Annie only had eyes for the mound of strawberries piled high in the pint basket on the kitchen counter. Her long-fingered hand stretched out, plucking a large red fruit from the top. She swirled it into the bowl of confiture de lait before lifting it to her mouth. White teeth, a shade or two lighter than her marble white skin, pierced the fleshy fruit.
Luke's gaze traced the dark pink outline of her lips, took in the way she closed her eyes as though experiencing heaven, and his groin tightened when she moaned with pleasure. The slender column of the throat moved as she swallowed. It wasn't a stretch to imagine her mouth enclosing over him.
She washed the strawberry down with a sip of cheap champagne he'd set out earlier. After all, what were strawberries without champagne? When he made a gesture, he went all out. It wasn't a proper date by any means, him in a stained apron he wore when he cooked, her just returned from her waitress job, a little disheveled, but pleased with his newest creation. He just hoped with this attempt that she'd finally realize he was in love with her.
“Where did you get the idea to make this?” She smiled at him, a thousand watts of pure pleasure that made his body tingle.
He shrugged, forcing himself to maintain eye contact. A year and a half of sharing an apartment with her in a low rent district of town and he still had trouble talking to her. The flow of her strawberry blonde hair glistened in the low kitchen light, hanging over her chenille sweater. The one that clung to her breasts like a perfect mold. Luke bit his tongue, trying not to stare at them. She was still raving about the strawberries and dipping sauce.
“You're a god in the kitchen, you know that?” Her praise was worth every hour of work it took to create the confection. Cooking had been his singular passion, until Annie walked into his life. Model tall and hipster cool, she never held back her opinions. But if she saw him for anything other than a roommate and a tall, gangly culinary student, she didn't voice it. He hated that he'd always been too shy with girls and had no idea how to get her to notice him.
As though he'd said something intelligent instead of standing there like an adolescent boy, she continued, “It's kind of like dulce de leche, isn't it? It would be perfect for Valentine's Day at the bistro.”
“I can make it for Valentine's Day. If that's what you want.” She was always trying to get him to make interesting things to put on the menu for the bistro.
Annie's light blue eyes sparkled. “Great! You're the best, Luke. It was a sign from the heavens the day you knocked on my door asking about the apartment.” She dipped another strawberry and brought it to her mouth. “I'm going to eat all of these and gain twenty pounds, but it's so worth it.”
“I'm glad you like them.” Smart, Luke, really brilliant. Annie thinks you're the idiot savant of sugar.
She smiled at him before depositing the strawberry top in the trash can. “You know, some people think dulce de leche is an aphrodisiac.” She batted her eyelashes. “You didn't add any Spanish fly, did you?”
He'd heard that about dulce de leche, but wasn't sure if it extended to its French counterpart. “No Spanish fly. It's a thought for the bistro though.”
He looked up as she laughed. “Plenty of horny customers in there without any more help. Especially on Valentine's Day.”
Annie swirled her finger in the sauce and licked it off. It was an innocent action, but it caused his heart to accelerate. If he didn't get out of here soon, he'd end up embarrassing himself. Just as he started to make an excuse, she lifted the champagne bottle.
“Let's share this. Believe me, not all of my roommates have been so considerate. Most of them used my couch as a hamper for their dirty underwear. And my last boyfriend? He thought wine came in cardboard boxes. No one has ever brought me champagne.”
He hadn't intended to take her away from any plans she might have made after work. “I—”
How could he refuse her smile? They carried the dessert, champagne, and glasses into the living room and sat on the couch. He tried to sit away from her so she couldn't feel crowded, but Annie curled next to him, her bare feet tucked under her tight rear. She selected a berry from the basket, dipped it, and put it to Luke's mouth. Her full breasts brushed his arm. He took a bite from the berry and choked as he took in her enamored expression. He coughed to clear his throat.
“You all right?” Annie's hand brushed his cheek.
“I don't know.” She studied him. “You might need mouth-to-mouth.”
An alarm went off in his head. She's flirting!
“Uh, I'm okay.” Another brilliant remark, ladies and gen— His thought was cut short by Annie's hand on his thigh. A hand slowly creeping toward the bulge of his denims. Even though his legs were covered by material, the knowledge that she wanted to touch him made it feel as though he'd burst into flame any second.
“I've resisted you as long as I could, Luke. That dessert was the cherry on top.”
She pressed her lips to his. Annie tasted sweet and strong like he'd always imagined. They made love in the glow from the kitchen light, and after shared the remainder of the berries and sauce that had at last brought them together.