Title: A Sweet Christmas
A Sweet Confections Novella
Author: Nicole Richard
Genre: Contemporary Holiday Romance
Cover Design: More Than Words Graphic Design
Release Date: November 4, 2021
Sweet Confections bakeshop owner, Thea Sheldon, hasn’t had the best of luck when it comes to the opposite sex. Over the years, she’s realized that they just don’t make them like they used to—or at least how they’re portrayed in the movies.
That all changes when a handsome, smooth‑talking stranger walks into her bakery, determined not to show up empty‑handed for Thanksgiving, when Thea catches his eye, challenging everything she thought she knew.
Benjamin Sweet had nothing to prove and everything to gain. He’s the type of man women dream of. All it took was one look from the beautiful bakery owner to know he wasn’t the only one who experienced that unexplainable shift.
Looking for love was neither Thea’s nor Ben’s focus. But a casual encounter over red velvet cupcakes has the two taking that leap, only to find out just how sweet being in love can really be. Or can it?
GET THE PAPERBACK NOW!
“Excuse me, miss,” a deep voice called, followed by knocking rather harshly on the glass door.
I pointed to the sign. “I’m sorry, but we’re closed.”
“Please,” he begged.
I hesitated, but the despair in his crystal-blue eyes had me giving in and unlocking the door.
“Thank you,” he sighed heavily and pulled his wallet from the inside pocket of his suit jacket. Bypassing me, he headed straight toward Julia. “I’ll just take some cupcakes.”
Another eye roll.
“I’m sorry, but we don’t sell cupcakes here,” Jules repeated.
“Well, give me a dozen of something—anything, as long as I don’t leave here empty‑handed, please.”
The desperation in his voice had me shuffling over to the counter and checking what was left in the display case. Only a handful of cakes, a couple of pumpkin and apple pies remained.
That was it.
“How many people do you plan on serving?” I asked, thinking if we had anything else in the back that we could offer him.
He shifted to face me, cocked a brow, and stared a few seconds longer than necessary. He wet his lips and glanced over at the bakery case before looking back at me. “That depends.”
“And what would that be?” My face felt hot from his piercing gaze.
“Would you be interested in joining me?”
“Excuse me?” I choked out, unaccustomed to such forwardness.
Averting my gaze to Julia—her expression screaming at me to say yes, to live on the edge for once. I regained my composure and smiled professionally, then looked back to the man.
“Thank you for the invitation, but I’m afraid I’ll have to decline.”
“That’s too bad.” His voice was as smooth as silk and he leveled, “You’re sure?”
I stood in disbelief and a little bit of awe. How could I not, when all I could concentrate on was the strange fluttering sensation in my stomach.
“Yes, I’m sure,” I confirmed, making myself very clear. I pressed my lips into a tight smile.
“Some other time,” he said as if it were a promise, then tore his gaze from mine and looked at Jules. “I’ll take all the pumpkin cakes you have left.”
“Certainly, I’ll get those boxed up for you.”
The man slid his credit card across the counter before turning back to me. “Are you the manager?”
“I’m the owner. Thea Sheldon.” I offered my hand, still feeling slightly off‑kilter.
He secured his hand around mine and I took into account his nice firm grip.
My sights lingered on our joined hands as I took in the faint smell of his cologne and the unexpected tingles bubbling through me. I shouldn’t be feeling this way. Not after a break‑up. What I should have been doing was help Jules box up those cakes and send him on his way.
“Thea Sheldon,” he replied in that silky voice. I looked up. The blue around his already dark pupils were a few shades lighter. Almost like a tropical ocean scene.
My cheeks heated and before I made a complete fool of myself, I squared my shoulders and gave him my best corporate voice. “And you are?”
“Benjamin Sweet. It’s very nice to meet you, Thea Sheldon.” He pronounced my name delicately, and not that I’d admit it outright, but I liked it. A lot. “Is Thea short for—”
“No.” I shook my head. “Just, plain Thea.”
“I would have to disagree. There couldn’t be anything remotely just or plain about you.”
The cocky eyebrow curl and matching smirk begged me to say otherwise. Crossing my arms over my chest, I quickly uncrossed them, recognizing my mistake when his eyes deviated downward. I shifted my weight from one foot to the next, trying to rid the dueling awkward and fascinated feeling wedging its way between us.
I had never met someone as intense and strikingly handsome as Benjamin Sweet. Someone who had eyes so blue they sparkled. Hair that looked so soft I wanted to slowly comb my fingers through, and his scruff was a perfect mess.
Benjamin was your typical cover model handsome, but suits weren’t my thing. A man dressed in a simple pair of dark blue jeans and a nice button down was what normally caught my eye. So, to have him standing there, wearing some fancy designer label shouldn’t have had me questioning my taste—but I was.
“That’ll be seventy‑five dollars, please,” Julia interrupted, and I couldn’t have been more grateful for her impeccable timing.
Benjamin signed the slip, put his credit card back in his wallet, and gripped the handles to the Sweet Confections bag, but not before he gave me a thorough once-over. The little tingles raced full force, urging my gaze away from him.
“Thank you, again.” He lifted the bag and started for the front door.
Following not too close behind, I clenched the key in my hand, more than ready to have this man as far away from me as geographically possible. For reasons I couldn’t make sense of.
I unlocked the door and held it open.
“It was a pleasure meeting you, Thea. And if all goes well” —he lifted the bag again— “I’m sure I’ll be back.”
“Likewise. Enjoy.” I gripped the side of the door, slowly closing it as he walked away. The second the lock clicked, Jules lay right into me.
“What the hell was that?” Her brows shot up, and I shrugged, still trying to calm my racing pulse.
“It looked like he was two seconds away from shoving your skirt up and taking you right up against this display case.” She laughed. “Too bad you’re not wearing a skirt.”
A hopeless romantic at heart, Nicole pens sexy and sweet heroes with a side of cocky, and the strong independent women who can handle them.
When Nicole isn’t writing you can find her either working at her day job, reading or lost in her pasture with her four‑legged kids—her mind off somewhere dreaming up new stories.