Edited by Lucie Simone
Cake is often a major part of life’s celebrations, both big and small. From birthdays to wedding days, cake, in all itsdelectable concoctions, marks joyous occasions with a sweetness that can’t be beat. But even better is the love that is shared when two people connect over a sweet confection. Maybe it’s a cute new guy wreaking havoc on a broken heart, or a beautiful woman testing the limits of love, or an old beau stirring up long lost desires. Whatever the circumstances, cake can always be relied upon to save the day when it comes to affairs of the heart. In this collection of short stories, cake is the delicious center around which each tale unfolds and romance blooms.
When single mom and journalist, Olivia, sets out to find romance in Cindy Arora’s “Cake Therapy,” she gets a little help from her friends and more than a few slices of cake to coax her off the couch and into the arms of a truly great love. Lucie Simone’s “Aprez Vous” finds success-driven Tara in Paris reminiscing of her long lost love, Jean Marc,and her niece bound and determined to reunite them. In “The Heart-Shaped Secret of Raspberry Jam” by Sue Watson, cake enthusiast, Milly, meets her match in the kitchen, and other places, when new owners take over thetea rooms where she works and her talents and her heart are put to the test. And Scott, mayor of a small seaside community, flirts with political suicide in Joel Zlotnik’s“Her Charms” when he falls for new-in-town Nicole, an entrepreneur with a passion for cupcakes, and whose latest venture proves a little too sexy for the sleepy beach town.
From San Francisco to Paris, from small towns to tea rooms, this anthology tempts readers with humor, style, romance, and the powerful aphrodisiac that is cake. Petit Four is four stories, frosted with love.
"Her Charms” by Joel Zlotnik
For the last eight months she’s been bringing him cupcakes more or less once a week. The first full batch was waiting for him on his doorstep when he got home from City Hall the day after their date at The Vault. He was half a step away from a loafer covered in red velvet and vanilla buttercream frosting before the shiny silver pizza charm caught his eye. It sat atop the cupcake in the center of the plate, surrounded by five tasty companions. He brought them inside and picked up the center cupcake. A little snack before dinnercouldn’t hurt, could it? He slowly peeled away the liner, releasing the scent of the red velvet. As it mixed with the sweet aroma of the buttercream, he wondered if one could be a cupcake connoisseur. ‘Have you tried the ’06 Duncan Hines Triple Chocolate? An excellent vintage for sure, but the ’08 Betty Crocker Molten Chocolate is life altering.’ Scott laughed out loud and it echoed through the empty house. He took a bite and decided he should in fact become a cupcake connoisseur. Another bite and he freed the cupcake completely from its liner where he noticed what looked like writing. He brushed away a few red crumbs from the waxy paper and pulled his steel-rimmed reading glasses from the inside pocket of his sport coat that he had hung on the stool at the kitchen counter. He read and re-read the note and his whole body felt like smiling.
Because we never did get dessert!
He unwrapped the remaining cupcakes hoping for more messages but there was only the one. After having another for breakfast the next morning, he decided to bring the rest into work. The quizzical looks as to why there were unwrapped cupcakes in the break room quickly evaporated after the first bites. His secretary Laurie popped her head in his office just as she was polishing off half of one herself.
“Good morning, Mayor. So the cupcake lady strikes again?” She tapped her fingers against the doorway grinning like a teenager probing her BFF for first date details.
“Good morning to you,” Scott shot back with just enough of a grimace to shut down her inquiry. “I’ll pass along that you liked them.”
Laurie came with the office when Scott got elected. She was in her late twenties, a five-foot-two fireball of energy who spoke so fast, her words flew from her mouth like a speeding freight train. She took an interest in Scott that landed somewhere between mild crush and big brother. And in either case, the fact that her boss was the mayor—a position that usually commanded at least a hint of respect—seemed of little consequence to Laurie.
“Will you just answer one question?” And before he could respond, she added, “Do you think we’ll be getting more? I love, love, love cupcakes.”
“Are you giggling, Laurie?” Scott lowered his voice, but was having a hard time covering up his amusement.
“That’s a yes, isn’t it?”
“Get to work, Laurie.”
Petit Four Author Bios
Lucie Simone has a passion for travel, romance and all things chick lit. She also has a degree in Journalism and a Master of Fine Arts in Television Production. She is the author of novels, Hollywood Ending and Picture Perfect, both offering an insider’s take on life in the City of Angels. Her love of comedy (and living under the delusion that she might one day be an actress) resulted in a stint studying improvisation, which, ironically enough, taught her to be a better writer. She lives in Los Angeles (and loves it), but considers New York City her imaginary second home and visits the Big Apple as often as her bank account will allow. For more information on Lucie, please visit her website atwww.luciesimone.com.
Cindy Arora was a staff writer at The San Gabriel Valley Tribune, The Orange County Register and Sacramento Magazine. She’s been published in Saveur, Tasting Table, Orange Coast Magazine and Fodor’s. She’s also mama to an adorable little boy, a feminist, a whiskey enthusiast, and proud to call herself a Chick Lit author. She is the author ofHeartbreak Cake, a delicious debut novel, and a contributor to the anthology, Merry & Bright, with her story, “Christmas at Mulberry Inn.” To learn more about Cindy, please visit www.cindyarora.com.
Sue Watson is a former BBC TV Producer who woke up one morning to the realisation that there was no such thing as 'having it all.' Marriage, motherhood and a full-time career were taking over her life and what she really wanted to do was stay home all day, bake and eat cake, watch reality TV and write... in that order. So she quit the day job, baked a year’s supply of cupcakes and chased the dream. What followed was a lot of cake and many hours in the company of ‘The Real Housewives of New Jersey,’ ‘The Biggest Loser,’ and ‘Keeping up with the Kardashians.’ During this, time Sue also managed to write a few books too: Fat Girls and Fairy Cakes; Younger, Thinner, Blonder; Love, Lies and Lemon Cake; and her latest cake offering,Snow Angels, Secrets and Christmas Cake. Learn more about Sue by visiting www.suewatsonbooks.com.
Joel Zlotnik is a former Southern California journalist who was lucky enough to find a second career on the other side of the notepad, answering questions instead of asking them. He recently cancelled his cable so he would write more and quickly discovered online binge watching. You can find him living at the beach in South Orange County, where he listens to records, reads and watches the waves. Find some of his essays and short fiction at www.joelzlotnik.com.