Hey, everyone out there in InspyRomance Land! I hope y’all are doing well! I had a variation on LASIK a couple weeks ago, so I’m hoping to be around to answer comments today, but my eyes are still pretty iffy most of the time ;). I’m so looking forward to the day they clear up all together :D.
A couple months ago I was asked to join four other fantabulous authors in a restaurant themed collection. Table for Two released a couple weeks ago on Amazon. I went back to Mallard Lake Township from my Protecting the Prince novella and peeked in on bakery owner Brianna. I’ve got a couple other fun collections coming up so be watching for those too :D.
Here’s the beginning of Bargains, Ballots, & the Bakery…where Brianna begins to realize maybe she can’t do it all on her own… ;)
“I’m sorry? Who are you exactly?” Brianna Masters stared at the man in front of her, unable to believe her ears.
“Grayson. Grayson Goddard. Millie hired me. I’m supposed to start tomorrow.”
“Then why haven’t I heard of you?” she demanded.
“I have no idea. Why don’t you ask Ms. Millie?”
“Because she’s dead,” Brianna snapped. “She died over a month ago. So why should I believe she hired you over six weeks ago but didn’t leave any paperwork?”
Grayson’s face turned pale. “She’s dead?”
Brianna felt herself begin to soften. “Yes.”
“I hadn’t heard.” He ran a hand through thick, dark hair. “I’m so sorry. Did you know her well?”
“She was my nana.” The tears began to build behind her eyes. “She left the store to me.”
“Brianna.” He said the name as though he knew her. “She talked about you all the time.”
“She did? How well did you know her?”
Grayson leaned a hip against the display case. “I grew up in Mallard Lake Township. I’ve known her my whole life.”
“Then why have I never heard of you?” Nana hadn’t ever mentioned him, had she?
“I have no idea. I just know she told me to show up after I graduated from college. Graduation was a couple of weeks ago. My roommate’s parents took me with them on a trip as a graduation present. Now, I’m here.”
Brianna looked more closely at him and realized his eyes matched his name. Had she ever met someone whose eyes were actually gray? “I’m not sure…”
“Listen, I don’t know why Millie didn’t tell you about me, but I need the job and the place to live. Can you at least give me a shot?”
Place to live? Brianna wasn’t sure how she felt about that. “You mean the apartment?”
“Yeah. She said it would be part of my benefits, in exchange for a salary smaller than I could get elsewhere.”
“But I live in the apartment.”
“That’s a problem then, isn’t it?” His eyes twinkled as he said it.
“I guess it is.” Her mind raced to come up with a solution, but none presented itself. The brush of his hand on hers shocked her.
“Don’t worry about the apartment. I can stay with my folks for a while, but I really could use the job.”
Brianna just nodded, unable to think clearly at the continued touch of his hand on hers. “Okay. I could use some help. It’s just been me for the last week.”
“No help? Millie didn’t have someone else already?”
Brianna slid her hand out from under Grayson’s. “She did have a mom working days and a college student and teenager working nights, but they were all from the same family, and they moved the week after Nana died. I don’t know what she planned for between then and the time you arrived.
“I had a friend come help out, but she could only stay for a few weeks. She left a week ago. I’ve been managing by myself since then.” And with little sleep. She needed to sleep well and long sometime very soon. “I’ll have to look at the books and see what I can afford to pay you. I don’t know what she told you, but Nana was never the best at keeping up with them. She may have told you one thing, but whether she could have afforded it or not is something else entirely.”
“That was supposed to be part of my job. The money side of things.”
She shook her head. “I’m going to keep doing the books for now. I need to get a handle on all of it.” And ultimately decide the fate of the bakery. Would she sell it? Close it? She didn’t think she wanted to keep it for herself. Did she? It hadn’t been part of her plan.
“So what time do you want me here in the morning?”
Right. She needed to figure out what to do with this guy. “I start at six.” She hated it, but she began before the crack of dawn. Well, it would be before the crack of dawn if not for Daylight Saving Time.
“Six? The bakery doesn’t open until ten.”
“And when do you suppose all of that stuff gets baked?”
He gave her the most gorgeous lopsided grin she’d ever seen. “You make a very good point. Six it is then. I’ll be here.” Grayson glanced up at the clock behind the counter. “If I’m going to be here that early, I better go get my beauty sleep.”
Brianna didn’t answer. He didn’t need beauty sleep. God had certainly done something right when He made Grayson. Handsome. Polite. She’d only known him for ten minutes, but she was pretty sure he didn’t have a flaw anywhere.
“Good night, Bree.”
Except for that. She hated that nickname, but Brianna didn’t want him to know that. Instead, she waved as he walked out the door. Time to finish cleaning up, then she could relax for a bit.
