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Donuts & Daydreams

Donuts & Daydreams

Baxter Family Bakery book 4

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After each attempt to ask her out has met with rejection, he resolves to move on. She longs to fight for the love she's been denying, but her secrets hold her back. Can she summon the courage to reveal the truth and will he see beyond the revelations that threaten to destroy their connection?

Main Tropes

  • Friends to love
  • Love triangle (low angst)
  • Forbidden love


She has a secret. Telling him will tear their world apart.

Everything in Gloria’s life was perfect, if boring, before Jonah Baxter moved to Arcadia Valley. Now their friendship—and the feelings that stretch the word’s boundaries—threatens everything she’s worked so carefully to build.

Jonah has been drawn to police officer Gloria Sinclair since she began frequenting his family’s bakery three years ago, but every time he asks her out, she shoots him down. When she refuses to accompany him to his brother’s wedding, even as friends, Jonah vows to give up and move on.

Watching Jonah date stabs Gloria to the core, but she isn’t free to fight for the man she loves. Can she clear the way for him to see beyond her devastating revelation, or will they be stuck with a relationship made of donuts and daydreams?

Intro into Chapter One

“Oh, thank goodness you’re still open.” Jonah Baxter pulled the door to Page Turners closed behind him.

A young woman with almost orange hair looked up with a smile, slipped a bookmark between the pages, and laid her novel on the counter. “For about another hour. Last-minute shopping?”

Jonah blew out a breath. “Yeah. The season kind of got away from me. I’m Jonah Baxter. I don’t think we’ve met?”

“Kenia Akers.” She gestured to the shelves of books that filled the store. “Can I help you find something?”

He dug in his pocket and drew out a crumpled piece of paper that he unfolded and tried to smooth. “I have a list. Sort of.”

“That’s a start. Let me see it.” She snagged the paper from his fingers and frowned. “What kind of paper is this?”

Heat crawled up his neck. “Parchment paper. My brothers and I run A Slice of Heaven Bakery. It’s what was handy. Malachi does all the business stuff and he gets testy if I raid his desk—says I mess up his organization.”

“It has a nice texture.” She rubbed it between her fingers. “What’s it for?”

“Lining pans. To keep cookies from sticking, that sort of thing. You’ve never used parchment paper? These days it seems like everyone watches cooking shows and knows all about the tools of the trade.”

“The kitchen isn’t really my favorite place to be.” Kenia shrugged. “I think we have all of these. Eclectic list though.”

“My siblings have mixed taste.”

“You’re all readers?”

He nodded. Reading was something his parents had prized and the love of it had been learned as little children, cuddled up on the couch while his mom and dad took turns reading aloud. They’d traveled as a family through Narnia and Middle Earth, and had joined the other farm animals in their amazement at Charlotte’s web designs. As they’d gotten older, most families quit reading aloud together. Not his. They’d gone to the center of the earth and the deepest, darkest parts of the sea, then surfaced and walked through the Lake District of England with Lizzie Bennett and pondered philosophy couched in the story of four Russian brothers.

Even as adults, before his parents died, evenings when they were back home ended with a chapter or two from whatever Mom and Dad were reading together. “It’s a family passion.”

“I like that. Flowers are my family’s passion, primarily. But we do like books.”

“That’s good, seeing as you work in a bookstore.”

Kenia laughed. It was a strong, friendly sound. “Very true. Here,” she pulled a thick hard cover from one of the shelves, “who’s this one for?”

“Malachi. He and his wife Ursula are both addicted to this fantasy series, but I know they’re a couple of books behind, so hopefully they don’t have the latest already.” Jonah frowned. What if they did? “What’s your return policy like?”

“I’ll get you gift receipts. They can exchange it if they need to.” Kenia moved down the shelves, consulting his list periodically and pulling out books.

He could’ve done it himself. Wandering a bookstore was a nice way to spend an hour or two. Then again, following behind someone with as nice a figure as Kenia wasn’t exactly a hardship.

“If you’re busy, I can get the rest.”

“We’re almost done, and it’s not as if we’re packed.”

He chuckled. Most people probably did their shopping well ahead of Christmas Eve. He’d meant to do all his shopping online last week, but they’d been slammed with orders for Christmas parties and family gatherings, and it had slipped his mind. When he’d gotten home from the bakery, he’d wanted nothing more than a hot shower, an hour of quiet, and bed. “I appreciate it.”

“Who’s Ruth?”

“My sister. You’ve probably met her, Ruth DeWitt? She runs the Fairview Bed and Breakfast. She loves to shop here.”

“Of course. That means you and I have probably met—or at least seen each other—at Grace Fellowship.”

He nodded. That would explain the nagging feeling that he knew her.

“And who’s Serena?”

“Soon-to-be sister-in-law.”

“Your wife or girlfriend doesn’t like to read?”

Jonah shook his head. He’d thought about getting something for Gloria. Not that she was his girlfriend. In fact, she’d made it very clear that she was not. They were friends. Maybe friends rated a Christmas gift, but he hadn’t wanted it to seem like he was pushing. “No wife. No girlfriend.”

“Really?” There was a glint of something in her eye. It couldn’t be interest, could it?

“What about you? Do you get your sweetheart books for Christmas?”

Pink tinged her cheeks. “I’m not currently involved.”

Hard to imagine. She was cute and spunky. In fact, she reminded him of Gloria a little. They didn’t share any physical resemblance, but their personalities were similar.

Kenia cleared her throat. “Okay, I think that’s everything, unless your list is missing someone?”

Jonah set the stack of books on the counter and mentally ticked through the recipients. “Nope, that’s everyone. I really appreciate it.”

“That’s what we’re here for.” She rang up the books and told him the total. Jonah managed not to wince as he handed her his credit card. Maybe he should’ve gone for paperbacks, but that seemed too cheap for Christmas.

“It was nice to meet you, Kenia.” Jonah hefted the two bags of books and aimed for the door. “Merry Christmas.”

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