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⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ (4.5) 54 Reviews

Sweet romantic comedies set in Sugar Creek, Vermont featuring each season. Two seasons Winter and Fall, two prequel novellas, and a cookbook ebook bundle.


"I was glued to this book on my trip home from Hawaii which was 11 hours on a plane." Tara, 5-star review

A star-crossed, second-chance later-in-life romance that spans decades.

Coco and Deb Poverly are doing fine. Just don’t ask about the money, the bills, or the new shop threatening Deb’s bakery. Coco will do anything to help her great-aunt, even trade places with a wedding guest for extra cash. Dressed as an heiress, Coco falls for the charm and good looks of none other than Preston Laurent, Sugar Creek’s most eligible bachelor. But he’s a Laurent. No matter how hot he looks in a tux, they can't be together.

Deb's never married and never forgave Roland Laurent for not returning to Sugar Creek. But now he's back in town, and just as good looking as ever. But her pride won't let her explain what happened half a century ago. How can she watch Coco and Preston's relationship fail after the generations of bad blood between their families?

And don't forget the Sugar Mamas. Can women of a certain age wear tiaras and help the community? YOU BET! This band of close-knit friends help Coco and Deb find their true loves even after many years.

  • second chance
  • star-crossed lovers
  • rags-to-riches
  • later-in-life

Intro to Chapter 1

Two thousand dollars. Coco Poverly needed two thousand more dollars to buy Aunt Deb the perfect Christmas gift. The shipping deadline—December fifteenth—for the five thousand dollar professional bread slicer was only two weeks away. In desperation, she agreed to wear a giant, white chef’s toque and coat, large enough to use as a sail, to dab the finishing touches on a Christmas-themed wedding cake. 
The bride preparing for her nuptials in the grand Laurent mansion up the snow-covered walk from the gatehouse, insisted the catering staff wear the chef uniform instead of the usual black long-sleeved T-shirt with Sugar Creek Catering embroidered over the heart. 
Yeah, she was one of those kinds of brides.
Somehow, Megan suckered her into assisting with the rest of the food. 
At a table set inside the stone walls of the gatehouse, Coco rolled up her sleeves and, using a spoon, stuffed another mushroom with cream cheese and truffle oil before spreading delicate orange orbs of caviar on top and made a terrible mess. Kristy and her daughter Megan hired her for desserts, not for cooking. Baking and cooking were two separate things. One of them Coco was good at. The other…well, let’s just say she wasn’t making those mushrooms look appetizing. 
Her fingers were covered in the white mess. Without thinking, she licked the back knuckle of her thumb.
Coco’s name sounded like baking chocolate when drawn out in Megan’s annoying nasally voice. Coco’s face burned at being caught. 
Megan leaned over the plastic table and slapped her hand. “Now go wash.” She took the mushroom in question and tossed it into the trash. “No licking. And you should be using gloves.”
Coco glanced to the other sous-chefs in the kitchen, standing over rented, hot propane stoves, singing along to Christmas oldies on the radio who weren’t wearing gloves. “I didn’t touch the mushroom after I licked my finger.” She held up her cream cheese-covered hands. “I was planning on washing them anyway.” 
Although the December chill blew around outside, where uniformed valets parked cars up and down the brick drive, the heat was on overdrive in the gatehouse, which had been set up as a staging area. The bride wanted the menu freshly made on site, but she didn’t want the stench of cooking in the house. 
All around Coco, the rest of the catering staff hunched over the rented professional ovens and ranges near the front, preparing asparagus, rolls, gravy, and chicken. The smells of roasting, frying, and baking filled the room.
Humming a Christmas tune, Coco crossed to the bathrooms near the rear of the gatehouse to wash her hands. On her way, she stopped to admire the view.
Two French doors perfectly framed the sprawling, red brick, Georgian revival mansion covered in snow upon the hill. A wreath tied with a red bow decorated each of the many lighted windows of the two stories. Along with white lights, lining the rooftop and windows, decorative lanterns lit the garden shrubs, as dusk approached around four. 
She paused, inhaling the view with a cleansing breath. The peaceful scene contrasted with the hustle and bustle of the preparations for the wedding behind her. What would it be like to be in that house, surrounded by well-heeled, well-connected guests? She’d heard about the mansion for years, but she’d never been inside. Mostly, it sat vacant—used only occasionally by the family—for as long as she could remember.
