I swallow around a lump in my throat. “I… This is my… I work here, Caleb. We can’t hook up in the store.”
He laughs softly. “Who says I want to hook up with you here?” He tilts his head and playfully pushes my bra strap off my shoulder. “Although, now that you mention it, that does seem like just the dirty idea a girl like you would come up with…”
I clear my throat loudly. “Caleb.”
He laughs again. “I’m kidding. I’ll behave. I promise.” He steps back and fixes me with a stern look. “That is, if you can keep your imagination in check, filthy girl.”
My cheeks flush.
His smile widens. “Perfect. So see you tomorrow.”
He raises a brow.
I clear my throat. “This is just a professional arrangement. Trade for a trade.”
His eyes search mine. “Of course, Carmine,” he says. Am I imagining the note of disappointment in his tone when he says that?
I must be.
I nod. “See you tomorrow, then.”
I watch the door swing shut behind him. But it takes far longer than that for my heart to stop racing. And as for the pool in my panties? Well, that’s going to take even longer to dry.
Caleb is waiting outside by the time I reach the bakery the next day. It’s strange to be arriving here in the afternoon, with the sun already brightly shining and the rest of the street around us—normally a fairly quiet little row of cute corner stores—completely silent as opposed to just chill. But seeing the hot-as-hell slice of man leaning against the doorframe wearing a confident smirk and eyes that want to devour me whole waiting for me eases the blow of being here on my only day off.
“You’re early,” I point out as I step up to his side and unlock the door.
“I was looking forward to seeing you.”
The simple way he says it, without any preamble, all while he’s eying me up like I’m the hottest girl in town, makes my whole body catch fire. Before I can respond, he cracks another of his half-smiles, the ones guaranteed to knock any girl in eyesight down to her knees—because to keep her upright under his gaze.
“That, and I want to get a taste of your work.”
The way he says taste, all sultry and sexy in his thick London accent, makes me think he’s talking about more than just my cake. The ones I bake, anyway.
“You won’t be disappointed.” I lock eyes with him. “If there’s one thing I’m good at, it’s satisfying cravings.”
“Now that, I believe,” he answers with a soft laugh as I finish unlocking the door and lead him inside.
He behaves—for the most part anyway—while we get the bakery set up. He satisfies himself with only passing touches—standing a little too close beside me while I show him how to prep the batter; reaching around me to grasp my hand where I’m holding the mixer handle while we stir it. Even those small touches—plus his proximity, just looking, smelling, feeling the way he does—are driving me wild.
But he’s actually listening to me too, I realize. When I tell him to prep another batch just like the first, he adds all the ingredients in the right order, remembering the steps I showed him. He even stirs it correctly, not too fast in case he whips it into too much of a fluff.
“Why did you want to learn to bake?” I ask. “Why not just have me make this for you?”
“Needed to learn how to make one of these so I can hide a nail file in one later for prison breaks,” he says, smirking.
I snort and roll my eyes, elbowing him. “Seriously.”
“Seriously?” He catches my eye for a long moment, then glances away. “My niece loves your cakes. I wanted to learn the secret.”
My cheeks flush. “I’d better be careful not to give away all my trade secrets then, huh?”
He laughs. “Don’t worry about me. I’m not exactly a pro baker here.”
“No,” I admit. “But you’re learning fast.” I side-eye him while he pours his batch of batter into the smaller tiered pan we’ve prepped. The one I made first is already proofing. “You’re a good listener.”
Caleb catches my eye. “Why do you think I’m so good in bed? I always listen to what my partner wants.”
My cheeks flare red-hot again, though at least now, with the ovens preheating, I can blame the blush on the heat in this kitchen. But his comment is making my mind run to places I don’t want it to. I’m thinking about him with other people. Other clients. I’m thinking about him listening to what other women want—delivering their dirty, sexy, kinky fantasies the way he fulfilled mine.