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…
“Why didn’t you marry?” Betsy asked. “You must have had followers.”
Grace clasped her hands together in front of her apron. “I loved a boy, too, but he had scarlet fever when he was twelve and was never well after that. He died in his sleep about two years ago.”
“I’m so sorry.” Betsy touched her shoulder in sympathy.
Grace sighed. “One of my friends married his twin brother. At least they weren’t identical twins. That would be too much to bear.”
“How old are you?” Betsy asked.
“That’s right.” A year younger than Violet Carter, but she seemed older. “At least there is plenty of time to find someone else.”
“I wanted him,” Grace said softly. “He wrote the most beautiful poetry and he had a lovely singing voice. I could have listened to him for days. You should have heard the weeping when he died. I wasn’t the only girl who loved him. At least as a friend,” she amended. “He was a popular boy.”
“I hope you were able to keep his poetry.”
“I memorized my favorite parts,” Grace said. “But he’d made me a little book of his poems for my birthday, just a couple of months before he died. That’s why I know I was special to him.”
Betsy nodded. “What’s your favorite line?”
Grace’s gaze seemed to leave the corridor where they stood. “I think it is this one. ‘My heart sees, my eyes remember, those slender youthful dreams, your sun-kissed cheek, my sturdy legs, our hearts wee and tender.’”
“That’s very sweet,” Betsy said sincerely.
“He wrote it about all of us, the children on the street. But he was the first boy I ever held hands with, the first who kissed me. You never forget that.”
Betsy shook her head. “No.” In truth, for herself, she scarcely remembered her first kiss. Some stripling from the factory had stolen a kiss from her one day when she’d brought her father his lunch. But the first kiss from someone she loved, that she remembered achingly well. Ewan. His warm lips and cool hands. That hair that fell into curls any girl would be proud of. He had asked her to take a walk with him on a Sunday. She’d slipped out of the house without telling her father where she was going, or with whom, and they’d walked the footpath on the Serpentine’s bank. What a perfect day that had been.
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.