Category: ‘Cecelia Dowdy’s Books’

Picnics and Promises – A New Summer Box Set – Available Now – 99c – Kindle Unlimited!

July 8, 2017 Posted by Cecelia Dowdy

What’s your favorite childhood summertime memory?

Summer is my favorite time of the year! When I was a kid, I loved being out of school!. We’d run around the neighborhood, playing Red Rover, Dodgeball, Kickball and we’d ride our bikes. We’d yell and scream while we played Monsters. When I got older, I started watching soap operas during the summer! I got hooked onto General Hospital and All My Children. I also read TONS of romance novels and baked fruit pies as well as cakes and cookies. Those were some fun times!

So, what’s your favorite summertime memory? Leave me a comment!

Picnics and Promises is now available – only 99 cents and it’s available on Kindle Unlimited.

Come check out this warm, wonderful, delicious summer box set! Picnics and Promises features my novella, Sweet Delights – The Bakery Romance Series Book 6!  Come celebrate summer by reading Picnics and Promises! This is a fun summer boxed set that features six warm, delicious summer romances! There’s a delicious pie recipe featured at the end of each novella! 

Picnics and Promises – Coming July 2017

June 16, 2017 Posted by Cecelia Dowdy

Image may contain: one or more people and text


Image may contain: one or more people and text

Picnics and Promises – a pie-loving boxed set is coming next month! Each tasty story features a romantic picnic and a delicious pie! Each story features a pie recipe at the end!

Sweet Dreams – The Bakery Romance Series (Book 6) will be featured in this wonderful collection!

Patty-Lynn Palmer loves creating mouth-watering pies in her bakery, Patty’s Pie Palace. She’s recently won the prestigious French International Pie Competition for her banana cream pie, and now she’s determined to save up enough money to buy the nostalgic house of her dreams.

She’s stunned when she runs into her wealthy ex-boyfriend, Sam Richardson. Sam has recently relocated to her hometown, Crystal Spring, to open a new office for his family’s food distribution company, Richardson Enterprises. Running into Sam awakens both wonderful and painful memories. Sam’s upper-class family never accepted her. Their contempt of her poor, country, foster-care upbringing caused her great pain, leading to Sam’s earth-shattering breakup with her seven years ago.

Sam is shocked when he encounters Patty-Lynn. He feels awful about their painful breakup, and he now longs to fix their broken relationship. Recently widowed, he desperately longs for his father’s approval on his new business venture. He’s unhappy working for his dad and seeing Patty-Lynn, happy in her pie shop, gives him hope. By using her prize-winning pie recipe, it appears that Patty-Lynn may be able to help him with his quest to gain his father’s approval. Can he find the courage to rekindle their romance and finally stand up to his domineering dad?

Frosting And Flurries!

November 27, 2016 Posted by Cecelia Dowdy

box set 2box setFrosting and Flurries, the Christmas box set that includes Sugar and Spice (The Bakery Romance Series Book #4) has been selling a lot on Amazon. We’ve gotten tons of reviews and our ranking has been pretty good in the Contemporary Christian Romance (and Holiday) categories!

Come purchase your copy today! The 99-cent price is a steal for these five delicious romance novels. The set is also available on Kindle Unlimited! The stories are set in different countries, too: USA, Canada, UK, and Ireland!

Sugar and Spice:

Sheila Parks is stunned when Mason Smith, the identical twin brother of her ex-boyfriend Reese, moves to Blue Spring and opens a bakery. Reese’s cruel breakup still bothers her and seeing somebody who looks just like him is a painful reminder of her predicament. Unemployed, Sheila needs financial help and it appears that Mason can assist her with her problem. Can she learn to trust a man who looks just like her ex?

Mason is stunned when Sheila storms into his bakery, mistakenly thinking that he’s Reese. Mason is used to comforting his womanizing brother’s ex-girlfriends. A stutterer, Mason has always had a hard time socializing with others. However, he finds himself smitten with beautiful Sheila. Can he control his stutter so that he can ask Sheila to be his date to his grandmother’s Christmas birthday party?

