The Icing on the Cake

Matchmaker, matchmaker, make me a match . . . dot com! An online dating service is not Michelle Snow’s idea of how to find love, but when the Big 3-0 hits, Michelle decides she has nothing to lose since she hasn’t brought a date home in ten years, she’s professionally burned out, and her climb up the corporate ladder has come at the expense of abandoning her sweet dream: to own a boutique cupcakery.

Todd Bracken, early thirties and a successful technology consultant, isn’t exactly a player after being off the market for ten years, and pours himself into his dual passions of martial arts and home-sweet-home renovations. Only there’s no one to come home to so he decides to give a try. Todd isn’t so sure the Internet dating scene is his thing―until a message pops up in the wee hours on a weekend night: ‘I like your smile.’ Todd likes―a lot―the whole package that glides into a French bistro in Washington, D.C.

It’s serious mojo-at-first-sight but there’s a glitch: Todd and Michelle live in different cities. Will love find its way in the digital age with a ‘You’ve Got Mail’ courtship when video cam kisses just aren’t enough? And when Todd challenges Michelle to not only go for her dream but let him share it, will they be able to make it happen together despite obstacles more plentiful than a shower of rainbow sprinkles?

His state of mind was simple. He wanted to hear everything she had to say. He didn’t want to shout above the noise, or censor himself due to eavesdroppers. Or see anyone he might know and have to explain Michelle. He wanted her all to himself. That’s all there was to it. And with that, he pulled into his drive, parked her car behind his.

He turned off the engine and looked over at her. Raindrops, picked up as she’d dashed from Mike’s front door into the car Todd had brought around, clung to strands of her hair like tiny white lights, and her eyes were huge and liquid and blue. He was going to drown in her before the night was over, give up his air and pull in everything she was.

Her expression haunted him, left him aching to know what scared her. Was it him? Was it the anticipation? Was she waiting to be disappointed? Or like him, was she wondering if things had moved beyond fast to rocket-powered before either one of them was ready for blast-off?

He leaned closer. She leaned toward him. The air in the car stood still, grew heavy, as if waiting for the time that had stopped to start ticking again. Todd swore his chest was about to explode, and so he closed the final few inches between them and pressed his lips to hers.

She opened beneath him like a flower, welcoming him, offering herself up, a sacrifice of sweet nectar, and then she was pushing into him, turning in her seat to drape herself over him, and all of it with her mouth kissing his.

She tasted like the glass of chardonnay she’d sipped, like grapes and heady earth and hot sun, like he couldn’t get enough. He slanted his head farther to the right, trying to find the best way to fit. There wasn’t room to get to her the way he wanted, but he did his best to touch as much of her as he could.

His hands roamed her back, gripped her shoulders, held onto her arms and cupped her nape. Her hair was down tonight, and he threaded his fingers into the thick strands that smelled of fresh herbs and mint and cool rain, breathing deep of the scents and of her.

Her hands were just as busy learning him, and when she moaned deep in her throat, he chuckled, not expecting her to pull away at the sound, feeling the loss like a shot to the heart when she did.

“You’re laughing at me?” she asked breathlessly.

“I’m not laughing. I’m enjoying.” And too much so to put into words without fear of scaring her off. The things going on with his body were base and raw and best kept to himself until he was certain she felt the same way.

And then, because he had to, he laughed again, kissed her again, pouring all of what he was feeling into the press of his mouth to hers. She was the sweetest thing ever, the good, good woman he wanted in his life, and he had a hard time letting her go. The rain beat down on the car’s roof, a timpani rhythm creating a safe harbor in the storm.

But then the clouds broke, and the percussion around them calmed to a patter. It was now or never, he decided, leaving her, but only so he could ask, “Do you want to come in?”