Home > Don't Go Away Mad (Burgers and Brew Crue #2)(6)

Don't Go Away Mad (Burgers and Brew Crue #2)(6)
Author: Lacey Black

I give him a smile. “Tell me when and I’ll prepare everything personally.”

“What kind of burgers do you make?” he asks, leaning forward just the slightest as he eagerly awaits my reply.

“All kinds. We have a wide menu of specialty hamburger options, and our fries are hand cut and seasoned.”

“I can’t wait to try one. Lyn, let’s get burgers tonight,” he tells his sister with a huge, hopeful grin.

“We’ll see, Dustin,” she replies, glancing at me with narrowing eyes. The way she stares, it’s as if I’ve somehow opened my mouth when I shouldn’t have.

Why are women so damn confusing?

She’s the one who started a business directly across from mine, yet she makes me feel like I’ve done something wrong here. Crossing my arms, I pin her with a look of determination. I’m not going to let her swoop in and threaten my livelihood, my business.

“I’m going to head back,” I state.

“Thanks for stopping by,” she quickly replies, clearly a little eager to get me out of here.

“Hey, Jasper?” Dustin asks, stopping me before I can move for the exit. “Do you know anyone who can help move that counter and display?”

“Dustin,” Lyndee chastises, her mouth moving but no words coming out. She pins him with a wide-eyed look. “I’m sure Jasper has more important things to do, like run a business.”

“Yeah, but you said you were going to ask the guys across the street for help,” he says, confusion written all over his face.

“Or the ones at the bank next door,” she argues, her fight losing steam rapidly.

“But Jasper is here now. I bet he has a few friends who can help,” her brother suggests, unable to understand why Lyndee is so against asking for my help.

Deciding to cut her out of the conversation, I turn to Dustin. “I can help. I have three friends who co-own the restaurant with me. I can ask a few to help. When do you need it moved?”

“Tomorrow morning would be best,” Dustin replies. “We’re going to finish setting up the front tomorrow but need those big pieces in place to complete the job.”

“What time?” I ask, completely ignoring Lyndee as she stammers and tries to interject herself into the conversation.

“Eight or nine? We’re at your mercy,” he says, “so you pick.”

“Isaac and I are both there by eight. I can get Jameson or Walker there too if I give a little notice.”

“Lyndee was going to make treats.”

“Hello,” she finally says, catching our attention. “Do I have any say here?”

“Of course,” her brother assures. “But you said we needed help for that part, and Jasper is willing to help.”

She eyes me skeptically. “Yeah, but—”

“No buts, Lyn. My friends and I would be happy to help a neighbor in need,” I inform her, crossing my arms over my chest and leaving no room for argument. “Plus, I’m anxious to taste your…sweets.” My voice drops low and borders on dirty, and I can’t help feel a touch of satisfaction when she blushes.

“Well, I’ll be sure to bake a few things for your friends,” she replies, intentionally leaving me out of her statement.

A wolfish grin spreads wide across my face. “I’m sure they’ll appreciate it as much as I will,” I add, sliding a pair of sunglasses on. “Dustin, it was a pleasure meeting you. I’ll see you at eight tomorrow morning.”

He offers me a wave. “Nice to meet you, Jasper. See you.”

I turn my attention back to Lyndee. “And I’ll see you tomorrow too,” I proclaim, heading for the back door. As I move past her, I add in a whisper, “Don’t forget my…payment.”

She makes a noise, a combination of a gasp and a growl, and I can’t help feeling a slice of excitement sweep through my veins. Lyndee Gibson, right across the street on a daily basis. Lord help me, I’m actually looking forward to it. I’ve never sparred with anyone like her, and the prospect of going toe to toe with Miss Gibson again has me all sorts of enthusiastic. I may not know what brought her here after all these years, but it’ll be fun finding out.

Suddenly, I can’t wait until tomorrow morning.


By the time I head home for the night, snow flurries are falling. As the sun dropped, so did the temperatures, just enough for light snow that won’t even stick. We’ve been fortunate to have fairly mild temperatures for mid-December, but it appears winter has finally arrived.

I head out to my warm car, thanks to automatic start, and slide inside. The dinner rush is well past, and the bar side of the business is starting to come to life. Even for a Monday night, we have a steady stream of customers stopping by to unwind after a long day.

I pull out of the back parking lot and turn left on the main roadway through town. I can’t help but take a quick glance as I pass, noting the bakery lights are all out, indicating Lyndee and Dustin have already gone home for the night. Not surprising, since it’s past eight. Lyn was always more of an early bird, like me. I imagine operating a bakery would require more early hours than late ones, though I can predict she’ll have both of those the first few months.

I know we did. When we started Burgers and Brew, the four of us worked our asses off, seven days a week. Often, I opened, cooked lunch and dinner, and then closed down the kitchen too. Partly because I thrived on the thrill of knowing everything was done to my exact specifications and demands, but also to help save money. We put a lot into the start-up, and those first six or eight months were the hardest to get through.

But we did it.

We were able to turn a profit fairly quickly, and as business continued to pick up, we added more employees. Walker hired more help behind the bar, and Isaac and I brought in even more kitchen and serving staff. We had enough to get by, but with a rapidly growing business, we needed more and fast.

Five years later, we’re still evolving.

I pull into my driveway, pressing the button for my garage door opener. Once the door is closed behind me, I slip out of my car and head for the entrance off my kitchen. I purchased this house just a few years ago, an older four-bedroom Tudor home built in the early nineteen-hundreds. It’s undergone a few renovations over the years, but the key elements in a Tudor home are still there. Steep gabled roofs, decorative timbering, and embellished doorways, it’s all part of the charm.

On the inside, the previous owners have kept the elaborate woodwork, fortunately. I removed the nasty floral wallpaper when I purchased it and had to refinish some of the flooring due to slight water damage but tried to keep the house true to design. All except the kitchen. That’s the only room I modernized to my taste. Sure, the cabinets are still classic, the trim original, but the counters and appliances were updated. It’s a combination of old-school and contemporary and perfect for my favorite room in the house.

I remove my shoes in the mudroom off the kitchen and set my bag on the kitchen island. I don’t have any necessary work to complete, but I always bring my laptop and bag home, just in case. Mostly, I like to make notes or examine recipes, especially at night when insomnia gets the better of me.

First up is a shower. After spending all day in front of a grill and near a deep fryer, I always take time to wash the day off my skin. As I strip off my work clothes and toss them in the hamper, a certain little pixie filters through my mind, and I’ll be damned if my cock doesn’t start to harden.

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