When restaurant owner and executive chef Marcus finds he has a secret admirer leaving mouth-watering tarts and teasing quotes as a hint to their identity, his attention is instantly piqued. But when the sender reveals their identity, Marcus's gut instinct leads him to a different conclusion—and his just desserts.
A Valentine's Day treat from bestselling author Pelaam!
“Well.” Nicole looked around as if checking she couldn’t be overheard and crept in a little closer, dropping her voice. “Seems that Marcus has a secret admirer.”
“Admirer? What kind of admirer?” Callum paused and Nicole smirked widely, clearly pleased to now have his full attention.
“Thought that would surprise you. Marcus’s been prowling around the kitchen for a couple of days now, trying to be Sherlock or something. Didn’t work, so he had a quiet word with me. Seems someone left him a cake and a flower.”
“That it?” Callum resumed drying his plates. “I'll bet you weren't meant to tell anyone.” He cocked his head and looked at her from the corner of his eye, noticing that Nicole had the good grace to blush.
“Hey. Well, no, but I know I can trust you. You never break a confidence and I thought you could help. Whoever the admirer is, they left a card with the other stuff, but nothing to say who they were, not even a clue. Marcus wouldn't say what the card actually said, only that there was no name.”
“No name, no clue? Are you sure there was no clue?” Callum rubbed at his cheek with the back of his hand. “How's he meant to work out the mystery if there's no clue?”
Nicole nodded briskly. “That what Marcus said.” She shrugged. “Unless there was something on the card he's not telling me about. The flower was a pink something or other, that isn't going to be important.”
“So how’s he meant to know who it was? Sounds like you've got a big job on your hands. I take it no one out there is openly 'fessing up?” Callum smirked. She's enjoying herself.
“He's told me to keep it under my hat. Wants me to be his eyes and ears, and I thought you could be mine.” Nicole giggled softly. “I don’t know how he's meant to work out who they are, but they’ve certainly succeeded in piquing his attention. A perfect combo. A favourite treat and a mystery.”
A shout came from the kitchen, and Nicole hurried toward the door, pausing in the doorway and waving her hand in the air before clutching dramatically at her chest. “The dulcet tones of her master’s voice echoed around, and she hurried to answer his call.”
Callum stifled his laugh into a snort. “Oh, yes. Very dulcet. Not. Better get going.”
Giving a smart salute, Nicole giggled and dashed away. Shaking his head, Callum turned his attention back to his dishes. “A Valentine's mystery. Just what we needed. As if we don't have enough going on already.”
Three days had passed since the box and cake had been left for him, and Marcus was still no closer to knowing who’d left it. To ask everyone outright would spoil things, and still wouldn’t guarantee an admission. But, a touch of impatience was creeping in. I was certain I’d have found something out by now.
Muttering under his breath, Marcus headed into his office and stopped as he looked at his desk. Another box lay there, exactly the same as the first, but the flower beside it was different. This time he’d been left a red carnation. Crossing the room to his desk, Marcus turned over the card to read what it said.
“‘My weaknesses have always been food and men—in that order’. Whoever you are, you’re a class-A fucking tease. When I find out who you are, you’ll pay for this. And enjoy every second of it.” Marcus growled the words as he tapped the card against his thumb.
Opening the box, he peered inside. This time his treat was a strawberry-topped tart. Marcus licked his lips. Although he wasn’t entirely sure whether it was due to the pastry he stared at or the retribution he’d demand for the teasing. He groaned softly, his cock shifting as he let his imagination have rein for a moment.
Perching on the edge of his desk, he thought back to the previous time a gift had been left. Grabbing a piece of paper and a pen, Marcus jotted down the names of the staff on duty then and who had worked that evening. There were seven currently on duty who’d worked on the last occasion. Three were front of house serving staff, and four in the kitchen.
“I can eliminate two of my serving staff. I'm sure you're not female. Okay, you teasing bastard, I’ll play by your rules.” Marcus tucked the card into his wallet. “I’ll work out who you are, and then we'll play my games.”