By Another Name… Excerpt

“Hello?” The familiar, deep voice called out. Her stomach dropped to her knees. Kade. He was here.

The metal baking sheets clattered to her feet, a crescendo of orchestra cymbals. How did he find her? “Back here!” Lee’s voice cracked.
She knelt, gathering the metal baking sheets together. Suddenly, he was helping pick up the mess. Their shoulders brushed. He was so tall. His rich auburn hair looked like he’d just rolled out of bed, his cheeks rough with at least two days of beard. Had Kade always towered over her, so? He’d certainly never looked at her this way.

His sea-foam eyes sparkled. She might as well have been a three-course meal for a starving man. He seemed to eat up the sight of her with those heavy lidded eyes, making her blush to her roots.

“Lee’s Treats, huh…?” His gravely voice played a symphony on her eardrums. “Let me help you.” He easily freed the trays from her shaking hands.

Lee’s pulse zinged at his half-smile. Her emotions ran the gamut as she snapped, “It’s okay. I’ve got it.”

Kade stood to his full height and frowned, and then blinked through whatever clouded his expression. He merely held the heavy baking sheets as if they were pieces of paper.

One by one, she retrieved her trays, laying them on the stainless steel prep counter. “I’ll take that, please,” she said, the last one becoming a tug-of-war match between them.

He held on to it like a shield. “Must be fate. Or a God thing. I only came by because my sister…and here you are!”

“Sorry. We’re closed.” She yanked again. He smirked, pulling her towards him. “Have dinner with me. Tonight.”

Lee closed her eyes in silent prayer. Lord, did you send him here to taunt me? “Give me the tray, Kade.” She tugged.

Or coffee, if that’s easier. We can do whatever you want.” He pulled.

“Just give it to me, already!” She shouted.

“Or, that…but, I didn’t peg you as that kind of girl…” He laughed aloud, and she let go, scalded with the dripping innuendo.

Lord, his sideways smile is going to kill me. Dead. On the floor. Head in hands, she sighed. “The tray. Just lay it on the counter. Please.”

His generous mouth twitched in amusement as he did as she asked.

“Well, thanks for dropping in. I’ve embarrassed myself enough for one day.” Heat radiated from her cheeks to the top of her head. She must be three shades of red, by now.

“You saved me. Buying you a latte is the least I can do.”

She eyed the purple bruise at his hairline, biting her lip. “I don’t suppose you’ll leave me alone until I say yes.”

“Think you know me that well already?” His eyes were positively dancing.

Was it possible that he didn’t recognize her?

*****

Purchase your copy:  By Another Name, now available at White Rose Publishing.com

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About Ashley Ludwig

Ashley Ludwig is an Editor for Patch News, Orange County and Los Angeles. She is also an inspirational romantic suspense author.

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