Title: The Baker
Series: Workplace Encounters
Author: Serena Yates
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: L.C. Chase
Length: 40000 words
Release Date: July 15, 2015
Blurb: Ian Wallace works as a baker for his tyrannical father in their family owned Scottish Bakehouse in Casper, Wyoming. He wants to represent the bakery in the upcoming Tartan Day competition, but his father refuses to reveal the secret ingredients that make them so successful—unless Ian gets married and has a son, proving he is fit to continue the family line.
Just before New Year’s Eve, Cameron Lewis, a former Marine turned police detective, comes into the bakery for donuts for his department and some black buns for himself. Cameron is hooked, and as his visits become more frequent, they stir Ian’s father’s suspicions. But threats can’t stop Ian from donning his kilt and entering the competition anyway—to show his father what he can do on his own. Though he might not have the secret ingredients, Ian and Cameron might still discover a recipe for happiness.
As soon as the waiter was gone, Ian leaned forward. “I’ve been dying to ask you if you’ve had a chance to try the black bun I gave you.”
“Yep, I have.” Cameron could still taste the flaky goodness of the pastry and the sweetness of the filling when he closed his eyes. “I’ll have you know I hid the box in the trunk of my car so it’d be safe from my
colleagues, but I managed to sneak a taste during my lunch break.”
“The other police officers would steal your food?” Ian shook his head, his lips twitching suspiciously. “And here I thought they’d all be upstanding members of the community. I am so disappointed.”
“They wouldn’t exactly steal the food.” Cameron smiled, loving how playful Ian turned out to be. “But they’d make a strong case for having me share, and I’d find it difficult to turn them down. Not with something as excellent as that black bun. The donuts were pretty outstanding, but the cake? Amazing.”
“So you liked it.” Ian nodded and sat back, more relaxed now. “Not everyone does, you know? The filling is pretty compact and, like much of Scottish baking, very sweet, so it’s not always received well.”
“If you ever have any leftovers, you now know where to send them!” Cameron winked.
“Oh, well, that’s good to know.” Ian smiled shyly and took a sip of his water. “So, did you manage to identify the ingredients in the filling?”
“I think so.” Cameron leaned back in his chair and focused on recalling what he’d tasted. “Other than flour, baking powder, milk, and egg, there were raisins, currants, some almonds, and chopped peel, I think. I suspect the presence of brown sugar, ginger, and cinnamon. And just to throw me off, there might have been some black pepper and a trace of either brandy or whisky, I’m not sure.”
“Wow, that’s pretty impressive.” Ian smiled. “I can see you’re not a detective in name only.”
“I got it right?” Cameron couldn’t believe it.
“Almost. The alcohol you tasted was whisky, the real Scottish kind, of course. It’s my personal variation, since most recipes say to use brandy. But there is one more ingredient nobody is even supposed to get, since it’s secret.” Ian had lowered his voice to almost a whisper.
“A secret ingredient?” Cameron made a show of checking if anyone could overhear them and leaned toward Ian. “Are you going to tell me?”
“If I did, I’d have to kill you.” Ian grinned.
“No!” Cameron laughed at the sneaky expression on Ian’s face. “But I got the rest right?”
“You did.” Ian nodded.
“Is there a prize?” Cameron knew what he wanted, but he had no idea how Ian would react.
“A prize?” Ian tilted his head in thought. “Possibly. I hadn’t thought about it yet. Is there anything you’re thinking of?”
“I am afraid so.” Cameron attempted to look serious.
“You’re afraid to tell me?” Ian frowned. “Why?”
“Because….” Cameron paused dramatically. “Because you might want to kill me if I did.”
I’m a night owl and start writing when everyone else in my time zone is asleep. I’ve loved reading all my life and spent most of my childhood with my nose buried in a book. Although I always wanted to be a writer, financial independence came first. Twenty-some years and a successful business career later I took some online writing classes and never looked back.
Living and working in seven countries has taught me that there’s more than one way to get things done. It has instilled tremendous respect for the many different cultures, beliefs, attitudes and preferences that exist on our planet.
I like exploring those differences in my stories, most of which happen to be romances. My characters have a tendency to want to do their own thing, so I often have to rein them back in. The one thing we all agree on is the desire for a happy ending.
I currently live in the United Kingdom, sharing my house with a vast collection of books. I like reading, traveling, spending time with my nieces and listening to classical music. I have a passion for science and learning new languages.
THREE Winners win: $10 Amazon/ARe Gift Card.
THREE Runners-up win: E-copy from Serena Yates’ backlist!