Both Sheila and Mason deal with past pains as they work together during the Christmas season.


Shades of Chocolate – A Wonderful Review

October 18, 2016 Posted by Cecelia Dowdy

I received this wonderful review for Shades of Chocolate! If you haven’t gotten your copy yet, then you should! So far, this title has gotten almost 75 Amazon reviews!

Book Review: Shades of Chocolate by Cecelia Dowdy

ShadesofChocolate_V1 (1) - final


Frosting and Flurries!

August 28, 2016 Posted by Cecelia Dowdy

I’m pairing up with some wonderful authors this autumn! We’re going to do a box set of Christmas stories. Book four of my Bakery Romance Series will be included in this collection. If you enjoyed my other stories, then I encourage you to purchase the box set once it’s released! This is a great way to introduce you to some more Christian romance authors!

box set 2 box set SugarandSpice_AMAZON

Sweet Dreams – Chapter 1

June 3, 2016 Posted by Cecelia Dowdy




Sweet Dreams will be released on June 23rd as an e-book.

This is the first chapter:

Chapter 1

Rain pounded on the roof of the stretch limousine. Thin streams of water slid down the closed window. The rain reminded him of his unending tears. He’d never cried so much in his life. Tired of staring out into the gloomy day, Sterling focused on his two brothers. His bottom lip quivered as salty wetness spilled down his cheek. He swiped the moisture away. Toughen up, that’s what he needed to do. He needed to be strong. Burying Dad had been awful and now he had to hold himself together before they had the meal at his home for the funeral guests.

The car swerved. His brother, Leon’s neck-length dreadlocks bounced as he jerked forward. “Watch it!” Leon’s voice boomed at the limo driver.

“Sorry about that.” The driver peeked at the threesome in the rearview mirror. “High winds out there, just hit a rough patch.”

He couldn’t take his brother anywhere without acting a fool. “Don’t pay my brother any attention.”

Leon pulled a small flask from his backpack, poured amber liquid into one of the glasses provided in the back of the limo.

Louis, Leon’s twin, wiped his wet eyes, his mouth mashed down. “Man, don’t get wasted.”

Leon gritted his teeth, clutched his booze. “Don’t tell me what to do.” He gulped the liquid during the hour-long drive from the gravesite. It was mighty tempting to grab that flask and toss it out the window. No, he couldn’t do that. His brother would act even worse if confronted. Ignoring his brother, he focused on the raging Florida storm. The leaves from the palm trees lifted in the wet summer breeze as they passed stretches of deserted beaches.

The threesome remained silent during the rest of the journey. When skyscrapers, hotels and city streets zoomed by, signaling their arrival into Miami, Sterling sat up straighter in his seat. He squeezed his hands into fists, his eyes watering. Again, he blinked his tears away. He focused on Leon. The empty flask tumbled from his fingers, his eyes partially closed. Drool dripped from his mouth. How disgusting.

He grabbed tissues from the box on the floor, shoved them into Leon’s hand. “Wipe your mouth.”

Leon pressed the tissue over his full lips, his hooded eyes appeared glassy and unfocused. Leon dropped the tissues on the floor, his thin body swaying. They’d be home soon. He’d barely have enough time to get everything ready for the guests. He didn’t know what he’d do about his crazy brother.

He closed his eyes, leaned back on the leather seat. Fatigue settled into his bones like hot glue. He’d been awake all night, baking sweet treats in the bakery he ran with his father. He wanted to serve the baked goods during the after-funeral meal as a final memory to his dad.

He closed his eyes. Maybe if he could just rest for a few minutes, he’d find the energy to make it through this day. The limo stopped. Sterling opened his eyes, smiled. Home, finally. He was just one step closer to getting through this awful day. He said a few words to the limo driver before he rushed to his front door. Fat drops of cool rain slithered down his face. He glanced back, spotted Leon shuffling behind him. Louis’s deep angry voice sliced through the humid air while he fussed at his twin.

