Brand New Flavor
By: EM Lynley | Other books by EM Lynley
Published By: Dreamspinner Press
Published: Nov 21, 2012
ISBN # 9781623800970
Available in: Adobe Acrobat, Mobipocket (.mobi), Epub
Brand New Flavor (Delectable) by EM Lynley - Romance>LGBTQ>GayA Novella in the Delectable Series
When artisan ice cream maker Jay Brown first meets food writer Cameron Clay at a charity tasting event, they get along like strawberries and chocolate sauce. Jay's unique flavors thrill more than Cameron's jaded palate, but after a delicious encounter in Jay’s delivery truck, where extra-creamy frozen treats are not the only delights sampled, Cameron loses Jay’s contact info—and any hope of a real date.
Desperate, Cameron convinces his editor to host an artisanal ice cream contest in hopes of drawing out the elusive genius. But more complications threaten to intervene. Will Jay even enter the contest? Or will the chance of a happily ever after melt away?
“MMMM, oh yeah, mmmm.” Cameron Clay closed his eyes, not quite sure if he was referring to the bright, surprising flavors bursting in his mouth or his reaction to the enormous hand with its long, strong fingers firm around his chin. The owner of the hand dropped another amazing spoonful of the most exquisite ice cream Cameron had ever tasted into his waiting mouth.
“Creamy, huh?” a voice as beautiful as its owner asked.
“More sort of icy but….”
“Just wait,” the voice said, not taking his hand off of Cameron’s chin. “Let it melt on your tongue and swirl it around in your mouth, kind of like wine.”
Cameron did as instructed. The flavors morphed and evolved into entirely new sensations as he did so. And as the ice cream melted on his tongue, he discovered its slightly icy texture had turned surprisingly smooth and creamy. He’d never had ice cream like this before, and he’d eaten a lot of ice cream. More than a lot. As a food critic, eating was part of his job. That’s why he was at this food and wine tasting event in the first place, sampling this delectable ice cream from an equally appetizing and enthusiastic server.
“Wow, yeah, that’s creamy. It’s wonderful. I’ve never tasted this combination of flavors before,” Cameron admitted.
“And when you swirled it?” the guy asked eagerly.
“You know you have four different kinds of taste buds in your mouth. Sweet, salty, sour, and bitter, and to really taste something, you need to make sure it touches all four kinds. That’s why you want to swirl.”
“I’d heard that, about the taste buds.” Cameron avoided pointing out how this basic tasting lesson was ever-so-slightly insulting, but then again, maybe the guy didn’t recognize him. A nice change for Cameron, to go unrecognized at a food event. When he opened his eyes and stared up into the enormous green-gold eyes of his ice cream tutor, Cameron decided he wouldn’t have minded if the guy had been teaching him multiplication tables. He was good-looking and had such a lovely, eager way about him and a beautiful resonant voice that Cameron decided he could listen to the guy reading the phone book and manage to get a hard-on in about five seconds flat. Unfortunately—since they were in full view of dozens of people—that situation was far too likely at the moment, especially because the gorgeous ice cream giant still had his warm strong fingers cupping Cameron’s chin.
“Oh, uh, sorry,” the giant said and pulled his hands away, and Cameron wanted to scream at the loss of the contact. He wanted those hands back on him and not just on his chin. He was afraid he had let that desire become all too clear, but he didn’t care. Why not mix some business with pleasure?
“What do you taste?”
“Ginger, and is that pear?” Cameron ventured a guess, and the beautiful giant nodded, bangs falling into his eyes in such a charming way that Cameron didn’t even worry about the potential health code violation. “And pistachio? Not roasted.”
“Yes! You’re good!” Words tumbled excitedly from perfectly formed lips.
“But the texture, it’s amazing. Icy, then creamy smooth, and almost silky once it starts to melt. I’ve never tasted anything like it before either.” Cameron wondered how he could think about ice cream because his cock made it feel like his pants might have shrunk a size.
“That’s my secret process.” The giant smiled, all dimples and pearly teeth that suddenly made the sun seem dim.
