon’s common interests. The talented Maura Anderson has created a tale showcasing sensual desires as well as secondary characters that add humor into this engaging and enjoyable story.