"Have you ever tasted something so delicious that you are still dreaming about it days later? If not, Sinful Bakery is the place for you. Our assortment of rich, baked goodies will have you coming back for more and more. Whoever said being naughty couldn't have a fulfilling sweet side?"
The moment Jensen Lowe read that flyer stuck behind his windshield wiper on his car, he knew his gym, Fitness 24, was in for some trouble from the new bakery that moved in next door. He couldn't believe someone would be crazy enough to actually place a calorie-filled dessert shop in his part of town. He couldn't wait until he met the owner to give her a piece of his mind.
Maymi Monroe couldn't believe her neighbor confronted her about her bakery 'Sinful.' Why was it any of his business what she sold out of her own property? If he thought his stupid warning was going to scare her away, then he was out of his gorgeous mind.
She was determined to stay put and fight off drowning inside Jensen's sexy bedroom eyes every time he looked at her. He had her thinking of several sinful things and none of them had anything to do with baking.
“I can’t believe that woman actually moved next door to my business,” Jensen Lowe complained, glaring out of his office window at the dark blue car parked on the street. “It has taken me years to build up my client list. I’m not about to have everything ruined because of her.”
“Don’t you think that you’re overacting just a little? Do you really believe her small business is going to take away all of our clients?” his brother argued. “Neither one of you are doing the same thing so neither one should interfere with the other. Just leave it alone.”
Turning away from the window, Jensen gave his baby brother, Casper, a disapproving glance. “Why aren’t you more upset about Sinful? Don’t you know what she is going to do to us or don’t you care?”
Casper propped his feet on the edge of his desk because he knew how much his brother hated it. Sometimes, Jensen wondered how he and his brother were even related because they were so dissimilar from each other. He planned for the future while Casper didn’t see past the moment he was living in each and every day.
“Yes, I care about Fitness 24 but I highly doubt anyone here will get sidetracked by our new neighbor’s bakery. So why don’t you calm down and just let her do her thing?” Casper sighed. “I mean it’s a little shop. I actually think it’s pretty cute. I noticed some treats through the window and they did look enticing.”
Coming across the room, Jensen knocked his brother’s feet off his clean desk. “How about you let me handle this? You need to get downstairs to your next class before you’re late again. I’ve gotten several complaints from clients last week about you.”
Sighing, Casper got up from his seat. “No one in my class should have run and told you anything about me. I know how to do my job and if I didn’t they wouldn’t keep coming back three days a week,” he complained. “It wasn’t like I was an hour late; I mean it was only like five minutes late. Why were they acting like the world is coming to an end or something?”
“Your regulars aren’t paying to stand there and stare at the walls while you take your sweet time doing whatever you were doing. They want to spend the entire hour learning kickboxing and nothing else,” Jensen replied. “You keep asking for a bigger place to teach them, but how can I trust you with it? You aren’t the most responsible person in the world.”
Jensen pondered how much longer he could put up with his brother’s immature attitude about life and their family business. He truly had about enough dealing with Casper’s constant mistakes and screw ups over the last several weeks. He could hardly count on his sibling to be there for him anymore. It was like he was going solo with Fitness 24 instead of it being a partnership.
“God Jensen, take a breath and calm down. You’re making life way too hard on yourself. Get out of this office more and live a little. Why don’t you start teaching another class to burn off all of that energy? Because I know you aren’t about to get a girlfriend since you haven’t been out on a real date in over two years,” Casper said, watching him. “I thought Chloe was a snot and bitch, but she got you out of this office. You need to get a woman or at least a female with benefits. You are way too tense to be so young.”
He didn’t need or want any kind of advice from his lack of commitment brother. It wasn’t any of Casper’s concern when he decided to start dating again. So, it would be for the best if he stayed out of his personal life and stuck to what he knew the best which was much nothing.
“Casper, you need to go and I do mean right this second before I say something I will regret later,” Jensen warned.
“Alright, I’m gone but don’t bother our new neighbor. She had a right to move next door. There isn’t a law against it even if you think there should be. Please don’t make it out to be more than it is.” Turning around, Casper walked out of the room, but left his unwanted advice lingering behind.
Jensen blew off what his brother told him and then strolled back over to the huge bay window. He caught his neighbor as she went back to the trunk of her car. She grabbed more and more boxes from the trunk and carried them into the bakery next door. He still couldn’t comprehend why the asshole property owner wouldn’t sell the empty space to him, but sold it to someone like her.
What was this guy’s deal anyway? Did the guy have a problem with him or something?
How would anyone at Fitness 24 succeed with this woman next door selling those high calorie treats? So many people would be too tempted not to break the rules.
His new neighbor had been open for almost six months, but he might be able to ‘convince’ her into finding a new location. Hell, he would even offer to buy the rest of the lease from her. He was planning to offer her so much money that she wouldn’t be able to turn him down for any reason.
Knowing he wasn’t going to get anything done unless he confronted Little Miss Sugar and Spice, Jensen eased away from the window and then walked out of his office door praying luck would be on his side.
Dipping the spoon into the batter, Maymi Monroe tasted her grandmother’s recipe for red velvet cupcakes one last time to make sure it gave her memories from her childhood. She wasn’t about to bake and put anything in the display case if it wasn’t totally satisfying for her customers.
