Title: One Sweet Christmas
Author: Natasha M. Stark
Genre: Holiday Romance, Christmas Romance, Contemporary Romance, Romantic Comedy
Take a Colorado ski town at Christmas, add a handsome baker, an unemployed personal assistant, a dash of social media panic, and stir…
PA Rose Shaffer doesn’t believe in Hallmark moments or small town romance. So when her car breaks down in a Colorado ski town a few days before Christmas, she does her best to ignore the hot local baker—until she gets roped into helping him make an emergency wedding cake. Now she has to placate a Bridezilla social media influencer, pull off a genuine baking miracle, and resist the lure of chocolate eyes and a cinnamon roll heart.
Eric Kaufman thinks he’s finally lived down his failure on Let’s Bake, America! after a social media influencer picks him to bake her wedding cake. But when disaster strikes, a pretty stranger has to help him pull off the bake of a lifetime. To his dismay, he finds himself falling for the smart, funny Rose, even though she’s on her way to LA. Can he talk her into giving small town life—and him—a chance?
After brushing her teeth, Rose finished washing off her makeup, making a face at herself in the mirror. Yeah, I know, you like him. He’s hot, smart, has an ass you can bounce a quarter off of, bakes, and he’s good with kids. Just remember, this is temporary. You need to get to LA, and he has a cake to deliver to Kandi Kasouri. That’s as far as this goes, whatever it is.
She dried off her face, then paused to take a whiff of the towel Eric had left out for her. It smelled like him, a combination of something woody and warm with just a hint of sweetness. She grinned. Probably sugar. He’s literally a big ol’ cinnamon roll.
Pulling on a T-shirt and sweatpants (a reasonable combination of comfortable and demure, since she was sleeping in a stranger’s living room), she padded back out to her bed for the night. The air mattress turned out to be ridiculously comfortable, and the heavy comforter and flannel sheets Eric had put on it added just the right amount of coziness. She snuggled into the clean bedding and dozed off, the tiny lights of the Christmas tree following her down into sleep.
She was in the middle of a great dream where she was sitting on one of the pastel baking counters on Let’s Bake, America! making out with a very willing Eric while the two presenters were pleading with them to think about the children, when a rattle woke her up. She stirred, blinking hard, then saw something moving in her peripheral vision. “Is it time to get up?”
Eric came into the faint glow from the Christmas tree, hands up in apology. He wore long flannel pajama pants and a white v-neck t-shirt that fit him like a second skin, and his hair stuck up in the cutest case of bedhead she’d ever seen. “Sorry. I got hungry. Thought I’d grab a bowl of the Alfredo.”
“Oh. Okay.” She turned over and tried to go back to sleep, but the soft clinking sounds from the kitchen kept catching her attention. Yeah, no, let’s be honest. It’s not the sounds, it’s Eric. God, how does he make flannel jammies and a t-shirt so damn edible?
Then her stomach rumbled, which gave her an idea. She flung back the comforter. “Is there enough for another bowl?” she called out, keeping her voice low and soft.
His head popped out of the kitchen. “Yeah?”
“Good. Dish it up, dude.”
A few minutes later she was leaning against the kitchen counter eating reheated Alfredo and acutely aware that the baker she’d had the hots for all last year was within touching distance and wearing only a couple of layers of cotton and flannel. The dream about making out with Eric floated into her mind and she eyed the composite counters in the small kitchen.
No. We need to get up at Oh My God It’s Early and make the doughnuts. And have you forgotten the six-year-old down the hall? Although based on the way he kept sneaking looks at her through those damn long eyelashes of his while he ate his chicken and pasta, he seemed to be thinking along the same lines.
Another cute peek as he ate a forkful of pasta. “I’m really sorry about waking you up,” he apologized.
“No, that’s okay. I usually wake up a couple of times a night anyway.” She shrugged. “Apparently my brain hates me when it comes to sleeping.”
He sucked some sauce off his fork, and she had to order herself not to react to the sight of those full, chiseled lips closing around stainless steel. “Have you ever tried melatonin?”
“Melatonin, Ambien, antihistamines, you name it. My circadian cycle laughs at them all.”
“Hm. I’ve got an idea.” He leaned in, arm moving behind her on the counter, and she got a noseful of deliciously warm male that made her clutch the composite edge. Ohyeah kissmekissmekissme—
When he pulled back, however, it was to hold up a bottle of magnesium. “Take two of these.”
She eyed the supplements dubiously. “Why?”
“A lot of people run low on magnesium, which amps up their anxiety levels. If you take it as a supplement, it bumps up the level of GABA in your brain, which helps you sleep.” He shook the bottle at her. “Take two of these, and you’ll be dreaming in no time.”
Yeah, you clearly don’t know what I was dreaming about, buddy. She grimaced, then held out a hand. “Hit me.”
He shook two tablets into her palm, then got a glass of water for her. She swallowed the pills. “If this doesn’t work, I’m gonna come in your room and sing Christmas carols all night long,” she warned.
His smile was slow, warm, and did lovely things to her tummy. “Can’t say I’d object. But it would probably wake up Callie, and we’d still have to get up early and decorate that cake. If you were going to sing for me, I’d rather have enough time to appreciate it properly.”
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Share a holiday family tradition:
The baking of the fruitcake. I used to loathe nasty, dry, storebought fruitcake until I met and married an Englishman and learned how to make proper, rummy, moist, delicious, did I say rummy, fruitcake. The secret is picking a good dark rum and letting the fruitcake sit for at least two weeks to let all the flavors marry correctly.
Why is your featured book perfect to get readers in the holiday mood:
It’s a celebration of Christmas and all the yummy goodies that come with the season, every single baking show you’ve ever watched, and finding love in the most unexpected of places.
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Runs December 1 – 31
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Natasha M. Stark is the contemporary romance pseudonym for Nicola M. Cameron. Natasha’s books are funny, modern, and oh so steamy, running the range from Hollywood romcoms to second chances at love.
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