Honey Golding is the sweetest little thing Cal has ever laid eyes on. His much-younger new employee is off-limits, but his sweet tooth might overrule his common sense… and his willpower. Readers who love a side of laughter with their romance will enjoy Gingerbread Man by Karla Doyle, a steamy, small town, grumpy/sunshine, boss/employee, age gap romance.
A town that celebrates Christmas year-round is the perfect place for a newly divorced, six-foot-four ginger-haired baker to open his new business, The Ginger Bread Man. Too bad he doesn’t share the community’s love of everything ho-ho-ho. Fake it until you make it, right? Or hire someone who has enough holiday spirit that nobody notices your lack thereof. Enter Honey Golding, the sweetest little thing Cal has ever laid eyes on. His much-younger new employee is off-limits, but his sweet tooth might overrule his common sense… and his willpower.
Copyright 2023 Karla Doyle
“Your hours say you’re open until six,” the brunette says when I unlock and open the door. “So I thought I had plenty of time to catch you.”
“I close when everything’s sold.”
Little Miss Sunshine doesn’t flinch at my grumpy tone. She just stares up at me with the prettiest green eyes I’ve ever seen. “You don’t have anything left to sell? By quarter after four?”
“No.” An apology would be appropriate here, I know. Not my style. Hence why I need a customer service elf. “Come by in the morning if you don’t want to be disappointed.” Shit, even I can do better than that. I huff a miserable-sounding sigh. “I tell you what—I’ll put something aside for you, and you can pick it up whenever you get here. The door will probably be locked, but I’ll wait for you. Best I can do. So. What were you hoping to get today?”
“A job.” No tapping on the glass this time. She pushes past me to reach in and pull my makeshift sign from the inside of the window, then hands it to me. “This job. You won’t find anyone better. What time should I be here tomorrow?”
I grunt a laugh. Even smile a little. She’s spunky, confident, and yeah, very easy on the eyes. Too easy, considering she’s gotta be in her early-twenties, and I’m knocking on forty’s door. My attraction is irrelevant. She’s applying for a job, not a date.
Right now, she’s my top candidate, simply because of her personality. But this is my business, and despite feeling like the stupidest man alive for being blindsided back in Cali, I’m not foolish enough to hire anyone on impulse. Not even the irresistible brunette.
“Got a resume?” I hook a nod toward the cash counter. “I’ll add it to the pile and look it over later.” When she’s not standing in my personal space, looking and smelling like a sweet treat I could sink into. My second head doesn’t get to do the hiring.
She breaks eye contact only long enough to pull a sheet of sunshiny-yellow paper from her bag.
Despite my comment about reviewing it later, I scan the page after she hands it to me. “No bakery experience,” I say, pointing out the only fault I find.
Her genuine smile doesn’t waver, not even for a moment. “Don’t worry. I’ll have your buns and baguettes figured out in no time.”
If she knew how much my baguette liked the sound of that, she’d snatch her application from my hand and never come back. “I’ll be in touch—” I glance at the paper again, as if I didn’t already have her name and number committed to memory. “Ms. Golding.”
“It’s Miss, and call me Honey.”
Another grunted laugh slips out. “Hoping to sweeten me up so I give you the job, Miss Golding?”
“I always put Honora on formal or professional documents, but everyone in town calls me Honey.”
Shit. I’ve got big feet and an even bigger mouth to shove them in.
She raises one eyebrow over eyes the color of moss and shiny as sea glass. “Don’t worry, boss, I’m not offended. What time should I be here in the morning?”
“I haven’t offered you the job.” A smile forces its way past my resting grump face as I accept the hand she extended, awareness rising to riotous levels throughout my body the instant we make skin-to-skin contact.
“You will,” she says, holding my hand and my gaze. “I’m exactly what you need.”
She’s right. I know it with every cell of my being. Trouble is, I think she’s exactly what I need in more ways than I can have her.
About Karla Doyle
After studying fashion design in college, Karla worked in the clothing industry for over two decades. In 2011, she caught the writing bug, received a scholarship to attend the Romance Writers of America conference in New York City, and hasn’t looked back.
A small-town girl with some big-city experience, Karla resides in Southwestern Ontario, Canada, with her husband and two young-adult kids. When she’s not writing the sexy stories swirling around in her head, you can find her spending time with family, playing online Scrabble, or cuddled up with a romance novel and her beloved pets.
Karla loves interacting with readers. Connect with her online or send her an email. She’d love to hear from you!
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