Cupcake Boys by Melanie Thompson by Melanie Thompson - Read Online

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Summary

Steven Henderson and Leslie Carlyle have been friends since childhood. When they open their cupcake store, Baby Cakes, they have no competition. But, when a new cupcake shop opens and starts eating away at their business, it means war! Loner, Duke Waldon, owns three cupcake stores and is opening a fourth. He doesn't realize his newest store has to compete against the most delicious, tempting, cupcakes ever baked. When he discovers his competitors are a tall, blond bombshell and a tempting young gay man, he knows he's in trouble. Steven and Leslie take Duke into the bedroom, and all the way to Cupcake Battles, where they fight for the coveted Golden Cupcake, fame and fortune. Will Leslie learn to trust Duke enough to allow him to spank her? Will Duke open up to a gay man? And will Steven have his heart's desire—a love for a lifetime
Published: Torrid Books on
ISBN: 9781633555891
List price: $3.99
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Cupcake Boys - Melanie Thompson

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Chapter 1

I need another dozen Chocolate Wasted, Leslie Carlyle yelled from the front counter.

Her partner, Steven Henderson, appeared carrying a flat tray filled with forty cupcakes frosted with soft, silky, delicious chocolate buttercream, a dark-chocolate ganache drizzle, white-chocolate curls and a Dove Bar. The frosting had chocolate liquor in it so they’d named it Wasted. It was a ridiculously good cupcake and a best seller. They’d gone through three trays already today and it was only two o’clock.

Steven was handsome in a feminine way. He had brown hair with streaked-blond highlights, soft brown eyes, classic features and a solid body with little fat but not much muscle.

I can’t believe how busy we are, Steven said when the customer left carrying two pink boxes filled with cakes. I need to hire another baker. I can’t keep up.

Leslie counted cupcakes in the two display cases and checked the racks in the back. You’re right. We don’t have nearly enough peanut-butter cups or strawberry cheesecake to get through the five o’clock rush.

She glanced outside the Mill Creek store. The parking lot was empty. Maybe we can get Marie to come in this afternoon and work the rush while I help bake.

Ever since they’d opened Baby Cakes, they’d been hammered. The first day was a nightmare Leslie never wanted to repeat. Who knew they would take so well?

Steven picked up the clipboard hanging on a wall next to the desk. We have three massive orders for tomorrow, two I have to deliver. Face it, Les, we need to hire up.

Marie came in and Leslie and Steven baked all afternoon. Marie was their best employee; stick-thin, pale to the point of looking like a vampire, short, tattooed and pierced. But she showed up and worked hard.

Baby Cakes’ cupcakes were special. Steven had the pastry training and she had her grandmother’s secret recipes. They made their own vanilla from one of those recipes and used liquors in many cupcakes. Their frostings were divine created from Amish rolled butter and mascarpone or Amish cream cheese. They’d never imagined in their wildest dreams they would be so busy.

At seven, they left Marie to finish cleaning up and close and went home to their townhouse just down the road in Bothell. They only took one car to work. It was a late model SUV Steven used for deliveries. With the business like it was, they got there at six in the morning and worked until seven every day of the week.

Have a date tonight? Steven asked as they climbed up the stairs.

Leslie ran her fingers through streaked brown hair. She’d had it foiled and it was filled with blonde highlights just like Steven’s. Mark is picking me up at eight.

Steven rolled his eyes. And who is Mark?

Leslie tossed her coat on the couch and started up the steps to her room. He’s a waiter from Tapas. He came in for cupcakes and asked me out.

Steven followed her. You don’t know a thing about him.

I know he’s cute, has huge green eyes and a hot bod. That’s all I need to know.

She stripped off her Baby Cakes T-shirt and faced Steven in her bra and flour-covered jeans. Stop nagging, Steven. I need to go out.

You can’t keep working all day and partying all night. You’ll burn out on me. I need a partner who can actually think. Wednesday, you were like a zombie. What’d that guy do to you?

Leslie thought for a minute. Tuesday night was Carl, the Swede from two apartments over. Carl was six-five and built like a Norse god. She turned away from Steven’s barrage of questions. He had a lot of staying power.

But not enough to rate a second date?

I told him I’d call him later in the week.

Steven touched her shoulder and she turned around to look into his worried eyes. He was truly concerned. She knew that, but she couldn’t stay in this apartment alone. Jeff was gone and he was never coming back. The hole in her life and her heart was raw and aching.