“It’s unbelievable.” Cameron practically groaned as he praised the ice cream, but his compliment was simply the truth. It had nothing at all to do with how this ice cream hunk looked pretty fucking unbelievably delicious too.
“I—uh—have some other flavors in the van.” He inclined his head in the direction of the parking lot.
Cameron immediately got the picture, and it had very little to do with ice cream. And he liked the images that flashed through his mind of the delights awaiting them both in the van. Cameron had never believed in the concept of fuck-or-die sex, but now he understood perfectly because he had to have this guy immediately. He also suspected he’d never be the same again. He’d judge all future guys—all future hookups—by what happened here today with the guy serving him the most amazing ice cream he’d ever tasted, ever even imagined.
“Hold down the fort, Maya,” the guy said to a blonde woman scooping samples into little white cups. “Gonna get some backup.” He held up an empty tub and grinned.
“Sure thing, Jay.” She nodded and moved up to the serving counter.
Cameron followed as the ice cream man—Jay—led the way out of the plaza and to a van the color of a bright green Granny Smith apple and opened up the back. Dim light filtered in through the dark tinted windows, and Cameron noticed a large propane-fueled freezer taking up most of the cargo area. Cameron hopped inside behind the guy and closed the doors, momentarily unable to see in the low light.
The freezer looked suspiciously like the sort on an episode of CSI with a dismembered body packed inside among frozen vegetables, and for half a second, Cameron wondered if he’d made a mistake coming in here. Was he about to become a statistic? But one glance at his companion eased Cameron’s fears. The way the guy’s jeans bulged at the crotch proved the reason he’d brought Cameron here had nothing to do with homicide.
Jay opened the cooler and white mist floated up, the interior light illuminating the face of this stranger who had gotten Cameron’s interest in so many ways. He pulled a few small cardboard ice cream cartons—the same bright green as the van’s exterior—from the cooler and shut the lid with a heavy thud. Cameron hadn’t expected that Jay really did want to show off some more ice cream, but then again there was nothing ordinary about him. Talking about his frozen confections got him so excited and eager, and Cameron considered that pretty fucking hot, too.
“You’re going to love these! Sit up here.” He patted the top of the freezer, and Cameron hopped up. Jay moved to stand between Cameron’s knees. “Now, close your eyes and open your mouth….” His voice was so enticing Cameron didn’t even consider non-compliance.
He waited and soon felt a spoonful of frozen heaven placed on his tongue. He closed his mouth to savor the texture and the flavors, but before he could comment, he felt the heat of his companion’s body inching closer until their lips were touching. Instinctively, Cameron opened his mouth and melted ice cream trickled down his chin, but Jay simply licked it off, tongue flat as he did so. Then he leaned in and took Cameron’s mouth in a cool, sweet kiss. Their tongues met briefly before he pulled away and left Cameron craving more of both the man and his enchanting flavors.
“Open up again.”
Cameron did and received a large dollop of another flavor—blackberry with… was that basil?—followed quickly by those lips and tongue again, this time letting Cameron taste the man around the melting ice cream that they shared between their mouths. Another trickle dripped down Cameron’s chin.
“I don’t want to ruin your shirt…,” Jay said apologetically, and Cameron got the message. He opened his eyes and hopped off the freezer. As he began pulling at his clothing, he watched the guy smiling and working at his own shirt and jeans in the dim van. The beauty of his body matched that of his face and his ice cream, and Cameron let his gaze wander over the well-muscled chest: hard, sharp outlines of pecs and abs and hipbones. He hoped he hadn’t drooled again. Now they were both naked and equally aroused. The guy stared at him with the same physical hunger Cameron couldn’t—and didn’t want to—contain.
With two fingers Jay scooped up some more ice cream then pushed his fingers into Cameron’s mouth. He twirled his fingers around, caressing Cameron’s tongue and letting Cameron lick every drop of flavor from them. Clearly, he enjoyed Cameron’s moans of pleasure and delight, and made no attempt at all to keep from dripping cold splashes of ice cream along Cameron’s overheated body.