Sterling unlocked the door, but before he could open it, Leon kicked it, crashing it open. The door swung into the wall, the loud racket filled the otherwise silent house. Leon shoved Sterling aside, stumbled into the house, water dripping from his hair. Sterling grabbed Leon’s shoulder, pushing him into a chair. “Man, would you sober up?” Leon’s hooded eyes remained glassy.

Sterling sighed, rushed into the kitchen to get the boxes of desserts he’d baked. He kept his eye on Leon. His brother continued sulking in the chair like a wounded cow. Gritting his teeth, he placed the cookies on the tray as thoughts of his father filled his tired brain. He recalled how often he and his dad had made these vanilla cookies in their bakery. He hurried with his task, wanting to finish before the guests arrived.

Louis approached the table, clamped his hand on Sterling’s shoulder. “You need some help?”

“No, I’ve got this.” This was his tribute to his dad. He needed to be the one to arrange the treats on the serving table. He’d always been closest to their father.

“Why did Daddy do that?”  Leon’s slurred, drunken voice grated on his nerves. Sterling winced, dropped one of the vanilla cookies. It landed on the floor in a sugary heap. Why did Leon have to refer to Dad’s unfavorable terms on his life insurance policy now? He’d been complaining about it while they drove to the burial site. He figured his brother would at least wait until another day to bring this up again.

He lifted the ruined cookie, tossed it into the trash. He closed his eyes. Jesus, help me to mend the rift between me and my brother.

He finally pushed the box of cookies aside, rushing to Leon, grabbing his arm. “Man, would you calm down?”

Louis followed behind him obviously wanting to help. “You know how stupid he acts when he’s wasted.”

Leon jerked his arm away, narrowed his eyes. He pulled a pack of cigarettes and a lighter from his pocket. His partially unknotted tie hung loosely around his neck and brown spots of booze tainted his shirt. Leon stood and stormed to the table, grabbing a cookie and throwing it on the floor. He crushed the confection with his foot. Sterling grabbed Leon’s shoulder, turning him around. “Stop it! Now!”

Leon jerked away, pushing a cigarette into his mouth. He flicked his lighter, attempting to light his cigarette.

“Ugh!” Sterling grabbed Leon’s arm. “Cut it out! You know you can’t smoke in my house!” He hated the acrid scent of cigarette smoke.

Leon jerked away, still trying to light his cigarette. Would this day ever end? Sterling grabbed Leon again. Louis attempted to take the lighter away and Leon dropped it, the flame catching onto the carpet.

Louis stomped the flame, creating a black smear. He grabbed Leon’s other arm and they pushed Leon against the wall. Louis spoke through clenched teeth. “You idiot!”

Leon glared at his brothers. When they finally released him, he calmly picked up his lighter and lit another cigarette. He then cursed, his mouth set in a hard, tense line. “You guys can’t tell me what to do. I’m smoking.” Leon puffed on his cigarette, as if daring his brothers to stop him.

Sterling eyed the cookies he’d been setting out before dropping onto the couch, weary, tired, suffering from enough drama over the past week to last a lifetime. Louis plopped down beside him, running his hand over his forehead. “My head’s killing me. You got any aspirin?”

Sterling made a trip to the bathroom and got the bottle of pills for this brother. He then refocused on the cookies and cakes. He wiped his moist eyes as visions of his dad danced through his head like a non-stop movie. Leon shuffled around the living room, smoking his cigarette, mumbling as if in a trance.

He eyed the desserts he’d prepared in loving memory of their father: Bright red velvet cake smothered in white cream cheese frosting, vanilla sugar cookies, lemon pound cake and a huge batch of chocolate chip cookies sprinkled with nuts. The delicious sugary scents of the sweets were now tainted with the nicotine smell from Leon’s cigarette.

He sniffed, turned away, wiped his eyes with a tissue. Louis glared at his twin. “I hope Leon doesn’t act a fool when everybody gets here.”