A man stepped out and looked around. His dark hair and his fine stature was about all she could see from this distance. He looked dashing in a suit. He opened the door for an elderly lady coming up the walk. Impressive. Except he was probably paid to be an usher. But still, if only she could go to the party and talk to him.
“Look at these mushrooms. They’re all ugly. Did you fill these with a shovel? You are, like, the worst at this.” Megan’s pitchy voice carried across the room. “I’m telling my mom.” She threw down her gloves and marched out of the room.
Moments later, Kristy strode into the room. “What is going on?” Her long, gray-blonde ponytail flipped over her shoulder, and she wore a purple long-sleeved shirt not the ugly chef coat. Her face was red from the heat in the gatehouse.
“She’s doing a terrible job.” Megan picked up the platter Coco had worked on. “Look at these.” She put on her gloves with a smug smile.
“If we could put the mixture into a pastry bag, I could pipe them, Coco responded. “They would look prettier and be easier to do.” That’s what she did at the bakery to fill anything.
Folding her arms across her chest, Megan twisted her face into a sneer. “Maybe if you weren’t so clumsy with the spoon, you wouldn’t have to use a bag.” When Megan scowled, she had the jowls of a pit bull. 
Coco pursed her lips. “It’s just the way bakers do things.”
“Get back to work.” Seeing people had stopped to watch the drama, Megan clapped her gloved hands with the crinkle of plastic. “We’re on a time crunch, people.”
After washing her hands, Coco went back to the mushroom table, smelling the sweet scent of her aunt’s cake sitting behind her. Oh, how she’d rather be working in the Sweet Suite Bakery, her day job, rather than here. 
Megan barked more orders, then turned to Coco. “You’re not working.”
This was so not worth a measly hourly wage.
Coco unbuttoned the coat and removed the hat. “I’m done. Sign me out.” She could find some other less painful way to pay for Aunt Deb’s Christmas present.
“Where are you going?” Kristy picked up a clipboard. 
Laying the uniform on a chair, Coco wiped her hands on a nearby towel. “I have something I gotta do. I’m outta here.” Her chest rose and fell with the lie. She never lied. 
Megan dropped her jaw. “You can’t quit.”
“Good night.” Coco didn’t have to put up with her.
Throwing her coat over her shoulders, she grabbed her purse and keys and stepped out into the cold wintery air. The crisp breeze felt good on her hot face. The overcast sky matched the color of the snow—white-gray. Only a few minutes remained before sunset. She marched a few steps before she heard someone speak.
“Excuse me.”
Coco turned.
A blonde woman in a fur coat blew by her with the scent of designer perfume. She held a small, silver-wrapped gift. “Do you have a pen?”
“Sure. Maybe in my purse.”
The blonde stamped her feet in the cold while Coco dug through her purse. “I cannot believe I forgot to write my name on the gift tag.” The woman was a little younger than Coco's twenty-three years and wore heavy eyeliner and enough lipstick to last her all winter. Her blonde hair was perfectly set in place. “After driving all this way from Concord, you would’ve thought I’d notice.”
Concord, New Hampshire? She doubted that. Concord, Massachusetts? More likely. Rumor had it that the bride was from a well-connected family in Boston. Why she chose to get married on the outskirts of Sugar Creek, Vermont was a mystery. Sugar Creek was beautiful in every season, but it wasn’t huge—only about twenty thousand people lived on the banks of Lake Champlain. Mostly the maple trees and the skiing kept jobs in town. 
Coco shook her head. When she got married, if that would ever happen, she’d want a wedding here in Sugar Creek, near all her friends and family. At last, at the bottom of the purse, she found a pen. “Here you go.”
With too-white teeth, the woman forced a smile and took the pen, settling a rose gold clutch on a brick wall. “I didn’t want to come to this wedding anyway.”
“Oh?” Coco watched her scrawl Silvia Patterson on the tag near the bow. She couldn’t imagine not wanting to go to such a grand event.
Silvia threw down the pen, picking up her clutch. “My parents made me come. I’m supposed to be at a party in Montreal, but no, I had to come here and represent the family while my parents are away spending the winter in Barbados. So now I can’t leave until tomorrow morning.” She picked up the gift, rolling her eyes. “What I wouldn’t pay to be on my way to Canada right now. Tatum Fast is playing at my friend’s house party in just four hours. A Grammy winner!” She jabbed a thumb toward the house. “And I have to attend this boring wedding where I don’t even know anyone. All. By. Myself.”
