Ice Cream Man, page 1
Janice Freeman is an African-American women’s fashion designer in East Village, Manhattan who is in misery at turning forty. Hearing music float across the air in the form of a catchy hook on repeat, she hopes that ice cream will make her feel better. But the moment she sees him, she knows ice cream isn’t going to be the highlight of her day. It’s going to be the sexy ice cream man.
Antonio Rodriguez is not only a six-foot tall hunk, he is an out-of-work, twenty-seven-year old actor barely making ends meet. When he meets the curvy Janice, he finds that they have a lot more in common besides the love of ice cream.
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Ice Cream Man
Copyright © 2012 Melody Lane
Cover art by Carmen Waters
All rights reserved. Except for use in any review, the reproduction or utilization of this work in whole or in part in any form by any electronic, mechanical or other means, now known or hereafter invented, is forbidden without the written permission of the publisher.
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Ice Cream Man
Janice pressed her forehead against the front window of her dress shop, wondering how she was going to escape the misery she was feeling. Not only had she just turned forty last week, but her best friend Marcy was moving back to Michigan. Old, sad and lonely. That would be the future for Janice Freeman.
She glanced out of the window of her tiny shop in the hip East Village neighborhood on St. Mark’s Place. Besides the pita stands, tattoos parlors and bondage shops, the neighborhood was becoming home to more smart boutiques like hers. One-of-a-kind designs that were cutting edge were what Janice had to offer. Too bad some young starlet hadn’t discovered her yet. Who knew? Maybe she could move on up to Madison Avenue then. Ah, the lofty dreams of an artist.
Design was definitely her life. No doubt about that. Janice spent a third of it sitting at her sewing machine in the rear of the shop. Another third was spent detailing the garment while she sat in the front of the shop waiting for customers. A sequin there, a flower here, little touches to make that blouse or dress special for a potential buyer. The rest of her time was spent drawing new designs that would become reality as soon as she was able. She hadn’t even had a date with a man since last summer.
Spring was finally here and foot traffic should pick up in the neighborhood. That traffic would bring tourists and New Yorkers ready to see what their city offered once again. Sales should start increasing. The trees had buds, flowers were starting to bloom, and coats were being discarded. This was always an exciting time of year no matter where you lived.
She opened the front door of her shop. The brief shower that had just gone through left everything with the fresh, new smell of spring. She breathed deep, hoping the freshness would invigorate her body. Baby birds chirping in the many trees were a welcome sound of renewal, along with the bar across the street clanking its tables and chairs together as they were spread out on the patio. Janice tried to smile as she waved to a waitress at the bar who looked up at her. The girl waved back and grinned.
Then Janice heard another sound. It was music floating across the air in the form of a catchy hook on repeat every thirty seconds or so. A pleasant sound, that seemed to be getting closer. She glanced to her right to see where it was coming from.
The small white truck easing down the street in front of her was the final proof of spring. It was the ice cream man. A smile crept across her face. This was the first time she could remember really wanting to smile all week. A few people walking down the street echoed her feeling. A young man in dreadlocks started walking toward the truck, along with two stroller-pushing moms.
Janice went over to the desk where she kept her cash drawer and sale receipts. She had extra bills in the back just in case she needed to pick up a quick lunch to eat in the shop. Today it would be for an ice cream. Eating ice cream always made you feel better, didn’t it? And she sure needed that today. She grabbed two of the bills and went to her shop door.
As the truck eased closer to her, she studied it. A row of yellow and red lights blinked from the top with a Children Crossing sign. Large, red letters spelled out Ice Cream on the front hood of the truck and the side. There was a vending window with a small blue-striped awning above it and a thin ledge to set something down on if needed. To the right of the window were the pictures of what kinds of ice cream was for sale inside. Seven rows of choices with five on each row. Whew! That was a lot of different ice cream to have to make a choice about. She couldn’t wait to get closer and see what was offered.
Although Janice didn’t need the extra hip action the ice cream would be giving her, she didn’t care today. Live and let live. Besides, it was more fun eating the ice cream than just smearing it on her thighs, where it would wind up anyway.
She opened the door and went outside to the sidewalk to wait. The sun was peeking through the trees that lined St. Mark’s Place. It was already getting warmer than she had thought it would get today. Her crew neck, long-sleeve white sweater was starting to feel a little warm. A trickle of sweat ran down between her breasts. She pushed the sleeves up to her elbows, then fanned the bottom of the sweater to let some air in. At least she had worn a skirt today instead of pants. It was a tight, bright green number that matched her three-inch silk heels perfectly. She always dressed up for work. Dressed for success? Janice smiled. After all, if the designer didn’t look the part, how could she inspire confidence in her creations enough to sell them?
The truck was almost to her shop. She had no idea what she was going to pick, but knew this would probably be the highlight of her day.
