I have a special treat here for you, guys! The first chapter of SWEET POSSESSION, book two in the awesome series Sweet Addiction. Enjoy it with giveaway for a $25 gift card!
Why do people even bother with weddings?
I know, that sounds insane coming from a person who makes a living off creating decadent wedding cakes for the happy couples. The crazy-in-love future Mr. and Mrs. are what keeps Dylan’s Sweet Tooth afloat, and without weddings, I wouldn’t be able to afford my rent. Not to mention the fact that if it weren’t for dumbass ex-boyfriend weddings, there’s a chance I would’ve never have met Reese and I honestly can’t imagine not having him in my life. But in my defense, I’ve never had to sit and listen to hours of debating whether cotton-blend or silk napkins are the best choice for my big day.
Joey lets out an irritated sigh and gestures toward the direction of my mother and soon-to-be mother-in-law who are loudly arguing at my consultation table. “This shit makes me want to drink at 9:00 a.m. How many times have I suggested to you that we keep hard liquor in the back? We could totally make a drinking game out of this mess.”
I tilt my head up to meet his eyes. “What, and take a shot every time one of them utters the phrase, ‘this will be the wedding I’ve always dreamed of’? We’d be tanked before the lunch rush.”
He nods, smiling over his coffee cup. “Exactly, and we’d be completely oblivious to this annoying discussion that you couldn’t care less about anyway.”
Joey’s right. I really didn’t care what type of fabric the napkins were; I really didn’t care about much of anything. I’ve pretty much left everything in the hands of my trusted best friend who could plan a wedding wearing a blindfold. I only had a few stipulations: the cake and my dress. That’s it. Napkins? Who the fuck cares about napkins?
He slides closer to me, dropping his voice to a hushed whisper although, with the noise level currently booming through the bakery, I’ll definitely be the only one hearing him. “I knew your mother was a little nutty when it came to marrying you off, planning this shit since you were nineteen and all, but Reese’s mother is bat-shit crazy. Did you hear her say she wanted to come out with us for your bachelorette party? Can you imagine?”
I shrug once before leaning against the counter. “I don’t even know what I want to do for that. Maybe we’ll just have like a spa day or something and if that’s the case, who cares if she tags along?”
His mouth drops open, letting escape a loud, dramatic gasp. “Um, no. We will be going to a strip club if I have to throw you over my shoulder and pull a Reese on you myself. That’s what you do for bachelorette parties. Why the hell do my two best friends not know that?”
“Excuse you. Juls’ bachelorette party didn’t involve any naked men, and we still had a great time. Who says we have to go to a strip club?”
“I do,” he says through a tense jaw. “The only reason I let that shit slide for Juls was because I was in charge of babysitting her dumbass sister, and I knew I’d be distracted if I had a bunch of dicks in my face.”
I arch my brow at him. “Isn’t that a typical Saturday night for you?” We both chuckle together, and my attention is suddenly drawn to my mother who is throwing napkins into the air.
“Dylan, sweetheart, silk or cotton-blend?” she asks, tapping her foot on the hard tile.
I flick my gaze between the two mothers who are both silently pleading with me to pick their choice. If I had to guess, I’d say my mother wants the silk, but Maggie Carroll is giving off a bit of a fancy vibe right now. She’s head to toe in designer clothing, which is screaming silk at the moment. Shit. I really don’t care one way or the other, but who the hell do I side with on this one? I grimace and nervously tap on the glass display case. “Um, does it matter? They’re napkins. People are going to be wiping their mouths with them.”
“It matters a great deal,” Maggie says, picking up two napkin swatches and carrying them over to me. “The silk is much more sophisticated. And given the location you’ve chosen for the reception, I think that’s the one you should go for.”
“But the cotton blend comes in this antique-white color that would go beautifully with the pale-gray bridesmaids dresses,” my mother adds, joining Maggie’s side.
Jesus. Since when does it matter if the napkins match the bridesmaid dresses?
I look back and forth between the two of them before turning toward Joey. “Thoughts?”
“Nope. I’m afraid you’re on your own there, cupcake.” He backs away and sips his coffee, leaving me alone in my misery.
I reach out and feel both choices between my fingers. “Um, well, I guess the cotton is most likely cheaper? So, why don’t we go with that?”
Maggie gently lays her hand on top of mine. “Oh, sweetie, money is not an issue. If you want the silk napkins…”
“She just said she wants the cotton blend,” my mother states with a firm tone. “Which I agree with, sweetheart. Beautiful choice.”
“But, Helen, the silk would be so much more… elegant.”
I drop my forehead to my hands and groan my irritation while the two of them continue to hash it out. Who cares about napkins! Am I completely crazy for not giving a shit about this tiny, insignificant detail? The guests could wipe their mouths on their coat sleeves for all I care.
This is how it’s been for the past six months. Ever since Reese and I got engaged, our mothers have been in a battle of who can plan the better wedding, and poor Juls and I have been stuck in the middle, trying to rein in the madness. They’ve been so crazy about this whole thing, I’ve found myself contemplating the benefits of a Vegas wedding. Unfortunately, my soon-to-be husband is dead-set on marrying me in front of all our families and is having no part of that discussion. Every time I suggest he steal me away for a quickie wedding, he just shuts me up with his mouth, or his cock. And because I’m weak with lust around that man, and given the fact my head is sure to explode soon from all this momma drama, I bring it up. Often.
