Truly, Madly, Sweetly (Sweet Love)

By: Kira Archer

Sugar and spice and love that’s oh-so nice…

An inherited parking spot. That’s all it took to make Natalie Moran’s food truck dreams come true. But her dream space is attached to a bakery inherited by someone else—drop dead gorgeous Eric Schneider, a financial consultant who wouldn’t know a cupcake from a cannoli. And he wants to buy Nat out, no matter what she has to say about it.

Eric’s determined to build his own business, but he needs the super cute klutz with the cupcake truck to help. If Nat will teach him the basics of running a bakery, he’ll give her free kitchen time. Except…neither expects the heat burning between them or the possibility that their arrangement might become permanent.

When it all blows up, Nat is convinced his actions mean betrayal. It’s up to Eric to regain her trust and show her he’s a man who is truly, madly in love with her, before she disappears from his life forever.

As always, to my hubs and the kidlets.

And to Tracie Bush, for letting me borrow Street Treats for a little while.

Chapter One

Natalie checked her mirrors, held her breath, and eased her truck out of the parking space at the depot. She waited for an opening in the traffic whizzing by—a delicate operation that was sometimes more than her frazzled nerves could take. She loved Hoboken, loved being so close to New York City, and was thrilled she’d finally managed to save enough to get her own food truck (scratch that—mobile cupcakery). But the traffic…the traffic she could definitely do without.

Navigating the delicate ecosystem of food truck vendors was harrowing enough. They were angry that she, a relative newcomer, was getting a prime location. The only reason they hadn’t run her out of town was because the lady she’d bought the truck from had taken her on as a sort of informal apprentice the year before she retired. Since Natalie was more or less taking over the woman’s cupcake business, the other vendors grudgingly considered her grandfathered in. Well, at least the bitch-outs were down to once or twice a week rather than every day. Yay for improvements!

The blaring honk of the truck behind her jolted her out of her ruminations and she punched the gas, lurching into the flow of traffic, holding her breath until she made it safely onto the narrow street. Gina, her BFF and sometime business partner, was so much better at the driving thing.

Unfortunately, Gina had had a hot date last night and was still MIA, so Nat had to wing it on her own through the incessant honking horns and wall-to-wall moving metal death traps. Give her a nice, safe train any day.

Then again, the food truck allowed her to peddle her delicious wares all over the city and hopefully, she’d be able to make enough to buy her own bakery one day. A real storefront, maybe in a gorgeous old brick building…with a green and white striped awning over the door like the one her dad used to take her to on her birthday every year. The daydream kept her company while she made the drive to the PATH and pulled into her sell spot, a prime place across from the busiest exit of the train station. All those harried Wall Street drones disembarking from their busy day jobs were always jonesing for a good sugar rush. And the moms and nannies ferrying kids between activities and shopping trips were generally good for a sale, too. Business had been amazing.

Not to mention, she was parked right next to the gelato truck which allowed her to indulge in her favorite pastime: ogling one particular suit who had a serious addiction to the frozen stuff. No matter what the weather, if the gelato truck was there, her heavenly hunk of blond deliciousness never failed to stop by for a cone. One day she’d rev up the nerve to try and convert Mr. Gelato from ice cream to cupcake—maybe.

Natalie popped open her windows and set about straightening the mess that Gina had left the night before. She rearranged the selection of cupcake toppings in alphabetical order, her shoulders relaxing a bit once everything was back in its proper, logical, and organized place. She made sure the counters gleamed, the cupcakes were displayed in the most optimum way, and she was ready for her first customer. The other vendors glared good morning at her and she smiled sweetly back. She’d win them over…eventually.

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