Please join me in welcoming the fabulous Holly Day to Stories That Make You Smile. Holly is here today celebrating the release of her newest story, The Wingman. She’s brought along a lovely excerpt and a fun discussion about her favorite story bakers!
Hello, everyone! Thank you, Addison, for letting me drop by again.
I have a new story out. It’s called The Wingman, and I wrote it for National Wingman Day which is today!
This is the 14th month in a row that I’ve had a release, and at the beginning of every month, I write a blog post with book recommendations. I try to keep them on the same theme as my release that month, but it’s getting harder and harder to do.
The Wingman is a contemporary short story at about 11.5k, and it’s a friends to lovers story. When I was to write my recommendation post for the month, I had no idea what to write about because I’ve already recommended short stories, and I’ve already recommended friends to lovers stories. I’m running out of themes or maybe I just need to write different kinds of books LOL. But then it hit me… Bakers! Bakers are awesome, right? And Cole, the main character, is a baker.
I started trying to remember books I’ve read with bakers, and guess what, most of the baker books I listed were books I’ve written. I sat there staring at the list I’d scrawled down and realised I have a thing for bakers.
Bakers, pastry chefs, cafe owners – what’s not to like?
And you know what? It’s the smell. Is there anything better than the scent of freshly baked cinnamon rolls? Something inside of me unclenches when I step into a house that smells of cinnamon and vanilla.
I could do without the baker, really, just give me the cinnamon rolls!
And imagine a never-ending supply of baked goods? I mean, I could stand to lose a few pounds (many pounds, but who’s counting?) so it probably would be bad to have a baker at hand, but… *sigh*
In The Hunger Gap, George is a baker. In The Bear Claw, Shiro is a baker. Espen in Blown Away isn’t a baker, but he hangs out at a bakery and is constantly thinking of cakes – constantly.
As Ofelia Gränd, I have Elevator Pitch where Bjorn is a baker. And lo and behold, if things go according to plan, Ofelia will have a release in April called The Memory Vault where Torbjorn is a baker.
Another fun observation about the baker fetish I didn’t know I had is that all the paranormal stories have bear shifters in them… all of them. Because it’s commonly known that bears have a sweet tooth LOL
And should we talk names? Espen means God bear, Bjorn means bear, Torbjorn means thunder and bear. Shiro actually means gentleman, but then he isn’t a bear, he just hangs out with them. And George means farmer – he has a homestead, so…
In The Wingman, Cole left an abusive relationship some time ago, and ever since he got out, he’s been hiding in the kitchen of his bakery. His best friend, Gavin, has had enough and decides Cole needs help to get back in the saddle. As his self-proclaimed wingman, Gavin drags Cole to a bar.
When there, he deems everyone unworthy of Cole, which suits Cole fine since he doesn’t want to meet anyone. The only one he wants to spend time with is Gavin.
I loved writing this story. It’s not long, but it’s filled with cinnamon rolls, the scent of vanilla, and sturdy tattooed men.
When the alarm went off, Cole cursed and stumbled out of bed. It wasn’t until he spotted Gavin’s dark hair peeking up over the armrest of the couch that he remembered the previous night.
He tiptoed to the bathroom, did his business, and got ready to leave. Right before he exited the apartment, he grabbed his spare key, crept close to the couch, and put it on the coffee table. He should leave a note. Then Gavin moved a hand, and Cole jumped back. He’d send a text.
Hurrying out of the apartment, he closed the door and headed out into the cold night. Frost glistened on the deserted streets. He was exhausted—he always was these days—but he loved the calm of being up at this hour. Saturday mornings weren’t the best. More often than not, some drunk twenty-year-old would be roaming the streets, but so far so good.
He reached the bakery without incident, washed up, put on an apron, and got to work. Kneading the dough and forming loaves put him in some sort of trance, and when Susan arrived, he’d already filled one proofing cabinet with bread.
“Did you have fun last night?”
