Walls that were supposed to be particularly high and thick when it came to men like Adam.
Walls that suddenly looked like they might need some reinforcements to make sure they stayed strong.
He’d given her his email address during their meeting, so she quickly deleted the email to the bakery and sent him one instead.
Silver’s Bakery is one of my favorites, and the miniature cakes were delicious. Thank you for sending them to me.
I’m looking forward to receiving your new sketch of the gazebo.
There. Done and dealt with in a professional but gracious manner. Surely the fact that she’d thanked him for his surprise without gushing like a teenager with a crush would show him that she’d meant it when she said she wasn’t interested in dating him.
* * *
Alas, she’d known it wouldn’t be that easy to shake off a man like Adam Sullivan, hadn’t she, even though their email correspondence throughout the rest of that day about his changes to the gazebo—which she thought were great—had been perfectly professional. Because when the next little box came the following morning, hadn’t a part of her been waiting, and secretly hoping, for it?
Perhaps she should have refused to accept this second delivery from Joe, who remembered the card this time. At the very least, she should have told Joe to stop looking at her as if he knew there was romance in the air.
There most certainly was not any romance heading Kerry’s way.
But when she didn’t recognize the company logo on the pretty sea-green box, her curiosity got the best of her. She’d never be able to stand not taking at least a quick peek to see what he’d decided to send her today. Another delicious baked treat? Or...?
When she lifted the cover, she was more than a little surprised to see that Adam had mailed her candy this time. But not just any candy—gorgeous sugared, sparkly seashells and starfish and even one mini-meringue shaped like a wave about to crash onto the shore. Some looked to be sour, others sweet, but they were all beautiful.
And, as she soon found out when she popped one into her mouth, incredibly delicious, too.
She knew she was going to eat the entire box of candy by the end of the day. Unfortunately, the threat the candy posed to her hips wasn’t her biggest problem. Not even close.
No, what had her truly worried was the fact that, as curious as she’d been about the contents of today’s gift box, she was much more curious about what Adam had written in his second note to her. Especially when his gift was so perfectly spot-on for her tastes that it was almost as though meeting her only once had been enough for him to see through to all her secret delights.
You know that big family of mine? One of my cousins out in Maine is a genius with sugar. It’s just a hobby for now, but I’ve been trying to convince her to go pro.
What do you think?
Seriously? He was not only sweet enough to volunteer to build the gazebo for Rafe and Brooke’s wedding, but he was trying to encourage one of his cousins to turn her candy-making hobby into a career?
Kerry pushed back from her desk and walked out into the garden her mother had planted a little more than two decades ago. The roses were in full bloom, but today Kerry was so caught up in her spinning thoughts that she barely noticed them. Especially when she was still licking crystallized sugar from her fingers.
From the first moment she’d seen Adam standing across the room, she’d known he was a lady killer through and through. Now, however, she saw the error of her thinking—she’d assumed he used the same tired moves every other player did. Compliments, flowers and, of course, those ridiculously hot bedroom eyes.
But he was too smart for that. No, the game he was playing was on another level entirely.
He wasn’t just trying to charm her with his gifts, he was also managing to help her source her business and showing her yet again that his family was important to him.
What was he going to send tomorrow?
The question jumped into her head before she could stop it, and that was when she knew that she needed to put a stop to his gifts. She’d call him up and say—
From the garden, the bell rang, announcing her first appointment of the day, and also snapping her out of her wild thoughts.
She was being silly. Adam Sullivan was one of the most successful architects in Seattle, with beautiful women constantly vying for his attention. He hadn’t actually asked her out again. She was just jumping to conclusions because a secret little part of her wanted him to be pining for her.
But she knew that he had dozens of more important things to take care of than trying to woo her via a couple of cute little boxes full of sugar. Perhaps if he kept sending her surprises, then maybe that would mean that he was actually trying to romance her, but she couldn’t imagine him continuing to take the time to come up with more surprises for a woman he’d only just met and who had turned down his offer to take her out on a date.
For the rest of the day, she deliberately pushed her thoughts of him to the background. But before she shut down her laptop for the night, she made sure to write him another polite email.
Thank you for sending me the box of incredible candies. Your cousin truly is a genius and I would appreciate it if you could give me her contact information. Perhaps I could help with the first step in her going pro?
* * *
The next morning, when the delivery man arrived with only one package—a sample of hand-painted dinnerware that she’d ordered from an artist in Oregon—Kerry couldn’t stop the sinking in her stomach. Though it was all for the best that Adam had stopped sending her surprises, what woman wouldn’t want to know she was wanted by a man like him? Even if she wasn’t interested...
But a few moments later, Joe walked back in, carrying another box. One that looked incredibly fragile. “I didn’t want this to get crushed. Not when it’s such a great-looking package.”
Adam hadn’t forgotten her.
Joe had been delivering packages to her for the past couple of years, and she knew he was happily married with two young children. Clearly, by the way he was smiling at her, he was hoping she’d find herself in the same place soon. “There’s no card with this one.”
She frowned. “There isn’t?”
“I looked everywhere in my truck for it just in case it fell out, but I didn’t find anything.”
“Thanks, Joe. I’m pretty sure I know who it’s from, even without the card.”
His eyes twinkled, and though she could see he wanted to ask for more details, he was as professional as ever, simply wishing her a good day before heading out to make the rest of his morning deliveries.
She ran her finger over the lid, trying to guess what could possibly be inside, before finally opening it.
Kerry’s breath went when she saw what was inside, and she suddenly wasn’t so sure she’d be able to get it back any time soon. Not when she was staring down at an impeccably rendered model of Dromoland Castle, which her ancestors had begun building back in the late sixteenth century, made entirely out of candy, cookies, and frosting.
The castle smelled spicy and so yummy that she was tempted to lick the frosting to see if it would taste as good as it looked. Only, Kerry knew she had already given in to temptation one too many times where Adam was concerned. And clearly, another email wasn’t going to cut it today. There was no telling herself, this time, that he was just trying to hook her up with new suppliers for her weddings.