As the truck stopped in front of her, it was all she could do not to let her mouth gape open and drool start running down her chin. The second she saw him sitting in the driver’s seat of the vehicle, Janice knew the ice cream wasn’t going to be the highlight of her day.
It was going to be the ice cream man.
He stopped the truck at the curb and moved around inside to the vending window. As he slid it open, the chestnut-colored eyes of the most handsome man she had ever seen looked down at her. He had olive-toned skin and black hair that hung in loose curls to his jaw line. Just the kind of hair you’d love to run her fingers through. A light fringe of dark moustache and goatee, groomed sexy and neat, drew attention to his lips. They were full, sensuous, warm, and gorgeous. Lips that you’d love to plunge your tongue between. She let out a deep breath as her lips curled into a smile.
The ice cream had suddenly become less important than the man. Pussy alert! She could feel the tingling that told her it wanted action, the type of action that hadn’t been forthcoming in quite awhile.
“Hello,” she blurted out. Instead of a sexy Beyonce, she sounded more like she’d just rolled out of bed after a rough night. She cleared her throat hoping that the next words that came out would sound more like Janice Freeman than anyone else.
He grinned with perfect white teet
Janice couldn’t help but stare at him. The lips, the teeth, what a great smile he had. It was one that most people only dreamed of having.
“Can I help you?” he asked.
She forced herself to come to her senses. Otherwise she’d be opting for a shot of tequila at the bar across the street as she lamented him leaving her because she couldn’t make up her mind. “Let me see what you have to offer,” she said slowly.
Janice hadn’t meant for it to sound sexual, even though it certainly came out that way. And what about that moisture she could feel soaking through her panties right now? Forcing her attention to the pictures of the ice cream on the side of the truck, she looked them over.
The popsicles were in the colors of the rainbow, red, green, purple, and orange. Creamsicles had low-fat vanilla ice cream covered with orange or raspberry flavored sherbet. The Fudgsicles were chocolate heaven. He had ice cream cups, ice cream sandwiches, push-ups, snow cones. She didn’t know what to pick—smooth, creamy, or sinful.
Were those words for the ice cream or the ice cream man?
He raised his eyebrows and looked her in the eyes. “All my flavors are guaranteed to satisfy.”
With that one sentence, Janice could feel her pussy throbbing. How she’d love to get satisfied by an attractive man like him. It had been too long since a man had given her pleasure. Last summer came to mind again. A whole, long eight months ago.
But was the ice cream man’s comment sexual right back at her? She swallowed hard as she tried not to look at him. It couldn’t be. He was just trying to make a sale. She had to be at least ten years older than him, maybe more. “I’ll take one of the Fudgsicles.”
The ice cream man turned sideways to his stainless steel freezer right next to the vending window. Janice looked over at the dreamboat in action. His white pants stretched over a tight butt, doing it justice. She wondered if he even had any briefs on. Certainly no revealing lines around his butt to prove it. Hard, smooth globes that you’d love to rub your hands over as he plunged his swollen cock into you. Janice bit her lip.
The white fitted T-shirt showed a firm upper body that you’d just love to touch. This man definitely worked out, as his bulging biceps proved. All Janice could do was shake her head in wonder. Damn. As he bent over to the freezer, she stared. His nipples grew hard, and she noticed her own responding in kind. She put a hand to her forehead. This was the most fun she had experienced in months. That pussy of hers was definitely coming back to life.
He seemed to be having trouble finding the Fudgsicles. The boxes of ice cream were being thrown around inside the freezer as he looked for them. He kept pulling his hands back out of the freezer, almost as if in pain. Obviously, it was from the cold.
“Is everything okay?” Janice asked, as he watched. His hands looked large and manly, but smooth. He never did hard labor a day in his life.
That smile flashed her way again, as he lifted his head from the freezer to her face. “I’m new at this. In fact, this is my first day. Can’t you tell?”
Janice couldn’t help but laugh. “Oh, I don’t know.” Any uncomfortable feelings she had talking to him vanished. “This is your first day? Really?”
He nodded. “No one told me that I might need gloves for this job. The truck was packed for me in Queens and I wasn’t given a whole lot of information. I’ll be dropping it off there later this evening.”
She glanced into the truck and saw the fog coming from the freezer. “Isn’t that dry ice in there?”
“Yeah. One hundred and nine degrees below zero, I was told. That means the ice cream stays frozen and you don’t have to worry about it melting, even if you’re opening the freezer all day long.”
“Makes sense.” She nodded.
He stood. “I’m not touching the dry ice though. It’s at the bottom of the freezer. You can get a severe burn if it touches your skin.”
He shivered. “It’s just that I wasn’t expecting to get so cold touching these ice cream boxes. Guess I wasn’t as prepared as I should have been.”
“Guess not.” She raised her eyebrows and grinned.
He grinned back. “You don’t have any gloves I can borrow, do you? East Village will be part of my regular route. I will return them to you as soon as I can pick up some of my own.” He crossed two long, slim fingers. “Promise.”