“Mmmm, delicious,” Cameron groaned and pulled Jay towards him, wanting to feel their bodies melt together at as many points of contact as possible. He opened his mouth and fastened it on Jay’s lips, tasting himself and ice cream. This time Cameron scooped up some ice cream to feed Jay and thought he could come just from the way Jay maintained eye contact as he slurped at Cameron’s fingers. Melted ice cream dripped down his chin and neck, and Cameron leaned in to lick it clean, slowly moving lower along the guy’s throat, down his chest, lingering at large, peaked nipples, sucking on them until he heard beautiful grunts and groans and the sounds of impatient pleasure urging him even lower.
But Jay stopped Cam before he made it down to his target. He moved back a pace and took Cameron’s cock in one large hand and slid up and down the length slowly with just enough pressure to send fire to every nerve ending in Cam’s body. Then Jay knelt down and licked at the head of his cock, sucking with the gentlest of pressure. Groans escaped Cam’s mouth and he watched as Jay took a mouthful of ice cream before bending back down and taking Cam’s cock deep.
The heat of Jay’s mouth and the cold ice cream combined in one of the most incredibly pleasurable sensations he’d ever felt. His nipples tingled and his entire body caught fire, heart pounded and he nearly lost his balance. Melted ice cream dripped down Jay’s chin and again Cam had to fight from coming at the image and the exquisite sensation. Their gazes locked and Cam could see how much pleasure Jay got out of this as well.
It was too good. Too much too soon, and Cam couldn’t handle more. He pulled his cock from Jay’s mouth and urged him to his feet, eager to reciprocate.
Jay had the most perfect cock Cameron had ever seen. It was beautiful, long and thick, and dark now, swollen and ready for Cameron. It curved gracefully toward the chiseled abs, and Cameron thought if he ever wrote a song about anything, that gorgeous cock was worthy of one, or a poem, or some sort of fucking ode. But for the time being, Cameron would be happy with having it in his mouth. He got no resistance when he put his plan into action and licked his way first up then down the length, earning grateful sighs and moans.
God, his cock tasted as good as it looked, nearly as good as the ice cream. Cameron wasn’t quite sure why he seemed to be as mesmerized by the ice cream as the guy, but he put that out of his thoughts as he concentrated on taking in as much of Jay’s beautiful length as he could. With one hand he tugged and fondled the guy’s balls while he used the other to occasionally stroke up and down his cock.
By now, Jay was leaning with his back against the cooler, and Cameron knelt between powerful thighs as he sucked. Jay’s hands rested carefully in Cameron’s hair, more for contact than for control, which Cameron appreciated. He pushed a couple of fingers into his mouth and spit-slicked them, then played gently around the guy’s tight pucker before carefully working one inside. The groan that escaped Jay’s mouth encouraged Cameron to keep going, and soon he had a second finger in there as well. He worked them around, sliding them in and out as he sucked and licked Jay’s tasty cock.
Hands tightening on the back of his neck and a sharp tug at his hair let him know Jay was about to come, but Cameron didn’t back off; he kept going and welcomed the hot, salty bursts as they splashed down his throat, swallowing them as eagerly as he’d swallowed the guy’s delicious ice cream.
Cameron felt the tug at his hair again, and Jay pulled his face up and dragged Cameron in close for a deep, still-hungry kiss, and Cameron let himself be kissed, enjoying the passion that apparently still wasn’t sated.
“Fuck me?” the guy asked, his voice a mixture of pleading and invitation, and Cameron had absolutely no intention of turning him down.
“Oh, God, yeah.” Cameron fumbled in his discarded jeans for a condom and thanked his lucky stars he still had a small packet of lube in his wallet. The guy pulled the condom from Cameron’s grasp and ripped it open; then he stopped. He straightened up and looked at Cameron again where he still knelt between thick, muscular legs. Jay reached down and took hold of Cameron’s cock with one enormous hand, and more gently than Cameron thought possible, he stroked his fingers up along the length, gliding the pad of his thumb across the dripping slit and sending burning shockwaves of excitement through Cameron’s entire body before they pooled at the base of his balls. His cock throbbed and ached, and he thought he might explode soon. As if sensing this, Jay unwrapped the condom and rolled it down onto Cameron before turning and leaning face down on the top of the freezer and thrusting his ass—just as fucking beautiful as every other inch of him—toward Cameron. Legs spread wide, he offered himself up.