The front door chimes and I look up, smiling as my best friend strolls into the bakery. She takes one look at the mothers waving napkin swatches into the air and immediately goes into wedding-planner mode.
“Ohhhh, no. There will not be any changes made. Give me those.” She snatches the napkin samples from the two mothers who both stare at her with shocked expressions. This is the Juls I know and love, the one who knows how to run shit. “This wedding is happening in ten days, and all decisions are final. And really, the napkin issue? Again?” She motions toward me with a crumpled-up napkin in her hand. “The bride-to-be doesn’t care about the napkins. In fact, you two are the only people I know who have ever cared about the napkins. And I’ve planned over one hundred weddings. For the love of God, let it go.”
My mother crosses her arms over her chest and sneers at Juls. “You know what, Julianna? One of these days, when you’re planning your daughter’s wedding, you’ll care about the napkins.”
“I seriously doubt that. Besides, I’m planning on having all boys.”
Maggie and my mother grab their purses off the consultation table while Juls smiles in her minor victory over the two of them. The moms both walk around the counter and smother me with affection.
“We’re going to go swing by the venue to take another look around,” Maggie says as she releases me from a hug. “Now, don’t forget to let me know about the bachelorette party. I’m all in.”
“Ha!” Joey yells from the kitchen.
I smile and clear my throat loudly, hoping to cover up the end of my dear assistant’s crack-up. “Tell Mr. Carroll I said hello.”
My mother kisses my cheek and smiles. “I’m sure the napkins you originally picked out will suffice.”
“Mom,” I say in a warning tone. “There’s still a chance I’ll convince Reese to cancel this whole thing and get hitched in Vegas.” Her eyes widen, along with Maggie’s who swivels in place to gawk at me.
“Don’t push it.”
“Don’t push it.”
“That’s not even funny,” she retorts, swatting at me with her clutch.
Once the two wedding-obsessed mothers exit the shop, Juls lets out an ‘I’m glad I’m not in your shoes’ chuckle and Joey reemerges from the back. I slouch back against the counter top, feeling a Vegas wedding now more than ever. “I cannot wait until all this is over with. How I’ve managed to survive the last six months without being heavily-medicated or drunk off my ass twenty-four hours a day is beyond me.”
“Reese’s mother, though she has impeccable fashion sense, is out of her mind. I am not having a fucking chaperone at your bachelorette party,” Joey states with a shake of his head. Apparently, keeping my future mother in-law away from whatever I decide to do for my last night of freedom is his only concern.
Juls tosses the napkin swatches into the trashcan, which will hopefully be the last time I ever lay eyes on them. She returns to her spot on the other side of the display case. “Speaking of which, what are we doing for that, anyway? You wanna go to Clancy’s like we did for mine? That was fun.”
Joey slams his hand down on the counter, gaining our attention immediately. “For fuck’s sake. What the hell is wrong with you two? Spa days? Clubs that have been played out? I wanna do things that I’ll be ashamed to tell people about. Let me live, damn it.”
“I’m sorry, but is this your bachelorette party? Did Billy pop the question and you’ve decided to keep that information from us?” Juls asks, biting back her smile. It cracks through and she winks at Joey whose mood has suddenly waned, no doubt in response to the reminder that he isn’t engaged yet.
He shrugs dismissively. “Whatever. You bitches can celebrate with watered-down drinks and facials. Just don’t be surprised if I bail on it.”
I slide closer to him and wrap my arms around his waist, pressing my face into his shirt. Tilting my head up, I see him smiling down at me. “I’ll choose something fun. You have to be there; it wouldn’t be the same without you.”
“She’s right.” Juls rounds the counter and mimics my position against Joey’s back. “We’d miss you terribly, JoJo.”
He grunts above us. “You’re lucky I’d do anything for either one of you.” Juls and I both unlock our death grips from him and stand side by side. “But I swear to Christ, there better at least be a cake shaped like a penis at this thing.”
“Chocolate or vanilla?” I ask teasingly.
He smiles, bending down and removing a half-empty tray of pastries from the display case.
“Chocolate. I’ve never had black dick.”
“Chocolate. I’ve never had black dick.”
Juls and I both chuckle as he walks toward the kitchen, giving us a scandalous eyebrow raise over his shoulder.
“So, I have a favor to ask you.” Juls pulls me into the far corner behind the bakery counter, clearly wanting to put distance between this favor and Joey. Oh, Lord. My best friend doesn’t ask me for many favors but when she does, they’re usually whoppers. A certain wedding dress she made me try on months ago comes to mind. I motion for her to spill it, and she eyes me up nervously. “Umm… so, Brooke got fired from her job at that bank. Apparently, she was caught blowing one of the other tellers during work hours.”
“Good Lord.” That sounds about right, though. Brooke Wicks was in the running for horniest bitch in Chicago, competing solely with Joey.
