It was a rough beginning for Karma Bakery with the out-of-control sample days and interviews that went way past fluff pieces. But Arabella Baker and her two daughters, Kary and Mary, have the needed security in place and have hired the right people to fit into the new family they’re building.
They even made some outside friends of the paranormal variety, and that’s not something they’re used to.
Now that the store is ready and people are interested, the Karma Bakery is ready for opening day… Mostly. There’s more chaos than they could ever have predicted, and since they’re on the outs with Colton, he’s not always swooping in to help or save the day. She let him in too easily, and now Arabella is determined not to make the same mistake.
But after thousands of years of being alone, suffering from her traumas and brothers who were supposed to love her failing her, is it really wrong to hope that maybe there could ever be a man in her life that’s important to her again?
This series needs to be read in order as this book begins where the last one ended.
Gina and her coven are ready to remove the curse from Arabella, they also have a plan to channel the power Hera is using to maintain the curse. They need to do this otherwise the power would return to her, and she’d know the curse had been lifted.
It was a long and arduous process that had Arabella reliving the past in visions that all could see, including when she found the twins. It was difficult for her the pain as real as when it happened. Then it was done, but they had help, apparently the very powerful Boston Warlock aided them. He’s not part of the coven Gina knows, and she always thought he was a legend or a myth. There’s nothing to be done, he’s gone, left no trace and did no harm.
Now Arabella can prepare for tomorrow’s opening. The decorations are perfect the take and bake freezer set up, and the fridge had packaged cakes. Needless to say the opening was more than a success and Arabella had to use her powers to create more goodies to keep up.
The twins however had a special lunchtime planned for her, giving out goodies at a local hospital cancer center. This leads to an invite to provide deserts for their fundraiser the following week. That would count as their donation, and they requested Arabella attend as a guest with her daughters handling the dessert setup.
The first person she sees at the ball insults her, and she retaliates in kind, the second is Colton. He meets up with her at the bar. Of course, there are issues with the tables they needed to hold all the desserts. When they fix the issue they go overboard, and Arabella has to make some more sweets appear in the delivery van.
Colton’s admirers are many and persistent too. Confronting Arabella as to how she knows him. She avoids the answer cleverly and when she reaches the twins, they give her some grief over Colton. They challenge her to accept a date with someone who isn’t him. The best part is he’s the brother of one Colton’s groupies.
This is a favorite scene.
“I hear some people have uneventful outings,” Kary grumbled as she finished with her stand and got rid of the boxes under the skirt of the table before unloading the cart that had just been brought in. “Go have another glass of wine.”
“I’m still working on this one,” I muttered, sounding a bit pouty to my own ears. Kary simply rolled her eyes at me, grabbed my wine, and tossed it back, handing me the empty glass. “No drinking on the job.” They both shot me a dirty look, half a glass of wine not about to do anything to them. “Fine, fine, I’m going.”
I even made sure to turn down the fuck off vibe as Mary said. Fine, she was right, as I was approached the minute I reached the bar by a young, handsome man with ice blue eyes.
“I apologize for my sister,” he said quietly. “I was hurrying over to stop her, but you cleverly dodged her and her minions.”
“Minions, huh?” I asked before ordering another wine. “It’s fine. They didn’t draw blood, so I’ll survive.”
“Good. I didn’t want her to ruin your night.” He cleared his throat and extended his hand. “I’m Jamie Kraft.”
I accepted the gesture. “Arabella Baker.”
His eyes flashed shock. “The owner of the new, fabulous bakery Cole was raving over? I can see why he visits so often.”
“You’re adorable,” I chuckled, taking back my hand and accepting my wine, thanking the bartender. “He’s invested in the development, and he knows there’s always extras around from testing recipes. That’s all.”
“Oh good.” I shot him a look, and he found his drink suddenly fascinating. “I mean, I don’t have to worry about Cole then or competing with him.”
“Competing? Is there some sort of sporting event tonight?” I teased him, knowing full well what he meant.
“There is a silent auction,” he offered weakly. “Would you allow me to escort you over there to see the bids?”
I nodded and followed after him, taking in his demeanor and timidness that I found comforting instead of the typical male confidence that was mostly bluster when push came to shove. We started at the beginning, which were the smaller items—dance lessons somewhere local, museum membership, the aquarium, that sort of thing.
I did stop at the whale watching one that was a private tour during the best viewings of the season, which was now apparently. I shrugged and put down a bid double the last one, smiling politely at Jamie when he pretended not to be paying attention to what I wrote.
Another I went for was a week’s stay at a fancy vacation home in Cape Cod, complete with clam bake and summer water activities covered. That sounded like something the twins would love to have fun and be young at now that they could actually do such things without having to constantly worry over me.
“You don’t have to bid on that. The Knights have a place there that I’m sure Cole would lend you.”
“Oh, it’s not for me,” I chuckled, waving off the idea. “My daughters transferred to the college here when I bought the bakery, and I thought they could have a fun college vacation this way.”
“You are not old enough to have daughters in college,” he argued.