Cameron took hold of the firm globes and squeezed them slightly, pulling them apart just a little as he moved in closer. He could hear groaning again and noticed Jay’s cock was once again stiffening. He grabbed the packet of lube, slicked a few fingers, and spread the guy’s cheeks wide open. The second he saw that welcoming pucker, he knew he just had to taste him. Cameron leaned down and licked at the smooth patch between the guy’s balls and his hole, then licked again at the sac, tongue flat like it was ice cream. He enjoyed the groan he heard in response and kept going, taking first one testicle and then the other into his mouth with careful suction, before going back to licking higher against that tight pucker again. Finally, with just the tip of his tongue, he flicked across the hole, then poked with increasing pressure until it opened up enough for him to push his tongue inside, feeling the strong ring of muscle squeezing him back. Eventually, he worked his tongue in all the way, then gradually eased in a finger, then two, all the while enjoying the way Jay pushed back at him, clearly wanting the tongue and fingers in deeper, pressing him open, filling him up.
When Cameron couldn’t wait any longer, he lined his cock up against the slippery hole and felt Jay’s entire body shudder with anticipation as he slowly slid his cock inside. Damn, it felt so fucking fantastic, and Cameron suddenly didn’t want to take his time, just wanted to fuck them both senseless as fast and hard and deep and quickly as possible. He let himself go, feeling Jay pushing back with each thrust, loud grunts filling the back of the van, and Cameron lost track of whose sounds he was hearing. As he grew closer to his own climax, he slowed down and reached for the guy’s cock—again rock hard—and jerked him off with rough, quick strokes. When he felt Jay’s orgasm start, Cameron let go; his own release ripped through his body and left him breathless and wrung out. He clung to the guy’s back for balance and support, their sweaty bodies slip-sliding together as he pulled out. Jay pulled Cameron into his arms, and they slid down to the floor of van, which was covered in some generic thin grey carpeting, where they lay together in easy silence for a few moments. As his breathing returned to normal, Cameron rolled away and looked at his new lover, taking in precisely what had just happened. The guy smiled but avoided Cameron’s glance in a sweet, shy way that seemed at odds with what they’d been doing to each other a few minutes ago.
“Wow,” Jay murmured, still a little out of breath.
“That was… incredible.” Cam paused. “You were incredible.”
Jay turned away again, but Cameron saw the hint of a smile. “Thanks.” He wondered if he should have added that. It had been so long since he’d hooked up like this, what did one say? All he knew was he didn’t want to just get up and leave. He loved the feel of this man’s body against his. It was worth the discomfort of lying on the floor of a van. He rolled back so their bodies were in full contact again.
“Uh, you know that wasn’t really why I brought you back here.”
“Wasn’t it?” Cam liked the way Jay’s voice sounded, low and whispery and very satisfied. He wanted to hear more.
Even in the low light he could see a little color creep into Jay’s cheeks. “Well, not entirely. I’m glad it happened, though.”
“Me too.” Cameron felt his heart stir at Jay’s admission and the compliment. He took the chance to reach out and stroke Jay’s shoulder, feeling the firm muscle beneath the smooth skin. “At the risk of sounding incredibly callous, I thought your ice cream was pretty incredible too. I’ve really never tasted anything quite like it and not just the flavor combinations.”
“It’s a secret recipe.” Jay practically whispered.
“I’ll bet. What’s the secret?”
Jay pulled away slightly at the question and narrowed his eyes, a darkness filtering over his expression. “I don’t spill my secrets that easily.”
“You shouldn’t.” The irony of this wasn’t lost on Cameron, considering what they’d shared and spilled in here together. He trailed his fingertips down Jay’s chest, circling a nipple and watching it peak at his touch. He leaned down brushed his lips against it, feeling Jay’s sigh as much as hearing it.
“Mmm,” Jay moaned, but he pulled away and reached an arm around Cameron so their chests were pressed together instead.
