“You go turn my sign to ‘closed’ while I bring everything else to the table where we were sitting.”

“What about your customers?”

“It’s usually slow on the day leading to New Year’s Eve for in-house customers. I doubt anyone’s shopping for dessert right now. Besides, all my pick-up orders have already been, well, picked up.”

He inclined his head and headed to the front. She made quick work of gathering everything they needed and placed it on a large tray. As she entered the room, he waited for her by the table, her chair pulled out.

Just as she set the tray down, he leaned over and whispered, “I got over my allergy of good manners.”

She bit back a smile and sat down. “I might have found mine again, too.”

He piled a thick piece of bread with turkey, avocados, and cheese. A charming smile appeared on his face, making her stare at him in wonder. “Shall I call you Daisy instead of Ms. Barnes? I thought if are to break bread together—”

“Breaking bread together? Aren’t you old-fashioned?” She wiggled her brows. “I lik—”

That charming smile disappeared, replaced by nothing. Absolutely nothing. He didn’t smile, he didn’t do anything, but kept his handsome face blank. “My apologies. Lunch. I wanted us to be on a first name basis before we ate.” It was then Daisy realized that she had embarrassed him.

She placed her hand over his. “I was going to say that I liked the sound of breaking bread together, especially during this time of year. It’s nice…Sebastian.”

Unfortunately, her explanation didn’t work, because he ate the rest of his meal in silence. She stayed quiet as well, but she couldn’t help but notice that his gaze kept straying to her display of desserts, of all things.


Why couldn’t he stare at her boobs like a normal guy? She ate the last bite of her sandwich, washed it down with water, and then leaned back in her chair. “Guess I better clean up and re-open my store.”

“Allow me.”

Openly watching him as he cleared their dishes, she tried to think of something to say before he left. Something nice. Something friendly. Something—

Sebastian beat her to the punch. “May I take your picture to remember this day?”

“Oh-okay.” She stood, and then moved to stand in front of the tiny Christmas tree she’d placed in the corner at the first of the month. Grabbing the Santa Hat from the top of the tree, she pulled it over her head. “How’s this? It’ll hide the I-was-out-of-my-mind orange.”

Nodding, a corner of his mouth kicked up. “Very enterprising.” Holding up his phone, he snapped a couple of pictures.

She felt a little silly standing there, so she plopped the Santa hat on his head and giggled at the sight. He looked so serious with his suit, then so silly with the hat. She wasn’t surprised he’d put his jacket back on. His overcoat lay neatly over a nearby chair. “My turn to take a picture.”

“I really don’t think—” he glanced up at the ceiling, “—is that mistletoe?”

“Yeah, but I put it in the corner so no one would feel obligated to kiss.”

His eyes dropped to her lips. “I don’t feel obligated.”

“Neither do I.” She inched closer, carefully placing her palms on his chest. Dear God, his chest. Even though the layers, it felt broad and muscular. “Oh my mercy,” she whispered.

“Indeed.” He dipped his head and this time when his eyes closed, she didn’t pull away. She didn’t speak, she didn’t think. Instead, she rose on her toes, grabbed the lapels of his jacket, and kissed him. And kissed him some more.

“Sebastian,” she murmured against his lips.

“Bastian,” he corrected. “I prefer Bastian, Daisy.”

“Bastian,” she whispered. A better name. Something a girl who was sweet on him would call him between kisses. Like she was doing now.

The kiss deepened, his hands threading in her hair, pulling at the chopsticks that held her bun in place. They hit the floor with a clatter, and then her back hit the wall.

She gasped.

He slid his tongue inside, flicking it at vulnerable spots she didn’t know existed. Or maybe they had and were waiting on him to find them.

Her hair fell, glides of silk over her sensitive skin. His fingers gently touched the sides of her neck. A sensuous path that had her thighs trembling.

Further down his fingers went, hands cupping her shoulders, skimming down her arms, dipping to her chest, and then covering her br**sts.

“Perfect,” he groaned.

She sucked his tongue deeper and he squeezed, making her ni**les hard and wanting. Hooking a leg around his waist, she jerked him against her, the delicious weight of him making her moan into his mouth. His hand found her thigh, gripping it tight as she ground against him.

Suddenly, he pulled away, his pale eyes unfocused, and then sharpening to their normal frost. “Christ,” he swore. “I hadn’t intended for this to happen.” His grip eased and she lowered her leg. She let go of his lapels as he let go of her breast.

A smile threatened to curve her lips, but she didn’t want to give him the wrong impression. She didn’t want him to think she was laughing at him. Instead, she stroked the side of his cheek. His jaw clenched and she did it again, wanting to ease his tension.

“Please don’t apologize,” she whispered.

“I wasn’t.” His chin tipped up, full lips thinning. He held up his cell phone. “I have to go.”

Cold washed over and through her. There was no reason she should be embarrassed, but she was. “Alright.”

He strode to the chair and shrugged into his overcoat, then cast a look at her over his shoulder. “Damn it,” he muttered and started for her again, long strides eating up the distance.

Heart swelling and desire rising, she met him halfway and wrapped her arms around his neck. Words weren’t needed in this moment.

His hands settled on the sides of her face. “Daisy.” A statement or a question, she wasn’t sure.

She blinked up at him, this time allowing herself to smile at him. “Yes?”

For a minute, his mask slipped and longing shone in his eyes. “Happy New Year’s in advanced, love.”

“Happy New Year’s, Bastian.” She licked her dry lips. “I hope you find whatever it is you’re looking for while you’re here.” I hope you come back to my store tomorrow, because I’ll be waiting.

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