NY Times & USA Today Bestselling Author
After a decade of hard work and dedication, Jayme Caldwell’s dreams of a Seattle bakery are whisked out from under her. She’s licking her wounds in Killeen, Texas, living with her memaw, Winnie, while contemplating her future. Of course, Memaw knows exactly the kind of future her granddaughter needs…and it starts with a handsome young man she tricks into having dinner with Jayme. She’d be upset…if the man wasn’t something straight out of any red-blooded woman’s fantasies.
Rocket Long never suspected the sweet little old lady he’d befriended at the grocery store would turn out to be a conniving matchmaker, cleverly setting him up with her beloved granddaughter. But once he lays eyes on Jayme, Rocket can’t be too upset. Especially when, at forty, he’d already given up on finding “the one.” Suddenly, the love and family he’d all but given up on could be his for the taking.
But life is precious. And short. And happiness can be snatched away in the space of a breath. All things Rocket may discover the hard way…before he even gets his ring on Jayme’s finger.
Rocket Long met Winnie Morrison at the grocery store. He helped her with her packages and as a result they’ve become friends. Now Winnie has an ulterior motive when she invites him to dinner, her granddaughter Jayme is staying with her and she believes they would be perfect together.
Jayme doesn’t really suspect anything when her Memaw asks her to change for dinner. However, when she returns downstairs and Winnie is talking to a man she doesn’t know, she knows something is up. Then when Winnie says she forgot about bingo when Jayme has made an amazing dinner and desert, all bets are off.
I kind of felt sorry for Rocket being stuck in the middle of all that.
This is a favorite scene.
Not bothering to put on makeup— she was drawing a line there— Jayme turned and headed for the stairs once more. She needed to check on the stuffed shells and stir the dressing. The smell of freshly baked cookies permeated the air, making Jayme smile as she headed for the kitchen.
Stopping in her tracks at the edge of the small room, Jayme blinked in confusion.
Her memaw was in the kitchen— along with a man Jayme had never seen before.
“Oh, here she is!” Memaw said brightly. “Come in and meet Rocket, love.”
Rocket? Jayme was immediately confused, but she stepped forward politely.
“This is Rocket Long. I met him at the grocery store, and he was kind enough to help me to my car with all my parcels. He works on the Army base here as a helicopter mechanic. He’s stopped by a few times to see how I’m getting along.”
Looking up at the tall man standing beside her grandmother, Jayme had to force herself not to turn tail and run.
He was absolutely gorgeous.
At least a foot taller than her, the man had black hair with a bit of gray at the temples and a sexy five o’clock shadow. His lips were full and currently quirked upward in a small smile. He had a square jaw, brown eyes the color of semi-sweet chocolate… and he smelled delicious. Like citrus. She assumed it was either his shampoo or his soap. Whatever it was, it made her want to bury her nose in the crook of his neck.
“Um… hi,” Jayme said a little shyly, feeling intimidated by the good-looking man.
“And this is my granddaughter, Jayme Caldwell. She just moved here from Seattle. She’s an amazing baker. Just wait until you taste her pastries. They’re to die for.”
“It’s nice to meet you,” Rocket said with a nod in her direction.
Jayme gave him a small smile, feeling immensely uncomfortable. She was great with strangers when she was working, not hesitating to offer suggestions as to what treat to try and explaining the ingredients in the delicacies she made, but socially, she’d always been awkward. Never knowing what to say or do around people she’d just met.
Memaw’s phone trilled with the chime she’d downloaded for her text messages. Looking at her phone, she frowned. “Oh, dear,” she said.
“What, what’s wrong?” Jayme asked, concerned.
“Nothing. I just forgot that I said I’d go with Maude to bingo tonight. She’s here now to pick me up. I’m so sorry, love. Rocket, you’ll stay and keep my granddaughter company, won’t you? She made this big meal and it shouldn’t go to waste.”
Jayme’s face flamed. Darn it. She knew her memaw’d had something up her sleeve. Asking her to change into her sundress, to fix a grand meal for them tonight. She’d totally set this up! There was no way she’d forgotten about bingo with her friend. Winnie had a mind like a steel trap. She might be old, but her mind was as sharp as ever.
“She worked on dinner all afternoon,” Winnie said, not letting Rocket graciously get out of the meal. “I’ll be back by nine or ten. Don’t wait up!”
Then she put a hand on Jayme’s arm and stood on tiptoe to kiss her on the cheek. “Have fun,” she whispered, winked, then turned and headed for the front door without a backward glance.
Jayme pressed her lips together and took a deep breath. She turned to the man still standing in her memaw’s kitchen, looking out of place and completely dwarfing his surroundings. He smiled at her, and Jayme almost melted right there. The man was way too good-looking for her own good.
“You don’t have to stay,” she assured him. “If you’re hungry, I can package some food up for you, but as someone who’s been on the receiving end of Memaw’s machinations too many times to count, I know how it feels to be blindsided by her.”
“Is your cooking as good as Winnie claims?” Rocket asked.
Jayme wasn’t conceited. Didn’t like to brag. But she knew she was a good cook and baker. She shrugged and simply said, “Yes.”
“Then if you aren’t too uncomfortable to eat with a stranger, I’d love to stay.”
Susan Stoker. ’Tis The Season For Romance. Shielding Jayme. (Kindle Locations 7087-7120).
As they get to know each other over dinner things just click and Rocket asks for a date.
I loved the way these two get to know each other, it’s a slow but ever building relationship. Rocket encourages Jayme to open her own bakery after not only tasting her baked goods himself but also bring some for his team.
Once again Susan takes us on a journey of overcoming obstacles and making dreams come true. With that simmer to sizzle romance I love!
5 Contented Purrs for Susan!
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New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal Bestselling Author, Susan Stoker has a heart as big as the state of Tennessee where she lives, but this all American girl has also spent the last fourteen years living in Missouri, California, Colorado, Indiana, and Tennessee. She’s married to a retired Army man who now gets to follow her around the country.