The Sweetest Fix, a sizzling standalone romance from New York Times bestselling author Tessa Bailey is available now!
Reese dreams of seeing her name in lights on Broadway, but so far she has only graced the used car parking lots of rural Wisconsin. With her window of opportunity shrinking fast, a miracle happens. She wins an audition with Bernard Bexley, Broadway’s most respected dance choreographer. When disaster strikes and Reese misses the audition, she has to find another way in front of Bernard, otherwise face the disappointment back home.
Following the sage advice of a Times Square Pikachu—Reese seeks out Bernard’s son, prepared to beg for his aid, never expecting mega sparks to fly between her and the gentle giant baker. With Reese’s heart now involved, she refuses to use Leo to her advantage and tries to walk away before her ulterior motives are exposed, but gravity continues to draw them back together…until it’s impossible to stay apart.
But Reese’s lie of omission can only stay buried for so long. When Leo finds out how their relationship started, will Reese keep her ultimate role as Leo’s leading lady? Or will the curtain fall on their real-life fairytale?
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Leo stuck his hands in his pockets and sauntered toward her, taking a spot beside her at the edge of the roof. “So. You’re a long way from home. How long have you been in the city?”
Her smile wavered, the reminder of her lies of omission twisting bolts on the sides of her throat. “Oh, not long.” She turned and propped her arms on the wall, looking out over the city blocks. “I wish my mother could see this.”
“You said she owns a dancing school. Was she your teacher?”
“When I was little, yes. Around age ten, she thought I needed something a little more advanced.” She gave him a prim look. “It paid off, too, don’t you know? You might remember me from a certain national Red Rover Yogurt commercial.”
He turned slightly, squinting an eye at her. “Wait a minute. No way.”
Reese pushed off the wall and performed the soft shoe routine she’d done thousands of times—mostly as a party trick—since the age of eleven. “No preservatives or chemicals, we’ve got your all-natural meals,” she sang, “Choose Red Rover products and kick up your heels.”
“Holy shit.” He stared at her, dumbfounded. “The audacity of me to ask out a celebrity.”
“Please.” She fluffed her hair. “I put my pants on one leg at a time like everyone else.”
They seemed to gravitate toward each other naturally, as if there was no other option, until their faces were a handful of inches apart. “How about those shorts?” he said gruffly. “You get those on the same way?”
A hot, fizzy stream of awareness circled and danced in her midsection. This was flirting. But not the kind she was used to. Where she worried about every line out of her mouth, worrying they would come across too desperate. Or if the guy would think she was funny. No, it was easy as breathing to pull back the edge of her coat, drawing his attention downward. “What? These old things?”
“Yeah.” A muscle ticked in his cheek. “Those.”
She leaned in like they were sharing a secret and watched his eyes darken. “I have to wiggle around a little to get these on.”
They exhaled into each other’s space, not bothering to hide the fact that both of them were breathing faster. “Damn, Reese.”
There was a wealth of meaning in those two words. Not just, damn, you look good in those shorts. But damn, this attraction between them was not typical. “I know,” she said in a rush, their mouths almost touching. She wasn’t sure what made her pull away before he could close the distance for a kiss. Maybe it was to gather her wits or a tug from her conscience. But she took a long pull of February air to perform maintenance on her short-circuiting brain. “So, um…” She resisted the urge to fan herself. “How long have you owned the bakery?”
With his own centering breath, Leo slowly settled back in a safe distance away. “Four years,” he said, voice gravelly. “Took me a while after culinary school to build the capital and find the right people. The right place. Didn’t want to rush it.”
“Capital?” Her question hung in the air for several seconds before she realized what a stupid assumption she’d made. “Forget I said that. I just…I thought with your father being who he is…”
“That I would have an automatic investor?” He shrugged a shoulder. “Natural to assume that. Don’t worry about it.” There was an assessing glance in her direction as if he wasn’t sure whether to say more. She held her breath, hoping he would. “I guess it didn’t feel right taking money for something he doesn’t have a real interest in. Baking. I’m not saying he’s unsupportive. We’re just about different things. Felt better doing it on my own.”
“That’s admirable.” She wanted to tell him how much she could relate. Currently. Trying to grasp something that felt just within reach, refusing any shortcuts. How it could feel scary and unfair one minute, rewarding the next. “And I guess you found the right people. Jackie and Tad.”
Warmth moved in his expression. “Yeah. Tad was actually an usher downstairs when I met him. We interviewed Jackie together. She’d just dropped out of nursing school because the emotional toll was more than she expected.”
“So she went for the exact opposite.”
“Only for a while. I doubt she’ll be at the Cookie Jar forever. But I’ll be glad to have her as long as she puts up with my grumpy ass.”
“You’re not coming across as grumpy as you did Saturday night.”
“That’s because I’m trying to charm you into going out with me. Is it working?”
Her laugh drifted out over the rooftops. “Maybe. How long until the grump returns?”
“I skipped lunch. So…imminently.”
Tessa Bailey is originally from Carlsbad, California. The day after high school graduation, she packed her yearbook, ripped jeans, and laptop, driving cross-country to New York City in under four days.
Her most valuable life experiences were learned thereafter while waitressing at K-Dees, a Manhattan pub owned by her uncle. Inside those four walls, she met her husband, best friend and discovered the magic of classic rock, managing to put herself through Kingsborough Community College and the English program at Pace University at the same time. Several stunted attempts to enter the workforce as a journalist followed, but romance writing continued to demand her attention.
She now lives in Long Island, New York with her husband of eleven years and seven-year-old daughter. Although she is severely sleep-deprived, she is incredibly happy to be living her dream of writing about people falling in love.
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