“You don’t want to talk about ice cream any more, do you?”
Jay shook his head.
Cameron closed the gap, and they kissed lazily and wordlessly until the unwelcome sound of a cell phone broke the spell between them.
It was Cameron’s phone. He recognized the ring tone and knew he had to answer it. He fumbled for his pants and flipped it open.
“Cam! I’ve been looking all over for you. Where’d you disappear off to?” It was Eric, Cameron’s ex, and his “date” for the event, and it couldn’t have been worse timing. He’d all but forgotten Eric, who had gotten bored and wandered off while Cameron waited in the long line for samples at one of the restaurant booths. Cameron had to know what had attracted so many people: it had been this guy’s unique ice creams. But the call reminded Cameron he hadn’t come to the event alone after all.
“Eric… I—uh—was trying some ice cream, and I got sort of dis-distracted,” he stammered. His eyes met the guy’s curious gaze, and Cameron fought off a giggle that would have given everything away. “I’ll meet you near the entrance in about five—” He glanced over at Jay, whose expression was neutral. “—no, ten minutes, okay?”
“Fine.” Cameron could just see Eric’s pout as he spoke angrily into the phone. Beeps signaling the call had disconnected sounded sharp and loud in Cameron’s ear, and he snapped the phone shut.
What the fuck had he just done, Cameron wondered. He didn’t want to meet Eric—especially now—but some long-ingrained habit had bubbled to the surface and the words left his mouth before he could stop them. He searched for his underwear and tugged them on. Jay had already sat up and was smoothing out Cameron’s clothing for him.
“Thanks.” Cameron felt awkward as hell after that phone call. The look on the guy’s face indicated he knew exactly what the call had meant. Cameron reached out for his pants and stepped into them. “Sorry. I…. Damn.” He didn’t know what to say.
“No explanation necessary.” He waved a hand good-naturedly and passed Cameron his shirt with the same beautiful smile he’d had when they’d first met outside at the tasting booth. Cameron wondered how many other guys had fucked him in this van and decided not to think of that. Who the hell could say no to a guy as good-looking as that? And Jay really had been quite sweet when he’d been telling Cameron about his ice cream.
“Look, I—I really would like to see you again,” Cameron said as he finished dressing. “I’m Cameron.” He felt ridiculously awkward considering he’d already had his fingers, tongue, and cock up the guy’s ass, but was only now offering his name. “Cam, to friends.” Oh, God, that sounded pretty lame too.
“My friends call me Jay.” He stood and started dressing again, hunched over because the van’s ceiling was much too low for him.
“Can I get your number?”
“You don’t have to—”
“No, I really do want to see you again. Now is just about the worst fucking timing for this….” Cameron glanced at the cell phone he’d placed on the top of the cooler. Jay obviously got the drift of Cameron’s problem and just nodded. “Even if you didn’t want to do—uh—this—again—I would like to taste more of your ice cream.” Cameron laughed at how ridiculous he sounded, but Jay joined right in with a deep hearty chuckle, putting Cameron at ease.
Jay pulled a business card out of his own discarded pants, wrote on it, and handed it to Cameron. It was too dim to make out the printing, but he spotted the same bright green as the exterior of the van. No matter; he’d decipher the scribbles on the back later on. He shoved the card into his back pocket, then leaned into Jay to share one last delicious kiss.
“Bye, Cameron.” Jay sounded like he really meant “have a nice life.” But he hadn’t said “Cam,” as if acknowledging he wasn’t a friend and didn’t have any desire to be one. The phone call had broken whatever magical spell had been cast and brought them together here.
“See you,” Cameron corrected him, and Jay just nodded. Cameron opened the back of the van, hopped out, and headed for the front gate to meet Eric. Damn this whole fucking stupid situation! He knew he had to see Jay again, wouldn’t be able to get him or his face or his body out of his thoughts. He’d figure out how to deal with Eric as quickly as possible.
There were restrooms near the entrance gate, and Cameron ducked in quickly to wash up before meeting Eric. At the sink, he glanced at his reflection in the mirror to make sure he’d dressed himself properly and didn’t have any telltale signs of that wonderfully satisfying fuck that would tip Eric off right away.
