Will a sweet baker soften a hardened man’s heart?
Born to an outlaw father and a shrewish mother, Fred Decker feels obligated to atone for the past without much hope for his future. If he possessed a lick of sense, he’d pack up and leave the town where he was born and raised, but something… someone… unknowingly holds him there.
Captivated by Hardman’s beautiful baker, Fred fights the undeniable attraction. He buries himself in his work, refusing to let his heart dream.
Elsa Lindstrom adores the life she’s carved out for herself in a small Eastern Oregon town. She and her twin brother, Ethan, run their own bakery where she delights in creating delicious treats. Then Ethan comes home unexpectedly married, the drunks in town mistakenly identify her as a missing harlot, and a mishap in the bakery leaves her at the mercy of the most gossiped-about man in Hardman.
Mix in the arrival of three fairy-like aunts, blend with a criminal bent on dastardly schemes, and sprinkle in a hidden cache of gold for a sweet Victorian romance brimming with laughter and heartwarming holiday cheer.
Her knees wobbled at the sound of his deep voice saying her name, but she resisted the urge to grip the counter for support. “You said there were two things you wanted, in addition to cookies. What is the second?”
“It’s a tiny little thing really,” Fred said, tightly gripping his hat in both hands.
“A tiny little thing? Then I shall take great honor in bestowing whatever it is.” Her gaze roved over the kitchen, trying to imagine what in the world Fred could want. She kept a jar full of assorted candy. Sometimes, she used the sweets to decorate cakes and cookies. Perhaps he wanted one. “A piece of candy?” she asked.
Fred shook his head. “No, Elsa. It’s sweeter than candy and far, far better.”
Intrigued, she took a step closer to him. “What is it?”
He waggled his index finger back and forth, indicating she should step closer. When she stood so her skirts brushed against the toes of his boots, he tapped his cheek with the same finger. “A little sugar right here would be even better than ten batches of cookies.”
The sixth book in Shanna’s Hardman Holidays series releases December 5.
These sweet, heartwarming holiday stories are set in the Old West town of Hardman, Oregon, and take readers on a journey full of laughter, love, triumphs, and tears.
After spending her formative years on a farm in Oregon, hopeless romantic Shanna Hatfield turns her rural experiences into sweet historical and contemporary romances filled with sarcasm, humor, and hunky heroes.
When this USA Today bestselling author isn’t writing or covertly hiding decadent chocolate from the other occupants of her home, Shanna hangs out with her beloved husband, Captain Cavedweller.
Shanna loves to hear from readers. Follow her online at:
E.E.: How often to you get lost in a story?
Shanna: As often as humanly possible. I love to read and curling up with a great book at the end of a long day is one of my favorite pastimes. My mom shared her love of reading with me at a young age. I’ve always enjoyed getting lost in a story. My favorite types of stories to read range from sweet historicals and contemporary western romances to epic medieval tales of adventure.
E.E.: Fairy Tale or Action Adventure?
Shanna: As a diehard Hopeless Romantic, I’m definitely going with fairy tale. I love the idea of the heroine and her hero finding their happily ever after. In fact, readers sometimes compare the books in the Hardman Holidays series to fairy tales. They liken The Christmas Bargain to Cinderella and I definitely felt the three fairy godmother’s from Sleeping Beauty adding a little holiday magic to The Christmas Confection.
E.E.: What is your biggest vice?
Shanna: Chocolate. I love, love, love chocolate (dark and decadent, please!). When I was eleven, my mother decided I was allergic to chocolate. For a girl who comes from a long line of chocoholics, it was horrendous! Not a speck of it touched my lips for the next eleven years. Then I started dating the wonderful Captain Cavedweller (we’ve now been married for more than twenty years). One day a few months after we began seeing each other, we were at a gas station and he purchased a few candy bars. Aware of my eyes glued to his candy, he handed me a Snickers bar and told me to eat it. He promised he could get me to the hospital in less than five minutes if I had an allergic reaction to it. Amazingly, the only thing that happened when I ate the candy was that I realized my mother had been terribly, horribly wrong all those years! Since then, I’ve been making up for lost time. CC claims I married him out of gratitude for giving me back chocolate. He’s only partially right.
E.E.: Do you write while listening to music? If so what kind?
Shanna: I absolutely do! But here’s the weird thing… I can only listen to one song while I’m writing. So I choose a song that makes me think of the characters and story in my work in progress then play it on a loop the whole time I’m working on the story. It drives the other occupants of my house bananas to hear the same song playing for the 437th time, but something about having the same song play over and over just keeps me focused in my writing zone and helps solidify my characters. The type of music varies. It might be country or rock or jazz. I listened to a song from the late 1930s when I was working on the first book in my World War II romance series. It all just depends on the characters.
E.E.: What is something that not a lot of people know about you but you WISH more people COULD know?
Shanna: I don’t try to hide it, but most people are unaware that I’m severely hearing-impaired due to genetic hearing loss. I wear hearing aids in both ears and have for the last several years. Since most of my time is spent at home in my own little world, it isn’t a problem. However, when I venture out to book signings or events, it is a struggle to hear what people have to say. I hate to miss even a single fascinating word that people have to share, so if we meet in person in a noisy location, don’t be surprised if I ask you to speak up.
E.E.: What three things are, at this moment, in your heroine’s purse, satchel, reticule, weapons belt or amulet bag (whatever she carries)?
Shanna: Elsa Lindstrom (the heroine from The Christmas Confection) has the key to her bakery, spare hairpins, and a packet of saffron she just picked up at the mercantile because she wants to make a practice batch of St. Lucia buns tucked into her reticule.
E.E.: Which era would you least like to have lived in, fashion-wise, and why? Most?
Shanna: The era I would least like to live in fashion wise would probably be a toss-up between the 1960s and 1970s. I’m not a fan of the styles, the colors, or the fabrics. But I would love to live in the Edwardian Era. Or just visit for a day and pack a trunk full of gowns and hats and gloves and shoes. I adore everything about the fashions of that era. The next choice would be the 1940s. They looked so glamorous and lovely then, even when the women were working at jobs primarily done by men before the war.
E.E.: What inspires you daily?
Shanna: Honestly, I wake up every single day feeling so blessed to do something I love so much. I think about that saying (to paraphrase), if you find something you love doing, you’ll never work another day in your life. That is how I feel. Writing isn’t work. It’s fun and amazing, magnificent and satisfying. Sometimes I need to pinch myself to make sure it’s all real and not some fabulous dream. I began writing in 2010, my first three books were published in June 2011, and I was able to leave my day job in August 2013 to write full time. The Christmas Confection will be my 56th book. Truly, I’m so grateful for this opportunity and so blessed to have my incredible husband’s support every step of the way.
Enter to win a digital copy of the first five books in the Hardman Holidays series! Just answer this question: What’s your favorite fairy tale and why?