Home > The Thing About Love(3)

The Thing About Love(3)
Author: Kim Karr


He nodded.

With a curious look, I asked, “And why is that?”

Montgomery sighed deeply. “Archer thinks I need to watch my waistline.”

“No!” I whispered in a gasp. Montgomery loved his sweets.

“Yes, it’s true. But how can I turn you down when you so clearly need help easing whatever absurd guilt you’re feeling about eating chocolate cake in the afternoon?”

“It’s not guilt. It’s just too much chocolate makes me hyper.”

“Everything makes you hyper,” he declared.

It was true.

There was no point in denying it any further, so instead, I shrugged. “It’s just a thing.”

He shook his head. “No, it’s not just a thing, it’s a Jules thing,” he joked, and his southern drawl was especially thick.

Once again I found myself lifting my shoulders in an undeniable shrug. He knew me, and he knew I had quirks.

A lot of them.

Montgomery set his gaze back on the cake, and when he did, a line creased his brow.

“What is it?” I asked in alarm, worried something was wrong with the cake that I hadn’t noticed.

Taking a step back, he eyed his work. Circling it, he searched for flaws, of which I was sure there would be none because Montgomery was nothing if he wasn’t a perfectionist. Not a single thing was ever overlooked.

My gaze followed his. Each tier looked like driftwood, only instead of being made out of bark, the frosting, or fondant to be politically correct, was created from the most decadent white and dark chocolates.

There was also a heart piped on the middle tier as if it were carved in the tree, and inside were the couple’s initials, written in Tiffany blue.

Such a perfect touch.

The branches that had been placed here and there in such a geometrically pleasing fashion were also spot on. And needless to say, the topper was exactly what the bride had ordered.

Or I hoped it was.

Birds.

Lovebirds.

I bit my lip in contemplation.

They were conventional, and from what I could tell, my prospective client was not. I had wondered about this enough that I emailed her twice to be assured I had gotten it right.

The responses she provided to me had been all over the place. In one email she stated she wanted an outdoor barn wedding, but without the cowboy boots, horses, and hay. Then she added that rustic would be okay, but she preferred modern. In another, she stated she wouldn’t be able to live without those lovebirds as her wedding theme. And finally, she wrote that chocolate was her must-have flavor. Oh, I almost forgot—her PS informed me Tiffany blue was her favorite color.

I took what I could from the mix of chaos and spoke to Montgomery. Once he designed the ideal cake, I invited her and her groom-to-be to The Bride Box so I could wow her before taking her to my office to discuss the details of my plan for her wedding.

After spinning the cake around, Montgomery glanced over at me.

My heart was in my mouth, and my pulse was racing up my throat to meet it. I couldn’t find the air to breathe and was barely able to repeat myself. “Montgomery, what’s the matter?”

“It’s nothing.” He waved a hand in the air.

I continued to stare at him with my heart in my throat. “Are you sure?”

“Yes,” he stressed. “I’m just giving it one final look-over,” he added.

Okay, he did always do that.

Didn’t he?

With a grin on his face, he picked up the base. He carried the giant cake to the crystal platform on the large, distressed, wooden table behind us. And then his masterpiece was on display.

Finally, I felt like I could breathe again.

For a few seconds we both stood there and admired the cake, but then I broke free and gave in to the temptation sitting beside me. I couldn’t help myself. I dipped my finger in the leftover bowl of chocolate icing and brought it to my mouth. The moan I made wasn’t on purpose. “Montgomery, you outdid yourself this time.”

Remaining straight-faced, he said, “You say that every time.”

“This time I really do mean it,” I said around a lick.

“You know I’d do anything for you.”

“I know you would.” I smiled at him. “But I mean it. This time, you really, really, really, did outdo yourself.”

The corners of his lips lifted. “I’m glad you like it.”

“I don’t just like it,” I moaned again, swiping my finger across the bowl’s edge one more time. “I love it.”

Never one for praise, he placed a kiss on my forehead. “Remember, Juliette, you are the one who did this.”

I shook my head.

It was all him.

“Yes, you did,” he insisted. “I might have made the cake, but it was your idea to present the bride with it first, to give her what she wants when she doesn’t even know herself. That’s the sign of a true artist.”

“Maybe you’re right,” I admitted.

He nodded. “I’m more than right. You can do this. And I mean more than just the upcoming meeting.”

“I hope so, Montgomery. I really do,” I whispered.

His gaze narrowed on me. “Stop doubting yourself. Do you hear me?”

With a bright grin, I said, “Yes.”

He brought his hands together. “Good, because now it’s time to eat, and then clean up,” he replied.

Now that was a good idea.

Grabbing the bowl of chocolate icing, he strode through the swinging door that led to the back kitchen. As it closed behind him, I was not only left with the lingering taste of chocolate on my lips but the feeling that I really could do this job.

All I had to do was prove it.

 

 

Bite Off More Than You Can Chew

JULES EASTON

IT DIDN’T TAKE MUCH TO make me happy.

The simple things in life seemed to be the ones that made me smile the most. I was a lot like my mother that way.

A sunny day.

The pitter-patter of rain hitting my window at night.

A kiss.

Even chocolate icing.

I licked my lips one last time and glanced around the place that had become like my second home when I needed one the most. The place I’d worked at after school for four years, only then the business name had been The Pastry Box.

As most things do, the showroom had changed over the years. No longer a retail bakery, it had been closed to the public years ago. Montgomery and Archer had decided to concentrate on the wedding trade exclusively, and it had paid off.

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