Excerpt: Chocolate Cream

This week’s excerpt is from the third story in my Creme du Jour series, coming out next month. It’s currently with the editor, but here’s a brief taste from the draft copy. Enjoy!


Chocolate Cream

Excerpt

The door closed
behind her with an audible click and she jumped, turning to watch as
Nathan bolted the door. Her fear must have shown on her face, because he
did laugh when he saw her expression.

“It’s so thieves don’t get in, not so you don’t get out, sweetheart. Relax.”

Audrey nodded, letting the breath she’d been holding out as slowly as she could.

“Thank you for
letting me in,” she said finally, relieved when her voice sounded
relatively normal. “Celia told me I should come for an interview, but it
doesn’t really seem like she talked to you about it. Are you looking to
hire a pastry chef, or was she just playing a prank on me? I apologize
if that’s the case…”

He leaned back
against the opposite counter, arms crossed over a wide, muscular chest.
He must work out, she thought. While making pastries all day was hard
work, it wouldn’t give anyone muscles like those.

She didn’t
remember his eyes being so…intense. Deep emerald green, they looked
like cat’s eyes, stalking her in the dimly lit stainless steel space.

“Honestly?” His voice did odd things to her belly, and she shifted as moisture dampened her panties when he continued.

“I
misunderstood. I thought Celia was sending someone over for a…
different position. I do need some help here in the kitchen, but I
didn’t expect her to know anyone…like that.”

Audrey frowned,
sensing she was missing something important. Had Celia had something
else in mind when she suggested Audrey come over to interview? She’d
been clear about looking for a pastry job when a friend from college had
introduced them at Celia’s theme club. Brandy had wanted to check it
out – for the experience, she’d said – and Audrey had gone along to keep
her company. She’d never seen anything like it, but Celia had seemed
nice enough.

“Well, what’s
the other job?” she asked, looking up into those mesmerizing eyes again.
“Maybe I can do both? Celia mentioned that the pastry job was part
time…”

Nathan laughed,
shaking his head. “I don’t think so. But thank you for offering. Do you
still want to interview for the pastry chef’s job?”

Nathan studied
the young woman closely as he waited for her answer. The fact that she
didn’t speak right away was to her credit. She was a thinker, and he
appreciated that quality in the people he associated with.

She looked
familiar, something in those brilliant eyes made him wonder if they’d
met before. Surely he’d remember though – the long gentle curve of her
neck, those high and narrow cheekbones, that Roman nose. It was unlikely
he’d forget that face, but he couldn’t decide whether he’d truly seen
her somewhere or if her face was just pleasing enough to trigger an
imaginary deja vu moment.

“Yes,” she
said, looking him in the eye. “I still want to interview for the pastry
chef position, if I may. Here’s my resume.” She held out a navy blue
folder, but he waved it off.

“No resume needed. I prefer a more…demonstrative approach to interviews, if that’s okay with you.”

She raised an eyebrow, her expression intrigued. “Sounds like fun. Where do we start?”

Nathan wondered
if maybe she’d work for the second position too. That confident,
introspective attitude would be perfect, and there was certainly nothing
wrong with her delectable body, or what he could see of it anyways.

Perhaps the interview could be structured in such a way to test her potential in that area as well…

He reached for a
white smock hanging on the wall, and handed it to her. “In my kitchen,
you will address me as Chef or Sir. Put this on, and we’ll begin. What
is your name?”

She set her things down on the counter behind her to pull on the smock, as he’d expected her to do.

“Audrey,” she said, her fingers deftly buttoning up the jacket.

“Audrey what?”

She finished adjusting the smock and looked up at him. “Audrey Patrick.”

He said nothing, merely waited as he watched understanding move across her features.

“Audrey Patrick, Sir.”
It was a statement, not a question as some women might have posed it.
He nodded, noting the slight relaxation in her shoulders at his
acknowledgement of her obedience. A good sign.

Nathan looked
pointedly over her shoulder at the handbag and folder sitting on the
counter. “There is to be nothing on these counters that doesn’t relate
to food preparation in some way. You can put your things over there,” he
pointed to a set of cubbies and hooks in an out-of-the-way corner.
“Then you can scrub that counter to restore it to its original
condition. The cleaning supplies are in that closet.” He pointed again,
this time to a door near where personal items were to be stowed.

Then he stood
silent, waiting for the refusals that normally followed. Younger chefs
tended to have trouble with the idea of being ordered to clean something
right off, which was why he still hadn’t filled the position after six
long months. But Audrey didn’t argue and didn’t look upset by his
command.

“Yes Chef,” she
said, gathering her things and going to the corner he’d indicated. She
put the items away and then got cleaning supplies out and went back to
the counter, spraying and buffing the stainless steel surface until it
gleamed. Returning the supplies to the closet, she came back to stand in
front of him, arms behind her back, chest out, shoulders straight.

Nearly perfect submissive position, which made him wonder if Celia hadn’t chosen her wisely after all.

“What would you like me to do next, Chef?”


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