Steven knew. He pulled her into a warm hug. His solid body felt good. The chin whiskers he’d grown to hide his lack of chin tickled her head. You can’t replace Jeff, he said. Not yet anyway.

She jerked away and turned her head to hide the tears dripping down her cheeks. I know that. I’m not trying to. I don’t want to spend the night alone…ever.

Jeff was a douche-bag, Les. You deserve better. He used you and dumped you like yesterday’s trash.

I know, but I loved him. We were married for two years. I had plans.

Make new plans. We have the store now. You’ll find someone else. Just give it a little time.

What do you know about relationships? The longest one you ever had was six months and he left you for a chick.

Steven sighed. We’re not talking about me. I know I have relationship issues. Don’t let this Mark guy wear you out. We have a lot of cupcakes to make tomorrow.

We have a lot of cupcakes to make every day. She stopped at the bathroom door. I guess you can start looking for someone to help in the kitchen tomorrow. Make sure they can use a pastry bag and aren’t afraid to wash dishes.

I already have someone in mind.

Straight or gay?

Do you care?

She shrugged. Not really. I was just wondering.

His name is Marty. I’ll call him tonight and have him there early. He’s worked in a small bakery before.

Good, maybe he’ll actually be able to bake product without someone watching his every move. He’s the third one we’ve tried. I can’t afford any more disasters. Remember Celina? She said she could bake. Hah! Every cupcake she made fell like a stone.

Steven nodded. Who knew baking cupcakes was so difficult?

Dressed in skinny jeans that hugged her tight butt and long legs, Leslie pulled a loose silvery sweater over a white shirt and shook her streaked hair. When she looked in the mirror, she saw nothing special. Her husband hadn’t wanted her. She had small breasts and no hips. Her best feature was her huge blue-green eyes. They were surrounded by dark lashes and accented by sculpted dark brows. She vaguely remembered her original hair color. It was dark brown.

She pulled her boots on over the skinny jeans and walked out the door. She was supposed to meet Mark at a bar right across from Baby Cakes. The bar was packed. It was Friday night. She spotted her date sitting alone at a two-top against the wall. She straddled the empty stool and smiled at him.

* * * *

Two hours later they were back at her apartment. It was ten and she prayed Steven was in bed as Mark pressed her against her door and kissed her. She wrapped her legs around him and he carried her through the door as they kissed, kicked it shut with one foot and grabbed the cheeks of her ass with both hands.

Heat filled her as they ran up the steps to her room. Once inside, her clothes were off and he was sitting on the small loveseat against the wall. She hit the coffee table with one foot and leaped on his lap. One leg on each side of him, she grabbed his head and locked her lips to his. His cock was pressing into her. She looked down, saw it was decently sheathed in a smooth as skin condom and mounted up.

Her satisfaction erupted quickly. Mark still had a stupid look of shock on his face as she took what she wanted, pounding up and down on him while he sat there and grunted. Suddenly bored with the position, she jumped off and pulled him to the bed. She was wet with desire again as he slowly lowered himself and shoved his dick into her.

The sex was hot and over too quickly, which was probably her fault. When he finished, she pushed him off and sat up. Leslie didn’t even want to look at him. She wanted him gone. Suddenly shy, she grabbed her robe and pulled it on. The two drinks she’d inhaled at the bar had worn off and intense fatigue set in.

Listen, I have to get up really early and go to work.

Mark sat up on the bed with a bemused look on his face. You want me to go?

Leslie almost laughed. I’m sorry, I really gotta get up early. We have over a thousand cupcakes to make in the morning. She handed him his clothes and he started dressing.

Will I see you again?

She smiled and tucked his shirt in for him. He was cute, but he wasn’t Jeff. Of course. I’ll call you. Or you can stop in and get a cupcake. I’m always there.

When he was dressed, she walked him to the front door. With one hand on his back she shoved. I’ll call you.

When the door was shut and locked, she leaned against it and burst into tears.

Steven appeared out of nowhere and took her in his arms. She sobbed on his shoulder as he patted her back. You can’t keep doing this, Les. It’s not helping you.

She pushed him away and stomped up the stairs. How do you know what I need? I’ll see you in the morning.

