Semi-Sweet On You Page 2

Didi Lancaster had started Hot Cakes and had worked in the business for the first five years or so but Dean, her husband, had convinced her that it just wasn’t “right” for her to be working in their multimillion-dollar nationally renowned company. She was too good to be working in the factory, and she didn’t know enough about business to work in the business offices or executive suites. That’s where Dean and their son Eric—Whitney’s dad—and later Whitney’s brother, Wes, belonged. They let Whitney have an office too. Mostly because it had kept her under their thumbs.

Of course, she hadn’t figured that out for about three years. But she’d known it for a long time now.

So yes, she was fully prepared to lie to Cam. And the rest of her bosses, for that matter. She was going to tell them that everything was great, that she thought they were doing a great job because working for them could not be worse than working for her own family.

She was also absolutely going to lie to Cam about how she felt about him.

It was just all for the best.

She had wine and kickboxing. It would all be okay.

Whitney said nothing as Cam continued to study her. It was probably really only about a minute, but it felt like she’d been standing there under his hot gaze for a week. Still, she stubbornly stood, waiting for his reaction. Because, by God, he was going to be the one to react first.

Finally he shifted his weight in a clear attempt to look more casual and lifted his gaze to hers. “You’re gonna have to turn around if I’m gonna make a judgment about your ass.”

She cocked an eyebrow. Camden McCaffery was full of himself. Always had been. He didn’t care what people thought of him and he didn’t really care for rules. Like sexual harassment guidelines at Hot Cakes. He just said whatever the fuck he wanted to. She knew how to handle him. He expected other people to say what they were thinking and feeling too. Without getting fired, of course.

Though she suspected she was less likely to get fired for speaking her mind with him than she would be if she lied.

If he knew she was lying anyway.

It was a good thing she was very good.

“But you think I look okay from the front?” she asked, propping a hand on her hip.

He shrugged. Shrugged. And her eyes narrowed.

“Your tits look amazing,” he said. “But I’m not sure this dress is really right.”

Yeah, bosses should not say things like your tits look amazing to employees. Guys should also not say things like that to their exes.

But if Cam thought that sexism and blatant disregard for her feelings was somehow going to give him the upper hand, he was very badly mistaken. She could deal with sexist assholes all day without even rolling her eyes. Visibly anyway.

It was so normal in her world, in fact, that dealing with his three partners—her other bosses, who were actually decent men who respected women and liked working with them—was a shock to her system. She found herself having to remind herself that they weren’t being sarcastic when they asked what she thought.

But, yeah, she could handle Cam.

She smoothed the front of the dress again and looked down at her breasts. “Amazing, huh?”

That, of course, pulled his gaze back to her breasts. “Absolutely,” he said simply, with a nod.

Yeah, she was a very accomplished, unapologetic liar. Except to herself.

She liked his reaction.

She was thinner now than when they’d dated. They’d been seventeen and eighteen when they’d been together but looking back, they’d been kids. She’d never been curvy but she’d been heavier than now. She was now more toned thanks to workouts to manage her stress. And now with Cam’s eyes on her, she was really glad about every one of those sweaty sessions in her home gym and the yoga studio downtown.

“Well then, I’m thinking this dress might be just right.”

He met her gaze. “Turn around.”

She was also very grateful for ten years practicing schooling her reactions because that—the deep, gruff, firm command with the heat in his eyes—was really hard not to react to, even with all the experience she had.

She licked her lips, watched his eyes drop to her mouth, then turned—before she smiled.

She bent her knee, propping her hand on her cocked hip, and just stood, again letting him study her.

What did she have to lose? Her butt didn’t look weird in it so much as she just looked weird in it. This was not her kind of dress. The dress was way too sassy for her. It was a wiggle dress—the hem narrower than the hips which caused the wearer to take shorter steps and added a little wiggle to the stride—and was bright red. She wore pencil skirts but they weren’t this tapered, for one thing. They also didn’t cling to her hips and butt like this. The material of the dress was a silky, stretchy fabric that hugged her body, giving the illusion of far curvier curves than were really there. The bodice was a halter style, cupping her breasts and dipping low between them, with the wide straps hooking behind her neck and leaving her upper back bare.

And she never wore red. She wore black and gray and navy blue. She had one forest green skirt too. But, yes, lots and lots of black.

It was another very, very long minute before Cam said anything.

He cleared his throat though.

And when he did, her stomach clenched. Or maybe what clenched was lower. It was an area that she hadn’t felt clench in a while.

Probably since Christmas when Cam had nearly run her over in the crosswalk on Main and then had to come help her pick up her cookies and panties. She’d been carrying packages of both and had dropped them when he’d scared the ever-living shit out of her.

Watching him pick up the bright blue thong and scrap of a bra—even brighter against the white snow and dark gray of the wet pavement they were lying on—and stare at them, had made her heart pound even harder than nearly being killed.

Then it had gotten worse. The cookies in the box she’d been carrying had been frosted sugar cookies that she’d secretly bought from Buttered Up, Cam’s sister Zoe’s bakery. She’d paid a little girl twenty bucks to go in and buy the cookies for her and then pass them to her behind the lingerie store. Whitney had slipped them into a plain bag so no one would know. The family feud between Buttered Up and Hot Cakes was three generations old and meant she couldn’t freely shop in the bakery. Which sucked. It had always sucked.

Thankfully, Aiden, one of the new Hot Cakes owners, had fallen in love with Zoe and they were quickly obliterating all of the stupid tension between the two businesses. And maybe, just maybe, her working with the guys to build Hot Cakes back up and make it even better would heal the tension between the families.


Of course, she and Cam were a big part of that.

The feud had started with their grandmothers. But Cam’s grandma, Letty, was gone and Whitney’s, Didi, was in mental decline.

But those damned cookies and their icing had come back to bite Whitney. Some frosting had gotten on the thong that Cam held. And as she squatted there on Main Street—in one of her black pencil skirts with cold December Iowa air blowing up underneath—he’d swiped the frosting off the thong, lifted it to his mouth, and licked it off.

She hadn’t felt one bit of cold air in that moment.

“Yeah, definitely not weird,” he finally said, his voice huskier than before.

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