Kisses Sweeter Than Candy

an excerpt



Chapter One





"I'm not goofing around," Wade Preston protested as his father read him the riot act about the disappointing sales from the candy shop he managed. "It's just been a slow quarter. Things will pick up now since Halloween is approaching."

"Well, things better pick up." His father closed the accounting ledger. "Our mission is to make money, not lose it."

Wade sat in a chair across from his father's desk. Westly Preston was CEO of Preston's Candy Conglomerate, which served the entire north and west coasts. In his infamous wisdom, he had given Wade Yummy's Candy Shop to manage just days after he graduated from college. Wade never wanted to follow his father into the candy business but he wasn't given much choice. His father told him either to make a success out of the shop or find another meal ticket.

"What are your plans for Halloween?" his father asked.

Wade grimaced. He really didn't have any. All he planned to do was decorate the shop in little ghouls and goblins and play a few pranks on the customers.

"I suspected as such," his father said in his clipped, dismissive manner. "I think I need to bring in someone to help you manage the place. Someone who cares a little more about candy than you do."

No truer words were spoken. He wasn't a big fan of sweets, but he didn't think he needed help. "Have you found someone yet?" Wade already knew the answer. His father had probably been working on the latest scheme to embarrass him for months. It was bad enough he put him in a haunted damn candy shop.

"Yes, his name is Dane Tyler. He just graduated from Seattle University with a 4.0 GPA in Business Management and Marketing."

So he was a brain. But what did he know about candy?

"He's the grandson of Emily Tyler, CEO of Tyler's Candies."

Wade frowned. One of their biggest competitors. "Why would he want to work for us?"

"Because he does not want to live off the kindness of his family, unlike some people I know."

Wade ignored the slight. Why be born into money and not take advantage of the situation? "How did you meet him?"

"He came highly recommended by his grandmother."

All the candy makers and factory owners knew and socialized with each other in Washington.

"He is the youngest of four sons and he'll probably never get a chance to manage one of Emily's stores, so she thought maybe I could use him here in Seattle."

Wade didn't know if the old woman was being generous or just pawning off one of her problems. "When will he be arriving?"

"Tomorrow," his father announced. "The sooner the better. Maybe you can learn a thing or two about running a successful business from him instead of chasing young women around Washington."

Wade frowned. He did not chase. He couldn't help it if beautiful young women found him adorable.

"And he's going to need a place to stay temporarily until he can find an apartment."

"Meaning?"

"Meaning you have a vacant room at your place," his father said.

My private domain?

"You probably won't know he's there. Emily said he's kind of quiet. You know…a bookworm."

Great. A geek. He's probably some hideous creature with big glasses and bucked teeth. "Am I expected to feed him and change his diapers, too?"

Tiny wrinkles formed on his father's forehead. "Don't be ridiculous. Dane is twenty-two years old. He doesn't need a babysitter."

Twenty-two, good Lord. Four years younger and already highly thought of by his father. Wade smirked. That also meant he was young enough to manipulate. All he had to do was leave him in the candy shop alone at night and let the creepy sounds scare the crap out of him.

"Is there anything else I should know about this little creep you're entrusting to me?"

"Just try to be nice," his father said. "You do remember how to be nice, don't you?"

"Barely," Wade replied sarcastically. "I will be on my best behavior."

"Try not to be such a smart ass."

Wade smirked, waved goodbye and left.