Sterling rubbed his tired eyes, downing two of the aspirins with a cup of water. “You tried to stop him from drinking. He never listens to us.” Although Louis and Leon were identical twins, their personalities were as different as night and day. Louis was always apologizing for Leon, as if he felt responsible for Leon’s crude behavior.

Leon’s voice boomed from across the room while he dropped into a chair. “Why would he do this?” He glared, his cigarette dangled from his mouth. “Why?”

Sterling forced himself to stare into his brother’s eyes. “I told you, I don’t know! You’d better get yourself sobered up before the people come here to eat.” The thought of his drunken brother acting foolish around his father’s friends was almost enough to make him puke.

Leon took another drag from his cigarette. “You make me sick. Dad always favored you and treated me and Louis like crap!”

“Would you stop?” Sterling turned away, ignoring the ugly truth that tumbled from his brother’s mouth. He’d always been so close to his dad. He recalled that a lot of his school mates didn’t get along with their fathers.

That wasn’t the case with Sterling. He supposed that their shared love of baking had helped them to create a bond as thick as a corded rope. He took deep breaths, the ugly truth from his brother’s mouth haunting his mind. The twins had always been on the fringes of the close relationship he’d shared with their father – almost as if they were on the outside, looking in.

“Why would Dad make you the sole beneficiary of his life insurance policy? Why?” Leon’s deep angry voice cracked throughout the living room like thunder.

Sterling shot out of the chair, stormed toward his brother. The good Lord knew he wanted to make everything better. But, he couldn’t do that until Leon stopped drinking. “I don’t know.” He took a deep breath. Jesus, help me.  “I don’t know why Dad did this. We can talk about it later.”

Louis approached his twin. “Come on, Leon. I’ll drive you home so that you can go to sleep.”

Leon shook his head. “No, don’t want to.”

Sterling checked his watch. The guests would be arriving soon and he didn’t want Leon around. Leon glared at them. It looked like he needed to repeat Louis’s suggestion. “Let Louis drive you home. This is hard on all of us and we need to deal with it.”

Leon cursed again, dousing his cigarette in the paper cup he’d used as an ashtray. “Easy for you to say.” He stood, and jammed his index finger into Sterling’s chest, speaking in a low voice. “Dad made you the sole beneficiary. Is he trying to tell me and Louis that we’re not good enough, that we’re not really his sons?”

Sterling squeezed his eyes shut. “Leon, I don’t know.” He glanced at the wall, sniffed, his eyes again becoming wet. “You and Louis– ”

The fist that slammed into his jaw took him by surprise. White hot pain seared his face as he stumbled against the wall, knocking a picture onto the floor. “Ugh.” He held his jaw as Leon attempted another blow. He pushed his brother away, resisting the urge to pummel Leon’s face.

Louis grabbed his twin. “Cut it out!”

Tears streamed from Leon’s eyes as he glared at Sterling, balling his hands into fists, as if resisting the urge for another blow. “I. Can’t. Stand. You.”

Sterling swallowed, stunned. This was the first time he’d seen his brother so tormented and out of control. “Calm down.”


When Leon stormed toward Sterling, his fisted hand swerved toward Sterling’s face. Sterling blocked the clumsy punch. “Ugh!” Lord, I want to knock the daylights out of my brother. But, I’m so angry now, if I start hitting him, I don’t know if I’ll be able to stop.

Sweet Dreams – The Bakery Romance Series Book 3

March 25, 2016 Posted by Cecelia Dowdy

Do you like my book cover? Let me know your opinion! It’s not finalized yet!SweetDreams

Shades of Chocolate – Nice Review!

March 6, 2016 Posted by Cecelia Dowdy

ShadesofChocolate_V1 (1) - final


Come visit Arlena’s Blog! Read her wonderful review for Shades of Chocolate!

Shades of Chocolate and Loving Luke – Seeking reviews for both titles

March 5, 2016 Posted by Cecelia Dowdy

I’m seeking book reviews for my new novel, Shades of ChocolateShadesofChocolate_V1 (1) - final


Winter BackgroundI’m also seeking book reviews for my novella, Loving Luke.