“That’s such a shame.” Coco picked up the pen Silvia left on the wall. After the scene she just left, she wanted to put her feet up or take a bath. “Too bad you can’t ask someone else to drop off the present—talk to the guests, schmooze, sign the guest registry—and then you could be on your way. Your parents would never know.”
Silvia’s eyes lit up. “You’re brilliant.” She ran her gaze over Coco's body. “You’re about my size. Although it’s hard to tell with your ugly coat. Tell you what. I have another outfit in the car. Why don’t you wear my dress and run this up to the house? You’d only need to be there long enough to sign the guestbook and drop off the present and talk to a few guests. You can stay for food, drinks—whatever.” She wiggled her fingers. “You would introduce yourself as me. It’s been ages since I’ve seen any of these people. Nobody would know what I look like, especially after the plastic surgery. If my parents asked anyone, they’d say I was here.”
“Wait. What?” Coco wasn’t volunteering. Opening her mouth, Coco glanced around at the manicured and snow-covered sprawling garden. “I can’t go in there pretending to be you.”
“Listen.” Silvia opened her clutch. “I’ll pay you.”
Raising her eyebrows, Coco leaned in, interested. Her heart pattered in her chest. “How much?”
“I’ve got five hundred in cash, and I can Venmo you another five hundred when I get Wi-Fi. Here, I’ll go get my other dress.”
Coco scratched her neck. Did it grow suddenly hotter? She looked at the fist of green Silvia held out. A thousand dollars! Half of what she needed for Aunt Deb’s gift. Money was so tight. She wasn’t sure she would ever get enough cash to pay for Aunt Deb’s bread slicer. Coco would do anything she could to make her aunt’s life better. But now this woman was practically throwing money at her. Wasn’t this some sort of Christmas miracle? She’d be a fool to not take it. Coco bit her lip. Should she go? What did she have to lose? “Okay.” 
“Perfect!” A huge grin spread across Silvia’s perfectly painted lips. “I’ll be back.” She bounded down the brick sidewalk.
Fingering the bills, Coco glanced to the mansion. Guests gathered en masse toward the main front door. Would anyone other than the caterers notice she didn’t belong? 
Silvia returned with a satiny top and skirt. “You’ll look so nice in this dress.”
Yeah right! Coco ran her fingers over the softness of the fabric. It felt heavy and rich. “I’ll look like a scarecrow with my hair like this.” She stroked the top of her hair which was held up with a claw clip. “You know, you can put lipstick on a pig, but she’ll still be a pig.” She was a country girl through and through and would never look as sophisticated as Silvia or anyone else from that elite crowd.
Silvia tilted her head and laughed. “You seem like a nice girl. Why would you be so mean to yourself?”
Floored by her frankness, Coco took a step back. A large part of her humor was making digs at herself.
“You really shouldn’t say anything about yourself that you wouldn’t say about someone else.” Silvia gave her a half smile. “Who was it that said, if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all? Doesn’t that apply to ourselves?”
Coco recovered her humor. “If I did that, I wouldn’t have much to say, and I definitely wouldn’t be as funny.”
“You’re so strange.” Shaking her head, Silvia dropped a small, zippered bag into her hand. “And here’s something for your face.” Silvia shrugged. “I have plenty. My dad owns a cosmetics company.”
“Is it obvious I don’t normally use makeup?” Coco would feel goofy walking into an event with her sweaty face.
Silvia pursed her lips and tsked. “There you go, dissing yourself again. You need to stop it. You’re beautiful.” 
Coco opened her mouth to object.
Silvia waved a dismissive hand. “Don’t worry. You’ll figure it out.” She ran a hand down the front of her cloak. “Ta-ta! I must be off. I feel so much better. You’ve lightened my burden, and I couldn’t be happier.” Stepping closer, she clutched Coco’s hand with manicured nails. “And just a warning.” Her smile dropped, and her voice grew more serious. “If you take my money and tell anyone you aren’t Silvia, I’ll find out and send my lawyers to ruin you.” She smiled again, squishing her blue eyes. “Ta-ta!” Silvia retreated toward the cars.
Coco gulped, staring after her. Silvia didn’t seem like a person who gave threats wantonly. Perhaps she should run after her and give her back her cash. But she opened her fist to the crisp bills that could help Aunt Deb.

Books included in bundle

  • A White Christmas Lie
  • The Autumn Fallout
  • First Kisses: a Seasons of Sugar Creek prequel novella
  • Origins of the Sugar Mamas: a Seasons of Sugar Creek prequel novella
  • A Seasons of Sugar Creek Cookbook
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