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Sunday Snippet: Christmas at the Candied Apple Cafe by Katherine Garbera

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 About the Book

Christmas at the Candied Apple Cafe   
Author:  Katherine Garbera
Publisher:   HarperImpulse
Released:  Ebook – November 10, 2017; Paperback – December 14, 2017
Genre:  Contemporary Romance
Author contact links:  Facebook, InstagramTwitterWebsite
Purchase links:  Amazon UK, Amazon US, B&N

Snippet:

Iona walked the short distance down the hall to Mads and Sofia’s apartment, carrying a stuffed moose that wore a tee- shirt that proclaimed “Christmas is for Miracles”, and a bottle of Glenlivet she’d been gifted from a client. She didn’t drink scotch, but her gut said that Mads probably did. She knocked on the door; it was opened by Sofia and a man that Iona hadn’t met.

“Hey, Iona. We raced to the door and I won!” Sofia said. She was in her stockinged feet and jeans and a tee-shirt that had some Disney princesses on it.

“I’m not surprised, you’re very fast,” Iona said.

“I am,” Sofia agreed.

“This is for you,” Iona said, handing her the moose.

She took it from Iona and then hugged it to her chest. “Thank you.”

“You’re welcome.”

“Come in,” the man said, holding out his hand. “I’m Piers: Mads’ younger and some say better-looking brother.”

Iona took Piers’ hand and shook it, smiling at him. Now that he’d said they were brothers it was easy to see the resemblance. But while Mads seemed too serious, Piers had an easy smile and open charm that Mads didn’t. She guessed that the strain of his wife’s illness had contributed to that.

“I’ll have to reserve judgment on the last bit until I see you side by side.”

“Iona.”

“Yes?” She glanced down at Sofia.

“Obviously Papa is better-looking. Uncle Piers is just being silly,” Sofia said. “Everyone knows my papa is the best.”

“Everyone does know that, Sof,” Piers said. “Let’s move this party into the kitchen so we can help finish making dinner.”

Iona followed Sofia down the hall, aware that Piers was behind her. She stepped into the kitchen and noticed that Mads was working at the stove, stirring a tomato sauce. He glanced over his shoulder as they entered and smiled at her.

She raised her eyebrows at him. “Hi. This is for you.”

She set the scotch on the counter, out of the way.

“Thanks. Who won the race?”

“Me,” Sofia said.

“Congrats,” he said to his daughter.

“Iona gave me this moose,” Sofia said, holding it up toward Mads. “Want to come to my room while I introduce him to my other stuffies?”

“Unless you need my help?” she asked Mads.

“Nah, Piers is on the garlic bread and Sof already made the salad.”

“Okay, then take me to your room,” Iona said to Sofia.

The little girl skipped out of the kitchen past her uncle, who stood in the doorway, with Iona following her down the hall past a large living room lined with bookcases on one wall and an entertainment center on another one. She stopped at the third door and opened it up.

“This is my room,” she said, stepping inside. It had a single bed in the center of the large room. The bed had a canopy and was loaded with pillows and stuffed animals and dolls. The comforter was a pretty dark-pink colored one. There was a white dust ruffle around the bottom of the bed. And the wall was decorated with princesses and castles. Knights in armor battled against dragons.

It was a fanciful room for a girl who didn’t believe in Santa. “You like knights and princesses?”

“Yes. My mom used to read the stories to me when she was sick. I’d sit in her bed with her.”

“No wonder you love them,” Iona said. “My mom used to read to me when I was your age.”

“Did you have a favorite book?”

“I liked The Secret Three,” Iona said. “It’s about three friends who share a secret at the beach. What’s your favorite?”

“Good Night, Good Knight,” she said. “Want to see it?”

“Sure,” Iona said, moving into the room and sitting down on the love seat near the window. Sofia kept the moose with her as she went to her bookcase and brought back the book. The first thing Iona noticed was that someone had tampered with the cover. Where the Knight had clearly been a boy before it was now a girl with a pink tutu and long black braids.”

“Mommy and I worked to make the book more for me,” Sofia said.

She found herself feeling a little emotional thinking of Sofia’s mother, knowing she was going to die and trying to give her daughter as much as she could before her time was up. Hayley’s mother had also died when Hayley was eighteen and had left her a bunch of letters to open each year on her birthday.

Iona felt so lucky to still have her own mom.

“This is perfect. The knight looks just like you,” Iona said.

“Yes. The dragon looks like Mommy,” Sofia said, climbing up on the love seat next to Iona and opening the book. Sofia read the entire book to her and it was a cute story, but having been doctored by Sofia and her mother it was even more special. When she finished reading it, Sofia left the book on the love seat.

“Do you want to meet all my stuffies?”

“Sure.”

She led Iona to the bed and slowly went through each of the stuffed animals and plush dolls on the bed. Iona knew there was no way she was going to remember any of the names of them. Sofia set the moose, which she’d named Iona, in the middle and that was when Iona noticed the teddy bear sitting in the corner facing the wall.

“What’s going on over there?”

“That’s Mr. Bees and he’s been very bad,” Sofia said.”

“What’d he do?”

“Left all the toys out yesterday. I had to clean them up and Jessie wasn’t too happy about it,” Sofia said.

“Wow. That is naughty,” Iona said.

“I know. I gave him a talking to and then a time out,” Sofia said. “He can probably go back up on the bed now.”

She went to get him and told him she still loved him but he needed to follow the rules, which made Iona smile, thinking that this was probably something that Sofia had experienced when she misbehaved.

Book Blurb:

There’s nothing so magical as Christmas in New York…

Santa is coming to New York!

Snow is falling, excitement is high and the delicious scent of chocolate drifts along Fifth Avenue – the Candied Apple Café is ready for Christmas! And no one is busier than publicist Iona Summerlin. With so much to do, she doesn’t have time to think about men, dating, or the fact her last boyfriend ditched her for her brother… Relationships are off the menu!

Hotel boss Mads Eriksson is not looking forward to the first Christmas since losing his wife. His six-year-old daughter Sofia has lost her belief in Christmas magic along with her mother, and he has no idea what to do. But an unusually festive business meeting at the Candied Apple – and meeting the beautiful Iona – starts to defrost Mads’ frozen heart, and suddenly life seems full of light and sparkle again.

If only they dare to believe, maybe all their Christmas dreams will come true!

 

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