An hour later, she looked around the bakery with a satisfied smile. Finally, the place was clean again. And clean to her standards. Not just health code standards. The gleaming silver tables and machines shone under the bright lights.
Time to head home.
She climbed the outside stairs outside and unlocked the door to her apartment. The little one bedroom place had become hers when Nana Millie died and left her the bakery building and the Victorian house a few blocks away. Brianna hadn’t had the time, energy, or emotional fortitude to start going through the house. Instead, she chose to live over the bakery in the apartment that had been unoccupied.
She tossed her keys on the counter in lieu of a table or basket, because she didn’t have any. She used stacked milk crates as a table and a folding chair she’d found in the back storeroom as her only place to sit. It didn’t matter, Brianna told herself, because she was only here for maybe an hour before bed and just long enough to get ready in the morning.
After a quick shower, she turned on the television in her bedroom and flopped down on the twin mattress lying on the box springs on the floor. She flipped to her favorite cooking show before pushing herself into a seated position. With her back to the wall, Brianna opened her laptop and input the data from the day’s sales.
For all of her baking prowess, Nana Millie wasn’t much of a business woman. Papa Kent had been the one to keep the books until he died a few months before Nana. Nana had done her best, but she hadn’t updated the books since Papa Kent died.
Brianna quickly braided her hair. The French braid wouldn’t win a beauty award, but it kept it all of her face. It was also just slanted enough for the long tail to hang over her shoulder.
Time to get some work done.
Check out the rest in Bargains, Ballots, & the Bakery – along with four other books by fantastic authors like Janice Thompson, Kathleen Y’Barbo, our own Lynette Sowell, and Traci HIlton!
Today’s Mother’s Day and we ate at our favorite BBQ place, Heady’s BBQ. What’s your favorite place to eat? Comment below, and I’ll pick one commenter for a free Kindle copy of Table for Two.
Bargains, Ballots, & the Bakery
Brianna Masters inherited Millie’s Bakery from her grandmother, but running it by herself has driven her half-crazy. She receives help, but finds herself organizing Mallard Lake Township’s rummage sale and running a mayoral campaign.
Grayson Goddard returned home after college to find his friend and mentor had died and no one told him. Her beautiful granddaughter kept Millie’s promise of giving him a job. In a whirl of flying flour, he finds himself falling in love with his new boss, helping with the rummage sale and running for mayor against his high school nemesis.
Together, they work to help the town’s less fortunate through the rummage sale proceeds and end the stranglehold the mayor’s family had on the office for nearly a hundred years. No matter the outcome of the election, can they find the recipe for love?
Ok, I am so hooked. I have to start reading my copy today.
LOL! I’m glad! Hope you enjoy it!
Lientjie Human says
We rarely eat out so I don’t a favourite place.
Table for Two sounds like a great collection, I’m looking forward to reading it!
We probably eat out more than we should. But when you’ve got such yummy places to go… ;).
Hope you enjoy it!
This looks like a fun read. I love eating at HuHot Mongolian Grill. I lived in Japan for several years and loved the food.
My kids love that place! So does my sister. Hubs thinks it’s fine ;). I’ve never been. Just not my cup of tea :).
Thanks for sharing about our collection, Carol! :)
Jill Weatherholt says
Thanks for sharing the excerpt, Carol. I look forward to reading the rest of your story along with the other three stories. I love these collections!
Aren’t they great?! When Janice asked me if I wanted to join, I couldn’t say no! I’ve got at least three other collections coming out this year -they’re such great deals for readers and can introduce them to authors they’ve never read before. Such fun!
Gail Hollingsworth says
Never heard of a variation on Lasix. I just turned 62 and several years ago I had crystal lens implants done in both of my eyes (not at the same time of course). It was elective so I paid dearly out of pocket but it was so worth it! I’ll never get cataracts, I have 20/10 in my right eye, 20/40 in my left. I was left slightly off in my left so,I could read without glasses. After having worn glasses or contacts since fourth grade this is real freedom for me. And my vision is supposed to never vary from what it is now. And I was originally 400/200. My daughter had Lasix, her vision was worse than mine, but it got to where eventually she’s had to go back to wearing glasses or contacts. Her vision is not like it was before but still when you pay through the nose you pray it works and lasts.
I don’t have a favorite place to eat. When I don’t have to cook (and I hate to cook) anywhere is my favorite. Wherever we may be eating that particular night is my current favorite!
LOL! I’m glad you have such great places to choose from then!
This was actually PRK – they fixed the outside of my cornea rather than opening it and fixing inside like they do in actual LASIK. It’s a much longer recovery. I’m doing better and my eye doc says I’m right on track – because I was so bad (I really don’t know what I was – I should ask next week – but I found my glasses from two weeks ago the other night (I wasn’t sure where they’d gone) and MAN ALIVE I was blind!) Anyway, because it was so bad it takes longer to heal. Which makes perfect sense… I may still need reading glasses eventually. That’s a different problem (musculature).