“Yeah, she needs a job and fast; otherwise, she’ll lose her apartment.” My eyes widen, the realization of her favor hitting me. “And since you’re so busy at the shop…”
“No fucking way.”
She fists both hands at her side. “Oh, come on, Dyl. She’s having trouble finding something, and she’s been looking for over a month.” Her face softens and she reaches out to me, pulling my hand into hers. “Please? If she loses her apartment, she has to move in with Ian and me. And that shit can’t happen. I love my sister, but I can’t live with her.”
“What about moving back in with your parents?”
“Not an option. She and my mom would kill each other.” She pauses and squeezes my hand gently. “I really want to help her out.”
Damn it. This has bad news written all over it, but I have trouble saying no to Juls. She’s always been there for me. Always. I groan and her eyes light up. “Fine. She can start Monday. But don’t think I won’t fire her just because she’s your sister.” She pulls me into a hug with an excited squeal. I cringe as Joey strolls through the doorway, coming from the kitchen. He grins, adorably oblivious to the information that will surely send him into a shit-fit. “I should really make you drop this bomb on him,” I mumble under my breath.
“Oh, relax. It’s not that big of a deal.”
“Yeah, okay. We’ll see about that.”
We both release each other and Juls spins on her heels, walking over toward Joey and placing her hand on his shoulder. “Don’t freak out.”
His eyes widen with a curious fear. “If I don’t get my penis cake, I’ll disown both of you. Nobody comes between me and my dick-shaped sweets.”
I walk up to him and brace myself for the reaction that is sure to blow the roof off this building. “Joey. JoJo. Bestest friend.” He rolls his eyes as I play with the string on my apron, wrapping it around my finger. “You know how busy we’ve been lately with custom orders and all the spring weddings coming up? It’s getting pretty crazy in here, and I think maybe it’s time I hired another employee.”
“That’s fantastic.” His body relaxes and he glances between Juls and myself. His brows set into a hard line. “Why the hell do I have a feeling I’m about to regret those words?”
“Just remember how much you love us,” Juls says. “And this… addition will allow you and Dylan to spend more time together. The benefits are sure to outweigh any concern you might have.”
I pause, waiting to see if he’ll pick up on the clues that are obvious to me. It only takes him a few seconds; the reaction spreads through him like a wild fire.
He squeezes his eyes closed tightly, reaching up and rubbing his temples with his fingers. “Please tell me this addition is a blind monkey, because they would surely get more accomplished than who I fear you’re about to say.”
“Brooke could be a good addition, Joey,” I state with a mild assurance.
“Are you insane? Why the fuck would you hire that mess?”
Juls shoves his arm. “Hey! She’s my sister, and she’s been through a lot.”
“A lot of what? Dick? Dylan, this is not a good idea.”
I limply shrug. I’m not at all surprised he’s reacting this way; in fact, I predicted it. But, unlike Joey, I’m willing to give Brooke the benefit of the doubt. And as long as she doesn’t try to molest him like the day before Juls’ wedding, things shouldn’t get too hostile. I gotta give the girl a chance. “She needs a job or she’ll lose her apartment.”
He throws his hands into the air. “Oh, I’m sorry. How is that our problem?”
“Joey,” Juls scolds. “Don’t be so rude.”
“She’s on a probationary period. If she messes up, I’ll fire her without thinking twice about it. Right, Juls?”
She nods in my direction before turning back toward my heated assistant. “Right. So, calm the fuck down, JoJo.” She makes a face at him and he issues her his smile, softening her expression. “And a lot of dick? Like you’re one to talk.”
The three of us start laughing, letting go of the stress of knowing Brooke Wicks will soon be gracing us with her presence. This could actually be a good thing. We are extremely busy, and having another employee means being able to spend more time in my kitchen instead of ringing up customers. So, I’m not going to let this worry me; I have enough stress with my upcoming wedding to last me a lifetime.
Juls gives us both hugs before she exits the shop to go tackle a bride. Just as a customer slips inside and makes her way up to the counter, my phone beeps in my pocket. Joey gives me a smile, indicating he’s got things handled and allows me to slip into the back.
Reese: What are you wearing?
I giggle as I hop onto a stool.
Me: Are you spanking it right now, handsome?
Reese: That depends on your answer.
I’m definitely not wearing anything worthy of a wank session. My ripped skinny jeans and flour-covered apron have seen better days, so I let my imagination take over.
Me: A skin-tight, pale-pink dress that stops just below my panty line. Or, it would, if I was wearing panties.
Reese: You are such a tease. Do you have any idea how hard my dick is for you right now? I could probably fuck you through a wall.
Me: It’s a shame you’ll have to handle that situation on your own. I’m locked in consultations the rest of the day. Otherwise, I’d give you a hand. Or a mouth.
Reese: You can handle my situation as soon as you get home. I want that pussy wet and ready for me.
I smile, loving that dominant edge in every word he types.
Me: Always is.
No imagination needed there.
About the Author:
J. Daniels was born and raised in Maryland. After putting her kids to bed, she escapes into her cheeky world where some of her characters kiss, and some of them do a lot more than kiss. She is an avid reader and enjoys everything from unconventional romance to fantasy novels.
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SWEET ADDICTION SERIES