When people ask me how I came up with the idea for Mann Cakes, I can honestly say I don’t really know. It’s one of those ideas that kind of grew organically from a tiny spark to a full story line. But like most good things in this world, I think it all began with bacon. Then of course, cupcakes. Then the question: What if two guys opened a shop that made cupcakes for real men with bacon, cheese, sausage – none of that frou-frou sweet stuff? And what if those two guys were brothers, and their arch rivals were two sisters who owned a sweet cupcake shop?
Several thousand words and a few months later, Mann Cakes was born. It’s a sexy and hilarious start to a new series set in Beach Pointe, a fictional small town in Kentucky that is nowhere near a beach. And like the original idea, this excerpt grew organically from the second draft and was heavily inspired by a hilarous skit with Betty White on SNL. You can watch it here: https://vimeo.com/24423906. According to a beta reader, you don’t want to drink anything while you read the scene below or you’ll be snorting tea (or whatever) out your nose!
Excerpt from Ch. 10
The Mann brothers face off with the Baxter sisters in a radio interview.
“Welcome to our Everyday Entrepreneurs Hour,” the host said, leaning on his elbows, shoulders hunched like Larry King. His voice had lowered into the articulate, even tone common to LRB. “I’m Douglas Nimoy. Our guests today are the owners of two respected pastry shops in Beach Pointe. The first is Two Sisters Cupcakes, owned and operated by sisters Paige and Morgan Baxter. Tell us a little about your business.”
Morgan waved and smiled as though the listeners could see her. She leaned in to the mic. “Thank you. We’re happy to be here.” Though she was attempting to emulate Mr. Nimoy’s calm tone, it came out more like a breathy Marilyn Monroe.
Paige rolled her eyes. Morgan mouthed, “What?”
Then Page added, “We offer a variety of cupcakes and other pastries in many flavors and colors. We cater to parties, weddings, you name it. Plus, we can host birthday parties and mother-daughter tea parties there in our shop. Book now through the end of the month for half off any size party.”
“Are you crazy?” Morgan mouthed at her. “We’ll be swamped.”
Paige mouthed back, “No we won’t.”
Mr. Nimoy gave them a disapproving shake of the head. Oops. He’d told them not to be salesy. Oh, well, what would it hurt? Business couldn’t get much slower.
He turned to the guys and consulted his notes. “Also joining us are Air Force vets turned entrepreneurs, Tanner and Garrett Mann, owners of Mann Cakes, which opened recently on our historic downtown Main Street. Welcome to the show.”
“The pleasure is all ours,” Tanner said, his voice seductively deep, and his lips so close to the mic, he was practically making love to it.
The jerk – he had probably prepared that flattering intro for the host to read. Paige wanted to throw something at him, but she kept her hands busy tapping her fingers on her knees instead.
He looked right at her, issuing a challenge with his intense stare, and spoke into the mic. “We’re now offering cooking classes for the ladies. Tuesday nights, drinks on us.”
Garrett nudged him, mouthing, “We don’t have a liquor license.”
“I mean, BYOB. Just call us to book your spot.”
Over his wire-rimmed glasses, Mr. Nimoy’s eyes flashed a warning at his guests. “Yes, thank you for the information. I find it interesting that two sets of siblings operate such similar businesses. Do you find it challenging to work with family?”
“Um…” Paige wasn’t sure who was supposed to answer that, since he kept looking back and forth as though waiting for someone to chime in.
Finally, his gaze settled on the guys. Tanner propped an elbow on the table and flashed a smile at the host. “Not at all, Doug. In fact, without my brother’s culinary talents, we wouldn’t be here.”
“So, Garrett is the chef, and what is your role in your burgeoning business?”
“I run the business side of Mann Cakes. It takes both great food and business savvy to make a shop like ours work.”
“No kidding.” Paige winced. Crap – she’d said that out loud.
Mr. Nimoy’s eyes widened over his wire rims. “Paige, would you say working with your sister is a challenge?”
She glanced at Morgan, who was staring at her with an expectant look, and leaned close to the microphone. “Not usually. I mean, sometimes we have, um, differences of opinion when it comes to recipes and promotional efforts. Some of her ideas are out there.”
“What do you mean?” Morgan piped in, arms crossed, and one eyebrow arched.
Garrett wore a sympathetic frown while Tanner’s smug grin had her face heating up. She spoke into the mic again, “I just meant her ideas are creative. Morgan is an artist. She can think outside the box, whereas I’m the practical one.” Morgan’s brow knitted as though she didn’t quite know how to take that. “Without her, I’d have never kept the shop going. She’s always thinking of new things to try while I tend to get in a rut. She encourages me every day. I don’t know what I’d do without her.”
Morgan’s lips jutted out with a sentimental pout. She put a hand to her chest and blinked back tears. Paige had to look away. It wouldn’t bode well for a radio interview if she turned into a blubbering mess.
Mr. Nimoy nodded with a satisfied smile. “It’s refreshing to see family able to work together despite differences. Now Garrett, tell me about your food. What can those who aren’t familiar with your brand expect from Mann Cakes?”
Garrett paled. He’d never been one to enjoy the spotlight. He swallowed hard and eased toward the mic as though it could bite him if he wasn’t careful. He sounded more robot than human. “We make muffins and cupcakes that are savory. Bold flavors. Meats, cheeses, spices. I find locally grown items whenever possible.”
Morgan propped her chin in her hand, smiling at Garrett with wide, admiring eyes.
The host consulted his notes again. “You have interesting names for your products, including something called ‘Monday Muffintops.’ What are those?”
Tanner answered with his fake seductive voice, his lips brushing the mic as he spoke. “It’s a link sausage in a slightly sweet maple-flavored muffin.”
“Has that been a popular item?”
“Oh yeah. The ladies really like a good sausage in their muffins.” Tanner grinned and blew a silent kiss at Paige.
Paige’s jaw dropped. Morgan’s mouth twisted into a disgusted grimace. Garrett lowered his head, scrubbing a hand over his face.
Order up your own copy of Mann Cakes at the following retailers:
Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06XSHTPYY
Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B06XSHTPYY
Amazon CA: https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B06XSHTPYY
Amazon AU: https://www.amazon.com.au/d/B06XSHTPYY
Amazon author page: https://www.amazon.com/Mysti-Parker/e/B0055LOTX8/
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