Her Little Secret, His Hidden Heir(6)

By: Heidi Betts

A handful of diapers? I keep those on hand for when I watch a friend’s baby. Yes, that sounded plausible.

A half-full bottle in the fridge or a prescription of ear drops in Danny Keller’s name from a recent infection? Those might be a little tougher to justify.

She used a clean towel to brush away some of the worst of the spilled sprinkles and grabbed the pinwheels from the oven to keep them from burning, but otherwise left the kitchen as it had been when she’d walked in. Then she pushed back through the double swinging doors into the front of the bakery…and ran smack into a waiting Marcus.


Marc’s arms came up to seize Vanessa as she flew through the double doors from the kitchen and hit him square in the chest. The impact wasn’t hard enough to hurt, although it did catch him slightly off guard. Then, once he had his hands on her, her body pressed full-length along his own and he didn’t want to let go.

It had been a long time since he’d held this woman. Too long, if the blood pounding in his veins and the heat suffusing his groin were any indication.

She was softer than he remembered, more well-rounded in all the right places. But she still smelled of strawberries and cream from her favorite brand of shampoo. And even though she’d cut her hair to shoulder-length, she still had the same wavy copper locks that he knew from experience would be soft as silk against his fingertips.

He nearly reached up to find out for sure, his gaze locked on her sapphire blue eyes, when she pulled away. He let her go, but immediately missed her warmth.

“I told you to wait outside,” she pointed out, licking her glossed lips and running a hand down the front of her snug white blouse. The material pulled taut across her chest, framing her full brea**sts nicely.

He probably shouldn’t be noticing that sort of thing about his ex-wife. But then, he was divorced, not dead.

In response to her chastisement, he shrugged a shoulder. Her annoyance amused him all to hell.

“You were taking too long. And besides, this is a public establishment. The sign in the window says Open. If it upsets you that much, consider me a customer.” Reaching into his pocket, he retrieved his money clip and peeled off a couple of small bills. “Give me a cup of black coffee and something sweet. You choose.”

Her eyes narrowed and she skewered him with a look of pure disdain. “I told you I don’t want your money. Not even that,” she added, her gaze flickering to the paltry amount he was holding out to her.

“Have it your way,” he told her, sliding the bills back under the gold clip and the entire bundle back into his front trouser pocket. “So why don’t you start the tour. Give me an idea of what you do here, how you got started and what your financials look like.”

Vanessa blew out a breath, fluttering the thin fringe of her bangs and seeming to come to terms with the fact that she wasn’t getting rid of him anytime soon.

“Where’s Brian?” she asked, glancing past his shoulder and searching the front of the bakery for her financial advisor.

“I sent him back to his office,” Marc answered. “Since he’s already familiar with your business, I didn’t think it was necessary for him to be here for the tour. I told him I would stop in or call after we’ve finished.”

Tiny lines appeared above Vanessa’s nose as she frowned, bringing her attention back to him, though he noticed she wouldn’t quite meet his gaze.

“What’s the matter?” he teased. “Afraid to be alone with me, Nessa?”

Her frown morphed into a full-fledged scowl, drawing her brows even more tightly together.

“Of course not,” she snapped, crossing her arms over her chest, which only managed to lift her generous brea**sts and press them more snugly against the fabric of her blouse. “But don’t get your hopes up, because we aren’t going to be alone. Ever.”

As hard as he tried, Marc couldn’t stop an amused grin from lifting his lips. He’d forgotten just what a fiery temper his little wife had, but damned if he hadn’t missed it.

If he had anything to say about it, they very well would be alone together at some point in the very near future, but he didn’t bother saying as much since he didn’t want to send her into a full-blown implosion in front of her customers.

“So where do you want to start?” she asked, apparently resigned to his presence and his insistence on getting a look at her bakery as a possible investment opportunity.

“Wherever you like,” he acquiesced with a small nod.

It didn’t take long for her to show him around the front of the bakery, given its size. But she explained how many customers they could serve in-shop and how much take-out business they did on a daily basis. And when he asked about the items in the display cases, she described every one.

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