Snippet of the Day
Toni worked until after two. She had all their expenses logged in the ledger, as well as their deposits. They were barely breaking even, but she thought she could remedy that with a few suggestions and cost-effective ideas. They needed to increase their revenue; that was the bottom line.
She also thought of a possible tax break they could get if they made a few changes and modifications to the farm. She would have to sit down and discuss it with them. Toni didn’t want them to feel as if she were trying to take over, but if they ever wanted to make any money, they would have to make some changes. They had been running the farm the same way for way too long now. It was time to see some increase in revenue.
By three o’clock, she figured out a way to soften them up before she laid out a possible new business plan for the farm. With a stocked freezer, she had all the ingredients to make spaghetti and meatballs—and really, what better way to get through to two bachelors on a farm? She would ask them over tonight for dinner.
She’d just finished clipping together all the logged-in receipts when she heard the creaking of a floorboard behind her. She swiveled around in the chair to find Cole leaning against the door frame, one hand buried deep in his pocket.
“How’d we do?”
That dark look of his was beginning to make her insides squirm. They’d didn’t know each other well, and that had her off balance.
“It was a productive day.” Toni stood and pushed the heavy leather chair under the desk. “I have a few suggestions I’d like to discuss, maybe over dinner, over at…your other house.” She laughed nervously. She couldn’t say it was her place.
“Oh yeah?” His brows rose.
“Yes. I’d like to make both of you dinner. You’ve been so helpful, and like I said, I have some ideas I think you and Josh should consider.” She held her breath, waiting for her words to seep into him.
Cole stepped closer to her. Her mouth suddenly felt dry. Her nails curled into her damp palms. They stared at each other, his gaze lowered to her lips. Her breathing stopped, catching in her parched throat. Her body felt hot, a dewy perspiration collecting on her upper lip.
Toni could feel the heat of his body wrapping around her like a corset, cutting off her air. She could smell him—his dark, woodsy scent, a ruggedness that was alien to her but pleasing. Though Cole had widened their circle, the heat was still palpable. Their gazes held for what seemed like an eternity. Then the gears switched so quickly she could almost physically sense it. His coolly professional voice smothered the flame, bringing them back to business.
“So, what’s on the menu?”
“How’s spaghetti and meatballs?” Her voice hoarsened.
Cole casually shrugged a shoulder. “Sounds good to me.”
“Great, come at six.” She looked away, brushing past him. She bolted down the hallway, feeling her face flush with heat. She walked right into Josh.
“Whoa, sorry about that, Toni.” He patted her shoulder. “You’re acting as spooked as Macy does on a windy night.”
“I’m sorry, wasn’t watching where I was going.” She brushed the loose hair away from her reddened face. “Um, Cole will fill you in on all the details. See you soon.” She pushed past him, willing her feet to carry her the rest of the way out of the house.