Daisy could barely read the notes she had scribbled on the back of a junk mail envelope. Her eyes watered and her hands shook like she’d drank a whole pot of coffee. Cooking for friends and family made her happy. Cooking for a chef made her a neurotic mess. And it wasn’t like she was even cooking, really. A smoothie wasn’t a gourmet meal, but she still wanted Marshall to like it. That fact was multiplying the nervous butterflies in her stomach at warp speed.

A knock on the door stirred up the winged hoard. She opened a cupboard door and slammed it shut as she ripped a wall-shaking burp. Hopefully the noise covered up the very un-ladylike bodily function. She was far from prim and proper, but she didn’t want Marsh to think she was an uncultured heathen either. Just because she had rainbow colored hair and the bone structure of a pro wrestler didn’t mean she couldn’t be feminine. Something had attracted him to her and she didn’t want to burst the bubble. Another knock propelled her to the door. She opened it and said, “Welcome to Daisy’s Smoothie Parlor. Where the blender is loud and the hostess is louder.”

Marshall chuckled as he stepped into the apartment. He planted a kiss on the tip of her nose. “Sounds better than cold smoothies served by an ice queen. I prefer my ladies on the hot end of the temperature scale.”

“You’re in luck. I sweat like a point guard playing in a sweater.” Nice. Cover up the belch, but point out more, less than dainty characteristics to turn him off. The date was starting out on the wrong path and threatening to careen off a cliff. “But only when it’s really hot. Or I’m exercising. You know, physical stuff.”

“Physical stuff, huh?” Marshall waggled his eyebrows. “I can think of something we could do to make us both sweat like we’re in a sauna.”

Volcanic-level heat surged up Daisy’s neck and pooled on her cheeks. Her stomach grumbled. The conversation was veering off-course into unauthorized territory. It was the middle of the day. Even if she shut all of the shades in the studio it still wouldn’t be dark enough. Dim mood lightening, or better yet, complete darkness was always required for getting naked in front of a man. Even someone as special as Marshall. Especially someone as special as him.

“How about I make my smoothie? I didn’t tell Emma you were coming over today. She has a key to my apartment and just lets herself in. Without even knocking.” Daisy checked her recipe. The date paste, oatmeal and bananas were measured and sitting in clear glass bowls. She poured soy milk into the blender and then dumped the other ingredients on top of the liquid. “Besides, my banana is starting to thaw. I want you to try this the way it is supposed to be, thick and cold instead of lukewarm and runny.”

She waited a few seconds for a response. Nothing. She turned on the blender. A squeal, that was louder than the high-powered motor, escaped her lips when Marshall’s arms encircled her waist. His warm body molded against her. The sensation was equal parts thrilling and terrifying. She still didn’t understand why a bronzed, sandy-haired hunk was attracted to her.

“Fine,” he said as he nuzzled her neck. “We’ll do it your way. First we’ll cool down drinking your smoothie and then we can warm back up using my idea. I’ll put a chair in front of the door to keep Emma out.”

The man was gorgeous, persistent and resourceful. A triple threat of manly goodness. How could she refuse?

Date Cookie Dough Smoothie
Recipe type: Beverage
Serves: 1 large or 2 small
Note: For a smoother texture, cook the oatmeal and cool before adding to the blender.
  • 1 cup milk (dairy or non-dairy)
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 3 tablespoons date paste
  • ¼ cup oatmeal (regular or quick)
  • 4 ice cubes
  • 1 frozen banana, cut into chunks
  1. Put ingredients in blender in order given. Pulse a few times to get everything moving and then blend until smooth.