My dad had his lenses replaced a couple years ago because of cataracts iirc and a happy ‘side effect’ was getting rid of his glasses.
I’m just glad I can take the dog out in the middle of the night without needing my glasses ;).
Lord bless your eyes! Praying they heal quickly. I already read Table for Two and enjoyed it!
Thanks, dlw! I’m so glad you did! if you haven’t yet, would you consider leaving a review on Amazon? We’d appreciate it!
Valerie Comer says
What a fun excerpt, Carol! I’ve worn glasses all my life and expect to keep doing so. Lasik won’t cure what’s the most wrong, anyway.
Thanks Val! I know you’ve learned to compensate over the years. I’m hoping soon I won’t have to… :p
This sounds like such a sweet book. I just mde my to read list.
I’m really partial to home cooking. I’m not an expert, but my husband and I usually plan special dinners at home and we get the cooking done together, while sipping some wine getting creative with spices.
Priscila – that’s fantastic! That’s so not me! Give me a simple recipe and I’m good. Ask me to come up with something on my own? Notsomuch! ;)
I hope you enjoy it!
Merrillee Whren says
I pray for a speedy recovery for your eyes. I have worn glasses since I was 12. I wore contact lens for about 35 years until mono-vision couldn’t correct the difference between my near vision and my far vision. If I had contacts to correct distance, I would have to wear reading glasses. So I just went to glasses only, and I’m very happy with them.
I understand that Merrillee! I’m okay with needing reading glasses someday (though I’m sure I’ll be annoyed ;)). It’s “only” been about 31-32 years for me since I first needed glasses. But I’m gonna be SO GLAD not to worry about it when pool season rolls around in a couple weeks!
My favorite place to eat is at home.
That’s fantastic, Karen!
Jennifer Craig says
Hard to choose just one favorite, but there is a little hole-in-the-wall Thai restaurant close to where we live that is probably my favorite. Thanks for the chance to win.
Ooo! Love hole in the wall places! We went to a yummy one on The Hill in St. Louis. To the best of my knowledge, we have no hole in the wall ones in my small(ish) town, but if I do hear of one, I’ll have to try it!
Shelia Hall says
my favorite place to eat is call Sweet Pepper’s Deli! they have awesome salads,potatoes and sandwiches. book sounds wonderful
Yum!!! Sounds fantastic!
Nancy K says
Can’t wait to read the rest of your book included in Table For Two which I have waiting for me on my Kindle.
My favorite place to eat is Cheesecake Factory but only get there once a year at the most. We don’t have one within a 100 mile radius so we go to the restaurant if there is one located where we are vacationing.
Hope your eyes are healed really soon. That has to be so frustrating.
I don’t really have a favorite place to eat out. We don’t often go to a sit-down restaurant, usually just drive through somewhere when we eat out. Sad, isn’t it?
This book and collection sounds great.
Fantastic romances with a tasty theme of food. Enjoying eating out family owned restaurants, not chains, especially with a non American cuisine. On back road trips try to discover a new out of the way restaurant. In the summer enjoy eating at old fashion drive ins.
Been wearing glasses since I was 14. Surgery would not help. But after years of my vision getting worse, now my far sightedness is getting better. Hope your vision improves soon.
Heidi Robbins (@colorvibrant) says
I love to eat at the authentic Mexican restaurant in Old Town San Diego, Casa de Reyes. The ambiance is amazing, as well as their cream filled churros you can dip in chocolate sauce…
colorvibrant at gmail dot com
We don’t eat out much, but when we do, I prefer Mexican. Authentic, Tex-Mex, whatever form it comes in!
Julianne Archer says
I have several places I love to eat at, but probably I’d pick my sis-in-law’s house. She has this huge table so eating there means lots of family around. We all share in what’s eaten, but the location is what makes it work so well.
Thanks for sharing the part of the story. I enjoy devouring your books when they come out. Sorry – no pun intended :)
lori meyer says
I think that anyplace we go eat is good, as long as I am with my sweet hubby of 36 years! He rocks my world!!
Hi Carol, sounds like a great story- my list of books to purchase/read is getting rather long!! Hope your eyes heal quickly. My husband, kids and I all love this amazing Indian restaurant called Dhaba, they do really simple food that tastes amazing!
My favorite ethnic food is Thai. There was a fabulous Thai restaurant near our home, but it has changed hands and isn’t the same. There is a great, albeit not fabulous, Thai restaurant within a short driving distance. It will suffice until we find something better. :)
Carol, you have a way of drawing a reader into a story! :-)
I hope your eyes are getting better with each day! Keeping you in my prayers.