Home > Cream of the Crop (Hudson Valley #2)(6)

Cream of the Crop (Hudson Valley #2)(6)
Author: Alice Clayton

I mentally placed an order for wedding invitations.

“You pay the cashier down there,” he said, jerking his chin toward the cashier.

As he looked past me to the next customer, I suddenly remembered I had legs. And boobs. And a lovely round bottom. I remembered how to regain control and get us back on the horizontal schedule. But he afforded me only one more glance, and while it was clearly at my legs, he was done with me.

I shook my head to clear it, somehow made my way to the cashier, and paid for my Brie.

I mean. This guy.

I stole one more look over my shoulder, and saw his gray-blue eyes flash once more toward me, feeling it all over my body.

But I was left holding his Brie, and nothing else.

Back at home I started plotting for next Saturday. And the Saturday after that. And . . . you guessed it. Because week after week, cheese after cheese, I’d lose all my nerve and all my strut the second those eyes looked at me, looked through me.

“Brie?” he’d ask, and I’d answer, “Oh yes.” He’d wrap it up, I’d walk away on shaky legs, and our time together was over, but for the exquisitely lustful fantasies that ran through my head every day as I counted down how many more days I had to go before seeing him again.

This was beyond a crush. This was beyond a quick naked tussle behind the dairy truck. This was maddening.

And I’d see him tomorrow morning!

I fell onto the couch, squealing, kicking my legs into the air like a cricket.

Chapter 2

Saturday mornings were set in stone. I always got up early, went to Bar Method class (half ballet, half yoga, all hard-core), picked up my dry cleaning and a smoothie, then went home to shower. And dress. And strut. And Brie. But somewhere between the shower and the Brie, there was Roxie.

“Girl. How’re the sticks?” I asked, sinking down onto the couch with my berry-banana concoction.

“How’re the sirens?” she shot back, her answer every week. My best friend for years, we’d fallen into the habit of chatting more often now that she was back on the correct coast and only a ninety-minute train ride away up in the Hudson Valley. We’d always stayed close, but something about living closer to each other had kicked our friendship up a notch, and now I looked forward to our weekly Saturday-morning chats. I spent a similar hour each Sunday morning on the phone with our other best friend, Clara, whenever she was in the same time zone. A branding specialist for luxury hotels, she was frequently out of the country on business.

“How come you haven’t shipped me one of your coconut cakes yet? My doorstep is suspiciously devoid of Zombie Cakes care packages . . . who should I talk to about that?” I teased, slipping out of my sneakers and examining my pedicure. I might need to pop over this afternoon for a shine-up.

“You can talk to the lady in accounts receivable, which is me. As soon as you buy a cake, you’ll get a cake, it’s that simple,” she said with a laugh. “I’m starting a business here; I can’t be giving away the profits.”

“Can I get it at cost?”

“Sure. It costs fifty-five dollars, plus shipping.”

I rolled my eyes. Roxie had recently started a food truck in her hometown of Bailey Falls, using her grandfather’s old Airstream trailer. She was already making a name for herself in the Hudson Valley and had even brought the whole show into the city on a few occasions. It took time to start a business, naturally, but she was doing it in exactly the right way. She’d started small, and with a little guidance from me in terms of marketing, she was kicking some ass. Her cakes were wonderfully rich and nostalgically old-fashioned, a great combination. “How was your week?” she asked, snapping me back from my thoughts.

“It was good; brought in a new client, assisted on a few other campaigns, nothing too exciting. How about you?”

“It’s crazy here right now with the harvest; Leo is going nuts. You’ll be proud of me, though; I learned how to make a plaster-of-paris town hall.”

“For Polly’s class?” I grinned, thinking about how upside down Roxie’s life had become within one summer. She’d come home to help her mother out with the family diner, and ended up falling in love with a local farmer who had a seven-year-old daughter. She was head-over-heels in love with her new life.

“Yeah, they’re making a mock-up of Bailey Falls, and we were in charge of the executive branch.”

“Sounds exciting,” I said drily.

“I’m glad she didn’t get assigned the water tower; that would have been difficult.”

And just like that, the life around you begins to change. We were growing up.

“Leo ruined the first town hall. It was all finished and ready to go to school the next morning, when he got all twisted up in my panties, tripped us both, and fell, sending me ass first into the cupola. We had to stay up all night making a new one.”

And just like that, you realize nothing ever really changes.

“Enough with the Mayberry. You planning any trips into the city anytime soon?” I asked, dangling the city carrot every week.

“Nothing on the books right now. You planning on coming up here for a visit anytime soon?” she asked, already knowing the answer.

“You’re adorable,” I said, chuckling, finishing my smoothie and rising off the couch to throw it away in the kitchen. “There’s a big foodie festival here the first week of November; you should try and get your cakes into it; lots of gourmet eyeballs there.”

“Send me the details and I’ll see what I can do. Speaking of food, are you gonna talk to Oscar this week?”

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