If you are interested in reviewing either of these titles then let me know. I’ll provide the book to you in exchange for an honest review posted on Amazon (and anywhere else you’d like to post the review.)

Leave a comment on this blog post if interested. Leave your email address so that I can contact you.

Loving Luke is now a part of Kindle Unlimited. So, if you’re a member of that program, you can download Loving Luke for free. Even if you’re not interested in reviewing it, you can still get a free copy from Amazon if you’re eligible!





Loving Luke – Chapter 1

February 18, 2016 Posted by Cecelia Dowdy

Winter Background

Are you looking for a short, sweet winter romance? Try Loving Luke. This novella is about cookies, kisses and other fun delights. It’s only 99 cents!

Chapter 1

The chugging echo of a motorcycle rolled down Main Street. Kim grabbed her oven mitts, the loud sound bringing memories of her wild high school days in Bethlehem. The noise stopped just as she pulled the hot tray of vanilla cookies from the oven. The heated warmth surrounded her face as she sniffed the sweet scent. Sweat beaded her brow, and she placed the tray onto a rack before wiping her forehead with a clean towel.

She removed the box of edible silver sprinkles from the shelf just as the Christmas sleigh bells above the front door jingled. She glanced toward the entrance, spotting Luke Barnes strolling into her cookie shop! Startled, her heart skipped a beat and she dropped the box of sprinkles. Tiny silver balls rolled on the floor, and she inwardly groaned, picking up the box and shoving it onto the table.

“Luke.” She couldn’t even think of what she should say. “I didn’t realize you were back in Bethlehem.” She walked toward the counter, the silver-ball sprinkles crunching beneath her shoes. She resisted the urge to come from behind the counter to hug him. His dark eyes seemed a bit wary, almost as if he’d been unsure about entering her cookie shop.

She had not seen Luke since her junior year in high school, so, why should his sudden presence make her act like a love sick teenager? She shouldn’t let his presence rattle her.

But it did.

He finally nodded toward her. “Kim, it’s been awhile.”

“It sure has.” Eight years to be exact. It was surprising what eight years could do to a person. He still had an enticing, mocha-colored complexion, but, he now sported a full mustache and beard. He looked…bigger, as if he’d grown or gained weight since high school.

She swallowed and took a deep breath. They’d gotten matching dove tattoos when they were dating. She eyed her hand, still sporting the scar that was the result of her having her tattoo surgically removed.

He glanced toward the floor, scratching the back of his neck. “I didn’t realize you were in town either until last night.”

“Oh?” Had he stopped by just to see her, hoping to rekindle old memories?

He studied the cookie shop. “This place hasn’t changed much.”

She’d put up the Christmas decorations that morning, placing red poinsettias on the four small tables in the front. White temporary paint frosted the large windows, giving the effect of a snowy Christmas day.

Luke glanced at the cookie display, as if he were deciding what he wanted to buy. Her dad had taken the afternoon off to go to a dentist appointment, and, for some reason, Kim was glad that her father wasn’t here right now. Seeing Luke rattled her, and she could imagine her dad questioning her after Luke’s unexpected visit.

He continued studying the cookies. “I’ve only been back since August. It’s surprising to see you working in your parents’ bakery.”

Kim stood at the counter, waiting. She didn’t feel like correcting Luke, telling him that only her dad owned the bakery now that her mom was deceased or that she’d been to college and until recently, had worked as an accountant in Chicago. She pushed the thoughts from her mind, again focusing on Luke. For some reason, she doubted he wanted to hear about her life since he’d disappeared from Bethlehem.

Luke shoved his hands into the pockets of his pants, jiggling his keys and change. She recalled he usually did this when he was nervous. She cleared her throat, glanced at the clock. Her dad would be back soon, and before he returned, she wanted to figure out what Luke wanted. “Did you come to buy cookies?”

“I…” he paused, glanced at the display. “I’ll take a dozen chocolate chip.”