I swallowed a snort, more than old enough to have a whole massive family tree stem from me. “I adopted my cousins when I was very young.” I left it at that, and he was smart enough to nod and move on. It was one of the last bids that I actually laughed at and put down an outrageous bid on. I shrugged when he shot me a questioning look. “My daughters adore Lady Gaga. This includes backstage passes and meeting her. I’ll bid whatever.”
“Will you go out to dinner with me?” he blurted, his eyes going wide when he realized what he’d said. “Sorry, I was going to ask that better, but you’re so sweet and loving and so beautiful I can’t seem to make my mouth work well.”
“It’s fine,” I forgave, swallowing the urge to tease him. “I just opened a large bakery and have lots of commitments, so I’m not really looking to get into something serious, but yes, if you would like to escort me to dinner, I’d like that. You’re sweet, and I could use a partner in crime.”
He smiled but then frowned. “Partner in crime?”
“I like to sample menus at restaurants and come up with new recipe ideas. Plus, we’re planning on having a tasting for fancy restaurants, caterers, and such soon.”
The cute smile came back. “I see. Get in there and get a feel of what they really have before they come and bluster how great they are.”
“So a friendly date to get to know each other, as your life is busy.”
“Yes. You’re handsome, young, but very handsome, and I bet you’re fun to spend time with.”
“I try,” he chuckled. “I’d like that. Any place specific in mind?”
“I’ll ask the twins.” I smiled when he shot me another confused look. “They’ve mapped out an array of the best selections and places they’ve been picking up take out from for us to try. Like there was a sushi place that we adored. Um, Avana Sushi, I think?”
“Yeah, that’s a good place for sure, but I bet you want the best seafood places if you’re going out. I’ll talk to them,” he assured me, excitement in his eyes at the fun.
“Then I should introduce you,” I chuckled, leading the way over to the dessert table.
He looked a little less excited to meet them like right away, but hey, he started it. I lost my excitement when I saw Colton talking to the twins, somehow involving himself in everything again.
I was about to interrupt and introduce Jamie when something else popped in my head. “What about a spicy tuna meat bun?”
“You’re really going to do the meat buns?” Kary asked excitedly, ignoring Colton and whatever he was saying and turning to face us. “For real?”
“Yes, yes, I already ordered that bun making machine because I’m not doing them all by hand for such a big store and we have enough going on,” I answered, smiling at her antics. “This is Jamie Kraft, and he offered to be my partner in crime as we make our way through the list you’ve made. I told him of that sushi place we liked, and I realized we could have a spicy tuna. Cook it in the twenty gallon kettles?
“I figure we have one soup a day and one or two types of meat buns. One fish, one meat, not clashing with whatever the soup is. I’ve been craving my cream cheese, potato, bacon and I even thought I could throw in shrimp after I saw those gorgeous shrimp we got from the fishers we’re going to work with. Can you imagine how those would taste in it with garlic chives?”
“You’re sparkling again,” Colton chuckled. “Why is it always food that makes you sparkle?”
“It’s having fun,” I answered to not be rude and focused on the twins. “So that’s my plan. Some ‘take and bake’ buns since we ordered the second freezer and—” I grunted as they both hugged me, laughing and shoving them away. “They’re just meat buns. I feed you all the time, so don’t act like you’re abused.” I pushed them back and smiled. “With avocado. You can put avocado in eggrolls that are cooked. We have that guacamole.”
“Yum,” Kary groaned.
“Wait, did you say you have a date with Jamie? Colton asked a bit too loudly, interrupting our conversation.
“Yes, I asked Ms. Baker out to dinner. Is that a problem, Cole?” Jamie answered, glancing between us.
“No, of course not,” I answered for Colton, my tone brooking no argument. I glanced at the twins, seeing their conflicting emotions and questions and deciding it was better to ignore it. “I bid on the four tickets to see Lady Gaga in November in DC that have backstage passes and a meet and greet with her. Keep checking it and make sure we win.”
“Seriously?” Kary gasped, this time picking me up in a hug and twirling me around. “You are the best mom ever.”
“No, I have the best daughters ever,” I chuckled, kissing her cheek when she set me on my feet. I nodded to the dessert tables. “You set it up beautifully. Nice attention to detail.”
Flynn, Erin R. Opening Struggles (Karma Bakery Book 2). Kindle Locations (903-973). Supernatural Script Inc.. Kindle Edition.
Arabella gets a bunch of new machines, bigger ovens and starts making meat pies starting with Gyro meat ones.
There is so much more packed into this book as Arabella expands what she’s making.
Interesting relationships with Colton and Jamie, I really like them both a lot and they seem to be good for her.
I am already starting the next book!
5 Contented Purrs for Erin!
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Erin is a born Chicagoan who decided to state hop a bit, given she works from home. She currently resides in Georgia with her pup, Lord Vader Flynn. With an eclectic and addictive personality, there isn’t much that doesn’t interest her or she won’t pour herself into if it catches her fancy. She has always been interested in the darker aspects of life and mythologies—especially vampires, shifters, the occult, and anything paranormal.
To date, she has published more paranormal books than she can keep up with the characters for, in different genres with dedicated readers who await each release to her numerous series under any of the three Flynn names she writes.