The flavors were beyond perfection. She knew her grandmother would be so proud of her. Maymi laid the spoon to the side and picked up the ice cream scoop which belonged to her late grandmother. She wanted to do everything she could to keep the memory of her alive in her heart and mind.
She started filling up the paper-lined cupcake pans and was halfway through when the bell chimed above the entrance door. More and more, she was beginning to realize that she really needed to hire a morning person to work the counter. A majority of her money went right back into the business and supplies so much that all she could afford was a part-time woman student to work in the afternoons.
“Hello, is anyone here?” a voice called out.
“I’m coming,” Maymi hollered, wiping her hands on her apron. She hurried out of the kitchen door and literally stopped in her tracks when her eyes landed on the man standing there waiting for her.
Tall, dark and handsome... those three well-known words couldn’t begin to even describe the hunk staring at her.
Short, jet-black hair covered his head, showing off his strong face along with his chiseled jaw line. The slight shadow of his beard gave him an even more striking look, but it didn’t take away from the hint of a dimple in his chin.
He stood there as if he prided himself on his good looks. She couldn’t deny how acutely aware she was of this guy’s beautifully proportioned body. He had an innately captivating presence that seemed to fill her entire bakery.
Maymi was surprised to find a guy like him inside of her shop. He didn’t look like he did anything but work out and eat protein bars. Why would he step out of the gym and walk inside here? However, if he had a sweet tooth, she wasn’t about to turn away a sale, not with the mortgage she had to pay on this place.
His tawny brown eyes raked over her body then came back up to study her face. Maymi couldn’t help but wonder why he was staring at her so intently. He was coming off as a little defensive and for the life of her she couldn’t figure out the reason why. This was the first time she had even laid eyes on him. She hadn’t done anything to him.
“Hi, I’m Maymi Monroe. May I help you with something, sir?” She smiled, walking closer to the glass display counter.
“I own the gym next door and I came over here to see how you got this place instead of me,” the guy questioned, his tone harsh. “I offered the realtor a huge sum of money and I constantly got shot down. How did someone like you get a yes from that jerk?”
At first, Maymi glanced around looking for a hidden camera because she sure in the hell better be getting punk’d since this guy better not be seriously asking how someone ‘like her’ got this shop.
Was he out of his damn mind?
“Excuse me. Did I hear you correctly?” Maymi asked, hoping she truly had misunderstood him. No one could actually be this damn disrespectful intentionally.
“I believe I spoke quite clearly, but I can repeat myself if you need me to,” he said, staring at her.
Maymi’s eyebrows shot up as she tried to tamp down her anger. How dare this man come inside her place of business and speak to her like this! She had worked too damn hard to get here to get slighted by him or anyone else for that matter.
“Listen, sir,” she replied. “You better leave now before I lose my temper. If you can’t find your way out, I’ll be more than happy to show you the door.”
“My name is Jensen Lowe...not sir, and you didn’t answer my question,” he tossed back at her. “What person in their right mind would open a bakery next door to a twenty-four hour fitness club? It doesn’t make any sense. I think you need to pack up your things and move.”
Maymi was so taken back by Jensen’s startling suggestion that she was at a loss for words, but they came rushing back to her. “Either you are stupid or the most self-centered man I’ve had the misfortune to ever meet, but I don’t care about what you think or say. All I want you to do is get the hell out of my bakery.”
Storming around the corner of the display case, Maymi stood in front of Jensen. She tried not to notice how good he smelled up close or how his eyes seemed to be staring straight through her. His ass was going to leave her building one way or another, the choice was up to him.
“Get out,” she demanded, again.
Surprise etched across his handsome face as he stared down at her from his towering six feet five inch frame. “I’m not done speaking with you yet. I need to say a few more things,” Jensen told her.
“Oh, you are done whether you know it or not, Mr. Lowe.”
Storming past him, Maymi went over to the bakery’s door, flinging it wide open. “You can leave now,” she said, waving him out. “Be sure not to come back here again because I won’t be so nice the next time I see you.”
Jensen stared at her a few seconds before he sauntered towards the door. He paused in front of her and waited like he thought she might change her mind about kicking him out of her store. Well, it would be a cold day in hell before that happened.
“You only need to walk about five more feet and you will be outside where I want you, Mr. Lowe.” Maymi glanced at the sidewalk then back at him.
“This conversation isn’t over, Ms. Monroe,” he promised before turning around and storming out the door.
“Oh, that is your misconception but not mine. I’m not ever going to be in a room alone with you again,” Maymi snapped before letting go of the door watching as it slowly closed in Jensen Lowe’s face.
Turning on her heel, she marched back into her kitchen, wondering how such a rude and disrespectful man had the ability to run a gym in the first place. Shouldn’t a person over a people driven business like his have a better personality?
How could someone like him show empathy towards a struggling client who might not be able to lose weight fast enough?
Well, he wasn’t any of her concern anymore.
Thank God she belonged to a gym way on the other side of town. If not, she might not be responsible for her actions if she was inside the same work out facility that Mr. Lowe owned.