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Lots of people had a cup of coffee after a heavy meal and he wanted to make sure he gave them something good.

At home he ground the beans too, but if he was in a hurry the K-cups were good enough. It’s not like he drank a ton of coffee a day, rather sticking to water when he could.

The kitchen was a hot place to work and you could get dehydrated in there easily. Aside from cleanliness, the health of his staff was important too.

Many might think his bark was bad, but he cared and wanted what was best for everyone. He’d take the bullet himself before he’d have his staff doing it so that meant that they had to be cared for as well as he cared for himself.

“I’ll have to come to Duke’s one night for a meal. Maybe I’ll treat my parents.”

He winked at her. He was going to say to let him know and it’d be on the house, but he’d seen how annoyed she’d gotten over him paying for their dinner last night.

Besides, if she went with her parents, there was no way Stan would let her pay. And he wouldn’t let Stan pay. He’d figure it out when it came about. As long as she told him in advance.

“I’m sure they’d appreciate it. And I’d make you something special.”

“You don’t know what I like to be considered special,” she said, winking at him. He liked this playful side of her that she didn’t show often. “And I should get in the shower so we can catch the ferry.”

“I think I’ve got a good idea of what you like,” he said to her. At least he thought he did.

She walked away after picking up her bag and he got dressed and put his stuff away. There would be breakfast served downstairs by now and they could get something on their way out fast.

She got out of the bathroom quicker than he thought. “I like a woman that doesn’t take forever to get ready.”

She laughed. “I don’t wear much makeup and didn’t think to pack it anyway. I was going to go home from your place before work.”

“You still will,” he said. “Why don’t we go check out and get something to eat? We have time to eat in the dining area or get a to-go thing for the ferry.”

“I’m happy with a muffin. I’m getting too spoiled by your food that I don’t want something in a buffet-type setting.”

He looked at her when she said it and saw the twinkle in her eyes. Then she laughed. “Very cute.”

“You are spoiling me. My mother fed me some steak and potato salad the other night they had left over. Normally I can’t get enough of her potato salad, but it wasn’t as good as the one at the pub that I had the other day. Is that your recipe?”

“It is,” he said. “Nothing fancy with it. I kept a lot of the menu the same, but I make things differently too.”

“Which is probably why food is selling so well there too.”

“A name goes a long way,” he said. “But the food can sell itself.”

“And it is. With a little help from my advertising and marketing strategy.”

He was happy to hear her taking credit for that. “That’s right. Teamwork gets it done.”

She smiled at him once more, walked around the hotel suite to make sure she had everything, then went to get a muffin and a better cup of coffee for the road.

They were at the docks ten minutes before the ferry would be taking off.

“What time are you going to be at Southside?” she asked.

“Close to eleven,” he said. “Maybe earlier since there is a cute baker there this morning.”

“I’m a server not a baker,” she said.

There she went again, not giving herself credit. “That’s not true. You are a lot of things and should be proud of it.”

“I’m getting there. I don’t think too many people see me as a baker though.”

“I think you’re wrong. That is how you are getting as many cake orders as you are.”

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