Read Complications Online

Authors: Emilia Winters

Tags: #Romance, #romance erotica


BOOK: Complications
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Book One of The Rebound Series

By Emilia Winters

This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and events are the product of the author’s imagination. Any resemblance to actual events, places, or persons are purely coincidental.

All rights reserved. This book or any portion thereof may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without the express written permission of the author except for the use of brief quotations in a book review.

Copyright © 2013 Emilia Winters

Chapter One

Olivia felt numb as she mechanically dumped flour into her automatic mixer. Alice and Sarah, two of her employees, were at the back table icing cooled cupcakes. They were unusually quiet. Usually, her kitchen was filled with chatter and music. But that was before Miles broke it off with her two weeks ago after a six-year relationship.

She felt a guilty twinge, knowing her somber mood affected them. She wished she could go back in time two weeks ago, pre-breakup. She would have smiled and laughed about Alice’s newest story involving her crazy dog or sympathized with Sarah’s relationship drama. But she didn’t know if she could put on a false front. And she certainly knew she wouldn’t be able to withstand the concerned looks filled with pity being tossed her way.

A timer rang out loudly, making Olivia jump slightly as it cut through the thick silence. She quickly took out the next batch of cupcakes from her industrial oven and set them to cool. The after-work rush would begin soon and she wanted to ensure her shop didn’t run out of her new triple chocolate fudge cupcakes again.

Lillian walked through the door connecting the front shop and the kitchen. “Livy, I’m taking my fifteen before the rush. I’ll be out back if you need me.” Olivia knew her bubbly cashier kept her tone cheery for her sake.

She managed a smile, “Take your time. I’ll listen for any customers.”

The second Lillian walked through the back door Olivia heard the bell placed over the front door of her shop ring. Sighing, she wiped her hands down the front of her apron and went to rinse them quickly. “Hey Alice, do you mind finishing this batter? It’s the new chocolate,” she added, taking off her floury apron and tossing it over a chair.

“Sure thing, boss lady,” Alice replied giving her a small wink. Olivia felt some awkward tension drain from the room and she even laughed a bit as she walked out to the front.

Olivia heard his voice before she saw him. It was deep and rough. She felt it slide down her body, like the burn of a good whiskey. Seductive and addicting at the same time. “You know I don’t think this is a good idea. No amount of cakes and sweets will butter her up,” the mystery man grumbled.

She glanced towards the front of her shop curiously, still feeling the effect of his voice. When her eyes finally landed on him, her heart stopped for a moment and she felt her palms clench. This mystery man was

His head was turned to the side, allowing Olivia to take in his sharp jaw line and dark stubble. He had full lips, which were currently curved down into a light frown, and beautiful black hair that teased the top of his shirt collar. He was dressed in an impeccably tailored black suit that highlighted his broad shoulders. She couldn’t make out the color of his eyes from this distance, but she found herself walking more quickly towards the counter in anticipation.

This man was seriously hot and it briefly occurred to her that she felt more alive than she had for the past two weeks.

Get it together
, she chided herself mentally. These were customers after all, although her thoughts were decidedly unprofessional at the moment concerning this mystery man.

The woman next to him, who Olivia hadn’t even taken notice of until then, spoke, “Oh, stop it. She loves cupcakes and if I’m the one delivering the news of the engagement, then she better be as buttered up as I can possibly make her.”

Olivia felt her heart sink a little and felt utterly ridiculous because of it. So, the mystery man was engaged. And his fiancée was as gorgeous as he was. With her silky dark hair and bright blue eyes, she could have easily been a model. And she had the wispy, lithe body to prove it.

“Do you really think you should eat that, Livy?” Miles asked, his eyes on hers, watching as she lifted a forkful of red velvet cake to her lips.

Olivia flinched. Not now.

She glanced back at the man and almost gasped.

She was struck by his height first. He easily topped six feet and was probably a few inches beyond that. Olivia was taller than the average woman, but this man shrunk her tremendously.

, was her second thought. He had beautiful hazel eyes and with a jolt she realized they were staring directly at her. She felt trapped in his gaze, but she never wanted to look away from the gold flecks and dark green swirls. Her cheeks warmed slightly when she noticed him drop his heated gaze down the length of her body and then back up again. His frown quirked up into a small smile and she felt her body throb in response.

She quickly looked back at his fiancée, embarrassed and ashamed by her reaction. How could her fiancé so publicly check out a woman without her noticing?
You didn’t notice Miles doing it either
, she thought bitterly.

Despite the anger that started to burn in her chest, Olivia smiled warmly, “Can I help you two?”

The woman looked at her and her face lit up with a smile, “Oh yes, that would be wonderful. I’m here for my grandmother and she absolutely loves chocolate. As in, she would eat chocolate for the rest of her life, forsaking every meal, would prefer to bathe in chocolate—”

“I think she understands, Beth,” her companion murmured. Olivia almost laughed at the woman’s enthusiasm, but when she met the man’s eyes again it died in her throat. His heated gaze was on her again and she felt liquid heat travel down to her belly. She felt an attraction to him like a tangible pull and she didn’t understand why, especially when he was engaged.

She quickly averted her eyes once again but she could see his steady gaze travel down her body.

Beth was apparently unaffected by his teasing comment. “The point is she loves chocolate. And a friend of mine told me that you have the best chocolate cupcakes in town, so naturally, here we are.”

Olivia smiled, genuinely pleased by the compliment. “Well, now I feel pressure to live up to my reputation,” she teased lightly.

Beth blinked, seeming surprised, and asked, “Oh, are you the owner?”

“I sure am,” she replied, feeling a little jolt of pride. She felt the mystery man’s presence like a touch but she refused to look at him again.