Chapter 2

The new hire, Marty Cox, turned out to be a gem. Their cupcakes were even better, more uniform and plentiful than before he came. Leslie was able to spend time on the books and marketing, but even with her hard work spreading coupons and arranging advertising, business was off.

She’d donated cupcakes to the Women’s Club and two school functions. The business should have been slowly increasing, but instead it had started to decline. They’d been open six months, had regular customers, but the numbers didn’t lie. Something was wrong.

She sat in the tiny office and stared at her sales ledger. Steven looked over her shoulder. This is weird. Looks like it started dropping off two weeks ago. If you compare last Monday’s sales to a Monday three weeks ago, they’re down ten percent.

Marty stuck his head in the office door. He had a glob of buttercream hanging from his forelock. A hairnet contained the rest of his dyed blonde hair. Uh, you two wondering about sales?

Leslie lifted an eyebrow. Yes. What do you know, Marty? Spit it out.

There’s a new cupcake store in the Glendale Shopping Mall. It’s got a weird name, something like Sugar Poodles.

Leslie snorted. You’re kidding, right?

Marty hunched his shoulders. Just heard it from a friend. I’ve never been there.

Steven, Leslie snapped. You better check this out right now.

Steven backed out of the miniscule space. I’ll load up the two deliveries and head that way. You guys got enough product for the afternoon rush?

I just submitted our application for Cupcake Battles. You ready if they pick us?

Steven grinned. We’ll kick ass. Our cupcakes are better than any I’ve ever tasted. Your recipes, our special ingredients and my knowledge of flavor profiles will give us a huge edge.

Leslie nodded. I know we have great cupcakes. That’s why I can’t figure out why business is off. Go check out this new store Marty mentioned. It’s gotta be what’s affecting sales.

* * * *

Steven dropped seven dozen assorted at a dance studio along with a display and eight dozen red velvet at a day care center for some kind of party. When the last delivery was done, he headed for Glendale. It didn’t take him long to find the new store. It was called Sugar Doodles and there was a line out the door. He parked the SUV and got in line. The walk through the store to the counter was slow and gave him plenty of time to scope things out. It was three in the afternoon, one of the busiest times for Baby Cakes. Moms had kids in line all looking for a special treat.

Sugar Doodles specialized in cupcakes that had to be refrigerated. All the cases were cooled. They also sold ice cream. Since it was winter in Washington State and rained almost every day, Steven didn’t think too much of that idea. When he glanced into the kitchen, he froze. The hottest guy he’d seen in years was carrying trays of cupcakes from the tables and sliding them into slots on bun racks.

Steven stepped out of line to get a better look. The guy had long blonde hair pulled into a pony tail. He wore a bandana to keep it out of his face and protect the product. His body was (taught)[TAUT] under a skin-tight white shirt with the Sugar Doodles logo on the front. While Steven stared transfixed, the dude stretched and his black jeans slipped down to reveal the tiniest sliver of tan skin. If his skin was tanned it had to be tanning bed or expensive spray; this was Washington. With the blonde hair and the tan skin, he was smoking hot.

Steven leaned against the ice cream counter to get a better look. Hot guy finished filling the racks and went into a small office. The other baker brought a tray of cakes to the front and Steven, in a bold move, flagged him down. Hey, who’s the other guy back there?

The baking assistant put his cupcakes on a table. Who, Duke?

The blonde dude, who is he?

The baking assistant grinned. That’s Duke, Duke Walton. He owns the store.

He’s the owner?

Yup, he owns three of these shops in Seattle. This one makes four. He always works in the store when we first open.

You worked for him for awhile?

I help open the new stores. We’ve been friends for a long time.

He must be rich if he owns four of these things.

He’s doing pretty good. Business here isn’t what we expected, but it’ll probably pick up. People don’t know we’re here yet. Duke will do a lot of advertising and then we’ll be slammed.

Steven wanted to ask if Duke was straight or gay. Sometimes you just couldn’t tell. He was hot and buff. Steven had a feeling he would be scouting Sugar Doodles often.

He got back in line and ordered twelve different flavors, took his white box with the Sugar Doodle logo on the top out to the car and opened it.

At first glance, the cupcakes looked good. The frostings seemed to be whipped-cream based which would explain the need for refrigeration. Buttercream frosting lasts at least three days with none. Steven decided to take them back to Baby Cakes and let Leslie try