By day he’s a mild-mannered journalist, but by night he’s the hottest—and most hated—food critic in town. When he walks into Nana O’Neill’s Bakery looking for his next scathing review, the last thing he expects is someone like Owen behind the counter. The scowling man looks more like a bouncer than a baker, but after one bite, Trevor is in love—with Owen’s baking at least.
Owen O’Neill has secrets of his own.
Scarred, tattooed Owen would rather be in the kitchen whipping up pastries than dealing with actual people. But with the business failing, he can’t bring himself to kick out any repeat customers, even ones as annoying, dismissive, sarcastic, funny, and gorgeous as Trevor.
All Owen wants is to be left to run his little bakery in peace—a task made more difficult not only by Trevor’s distracting presence, but also by the legions of fans that show up following a review by a famous yet secretive critic…
A 35,000 word novella, Suspiciously Sweet is as light and fluffy as a genoise sponge, but served hot and filled with plenty of spice!
Just inside the front door, a man in an expensive coat was eyeballing the bakery with interest, his eyes flicking from the long wooden counter to the glass display case to the small tables along the front window with their chairs still stacked on top. He was unwinding a scarf from his neck with quick, fluid movements and turned sharply at the sound of Owen’s voice.
Owen just had time to notice dark hair and a darker smile before he caught the guy’s eyes and oh.
He couldn’t make out what color they were at this distance—that’s what he got for living fast without dying young—but the man’s eyes glittered with humor and intelligence, like he was the only cat in a world full of mice, and he enjoyed toying with his prey before eating them alive. He looked like he was smart, he was a dick, and he knew it.
He was gorgeous.
Alarm sirens immediately went off in Owen’s mind. No matter what he might wish, hot, well-dressed men had no business anywhere near him. Besides, maybe it was the long legs encased in perfectly tailored pants, or the hint of gold at his wrist where his watch peeked out from a perfectly pressed shirtsleeve, but there was something about this guy that he instinctively didn’t trust.
He frowned at the stranger. “You’re not Yvonne.”
The man quirked an eyebrow at him. The sirens blared louder.
“And you don’t look like a ‘Nana O’Neill’, but I’m not one to assume,” he said, turning toward the front window where the words “Nana’s O’Neill’s Bakery” could be read in reverse on the glass. Everything about him was neat and precise, from the way he moved to the clothes he wore to the crisp staccato of his voice. The only exception was his hair. It might have started the day as neat as the rest of him, but Owen was delighted by the way the wind had tousled it around the man’s head with wild abandon, revealing just a hint of gray at the temples.
Late thirties, Owen figured. Maybe a little older if he’d had as cushy a life as his clothes suggested. About the same age as Owen himself, but Owen knew for a fact he showed every single one of his years. Lifting heavy sacks of flour seven days a week kept him in good shape, but every time he forgot to shave for a few days he noticed a little more silver in his stubble than he remembered.
Feeling suddenly shabby in his stained shirt and apron, he raised a hand instinctively to stroke his chin, nearly upsetting the tray of tarts and undoing all his hard work. It hadn’t been that long since he’d shaved, had it? What was today anyway? Wednesday? Or was it Thursday? They all ran together.
He set the tray on the counter.
“Nana O’Neill’s been dead for years. Now what do you— Fuck.” Owen swore as the timer for the croissants went off. Without thinking, he pointed a finger still caked in flour and tart filling at the man. “Stay.”
He turned to go into the back, then paused. “And don’t steal any goddamn tarts.”
Heart pounding, Owen scowled at himself as he walked back into the kitchen. Smooth, O’Neill. Real smooth
What a cute little read.
First, we have Owen, who inherited his grandmother’s bakery after she passed away while he was in prison. He’s brash and broody with a mouth like a sailor, but he’s sweet once you get to the heart of him. I had a hard time believing he was once considered a bad guy because despite his gruff and defensive attitude, he didn’t seem like a guy who would do the wrong things and land himself in prison off and on. Maybe I just have a soft spot for him or maybe he’d been a different person in that past life, I dunno… I adored him as the grumpy bakery owner though and I’m happy Trevor appreciated him too.
Trevor is a secret food critic with a well-known voice of the cities eateries. He’d been surprised by a foul-mouthed even fouler tempered bakery owner while checking out the place to write his column.
Intrigued by the surly owner, he had a little fun with him at the expense of Owen and had fun going back in to try new things while secretly being super impressed with not only the man and his one worker/friend, Yvonne.
It was easy to see that these two had chemistry, even if they did try to hide it behind sarcasm and subtle digs. Once Trevor tells the city how amazing this little hidden hole in the wall is, business is booming for Owen, which means he needs help of all kinds that Trevor is more than willing to give him.
Of course, he has a secret though because he can’t tell Owen that he’s the foodie that keeps writing all these wonderful business improving things about Owen’s bakery, or that he lusts after the tattooed and ill-tempered man. Luckily, secrets don’t stay secret for long and though Owen seems to have a low opinion of himself, he puts himself out there for Trevor and is not disappointed.
I enjoyed the quick read wouldn’t mind reading more about these two in the future. They’re cute!
4 pieces of eye candy
Samantha SoRelle grew up all over the world and finally settled in Southern California when she soaked up too much sunshine and got too lazy to move.
When she’s not writing, she’s doing everything possible to keep from writing. This has led to some unusual pastimes including, but not limited to: perfecting fake blood recipes, designing her own cross-stitch patterns, and wrapping presents for tigers .