“I CAN’T believe you just tried to give Cameron Clay a lesson about taste buds,” Maya, her laughter light and musical, told Jay when he got back to the booth with more ice cream to give away at the event. There was a reprieve from the long lines because Jacques Pepin and Mario Batali were doing a live cooking demo on the stage at the other end of the plaza.
“Who’s Cameron Clay?” Jay asked innocently. Maya made it sound as if everyone should know, but Jay had never heard the name.
“Jericho Brown! You really never heard of Cameron Clay?” Maya put one hand on her hip and stared at him.
Jay shook his head, trying to ignore her use of his full name. She sounded like his mother.
“He’s just the most well-respected food writer in the Bay Area, maybe even the country. Are you from Mars or something?” Maya giggled, tossing her wavy blonde hair back behind her shoulders. She worked as one of Jay’s two assistants at Glace, though she was more a friend than an employee.
“I never really pay attention to food writers, you know? I just like what I like, and I don’t care what someone else tells me I should like. And I don’t let it influence my ice cream either.” They were down to the last bucket of his pear-ginger ice cream and completely out of the blueberry-thyme. He couldn’t thank Doug Kirby, the owner of Tamarind—one of San Francisco’s hottest restaurants—enough for letting Jay use part of his restaurant’s booth at the tasting to test out some of their new flavors. Tamarind had been one of his first customers, and Doug had even introduced him to several other chefs who’d either wanted him to create ice creams for them, or given him sound advice on how to build his business.
Today’s event to benefit KidFund, which provided lower-income children with medical care, was only the first in a list of similar annual charity food- and wine-tasting events in San Francisco. It was spring, and there would be several more during the summer and fall, and Jay—and Glace—had a good opportunity for plenty more exposure during the peak ice cream season, positioning them for expansion: new clients and, if he got an investor on board, his own shop.
So far at the booth, Jay had heard nothing but raves from the people tasting his product, and he noticed plenty coming back for second and third helpings, which was good publicity for Tamarind and for Glace when they eventually opened a retail shop. But then Jay had gotten distracted by Cameron and run off with him because he knew he couldn’t keep his hands off the guy any longer and that wouldn’t be good for business.
But the beautiful and apparently very influential Cameron Clay hadn’t come back for more. Not more ice cream, nor more Jay. The disappointment sunk in. For a fleeting moment in the van when Cameron asked about his secret recipe, Jay had suspected he was there for quite a different reason. He’d even brushed Cameron off when they’d parted, unsure of his intent. Now that Maya mentioned who—and how influential—Cameron was, he felt like a complete fool. It also reminded him that he and his ice cream might not yet be ready for prime time. What had he been thinking coming to this big public event while he was still fine-tuning and developing his products and his business? Jay was way out of his league here.
On the other hand—the personal one—maybe it was a good thing after all, proof to Cameron that Jay hadn’t just been flirting in order to push his ice cream on him—literally.
“Cameron is the guy to impress around here. You can tell from his columns he’s very picky about what he puts in his mouth.” Maya giggled again and winked at Jay suggestively.
Jay sighed. He already knew plenty about what Cameron Clay put in his mouth. “And he must think I’m a complete asshat for trying to teach him about taste buds….” Jay groaned out loud, certain he’d fucked up any chance of seeing Cameron again on a professional level. Plus, it was clear Cameron hadn’t been there alone, and he had run off back to “Eric.” Jay had only served as a temporary reprieve from what had to be an incredibly boring event for a food writer, so it was little more than wishful thinking Cam would actually call.
“Are you kidding? He loved what you were saying, or maybe he just enjoyed the way you had your hands all over his face like that. He looked like he was in seventh heaven,” Kimmy, Jay’s other employee, chimed in with a high-pitched laugh just as bubbly as Maya’s.
