Christmas at the Gingerbread Cafe
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Carina UK (Harlequin)
Date of Publication: November 12th 2013
Number of pages: 52
Word Count: 17, 750
Cover Artist: Carina UK
This is a recommended romance novel
Christmas is the season the Gingerbread Café was made for…but owner Lily couldn’t be feeling less merry if she tried. She’s spent another year dreaming of being whisked away on a sleigh-ride for two, but she’s facing festive season alone – again. And, just to give her another reason to feel anything other than candy-cane perky, a new shop across the road has opened… Not only is it selling baked goods, but the owner, with his seriously charming smile, has every girl in town swooning.
But Lily isn’t about to let her business crumble — the Gingerbread Café is the heart of the community, and she’s going to fight for it! This could be the Christmas that maybe, just maybe, all her dreams – even the someone-to-decorate-the-Christmas-tree-with ones – really do come true!
Amazing Grace blares out from the speakers above me, and I cry, not delicate, pretty tears, but great big heaves that will puff up my eyes, like a blowfish. That song touches me, always has, always will. With one hand jammed well and truly up the turkey’s behind I sing those mellifluous words as if I’m preaching to a choir. Careful, so my tears don’t swamp the damn bird, I grab another handful of aromatic stuffing. My secret recipe: a mix of pork sausage, pecans, cranberries and crumbled corn bread. Punchy flavors that will seep into the flesh and make your heart sing. The song reaches its crescendo, and my tears turn into a fully-fledged blubber-fest. The doorbell jangles and I realize I can’t wipe my face with my messy hands. Frantic, I try and compose myself as best I can.
“Jesus Mother o’ Mary, ain’t no customers comin’ in here with this kinda carry-on! It’s been two years since that damn fool left you. When you gonna move on, my sweet cherry blossom?”
CeeCee. My only employee at the Gingerbread Café, a big, round, southern black woman, who tells it like it is. Older than me by a couple of decades, more like a second mother than anything. Bless her heart.
“Oh, yeah?” I retort. “How are you expecting me to move on? I still love the man.”
“He ain’t no man. A man wouldn’t never cheat on his wife. He’s a boy, playing at being a man.”
“You’re right there.” Still, it’s been two lonely years, and I ache for him. There’s no accounting for what the heart feels. I’m heading towards the pointy end of my twenties. By now, I should be raising babies like all the other girls in town, not baking gingerbread families in lieu of the real thing.
I’m distracted from my heartbreak by CeeCee cackling like a witch. She puts her hands on her hips, which are hidden by the dense parka she wears, and doubles over. While she’s hooting and hollering, I stare, unsure of what’s so damn amusing. “Are you finished?” I ask, arching my eyebrows.
This starts her off again, and she’s leg slapping, cawing, the whole shebang.
“It’s just…” She looks at me, and wipes her weeping eyes. “You look a sight. Your hand shoved so far up the rear of that turkey, like you looking for the meaning of life, your boohooing, this sad old music. Golly.”
“This is your music, CeeCee. Your gospel CD.”
She colors. “I knew that. It’s truly beautiful, beautiful, it is.”
“Thought you might say that.” I grin back. CeeCee’s church is the most important thing in her life, aside from her family, and me.
“Where we up to?” she says, taking off her parka, which is dusted white from snow. Carefully, she shakes the flakes into the sink before hanging her jacket on the coat rack by the fire.
“I’m stuffing these birds, and hoping to God someone’s going to buy them. Where’s the rush? Two and a bit weeks before Christmas we’re usually run off our feet.”
CeeCee wraps an apron around her plump frame. “It’ll happen, Lil. Maybe everyone’s just starting a little later this year, is all.” She shrugs, and goes to the sink to wash her hands.
Rebecca Raisin is a true bibliophile.
This love of books morphed into the desire to write them. She’s been widely published in various short story anthologies, and in fiction magazines, and is now focusing on writing romance. The only downfall about writing about gorgeous men who have brains as well as brawn, is falling in love with them – just as well they’re fictional. Rebecca aims to write characters you can see yourself being friends with. People with big hearts who care about relationships, and most importantly, believe in true love.