“Oh, wow, good for you. Your shop is so cute! I absolutely love the décor. It’s very vintage chic,” Beth complimented, nodding and taking in her surroundings. Olivia had no idea what “vintage chic” even meant but nevertheless she decided then that she liked Beth. Not only because of the compliment—although it certainly didn’t hurt—but because she seemed genuine.

“Thank you. A friend of mine is an interior designer. She was going for an English tea room vibe, but I vetoed a lot of her more floral ideas,” Olivia found herself explaining.

“My grandmother did the same thing for her living room, but it just ended up looking like a flower explosion,” Beth said, her hands becoming animated. Just then, her cell phone rang and she fished it out her purse. “Shoot. I have to take this. It’s the wedding planner. Alex, can you pick half a dozen out? I shouldn’t be more than five minutes.”

“No problem,” he replied smoothly, but she was already heading towards the door, her phone pressed to her ear.

Olivia could feel her heart pounding faster in her chest as she met
eyes briefly. “So, chocolate, right?” She found herself asking even though she knew the answer.

“Yes, chocolate,” he answered smoothly. It sounded more like a purr with his deep, rumbling voice and Olivia fought the urge to lick her bottom lip. She tensed when he slid his broad forearms—his nicely tanned broad forearms—onto the top of her counter and leaned forward a bit. “Anything particularly delicious you would recommend?” he asked in a low, husky tone.

Oh my God
, she thought, her brain short-circuiting for a second while other parts of her body lit up and exploded like fireworks. How could he make discussing cupcakes sound like they were dirty talking in the bedroom? Olivia caught sight of his fiancée outside the shop window, talking animatedly on her phone and she shook herself mentally.
Stop it.

Olivia swallowed and straightened up, taking a small step back away from the counter. If he noticed, he didn’t comment. “Well, did you want all chocolate for the half dozen? I have three different types of chocolate cupcakes in stock today. My triple chocolate fudge is very popular right now. I also have chocolate coconut and a chocolate chip and mascarpone cupcake.” She was starting to ramble but she didn’t stop. It was like her tongue was on autopilot. “But if you don’t want chocolate, then I have a wonderful red velvet and a seasonal pumpkin I’m well known for. Or if you prefer—”

“What’s your favorite?” he asked, stopping her mid sentence.

“Red velvet,” she said automatically, her eyes drawn to his lips. They curved up into a knowing smirk and she swallowed thickly, averting her gaze once again. “But if you’re looking specifically for chocolate, I’d go with the triple chocolate fudge. Especially if your fiancée’s grandmother loves chocolate so much.”
. She hoped that would make him back off.

Something flickered in his eyes and his lips pulled down into a small frown. “My fiancée,” he said, repeating the words slowly. “Her?” he asked incredulously, pointing a thumb over his shoulder. When she nodded, he laughed. If she weren’t so embarrassed, she would have appreciated the sound much more. “Beth’s my cousin, darling. It’s
grandmother we’re getting these for.”

“Oh,” she mumbled lamely, more mortified than she’d been a couple minutes ago during her rambling episode. Yet, a part of her—a bigger part than she wanted to admit to herself—felt slightly relieved. But that made her feel ashamed. Not only was she coming off a fresh breakup with a man she thought she would have eventually married, she also realized there was no chance in hell that he could be interested in her. He was too handsome. He belonged with women who could rival his looks, women who looked like Beth. Not her, a woman with average looks and a comfortable size 12.

“If you wanted to know if I’m single or not, you could have just asked. I like the direct route anyway,” he murmured, his voice like rough velvet. Her head snapped up as her mouth fell open.

Olivia felt a full-blown blush hit her cheeks the moment he noticed it. “No! That’s not what I meant. I just figured…I—” she took a deep breath. “I just heard something about an engagement when you first came in and I just assumed she was your fiancée.”

“Right,” he drawled out, making it clear he didn’t believe her. The heat had returned to his eyes. “I’m not seeing anyone, just for the record. Are you?” Direct indeed.

She blinked.
she thought automatically. But with a sharp pain of anger and a feeling of betrayal, she realized that the new answer was no. And it would be from now on.
Good riddance.

But, regardless, she ignored his question. He was still a customer, even if he was a single customer now. A really sexy single customer.

“So, the half dozen…did you want all chocolate?” she asked, almost shyly now.

His eyebrows raised a fraction, as though not expecting her response. He was probably accustomed to women throwing themselves at him. That realization sobered her even more.

He opened his mouth to speak, but the bell over the door chimed again and Beth reappeared. “Sorry about that. Venue issues. Did you decide on the flavors yet?” She looked at Olivia, then to Alex.

Olivia cleared her throat, “I was just telling him we have three different chocolate flavors. Since you want a half dozen, I can put in two of each if you’d like.”

“Oh, that sounds wonderful. Let’s do that,” Beth exclaimed in agreement.

“And I’d like a red velvet separately,” Alex said nonchalantly. Olivia sucked in a small breath as she met his dark eyes and nodded mutely. As Olivia boxed up the order, she wondered what he was playing at. But ultimately, she pushed it out of her mind and watched as Alex pulled out a black leather wallet from his back pocket. Once their cupcakes were paid for, she smiled at the both of them. “I hope your grandmother enjoys them.”

“I’m positive she will. They look absolutely mouth-watering! I might have to steal one,” Beth admitted, laughing. “Oh, by the way, I never caught your name.”

I smiled politely, feeling Alex’s gaze. “I’m Olivia.”

“Beth,” she pointed to herself then to her cousin, “Alex. It’s very nice to meet you and thanks so much for your help. I’m sure we will be back in soon. Isn’t that right, Alex?”

BOOK: Complications
11.12Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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