by Heather Hiestand
GENRE: Historical Romance (Victorian)
Greggory Redcake's plate is full. Widowed young and left with two small children, the manager of the Kensington location of the illustrious tea shop is besieged on all sides between the bakery and family matters. If only his remarkably efficient shop assistant, Betsy Popham, could manage his home life, too! But Greggory can't linger on thoughts of Betsy's fetching smile when a dead body is discovered in the bakery…
Betsy has no time for romance, not even with the delectable Mr. Redcake, whose kisses are all too unforgettable. Haunted by a specter from her family's past, Betsy is terrified that the man blackmailing her has turned to deadly violence. Yet the only way to save her position--and possibly her life--is to accept Greggory's help as their delicious attraction sweetens into the tantalizing promise of true love…
He smiled at her. “No one ever needs to tell you something twice, Miss Popham. You’ve a sharp mind behind the pretty exterior.”
“Mr. Redcake!” Betsy whispered.
Did I just tell my assistant manager she was pretty? “Oh, dear. I’m so sorry. I mean, not about you being pretty. You know, you are in good looks today.”
She looked from him to the dining room and back again, clearly flustered. “Fresh air.”
“I took a walk during my lunch hour,” she explained. “Fresh air.”
No wonder she looked tired. Unnecessary exercise. “Color in your cheeks,” he clarified. “Yes, jolly good. Should make a habit of it, if you are so inclined.” Acutely uncomfortable now, he shifted from side to side.
One of the cakies leaned toward another and whispered. They both giggled, and the bolder of the two glanced directly at Miss Popham.
Greggory took her arm and pulled her out of the doorway, back into the bakery. “I would never want to make you an object for discussion.”
“Yes. I apologize. I think a cakie overheard me complimenting you.” He took a deep breath. “But a pretty girl is an asset to any business, my uncle always says, so what of it?”
“Indeed, sir,” Betsy murmured, looking down at where his hand still held her arm.
He pulled it away. “Dear me, I am making a cock of myself, I mean, a cake of myself.”
She blinked. He consoled himself with the thought that she’d be much too innocent to know what a cock might refer to. Or would she? She was no gently bred girl but a working-class employee. Still, her father was a good sort.
He put his hand to his forehead. “Very warm in the kitchen.”
Her cheeks had gone bright red and he expected his had done the same. Bless her, she knew what that word meant. What an ass he had made of himself. Now he definitely couldn’t mention her old dress.
“Please, accept my apologies again,” he babbled. “Not enough shut-eye. And see to the bakery. No more wasted cakes, that’s the ticket.” He dashed toward the back of the kitchen and the attached store room that would take him to the staircase leading up to his office, desperately hoping that Miss Popham wouldn’t follow him upstairs to give her resignation.
What a blithering idiot he’d turned into since his wife’s death.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Heather Hiestand was born in Illinois, but her family migrated west before she started school. Since then she has claimed Washington State as home, except for a few years in California. She wrote her first story at age seven and went on to major in creative writing at the University of Washington. Her first published fiction was a mystery short story, but since then it has been all about the many flavors of romance. Heather’s first published romance short story was set in the Victorian period, and she continues to return, fascinated by the rapid changes of the nineteenth century. The author of many novels, novellas, and short stories, she has achieved best-seller status at Amazon and Barnes and Noble. With her husband and son, she makes her home in a small town and supposedly works out of her tiny office, though she mostly writes in her easy chair in the living room.
For more information, visit Heather’s website at www.heatherhiestand.com. Heather loves to hear from readers! Her email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
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