One More Kiss Online - Katherine Garbera Page 0,1

another surfer.

“Most people don’t want to risk their hearts,” Alysse answered.

Staci came over and gave her a hug. From the beginning, Staci’s caring heart had surprised Alysse, because her friend looked tough. Her hair was cut in a trendy fashion but she presented herself to the world as if she were a badass.

“Honey, safe isn’t doing it for you. Something is missing in your life. I just want you to be happy,” Staci said.

“Me, too.” Alysse really craved happiness but had no idea how to get it. She’d thought that the bakery was the solution but the longer they worked at it and the more success and accolades she achieved at Sweet Dreams, the bigger that longing inside of her grew.

The phone rang before Staci could respond and Alysse reached around her to answer it. The phone was an old-fashioned wall-mounted unit that had come with the bakery when they’d bought the property.

“Sweet Dreams Bakery, home of the incredible red velvet dream cupcakes.”

“Hello,” the caller said. His voice was deep and raspy, vaguely familiar, but then she talked to men on the phone all the time.

Staci just mouthed over to her that the discussion wasn’t over and went to help a customer who had entered the shop. Alysse leaned back against the wall and twirled the phone cord around her finger.

“What can I do for you today?” she asked.

“I have a dessert emergency,” he said.

“An emergency? Well, we will be happy to help you out,” she said. She liked creating desserts that were unique to the person who would eat them. It wasn’t always easy to do, but she’d done it more than once with a lot of success. In fact, she’d been featured in a regional magazine after she’d made an anniversary cake for the deputy mayor of San Diego.

“I was hoping you’d say that,” he said.

His voice was perfect, she thought. She closed her eyes and just let the sound of it wash over her. This was what was wrong with her, she thought, snapping her eyes open and staring at the photo of cupcakes mounted on the wall behind the phone. She was afraid of a man who walked into her bakery but one she could flirt with on the phone, one who was safely isolated, she could handle.

“What can I get for you?” she asked. She pulled a prestamped notepad closer and got ready to jot down the details. She and Staci had made these forms up after they’d botched an order writing it down on napkins. That had been a long time ago, but they still wrote everything down on the notepad.

“I need something...different. I made some mistakes where my lady is concerned and I want to make it up to her,” he said, his voice low yet sincere.

Alysse knew she was a softy when it came to men making big romantic gestures. One time she’d stayed up all night making an anniversary cake for a man who’d forgotten to order it in advance and needed it first thing in the morning. She’d charged him double to justify staying overnight to bake it, but in her heart she liked that he’d realized he’d screwed up and tried to make up for it.

“Then this is going to have to be a really special cupcake or maybe a cookie. Tell me about her,” Alysse invited.

Sweet Dreams had cultivated a reputation in San Diego of being the place for one-of-a-kind desserts, mainly because she and Staci both believed that making something special was more than worth their time. People would pay for good food and that was what they delivered.

“Hmm...that’s not easy. She’s kind of elusive and hard to figure out.”

It was always interesting to her the way men described the women they loved. She and Staci had an annual Valentine’s Day contest where couples competed to come up with the perfect treat for each other by describing what the other person was like. The winners were chosen from those who described their mate and picked the perfect dessert.

“That’s probably why you like her,” Alysse said. “Men like a mystery.”

He sighed and she thought she heard a honking horn behind him. “That we do. But I’m used to solving them.”

She jotted down mysterious on the order form. Every guy thought women were hard to figure out, but if they just paid attention, she thought, it would be mystery solved. She’d never known a woman yet who didn’t in her own way tell a man exactly what she wanted.