Free Online Read: A One Night Affair by Joss Wood
Jenna Lynwood’s first professional baking gig could be her last. With the A-list wedding she was hired to design collapsing faster than a triple chocolate soufflé, does she really need a bad-boy billionaire seducing her into a night of passion she’s bound to regret? But restaurateur Hunter Price wants more from Jenna than a fleeting tryst. With backstabbing competitors, scandal and revenge schemes swirling around them, she has to decide where her true heart lies. As Hunter turns up the heat, is Jenna ready to go from the frying pan into the fire? Together, can they turn one unforgettable night into a lifetime love affair?
“Talk me down, Teresa.”
Jenna Lynwood paced the palatial driveway of the Rhodeses’ estate and lifted her head on hearing the low, sexy growl of an expensive engine. Because her dad was a car collector, she immediately recognized the McLaren passing her to stop at the steps leading up to the Rhodes’ ten-foot front door.
Supercharged, V8 engine, and a body you just wanted to run your hands over…
“What has she done now?” Teresa’s exhausted voice pulled Jenna’s attention back to what was important.
“Gold leaf.” Jenna spat the words out, turning her back on all that sexy. “I agreed to make a black, five-tiered cake, festooned with edible, handcrafted pearls. A few hours before the party, and the unveiling of my cake, she’s not sure whether she wants the pearls, suddenly saying that gold leaf would make more of a statement.”
Fat concrete cherubs sat on plinths on either side of the steps and Jenna placed her hand on the base, gripping the cool concrete and scowling into the fat, happy face of the naked imp above her. “Yeah, what are you grinning at?” she demanded.
“What was that?” Teresa asked.
“Nothing.” Jenna rubbed the back of her neck and felt something crusty in the loose bundle of hair at the back of her neck. She ran the strand through her fingers and pulled off a thick glob of black fondant. She flicked the fondant away and looked down at the apron covering her white T-shirt and jeans. It was flecked with flour, fondant and God knew what else. During the Cake Stakes baking competition—the competition that led to this, her first job as resident baker for MSM Events—it was widely accepted that she was a brilliant baker, but messy. So messy.
“Did you try to talk her out of gold leaf, Jenna?”
“Of course! But Rebecca dropped Mariella’s name, saying that she’d hate to have to call her. I called every supplier I know and begged for gold leaf but everyone I called is closed, out of stock and out of sympathy,” Jenna explained. “From what I understand, Rebecca pisses off people all the time. And that makes me wonder why Mariella has taken her on as a client.”
Teresa was silent for a beat or two. “You can’t repeat this, okay?”
Ooh, gossip. Jenna knew she really didn’t have time but she couldn’t resist. She was desperate to know why the effortlessly stylish, incredibly picky, insanely blue-blooded Mariella Santiago, owner of MSM Events, was prepared to organize this wedding, and tonight’s prewedding party, for the older daughter of the very rich, very gauche, very tasteless Jed and Rebecca Rhodes. The groom’s family had an “old money” reputation, but, apparently, no longer had the financial clout the Rhodeses did.
“So, not that long ago, there was a very public fight between Rebecca and Ana, Mariella’s sister.”
“Rebecca requested an after-hours, private shopping spree for her and her friends at the newest Saks flagship in NYC. Rebecca ordered a limited-edition Birkin bag to avoid the long waiting list. Ana crashed the party and Rebecca and Ana got into a tussle over the Birkin bag.”
Okay, this happened only in the movies. Jenna pushed her hand through her long hair and grimaced when her fingers snagged on more fondant.
“Because of that incident, and also because her producers are still furious at Rebecca for streaking through an award show after-party wearing nothing but a Swarovski mask, she was fired from her TV show, The Secret Lives of Cali Wives. From what I can surmise, arranging Delilah’s wedding is Mariella’s peace offering to Rebecca, to make up for her sister. Because Rebecca holds Ana accountable for all her misfortune. As Mariella told me, if Rebecca wants naked, oiled men wearing fruit-encrusted turbans, I’m to make it happen. And that means…”
“Gold leaf.” Jenna finished her sentence.
“Yep. Make it happen, Jen.”
“Oh, and when you push your cake into the room, you cannot be dressed in jeans and a T-shirt. I need you in a dress, high heels with hair that’s free of flour,” Teresa added.
“I don’t need to be there! One of the wait staff can push it in—”
Jenna heard the distinctive click of the call being disconnected and she banged the face of her phone against her forehead. Teresa knew her tendency for messy cooking too well. Now, not only did she have to find gold leaf in the next couple of hours, but she also had to shower, change and do something to her hair and face. This was her first high-society job as a professional baker and, while she didn’t expect it to be easy, she hadn’t anticipated this level of drama. She liked her creations to hold the guests’ attention while she faded into the background.
Jenna felt a masculine hand push her phone down from her forehead. She snapped open her eyes to look up, and up, into a face fully able to stop traffic.
Why was Hunter Price, billionaire restaurateur, standing in front of her, wearing a quirky smile on his supersexy face?
Jenna looked around, saw the McLaren and cursed her lack of attention. How much of her conversation had he heard?
“I’m Hunter and you look like someone who needs my help.”
He was the owner of HunterGreen, a fantastic farm-to-table restaurant currently eclipsing El Acantilado, Mariella’s husband’s Michelin-starred restaurant, as the best place to eat in California. Hunter was restaurant gold, a favorite A-list celebrity in his own right, so why was he bothering to talk to her? Why wasn’t he using that fantastically ripped body to walk his beguiling smile and inky-blue, intelligent eyes inside?
This! This was why she liked baking in her kitchen at MSM or at home. There she couldn’t be harassed by demanding clients or slapped in the face by hot-as-hell, not-gonna-be-denied sexual attraction to someone who was stratospherically out of her league.
“Do you have a name?”
Man, even his voice, deep and melodic, was sexy. So unfair. “Jenna. Jenna Lynwood.”
“So, Jenna Lynwood, what do you need?”
A big bed? For us to be naked? You between my legs… No! Dammit, Lynwood! What the hell is the matter with you?
“Gold leaf,” Jenna muttered.
Dark, strong brows flew upward. “That’s all? Hell, honey, that’s easy. “
Of course it was. He was Hunter Price, restaurant god. And she was a lowly mortal with fondant in her hair, melting into a puddle at his feet.
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