She grinned. Memories of eating warm chocolate chip cookies and cold glasses of milk with Luke Barnes unfurled in her mind like snowflakes dancing in the wind. Despite her parents’ objections, she’d baked batches of Luke’s favorite chocolate chip cookies and would secretly meet him at his house. After sharing hot cookies, they’d drink cold milk from the same glass. Luke would always kiss her, telling her how much he loved her and her cookies. Their kisses had always turned passionate, and she shook the thought away, not wanting to dwell on what usually happened after those kisses. Her life was a lot different now that she was saved, but, she still had some regrets over her past mistakes.

She glanced up, caught Luke staring at her with his mesmerizing dark brown eyes. Had he been thinking of the times they’d shared, eating cookies and milk? No way was she going to ask him about that. She boxed up the cookies, rang up the order. After he’d paid, he still stood at the register, hesitating, holding the pastel, monogrammed bakery box. “Yes?” she prompted.

His hand was still shoved in his pocket and he fidgeted. “Look, I didn’t come here to buy cookies.”


“My daughter told me she wanted to work here.”

Kim frowned. What in the world was he talking about? Another thing she recalled about Luke, he was terrible at giving details. When he told her something, she’d always felt like she was only getting half of the story and she’d have to ask questions, forcing him to fill in the blanks. “You have a daughter?” Was he referring to the child he’d fathered in high school?

He nodded. “Yes, I’m talking about Lisa. You met her at school, right?”

“My goodness. The little girl from Career Day is your daughter?” She never would’ve guessed that Lisa was Luke’s daughter. So mind-boggling that Luke, a man from her past, was now in her bakery because his nine-year-old daughter wanted to make cookies with her after school.

The previous day, Kim had participated in the annual Career Day at Bethlehem Elementary School. Career Day always took place the Monday after the Thanksgiving holiday. When Kim had asked for a volunteer to help with her staged demonstration, she’d ended up picking a cute, shy-looking child named Lisa. Since part of the Career Day activities included job mentorship, she’d offered to have Lisa come visit the cookie shop and help her bake cookies.

“She’d said you’d offered her a job.”

“Not exactly a job. I’d just invited her over for an after-school cookie baking session.” No way was she telling him about Lisa’s complaints regarding his burning cookies and his failed attempts at making dinner. “We’re usually busy during the Christmas season and if she wants to come and help after school for a day, she can.” She paused. “I don’t know if she’d want to come regularly to help bake cookies. I thought we’d try it for a day or so, and see what happens from there, if that’s okay with you.”

He shook his head. “I don’t know if it’s okay for Lisa to be here with you.”

She stepped away from the counter, silently counting to ten, gritting her teeth. “What do you mean by that?”

“Come on, Kim. You know what I mean. You were so wild in high school.”

“So were you,” she countered, balling her hands into fists, trying to control her temper. He had a lot of nerve, riding here on his motorcycle, implying she’d be a bad influence on his daughter.

He set the cookie box on a nearby table, held his hands up. “Hey, don’t get mad. I’m just saying I’ve got to be careful where my daughter is concerned.”

“You’re basing your opinion of me on the way I was eight years ago and that’s not fair. I’m not the same person as I was back then.” A thought occurred to her. “Are you the same as you were eight years ago or have you changed?”

“I’m a Christian now and –”

“So am I.” She’d accepted Christ a year after Luke had abandoned her. The kids at Bethlehem High School had gossiped about Luke’s desertion for months afterwards. She’d even asked some of his friends if they had a way to contact him, but, they couldn’t help her locate Luke. She couldn’t find anything about him on social media. It was almost as if Luke didn’t want to be found once he left Bethlehem.

He furrowed his brow, as if he didn’t believe her. “You’re really a Christian?”

She nodded. Why was this so hard to believe? Eight years was a long time and a lot of stuff could happen. Luke claimed he’d been in town since August, yet, she had not seen him or Lisa at Bethlehem Community Church. It was possible that they worshipped elsewhere, though.

