Summer in Napa - By Marina Adair Page 0,2

Lexi composed herself and went for enchanting—something she’d once excelled in. Hell, she’d been cheer captain and valedictorian.

But that was all before. Before the end of her marriage. Before she lost her restaurant. Before she found her husband trussed up like a Thanksgiving turkey in nothing but her award-winning noix de coco brûlée and a hard-on, while her sous chef Sara used a basting brush and caramelizing torch in ways that were illegal in thirty-seven of the fifty states.

And before she turned her head, looked up through the window, and found herself staring at the one person in town who had never found Alexis Moreau enchanting. In fact, Marco DeLuca, entitled playboy and total meathead, had gone out of his way over the years to let her know just how annoying he’d believed her to be.

Ignoring Marc’s smart-ass grin and Wingman’s breath on her thighs, Lexi realized that with her new diet of cynicism and foolishness, enchanting was no longer her. So she did the next best thing. She grabbed another éclair and—

“No, he doesn’t do well with—”

—chucked it out the window. Barking and jumping ensued, accompanied by a lot of scrambling, mainly on Marc’s part.

“No, boy. Drop it. That’s right, custard’s—”

Wingman went wild at the word, barking and panting with excitement. Lexi knew how the dog felt; she felt a bond forming between her and the canine.

“Get the custard,” Lexi cooed.

“Don’t say that word.”

“What, custard?” Claws tapped the concrete as though Wingman was jumping up and down.

“Stop it,” Marc directed at her, and then, “No, very bad. Let go, it gives you…Aw, Wingman!”

The window next to her squeaked open. By the time she turned her head, Marc was leaning in, his forearms leisurely resting on the windowsill, earbuds dangling around his neck, and his alpha-male swagger stinking up the kitchen.

“Heard you were coming home.”

The way he said it, with an added little wink for extra sting, made her wonder just what else he had heard. Damn it. This was supposed to be a covert homecoming.

She grabbed the last éclair off the table and took a bite.

“I hope you brought enough to share with the class.”

She could have told him that there was another tray on the far wall, but Marc had been a permanent pain in her butt ever since she moved to St. Helena with her mom freshman year. He’d either teased her mercilessly or ignored her completely, a hard accomplishment, since Marc loved everything with boobs.

She looked down at her breasts and paused. They weren’t huge, but even in her grandmother’s baggy T-shirt, they filled out the top nicely. Jeffery had never complained.

Then again, he had also left her for a loafer-wearing vegan who—although she had a bizarre food fetish—looked more like a librarian than the “other woman.”

She took another bite and pondered. Whatever she and Marc used to have, confusing as it was, was just that—history. After she’d filed for a divorce, Lexi had gone from “pest-like friend” to “easily forgotten” in Marc’s eyes. And it had hurt.

Even worse—for Lexi—Marc was not only loved by women, respected by men, adored by the elderly, a real hometown freaking hero, but he was also her ex-husband’s best friend. Had been since preschool.

With a shrug she shoved almost the entire éclair in her mouth. Mumbling around the bits of flaky pastry and heavenly filling, she said, “Sorry, last one.”

Marc reached through the window, snatched the remaining bite—the last and best bite.

“Give it back.” Lexi’s arms shot out to stop him. Only Marc was faster, and meaner. Palming her head with his free hand, he held her down while he savored the last piece.

Lexi swatted him away. “Does everyone get such a warm welcome?”

Reaching through the opened window, he wiped a glob of filling off the side of her mouth. Licking it clean, he smiled. “Only the ones who wear their breakfast, cream puff.”

“I’ll be sure to pack a napkin next time. And it’s an éclair.”

When Marc’s hand made its way back toward her lips, she quickly wiped her mouth on her right shoulder. The white cotton came away with custard and chocolate smears.

“As great as it is to see you again, I’m kind of busy.”

All traces of humor faded, and his eyes went soft. “I can see that. Need some help?”

Yes, she was about to beg. The offer seemed genuine enough, the last seventy-two hours had left her on the brink of tears, and for some bizarre reason Lexi wanted to give in to Marc’s charm and gallantry.

Then Marc Copyright 2016 - 2024