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Greggory Redcake's plate is full. Widowed young and left with two small children, the manager of the Kensington location of the illustrious tea shop is besieged on all sides between the bakery and family matters. If only his remarkably efficient shop assistant, Betsy Popham, could manage his home life, too! But Greggory can't linger on thoughts of Betsy's fetching smile when a dead body is discovered in the bakery...
Betsy has no time for romance, not even with the delectable Mr. Redcake, whose kisses are all too unforgettable. Haunted by a specter from her family's past, Betsy is terrified that the man blackmailing her has turned to deadly violence. Yet the only way to save her position--and possibly her life--is to accept Greggory's help as their delicious attraction sweetens into the tantalizing promise of true love…
Enjoy an exclusive excerpt:
“Have you thought of me, a couple of floors below you, when you are upstairs in bed?” he asked.
“I…” She twisted her hands together and stared down. “Well, Mr. Redcake…”
“Greggory,” she said softly. “I think of you all the time. This house smells like you. And the babies. And good food, and cleanliness. It’s wonderful here.”
“Then why think about moving away?”
“It’s improper for me to stay here.” She moved closer to him.
“I’ve come to the conclusion that nothing about my feelings for you is proper.”
She blinked. “No?”
At this point, a true innocent might run. But she didn’t. She stayed still, but her gaze lifted to his face. He shook his head and loosened his tie. “I see you there and all I can think about is how to remove you from your clothing. The high neck of your dress strangles me when I look at it.”
Her fingers went to her collar. He watched her swallow. “It is tight.”
He pulled off his tie and unbuttoned his waistcoat before standing. “Let me loosen it for you.”
“I know it’s not proper dinner attire, just a day gown, but I haven’t any dinner dresses,” she said as his hands went to her shoulders, then up her neck to the buttons just beneath her hair. She shuddered and rotated her neck, as if she loved the feel of his hands on her skin.
She hardly seemed to breathe. He undid the buttons down the back of her dress until he’d completely exposed the layer beneath. He could see her shoulders, the back of her neck, and had renewed appreciation for her tiny waist.
He loved her shoulders. She had a strong body due to the physical demands of her work. Her skin was peachy and soft, but he knew there were firm, rounded muscles underneath the feminine grace. He could see them move as she half-turned around.
“Wait,” he said, helping her out of her dress, hoping she wouldn’t demur. She didn’t. Only then did he let her turn.
The demands of her work and the warmth of May meant she wore few layers beneath her clothing. A single petticoat, he thought. No corset cover. With the top layer of her armor gone, she appeared even more of a siren.
She seemed as stunned as he felt when she stared at him in his shirt, trousers, and suspenders. He felt proud, admired, in a way he hadn’t been in more than a year. Her fingers went to the base of his throat where his collar was open and caressed him. His pulse leaped at her touch. For a moment, he wanted to cry from the sheer pleasure of a woman’s caress. He put his hands on her waist and pulled her forward, knowing she’d be able to feel the hardness of him against her belly.
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