He glanced uneasily at her, scratching the back of his neck. Kim decided she’d felt rattled enough for one day. She didn’t want her father returning and asking questions about her strange reaction to Luke. Her dad could read her like a book, and he’d know she was unsettled. She needed some time to calm down before her father returned from the dentist. Besides, she needed to frost the vanilla cookies before her customer arrived to pick up the order. “Look, why don’t you think about it and when you decide what you want to do, then call me.”

Luke gave her a quick nod, lifting his cookie box from the table. The sleigh bells jingled as he exited the bakery.
As soon as Luke drove away, the sound of his motorcycle echoing in the bakery, Kim pulled her phone from her pocket, texting her best friends, Carly, Anna and Heather. The four of them had been best friends since elementary school. Since they’d been friends with her when she’d dated Luke, she figured they’d be interested in knowing that he was back in town. She began her text: Ladies, Luke Barnes is back in Bethlehem.

As soon as she’d sent the text, her phone buzzed. She eyed the display, seeing that her friend Heather was calling. “Heather, I can’t believe Luke just came into my bakery. He really made me mad.”

“What did he say?”

Kim put her phone onto the speaker setting, went back into the kitchen, telling Heather all about her conversation with Luke. She dropped softened butter and the rest of the frosting ingredients into a large bowl. After she was done speaking to Heather, she needed to frost the wedding-bell shaped cookies. Her customer would be arriving later to take the cookies to an office bridal shower.

“Hmm.” Heather appeared to be in deep thought. “Seems like a strange coincidence that Luke, your high school ex-boyfriend would come to your shop, right when you’re struggling to get over your ex-fiancé.”

Kim groaned, glancing at the cookies. Just looking at the wedding-bell shaped treats caused vivid memories of her aborted wedding plans, nearly one year ago, to unfurl in her mind. “What’s your point?”

“Maybe the Lord wants you and Luke to rekindle your high school romance.”

Kim pressed her lips together. That was the dumbest thing she’d ever heard. Luke didn’t even want his daughter to spend time with her. Rekindling their romance was probably the furthest thing from his mind.

She hadn’t been saved when she’d dated him in high school and they’d had a torrid relationship. They’d both been young and immature, and she’d recalled how hurt she’d been when he’d gotten Salina Foster pregnant. After he’d abruptly left town with his mom and Salina, not even bothering to say good-bye to her, she’d been devastated. She had not been able to get over her pain until she’d left home and started college.

“I think you’re wrong.” After the shock of seeing Luke and disagreeing with him, she felt she needed something to calm herself down. A cookie, yes, that’s what she needed. She needed a cookie fix to make herself feel better.

“Well, I think I’m right. There must be some kind of chemistry between the two of you if you’re mad at him after one short conversation.”

This conversation with Heather was not making her feel better. “I have to go.” She ended the call, lifted a warm cookie from the rack, her stomach growling with hunger. Biting into the treat, the sweet taste of vanilla and sugar exploded on her tongue and she sighed, leaning back against the wall. Eating this cookie lifted her mood, just a little bit.

These were the best vanilla cookies she’d ever tasted in her entire life, and her heart swelled, recalling how long it had taken her and her deceased mom to develop the recipe, years ago. Unable to resist, she gobbled another cookie, continuing to think about Luke. He’d looked as good as he did back in high school, if not better. It had just seemed weird to see Luke riding a motorcycle while wearing slacks and loafers. Back in high school, he’d worn ripped jeans, a t-shirt and a leather jacket when riding his motorbike.

Continuing to feast on dessert, she closed her eyes, thinking about the last three months of her life. Returning to Bethlehem a few months ago to work in her family’s bakery had been bittersweet. It’d been eight years since she’d left Bethlehem. She’d hoped that the work of baking cookies in the hot kitchen, spending time with her dad, would help her to heal from the pain of her ex-fiancé’s infidelity, and help her deal with her mom’s recent death.

It’d been eleven months since that fateful day of her breakup, and whenever she thought about her ex, her heart pounded and tears rushed to her eyes. Being in love was like a toxic disease and she didn’t know when she’d have the courage to fall in love again. Why couldn’t God lift away this awful pain? How long would it take for her to heal?