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New Release | Twice Baked by Katrina Coll #romance #newrelease #bookboost #mustread
Title: Twice Baked
Author: Katrina Coll
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Evernight Publishing
Connor Brennan, Bad Boy turned Pastry Chef.
First crush, first kiss, first love.
The boy who ruined her reputation and crashed his future, before ghosting her when she needed him most.
Isla Fraser, Cook and Divorced Mom
High school sweetheart.
The good girl who defied her parents to date him, then married his best friend. Her betrayal broke him.
The Chef and the Cook.
Paired on a Reality TV Bake-Off, their chemistry still smokes. But when Isla confesses the secret she’s kept from him, will Connor burn their second chance?
There’ll be a bonus Christmas chapter for readers who sign onto my newsletter. I’m also writing a cookbook featuring some of the bakes from the book. That will be for newsletter subscribers, too.
Five years ago, she’d tried to do this. Sought to meet him face-to-face. Rehearsed the words. Planned for every scenario … save the one where she couldn’t find him and he no longer returned her calls.
I should have let him go then.
But, no. She’d put her faith in him coming home and waited. Waited past the point of no return, waited until she had no choices left.
The recipe for how this would play out had been written years ago, but time had multiplied the ingredients. Her unexpected pregnancy had become a little boy. A child Connor, clearly, knew nothing about. A pity the same couldn’t be said for Bex—if that comment about public opinion was any guide.
She shivered, her skin growing clammy again. The tub with the corsage nearly slipped from her fingers.
Connor started toward her. Stopped. Retreated. Tucked the canning jar into the crook of his arm like a football. “You aren’t well.”
A statement. Not a question.
“I’m fine. Just a little shook. Seeing you again… I never expected to see you again.”
Unfair that he rattled her world while she caused him no greater emotion than scorn.
Once she told him her secret, that would change. He’d be just as shellshocked. She almost laughed aloud. Understatement of the decade. Furious, more like. She’d best prepare to be broiled under the white heat of his righteous anger given how quick his temper flared. Though it often died as fast, today proved he could nurse the embers for years.
The sooner he knew the truth, the more time he’d have to cool down.
I should do it now. Before I lose my nerve.
Shoulders braced, she opened her mouth. Her stomach, empty since this morning thanks to pre-show nerves, found enough bile to surge up her throat. She gagged. Swallowed. Clenched her teeth and breathed through her nose.
His brows joined together. “What the fuck does Bex have on you?”
“Later. I’ll tell you everything. I swear.” Somehow.
She took a step toward the door, but her legs turned into cookie dough and she stumbled. His reflexes hadn’t changed. Before she’d regained her balance, his arm was around her waist. His arm retracted as soon as he’d steadied her.
“Don’t,” she choked as he stepped away. Don’t leave me.
“Sorry. I said I wouldn’t—”
To clarify her meaning, she slid her own arm along its well-worn groove until her hip bumped his thigh. She clung to him, her former rock. “Just give me a minute.”
He exhaled at the same time she did. His huff had to be irritation since his stance stiffened. Her own sigh held relief as her body won the war against her brain. A minute to stand with him instead of against him. She couldn’t ask for more. Likely, this was as good as it’d get between them. After all, he hadn’t wanted anything to do with her for years. Once he processed her news, she couldn’t see that changing.
Their son, though, would be another story. The DNA results would grant Connor right of access and he’d take it. If only to be different than his own father. She’d known that at eighteen, gambled on that fact, and lost.
Dangerous. Unredeemable. Unreliable.
His vanishing act had proven what everyone said about him to be true. The person Connor put first was Connor. He had no family instinct. Heck, the man had missed his grandmother’s funeral—the one relative he loved.
While she might owe it to their son to create an amicable, working relationship with his father, she could never, ever put her faith in him again. So what if her bone-deep ache for him hadn’t faded? Her problem, not his. Hopefully, cooking together would build her immunity to his presence.
Reluctantly, she took her weight on her own two feet and put space between them. They walked out of the studio together, separated but in sync: his stride automatically shortening while hers stretched. But something marred the rhythm.
Before Isla could nail what, Guadalupe joined them.
The talent manager could pass as a flight attendant: her dark hair in a huge, immaculate ballet bun, flawless smoked eyes and crimson lipstick, and a maroon skirt suit.
“Ah, there you both are. I came to remind you your limo is waiting.” She waved her tablet in a move-along motion.
Isla’s gaze cut to Connor in time to catch him wince. Did Bex’s team know this sore point, too? Doubtful. His mom bragged about it plenty, but he hated any mention that he’d been conceived in the back seat of his dad’s limousine.
Pretty much hated anything to do with his mom, too. No surprise since Sylvie Brennan skipped out of Salem on a regular basis to chase her pots of gold—found in the arms of wealthy men rather than at the end of rainbows.
Isla had meticulously mapped Sylvie’s approach to motherhood, then done the opposite. But Connor didn’t know that. What he knew about her life since he’d left would fit on a postage stamp.
And that’s on him. Not me.
Yes, she’d broken them off … after she’d tried reaching out. What had he done? Broken every promise and ghosted her. She fisted her hands until her broken nails dug into her palms. Oh boy, was he about to get a wake-up call on consequences.
One day I’ll thank Bex for this.
Buy Links (including Goodreads and BookBub):
Universal Link: https://books2read.com/TwiceBaked
Katrina Coll is an award-winning writer of contemporary romantic fiction. Her debut novel, A Match Made for TV, won the Contemporary Romance Writers Stiletto Award under its working title prior to being published. Her second novel, Twice Baked, won the Gateway to the Best award before being published.
A passionate cook, Katrina loves to decorate fancy cakes for friends and family. She is also keen on karate and has just been awarded her second black belt — 25 years after achieving her first. She and her family live in Ireland with their beloved rescue hound.
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