“Oh, I did have my hands on him, didn’t I?” Jay looked down at his hands and shook his head. Fuck! How could he have been such an idiot? He got so excited talking about his creations that he couldn’t help but get physical about them, too. Obviously a guy could take “passion” for something a bit too far. Cameron hadn’t minded, but it hadn’t been a good move to get so carried away in public. At least so far, neither Maya nor Kimmy had said anything if they suspected he’d done more than talk to Cameron about ice cream when they’d left the booth together. Thankfully, the lines of people waiting for samples were long, and the girls had both been too busy to notice much. Or so he hoped.
“Kimmy’s right, Jay.” Maya nodded. “I think he loved the ice cream, loved the lecture, and maybe he liked you, too.”
“I’ll bet he comes back here for more…,” Kimmy said, singsonging the last word and shimmying her shoulders. “Oh, speaking of more, here come the customers! I guess the demo is finished.”
“I wouldn’t have taken him for a food writer,” Jay remarked as he scooped out more samples and Maya and Kimmy served the never-ending line of greedy samplers. “He’s far too fit….” Jay’s voice trailed off as he thought about how lean and slim Cameron’s body had been, and how firm and muscular his arms and chest were. The way his waist dipped in. There hadn’t been an ounce of fat on Cameron—anywhere. Most of the food writers Jay had met or seen had more than a few extra pounds on them.
“Maybe he doesn’t swallow…,” Maya said with a giggle she didn’t try to rein in. “I mean when he’s sampling…,” she added, a slight blush coloring her fair cheeks.
Oh, he definitely swallows, Jay thought, unable to stop the grin spreading across his face at the memory. Maya had a habit of spouting unintended double entendres, but he still worried she might have deduced exactly what Jay had been up to with Cameron when they’d left the booth.
“Jay, you didn’t! Did you?” Maya practically screeched, stepping back from the table and covering her mouth with one hand in an attempt not to start giggling again. Kimmy turned around toward them with a half pout since she’d been left alone to deal with the line of people and the dwindling supply of little white tasting cups and was missing out on the juicy gossip.
“Girls, can we get back to work here? People are eating faster than you are scooping….” Gregg, the fourth person at the booth, finally broke into the conversation. He was the sous-chef at Tamarind, but today he was acting like he owned the place. “I’m tired of keeping things running smoothly at this booth while you three just gab the whole time!” He’d brought dozens of trays of prepared tasting samples of Tamarind’s specialties, so all he really had to do was keep the tables full, answer questions, and smile at the hundreds of potential new customers. He wasn’t particularly good at the last of those. Apparently sous-chefs only needed to yell or glare to get things done in the kitchen.
“Well, we don’t exactly work for you, and we’re keeping up with demand for our stuff as best we can!” Maya shot back in a tone that somehow combined flirtatiousness with anger. She played up being particularly cute and blonde, and when she smiled Gregg’s frown seemed to disappear. Jay watched with fascination as Maya twirled her fingers through her hair and swiveled her hips a bit, and suddenly Gregg was offering to help them.
Just then Jay’s cell phone jingled, and he pulled it out of his back pocket and read the text message.
“I have to go. I’ve got a couple of deliveries, and I totally lost track of time!” Jay checked the tubs in Tamarind’s cooler. At least Gregg looked like he’d be a bit more helpful in Jay’s absence if the way he was staring at Maya had anything to do with it. He glanced at his watch. “There’s another thirty minutes left here. I can swing by—”
“I’ll drop the girls and your equipment off at your kitchen. Don’t worry.” Gregg nodded, in a surprisingly helpful mood all of a sudden.
“See ya, Jay. Just promise to invite us to your wedding with Cameron, okay?” Maya said and winked as Jay raced off again.
He had been having a great time, hearing what people thought of his ice cream, but he had clients to deliver to. Someday, he thought, he’d have his own shop, with his own company’s name on the door, where he could serve his creations. But for now, he’d settle for being a purveyor to the best restaurants in town. Maybe Cameron Clay would write up something about his ice cream, and it would help Jay make a name for himself and bring his dream that much closer to reality.
Jay admitted he wouldn’t mind the chance to let Cameron taste everything and anything he wanted to. And he wasn’t just talking ice cream either, he thought with a smile as he jumped into his van and headed for the first restaurant on his list of deliveries.