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If It Was Easy, It Wouldn't Be Fun

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The mascarpone cream had finally reached the perfect sugar pitch. Frannie wiped her hands on her apron with satisfaction. Her Nonna would've been proud. She picked up her coffee and leaned against the kitchen counter. Ten more minutes before the ciarduna shells would be cool enough to touch.

Vecchio tradition dictated offering sweets as the first step in wooing an intended. It was a good thing Meg had the biggest sweet tooth in all of Chicago, if not the world.

Frannie checked her watch. She had exactly two hours to pack everything up, get ready for work and sneak a basket filled with pastries inside Meg's office. Sure, she could have delivered them herself during her lunch break, but Frannie was a Vecchio through and through. Romance was in her RDA.

Besides, she'd already dealt with the trickiest part: convincing Fraser to let her in before office hours.

At one point, she thought he was going to rub his eyebrows raw while listening to her idea. Suddenly, he looked past her left shoulder and almost made a face--which would've been weird for anyone else but Fraser. He handed over the alarm code for the main door while mumbling something that sounded like "now that he's dead, he thinks he's Cupid." Maybe it was part of a Canadian song or poem. Frannie didn't care.

After a quick glance at her wristwatch, she put her now empty cup in the sink and started to prepare the ciardunas. Maybe Meg would save one or two for after work.

Frannie smiled, her hands sprinkling crushed almonds all over the pastries, as she imagined licking cream off Meg's lips.