Those fingers hadn’t gone unnoticed by Janice. She could almost feel them sliding up her channel as he plunged them back and forth. A moan escaped her mouth. Oh, Janice. Quit being a bad girl. What kind of ideas was he giving her? Sexual ideas, that’s what kind.
Time to focus on the problem at hand. Janice definitely wanted to help him. She thought for a moment if she had any gloves in her shop. Damn. There would be nothing in her shop she could give him. She carried no men’s clothing, only women’s. One of the shops down the street had to have gloves. She froze. What the hell was she thinking? Lots of shops down the street had gloves. Gloves were everywhere on St. Mark’s Place.
She sighed. He’d just have to go down there and buy some. She was feeling sadder by the moment because she didn’t want him to leave. Wait a minute. A lower file in her brain just found its way to the top and opened up. “I might have some thermal gloves left here by a man who worked on the front of my shop over the winter. They’re not brand new, though.”
He shrugged. “Sounds great to me, I’ll take anything. All I need to do is use them to organize the boxes so I know where everything is.”
She raised her eyebrows. “I’ll have to look for them.”
“I can just take a break then.” He glanced from side to side on the street. “No customers right now. I’m in a parking space. Mind if I come inside?”
“No, not at all.” She grinned. “As long as you don’t forget about my Fudgsicle when we’re finished.”
As he walked to the front door of the ice cream truck, Janice watched and waited. A whole body shot was on its way. He opened the driver’s door and hopped down the two steps from his truck to the ground, all six feet of him. Looking up at the handsome, cut man in front of her, she tried not to let him see her sigh. She swallowed hard.
Janice pushed her hair over her ears. She motioned him toward her shop. “Come on inside.”
They walked to her shop’s entrance and Janice was surprised when he grabbed the door and held it open for her.
“Thank you,” she said. Not only did he have first-class looks, but manners too. A gentleman. He impressed her more by the minute.
“Nice place.” He looked around him. “A women’s clothing store. Is this your shop?”
“Yes.” She nodded. “I’ve made almost everything for sale in here.”
Janice proudly peered around her store at her spring line. The jackets, the dresses, the gowns, the slacks. She even had an African section. The two mannequins in the display window of her shop were covered from head to toe in Janice Freeman. The only things she hadn’t made were the accessories and shoes she sold.
He glanced down at her. For the first time, his rich chestnut eyes scrutinized her face. Sweeping from her forehead, to her eyes, past her nose and lingering at her mouth. She wanted to lick her lips in nervousness. She definitely felt a little queasy with his close inspection.
“What’s your name?” he quietly asked her.
She could feel herself blushing as he eyes glanced past her face to her sweater. His eyes roamed quickly over her full breasts then down to her skirt. It was times like these she hated being a little hippy, but he didn’t seem to mind. His face looked pleased with what he saw. Those eyes were twinkling and the corners of his mouth upturned just a little. He was definitely younger than her, late twenties maybe? “Janice. You?”
“Antonio Rodriguez.” He grinned, then shook his head. “Sorry. I’m so used to saying my complete name when I meet someone new. You know, for networking purposes. It’s not only my real n
“Professional?” She was intrigued. “What else do you do besides being a spanking new ice cream man?”
Antonio cocked an eyebrow. “Spanking?” He grinned. “I’m an actor, currently an out-of-work actor.”
That explained everything. He would definitely look good in the movies or on television. Antonio would probably look good anywhere, on billboards, in magazines or better yet in her bed. Janice smiled. “At least you have some kind of day job to make money.”
He shrugged, as he got serious. “Not making much, I’ll tell you that. I’ve had plenty of jobs since moving here, waiter, dog walker, salesman, and modeling.” He squinted an eye, “There have been more that don’t come to mind right now.”
“What did you model?”
“I was in the background for a couple of magazine ads. One of them I was even in my underwear.” He raised his eyebrows. “I can’t get any regular modeling jobs, though. Some agencies already say I’m too old.”
“Old?” Janice couldn’t believe someone would consider Antonio old. “How old are you?”
“I turned twenty-seven a couple of weeks ago.” He let out a breath.
Janice shook her head. He was right. The modeling world catered to the young, it seemed. She looked over his face, certainly not a bad looking twenty-seven-year-old for a not so bad looking forty-year-old. He’d definitely do in a pinch. She tried not to grin. She’d love to get pinched by him, anytime, anywhere.
“I’m about ready to leave New York City though. It’s back to Houston for me, if I don’t get a paying acting job soon. I just can’t afford to live here anymore and don’t know if I even want to try. Wherever you go, New York City is too expensive. Brooklyn, Queens. It doesn’t matter.” He looked down. “The rent just keeps going up every year. I could never even consider living here in Manhattan, although Manhattan would be my choice if I ever had one. I love it over here.”