Cole jumped at her voice. “Oh… erm… sure.” Damn. He’d forgotten to send a text to Gavin. He glanced at the wall clock—five past six.
“I need to send a text to Gavin. He slept on my couch.”
“On your couch?” The disbelief in her tone made him grin.
“Yeah. Don’t ask me why.”
“No, I’ll ask him.” She clucked. “The couch. The boy is losing his touch.” Shaking her head, she went to grab an apron. Cole frowned at her. What was wrong with his couch? And Gavin was no boy.
Cole sent a text, telling Gavin the key was to the apartment, and to grab whatever he wanted for breakfast.
Susan prepared for the morning crowd, though there wasn’t much of one on Saturdays. On the weekdays, they had many customers who came in for breakfast on their way to work, but not on Saturdays. They’d talked about changing the opening hours, but in the end, they’d left them as they were. They still had to come in to do the baking, so they may just as well be open. And Hailey, a college student who came into work on weekends, had begged them for more hours. At the moment, they couldn’t give her more, but they didn’t want to lose her. Should one of them catch a cold or something, Hailey was a good backup.
Cole lost himself in the baking again and hardly noticed when Hailey arrived. She prepared the cafe area, and Cole rolled out a tray cart with the bread that was done. She’d put it on the display shelves along the wall behind the counter.
“Thank you.” She touched his arm, and he jerked away, hitting his hip on the edge of the counter.
“Shit, I didn’t mean to scare you.” She smiled, and Cole shook his head, searching for words.
“I… eh… thought you were by the tables.”
She held up a bucket with soapy water and a dishcloth. “I was, but I’m done.”
He nodded and shrank back into the kitchen. It wasn’t until he pulled in a deep breath that he noticed Susan watching him with a frown. He plastered on a smile and threw himself into making cinnamon rolls.
Too many thoughts—none of which made sense—spun in his head. He’d slept well, so why were his nerves shot today?
An hour later, a form blocked the doorway, and Cole looked up. Gavin leaned against the doorframe, looking disheveled. It had heat spreading in Cole’s chest, but he squashed it.
“What are you doing here?”
“You wrote I could have whatever I wanted for breakfast. I want coffee and cinnamon rolls.”
“Why are you on this side of the counter?” The cinnamon rolls would be done in a few minutes.
“You want me to stand in line like a commoner?”
A surprised laugh bubbled out of him, and Gavin smiled. It was a soft smile that had nerves dancing over Cole’s skin. Why was he giving him soft smiles? Gavin didn’t do soft.
“Are you telling me there’s a line?” He looked away before he got caught staring.
“At this ungodly hour? Of course not.”
Susan pushed past Gavin into the kitchen. “You can take a break, Cole. Have some breakfast too.”
“I was gonna make the cupcakes.”
“I’ll start them and you can do the frosting once they’re done.”
Cole nodded. He loved decorating cupcakes. He loved baking bread too, but there was something special about decorating cakes and cupcakes, something artistic.
A year ago, Cole Hudson got out of an abusive relationship. Since then, he’s been hiding in the kitchen of his bakery, avoiding people best he can. He prefers it there, but his best friend Gavin has other ideas.
Gavin is set on finding him a boyfriend, but Cole doesn’t like hanging around bars, and it’s precisely what Gavin has in mind. As Cole’s self-proclaimed wingman, Gavin is on the hunt for a worthy partner, but it isn’t an easy find.
Cole doesn’t want to date; he only wants to spend time with Gavin. Gavin only wants Cole to be happy. How many men flocking around Cole will he have to chase away before the right one shows up?
According to Holly Day, no day should go by uncelebrated and all of them deserve a story. If she’ll have the time to write them remains to be seen. She lives in rural Sweden with a husband, four children, more pets than most, and wouldn’t last a day without coffee.
Holly gets up at the crack of dawn most days of the week to write gay romance stories. She believes in equality in fiction and in real life. Diversity matters. Representation matters. Visibility matters. We can change the world one story at the time.
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