All’s Fair in Love and Cinnamon Rolls
Ari, the little sneak, was hording the last cinnamon roll.
Ella knew she was. She could feel it in her bones. Her damn wings kept twitching whenever Ari walked by with that too-innocent look on her face.
Right now, Ari was in the living room, hunched over her laptop, not paying attention to anything except what was on the screen.
Ella could hunt down those rolls and see what had put that blissed out expression on her friend’s face.
In truth, it could have been residual endorphins from a good round of loving from her mate, but Ella didn’t think so. Ari usually looked mussed and happy after Liam went to town on her, not secretly gleeful.
It had to be the cinnamon rolls.
Ella had done the math and one went mysteriously missing. One perfectly glazed, magical cinnamon roll.
Gods she wanted it.
One hadn’t been enough.
Everyone in the house seemed to agree since the contents of the bakery box had been descended upon as soon as Michael and Ari walked through the door.
Anything brought from the shop was ridiculously good.
In fact, it was probably bespelled.
That would explain why they all went a little crazy whenever the pink box with the Hobb’s bakery sticker on the side appeared in the house.
Enchanted to lure unwary supernaturals into its clutches.
There was probably a poor, beleaguered sprite chained to the oven in the back room, forced to create confectionary goodies until she wept glaze.
Blinking, Ella went still at that thought.
Gross. Okay, she’d gone a little too far with that scenario.
There was no sprite. No tears made out of sugar. Nothing nefarious.
Listening closely, Ella didn’t hear anything except Ari muttering to herself in the living room. Satisfied she wasn’t going to be found out, she went back to creeping into the kitchen.
If she were the nymph, she’d hide her goodies in plain sight.
In the kitchen. Tucked away in a rarely opened cabinet.
Ella didn’t spend much time in the kitchen, it was Liz’s domain more than anyone else’s. If she were Ari, where would she hide a magical, purloined treat?
Okay. Think like the nymph.
Ari was straightforward, but not stupid. Which meant the first cabinets Ella saw when she walked thought the kitchen door were out. Ari wouldn’t dare put anything in that plain of sight.
A considering glance around had Ella narrowing her eyes.
Right. The pantry.
Big enough something as small as a pastry could be overlooked in it and not in the direct line of sight of the door.
Edging open the door, Ella wrinkled her nose. Right, plus the scents of the herbs Liz had hanging from the shelves would cover the scent of sugar.
Right. So there would be no following her nose to the prize.
No big deal. She didn’t normally rely on her nose anyway.
Monster sized bins of flour and sugar were lined up on the floor. Canisters of Liam’s favorite seeds—all carefully separated by type—sat on the shelves.
And the herbs.
So many different herbs.
They hung from the shelves in tight bundles and were crushed and shredded and otherwise stored in little jars that covered a large portion of the—
Ella knew Ari had snagged the last roll. The proof sat behind a bowl of peppercorns.
A napkin from the bakery. Carefully wrapped around something the proper size and shape of one of the legendary cinnamon rolls.
Of course this was Ari’s roll. Won in battle from the other patrons of the bakery, to hear Ari tell the story.
It was Ari’s, but it was…so tempting.
All that sugary, cinnamon goodness just shoved into a corner and forgotten.
It was tragic, was what it was.
An affront against civilization and everything.
In truth, Ari should be ashamed of herself. To do this to a poor, defenseless cinnamon roll. A creation whose sole purpose was to be consumed and enjoyed.
Ari, uncaring creature that she was, had wrapped it up and hidden it away without allowing it to fulfill that purpose.
That was wrong.
As Ari’s friend, it was her solemn duty to right this wrong.
Fingers brushing the napkin, Ella shivered as she imagined how the taste of cinnamon and sugar would explode on her tongue. She hadn’t managed to get her hands on any of the cinnamon rolls earlier, but she had snagged a good chunk of the sticky pull-apart bread.
It had been divine.
This would transcend that.
She would revel in it. Roll around in—
“Whatcha doing, El?”
Ella snatched her hand back, her eyes going wide. Whoops. Busted.
She’d been so enraptured by the treat that was, literally, at her fingertips, that she hadn’t noticed Michael approaching.
Now he watched her, his shoulder propped against the doorframe of the pantry, his expression somewhere between amused and censorious.
Damn. Her man knew. He knew what she’d been planning.
“Nothing,” she said, giving him the widest smile she could manage.
His head tilted and he started directly at the napkin on the shelf. “Nothing, huh? So you weren’t planning on taking Ari’s last cinnamon roll and doing things you could never come back from?”
“Nope. Absolutely not.” She probably could have come back from eating that roll. It wouldn’t have weighed on her conscience too heavily.
“Good.” Her mate gave her a slow smile and held out his hand. “Then you won’t mind joining me in the kitchen.”
Damn. He was calling her bluff.
Ella sent one last longing look at the wrapped treat before sliding her hand into her mate’s.
It was probably for the best. Ari would have been upset about not getting to eat the cinnamon roll and they’d all have to hear about it.
Still. It would have gone down easy.
Michael flipped her hand over and put something soft and slightly warm in it.
It took half a second before what he’d done registered and, when it did, Ella thought she’d start crying.
Her mate—her wonderful, handsome, incredibly virile mate—had given her a fresh cinnamon roll. Still warm. The glaze oozing down the side.
That was way better than the day-old one hidden in the pantry.
“Michael,” she breathed, loving her mate more every moment as the scent of cinnamon surrounded her.
“I noticed you didn’t get one yesterday, so I stopped by and got another box this morning.”
This was love. Right here.
Her man was brilliant and perfect and all hers.
Making sure she didn’t crush the roll between them, Ella threw her free arm around Michael and squeezed him as tight as she could. “I love you,” she choked out.
His chuckle was cut off when the kitchen door was flung open and Ari, the nymph with a nose for sweets, bounded in. “Oh my god. Did you bring more cinnamon rolls?”
Ella tucked her cinnamon-filled hand close enough Ari wouldn’t be tempted to steal it. She remained snuggled against her mate, visions of all the ways she could thank him running through her head.
As if called, the others in the house began to stream in.
Ella watched the box of rolls vanish beneath the seething horde of her friends’ hands.
That was okay, though. She had her cut and it had been made all the sweeter because Michael had gone specifically to get it for her.
All was fair in love and cinnamon rolls and Ella had lucked out on both counts.
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