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…
“I love the bird wallpaper in the sitting room upstairs,” Betsy said.
“I have peacocks in my bedroom. A beautiful metal fire screen, and the wallpaper is something that must be seen to be believed.” He chuckled. “When I first saw it, I wasn’t sure I’d be able to sleep there. All those eyes. But now they comfort me.”
“The peacocks make it less lonely?”
“I suppose they do. They are undeniably very beautiful. One finds oneself missing the feminine graces when one is a widower. I was never one for the masculine world of clubs. It pleased me, coming home to a cozy domesticity, with a wife who liked nothing better than to make my home comfortable and attractive.”
Betsy stared at the beef and vegetable tray. “I’m really not hungry.”
“I am not either,” he said. “Would you like to see the wallpaper?”
“It isn’t proper,” she said with a demure tilt of her head.
He knew she was tempted. Demure was not Betsy Popham’s style. “No one will ever know but us.”
She licked her lower lip. “I am curious. Other than Redcake’s itself, my decorative education is sadly lacking.”
He groaned softly beneath his breath. “Then you must see this.” He hardened, hidden by the tablecloth. He wanted to stare at Betsy, imagine what might happen with her in his bedroom, but that would only make the situation more awkward. He stared at the unwelcome, heavy meal, remembered all the work and cares piling up a few streets away at his business, and his body eased.
Pushing back from the table, he said, “Shall we go?” He offered her his arm.
“Very well.” She rose far more gracefully and took his arm.
He had never really noticed her hands before. Dainty, a little bit plump, her ringless fingers had dimples in the joints. She needed adornments. He would give her rings for her fingers, necklaces to adorn that magnificent bosom. Smiling to himself, he thought she also needed a jeweled belt to clasp around that tiny waist and those bell-shaped hips. Her ankles? They were probably as tiny as her wrists. Jangling chains, maybe, like some Indian princess out of a fairy tale.
“What are you smiling about?” Betsy asked him when they reached the foot of the staircase.
“Nothing. Sometimes I amuse myself.”
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.
Heather will be awarding a $25 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.
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