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Loaves & Wishes

Loaves & Wishes

Baxter Family Bakery book 1

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All he needs for his life to be perfect is a wife. She is determined to make her best friend's B&B a resounding success. Even if it means relocating to the tranquil serenity of the middle of nowhere.  Can they create a love story as vast and enduring as the Idaho sky.

Main Tropes

  • Friends to Love
  • He falls first
  • Slow burn


He’s looking for a wife. She just wants redemption.

Content to farm the family land, Corban DeWitt only needs a wife to make his life complete. When he returns to Arcadia Valley, Idaho, from settling his parent’s estate in Florida, he finds Ruth Baxter has taken over the Bed and Breakfast next door. Despite getting off to a rocky start, something in his new neighbor piques his interest.

After a failed endeavor to run a hotel in Washington, D.C., Ruth is determined to make a success of the B&B she inherited from her best friend, even if it means moving to the middle of nowhere to do it. When a disgruntled would-be beneficiary starts to make trouble, Ruth must decide if she can trust her neighbor — and the feelings she’s developing for him.

Corban has some ideas for how Ruth can weather the impending storm, but are they realistic? Or will she end up with nothing more than loaves and wishes?

Welcome to Arcadia Valley, Idaho, where a foodie culture and romance grow hand-in-hand. Loaves & Wishes is the first installment in the Baxter Family Bakery series set in Arcadia Valley and formerly appeared in the (now unavailable) six-author Arcadia Valley collection title Romance Grows in Arcadia Valley. Loaves & Wishes is followed by the novels, Muffins & Moonbeams, Cookies & Candlelight, and Donuts & Daydreams.

Intro into Chapter One

After stowing her luggage in the small owner’s suite and running into town for a few groceries, it was time to get down to business. Armed with the instructions from Naomi’s attorney, Ruth perched in front of the computer that had been stashed in the back corner of the kitchen. Why it wasn’t in the rooms set aside for the owner of the B&B was something she didn’t understand, but she could worry about that later. For now, she needed to get into the reservation system and the email to make sure she had the dates right for her first set of guests.
Something banged against the back door. Ruth jolted.

Heart pounding, she leaned back and eyed the window. The mostly sheer and entirely too-frilly curtain barely hid the shape of what was absolutely a man. Fixing a polite smile on her face, she crossed to the door and pushed aside the curtain. Her eyebrows lifted and she raised her voice, praying it would carry through the glass.

“Can I help you?”

The man frowned. “Who are you?”

“I own the B&B. Who are you?”

He shook his head. “Where’s Naomi? Go tell her Corban’s here, would you?”

How did he not know? Ruth flipped the dead bolt and tugged the door open a crack, leaning her weight against it so she could slam it shut if she needed. Not that it would be much defense when the top half of the door was glass. But it might give her a few seconds to grab her phone and run. “How do you know Naomi?”

“I’m her neighbor. I live over there.” Corban gestured vaguely toward the farm across the road. But she hadn’t seen a farmhouse and had assumed it was just a set of fields that belonged to someone who lived elsewhere. However farms worked. “Not that you need to know, but I’ve been in Florida settling my parents’ estate. Naomi knows all this. Could you either let me in or go get her? I brought her the citrus she asked me for, and some avocados that she didn’t ask for, but I remembered she loves them and these are huge.”

Ruth sighed and opened the door. “You’d better come in. Why don’t you go through to the parlor, Corban, was it? I made some lemonade.”

He bent, his muscles flexing under his shirt as he lifted a crate off the step with what appeared to be no effort whatsoever. “Where should I put the fruit?”

“Um. On the counter, I guess. Lemonade?”

He shrugged one shoulder. “Why not? You never said who you were.”

Ruth took two tall glasses down from the cabinet by the sink. She filled them with ice at the refrigerator, poured the lemonade, and then decorated the rims with a transparent slice of lemon. “Let’s go sit.”

Another frown etched lines in his forehead, but he strode out of the kitchen. Ruth followed. Even frowns couldn’t mar his good looks. He was older than her by several years, if she had to guess. But not more than forty. At thirty-three, that wasn’t too much. Oh, good grief, what was she thinking? He’d probably had an eye on Naomi and now Ruth was going to have to break his heart.

He accepted the lemonade, his eyebrows lifting as he took a sip. “That’s good. Thank you.”

She couldn’t miss the implication that he hadn’t expected it to be good. Rude man. Ruth cleared her throat as she sat. Maybe it was better to blurt it out and be done. “Naomi passed away three weeks ago.”

Corban stared at her, his mouth open in a tiny O. Slowly, his lips came together and the furrows in his forehead deepened. He set the glass down with a thunk on the antique table by his elbow, completely missing the lace doohickey that would protect the wood. “I’m sorry. What?”

Ruth’s fingers itched to move the glass but she willed herself to stay still, perched on the edge of the settee. “She had cancer. And apparently never told anyone. I’ve been her best friend since kindergarten, we talk every week, and she only told me she was sick when it was clear that treatment wasn’t a viable option. Her obituary was in the local paper.”

“I told the guys watching the farm to read and recycle them. Nothing ever happens around here that’s worth saving a newspaper. I’m not even sure why I still subscribe, except that Ernie’s been a family friend for so long. She’d been acting odd. I knew I should have pushed.”

“You two were close?” Ruth watched his face. He looked shocked, certainly, but not as destroyed as a man in love should be.

“Not like you mean.” He offered a slight smile. “Though there were plenty of old ladies at church who were hopeful. No, Naomi was like a little sister to me. When she bought this place so my parents could move south, it seemed natural to keep an eye on her at first. And then...” He shrugged. “Then we were friends.”

“Naomi could make anyone into a friend.” Ruth’s heart cracked open a little wider. How was she supposed to go through life without her? “I’m sorry you had to find out from me.”

Corban nodded and stood. “I’ll be on my way. number’s in her book. If you ever need anything, just give a shout.”

“Thanks.” He probably hadn’t heard her, given that he’d been striding into the hall before she’d managed to get the word out.

The kitchen door slammed.

Ruth sagged against the back of the stuffy little couch and took several long swallows of her lemonade. She was going to make a success of her friend’s business. She had to. For Naomi, and for herself. And handsome, abrupt neighbors weren’t going to get in her way.

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