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Advance Search

Sweet Memories

Published by: eXtasy Books

Author : T.S. McNeil

ISBN :978-1-4874-3908-8

Page :79

Word Count :20299

Publication Date :2023-11-10

Series : #

Heat Level :

Available Formats : Sweet Memories (prc) , Sweet Memories (pdf) , Sweet Memories (mobi) , Sweet Memories (epub)

Category : Contemporary Romance , Romance

  • Product Code: 978-1-4874-3908-8

Warm Sweet Love.

Following the sudden death of her beloved older sister, big city girl Astra Read inherits her house and teddy bear business and relocates to a tiny town running on cottage industries.

Focused on doing her dearly departed proud, which gives her some big shoes to fill, Astra vows to keep her head down, but love works in mysterious ways, and more than one sort of temptation lurks at the bakery across the street.

A summer breeze eased by, soothing her mind. Thermostats rarely lied, especially those decorated with adorable duckies. 

“Seriously, Daisy?” Astra asked. 

Parking the classic Beetle, which had already seen more action than the average warhorse, she set out in search of a general store, or wherever it was that ice cream could be scooped. As she moved among the shops, a selection of adorable denizens at the teddy bear makers peered pleadingly through the front window. 

Round and wooden, the words had been cut out and then painted in with high-gloss white, standing out against the dark hickory. In impressively straight and legible rendering stood the simple statement General Store.

Astra blinked as the light shifted. Impeccably arranged, the shop held a little bit of everything, each to its own minuscule section, sometimes limited to half a shelf. Cereal and cookies ran into condiments and napkins, and fruit juice and butter mingled more or less freely with eggs and milk in the cooler, the prices strikingly low despite the basic lack of competition. 

“Goodness, you must be new,” the lone clerk said.  

“Yes,” Astra said.

“Need some ice cream, dear?” 

“Yes, please.” 

Astra trailed at half speed on the way to the ice cream counter

“What’s your pleasure, dear?” 

“Maple Walnut, please.”  

Bent low in the cooler, the clerk jerked with the best of them, hauling heaping scoops into the ready waffle cone. A stack of sweet relief, a twin of the one depicted outside, was duly handed over. 


Astra surrendered the ten she had standing at the ready, the ice cream costs nowhere posted, waffle cones at least three bucks in her extensive experience. Things were done differently in the country, especially a tourist town far from the main highways. GPS had been nearly useless finding the way, a retro fit as it was. 

“Thank you,” Astra said. 

“There’s plenty of shade if you’re looking for a break.” 


“Out back.” 

The clerk’s thumb crooked to the rear door. A metal and screen contraption, to keep the bugs at bay, it gave an enticing preview of the epic backyard. 

“Okay, thanks.” 

Not quite a porch, the back had been done up with similar furniture. On the other side of the house from the sun, the spot proved to be very shady. 

Astra unstuck herself from the chair and went back into the store to get some groceries. 

“Hello again,” the clerk greeted on her return. 

“Hi, sorry if I was a bit brisk before.” 

“It’s fine dear, the heat can be a bit of a shock for folk not from ‘round here.”

Astra fetched a wire basket from the stack by the door, the handles supported by rounds of black plastic to avoid undue injury. Searching out essentials, mostly in boxes and cans, she could have sworn she was getting a tan. If true, it would be the first time, but stranger things had happened. Like the call, out of the blue, carrying the sad news of Maggie’s passing, which came with the inheritance of her house and business, a rare occurrence of sibling-to-sibling bequeathment the likes of which the executor had never seen before. Promises to come out and see her beloved sister, just as soon as she could find the time, turned to ashes in Astra’s mouth.

Shuddering in spite of the infernal heat and her breezy blue summer dress, Astra returned to the reality of the moment, doing what she could with what her sister left behind, the best way of doing Maggie proud. Shopping with new bravado, she set the basket on the counter. 

“Do you know where this is?” Astra asked, changing the subject. 

The clerk peered over her glasses at the neat writing on the card.    

“Up the road, dear, across from the bakery.”

“Thank you.” 

“No problem, dear.”

The basket was traded for two paper bags that had to be carried from the bottom, and Astra resumed the search, letting her nose be her guide, long the type to smell cake from a mile away. A cause of some confusion, and no little friction, no matter how much she ate, it was still odd for her to put on weight. A quirk of her genes yet to be explained by science.

Sweet treats galore crowded the display windows on either side of the bakery door. Astra’s belly rebelled but Astra stayed the course, turning from the bakery with flare and stepping out to look for her new house.

Pavement kissed her palms and knees as the groceries rolled into the street, the stylish cobblestones still catching at her feet. Ignoring the pain raging to her brain from several sources, Astra was up and assessing the damage, only a few minor instances of skinning to be found. 

“Are you hurt?”

In the doorway of the bakery, half leaning out into the fresh air, his all-white clothes and apron gave him away. In his thirties, and handsome in an adorable way, the baker had an aura of mastery as attractive as his physique. Just the sort of guy to bring up a king-sized crush, were her mind not already so addled. 

“Only my pride,” Astra replied, taking a page from her older sister.  

“Looks like you could use some help,” the baker observed, demonstrating a firm grip on the obvious.  

“Can you leave? Work, I mean.” 

“I own the place, and my crew can handle it.” 

With his help, the stray groceries were soon corralled back into the brown paper bags, which had suffered minimal damage in the fall.  Some luck at last, the fates proving more capricious than utterly ruthless. 

“Beer and avocados? You must be rich,” Mr. Baker said, getting them back in the bag.  

“No, just indulgent.” 

“I hear ya, temptations can be hard to avoid. I was lucky enough to turn mine into a job,” he said.  

“You’re not fat,” Astra blurted, nearly biting her tongue in half with mortification.

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Tags: Romance, Sweet, Contemporary, Comedy