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If You Give A Jerk A Gingerbread (Reindeer Falls #2)

Author/Writer of Book/Novel:

Jana Aston

Book Information:

Dear Santa,

I do not want Keller James for Christmas.

I will not fall for him, no matter how charming or irresistible or famous he is. I will not be swayed by his skills in the kitchen or by his British accent. I’m going to win the Great Gingerbread Bake Off and no one is going to stand in my way. Not even Keller.

All kisses are off. I mean all bets. All bets are off. And his clothes, those are off too.

Grr, never mind. I’ll figure this out myself.

Ginger Winter

Books in Series:

Reindeer Falls Series by Jana Aston

Books by Author:

Jana Aston Books

Chapter 1

“Someone’s asking for you,” Old Pete tells me, ambling into the kitchen of the Busy Bee Inn, where I work.

“For me?” I dust my hands off on my apron, confused. No one ever asks to see me. Unless it’s a bride, but the Inn only has one wedding booked this month and it’s all sorted out.

Unless it’s a bridezilla. Bridezillas are a job hazard when you’re a baker. They make me hate wedding cakes when everyone knows that the cake is best part of any wedding. Unless they have a sweets table, then that’s the best part. A sweets table with miniature pecan tarts, cake pops decorated like brides and grooms, plates of artfully stacked macarons and—I cut off my runaway thoughts. The ideal dessert table spread is not important right now. And it’s unlikely anyone has stopped by without an appointment to ask me about a dessert table. Especially in early December. It’s not really bride season.

Though you never can tell. I once had a woman come in to taste wedding cake samples and she wasn’t even engaged. You have to admire anyone that dedicated to finding an excuse to eat cake.

“Fella had one of our gingerbread chocolate-chip cookies and wanted to know where we got them. Told him you made them on site. That we have the best gingerbread maker in the world right here in Reindeer Falls.”

Well, that is true. I do make the best gingerbread around. And soon, I’ll be the undisputed champion of gingerbread because I’ve been selected to compete in The Great Gingerbread Bake-Off, and I’m going to win it.

The Great Gingerbread Bake-Off is a new show on the Food Network, and they’re filming it right here in Reindeer Falls. It’s as if this is my destiny.

Or as if the Food Network sent a scout to check out our town and realized it was television gold.

Either way.

I’m gonna win the heck outta that contest.

“English fella, in the parlor,” Old Pete tells me, pitching a thumb in the direction of the front room of the Inn.

This English fella is likely the only fella out there because we’re not exactly bustling on a random Tuesday afternoon. The Inn is more of a bed-and-breakfast, set in a sprawling old Victorian on the edge of town with a total of eight guest rooms and a very small restaurant. It’s a part-time gig for me. I stop in a few days a week to bake desserts for the restaurant and baked goods for the afternoon spread for the overnight guests. And, of course, wedding cakes for any weddings booked at the Inn. In exchange for a modest paycheck I get to use the Inn kitchen whenever I like. They’ve got an industrial oven here I don’t have at home, so it’s a good deal for me until my own bakery opens.

Ginger’s Bake Shop.

It’s been my dream since I was too little to operate an oven without supervision.

And I’ve got a plan. A real one, a business plan. I’ve got my eye on the perfect property in town.

All of my bakery dreams are about to come true.

Winning The Great Gingerbread Bake-Off will be the icing on the cinnamon rolls. The topper on the wedding cake. The filling in the gourmet donut. The money.

Because the prize is ten thousand dollars. Which I could really use for Ginger’s Bake Shop. I’ve been saving to make my dream a reality, but that prize money would make it a reality a heck of a lot quicker.

As would the free publicity.

“I’m sure I’ll find him.” I slide a tray of cookies into the oven and pat Pete on the shoulder as I walk past. “I made a fresh batch of snickerdoodles,” I tell him, pointing to a plate piled high with his favorite.

I exit the kitchen without bothering to check my appearance, sure that I’m passable enough for a short chat about cookies with an Inn guest. I’m the baker after all, I’m sure they won’t be shocked by an apron smeared with streaks of flour.

Probably an older gentleman hoping to nab my recipe for his wife in the hopes she’ll make them when they return home. That’s the main clientele of the Inn, as far as I can tell. Older couples or women on a ladies’ trip of some sort or another. Charmed by the town of Reindeer Falls and wooed by the magic of staying in a historic bed-and-breakfast.

So when I enter the parlor, I’m momentarily confused. My eyes bypass the guy with the laptop who looks like he’s been transplanted from the nearest Starbucks, in search of anyone who looks like they’d be asking about my gingerbread chocolate-chip cookies. And I come up empty.

There’s only one person here and it’s laptop guy. I look twice to be sure, in case someone is hiding behind one of the three Christmas trees decorating the parlor. They are not.