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Authors: Rebecca Raisin

Secrets At Maple Syrup Farm

BOOK: Secrets At Maple Syrup Farm
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Maple sugar kisses

Lucy would do anything for her mom…but she never expected to end up promising to leave her. After her mom got sick, Lucy dropped everything to take care of her, working all hours in a greasy diner just to make ends meet and spending every spare moment she had by her mom’s hospital bedside.

Now, Lucy is faced with a whole year of living by her own rules, starting by taking the first bus out of town to anywhere…

Except she didn’t expect to find her next big adventure just around the corner! Especially when on her first day in town she bumps into grumpy, but oh-so-delicious Clay amid the maple trees. Surrounded by the magic of Ashford, Lucy has the chance to change her life forever and finally discover a life she wants to live!

Fall in love with Ashford, Connecticut, in this dazzling and beautiful romance from bestselling author Rebecca Raisin.

Gingerbread Café

Christmas at the Gingerbread Café
is a lovely, cheery festive read, a good old-fashioned feel-good romance to warm the cockles of your heart. This is one of my favourite Christmas reads of the year.’
Books with Bunny

‘This is a great novella that I really enjoyed reading and found that
I didn’t want to put it down
. It is the perfect read to get you in the mood for Christmas and my mouth was watering after reading about all of the delicious-sounding baking. If you are looking for a Christmassy romance then don’t look any further than Rebecca Raisin’s brilliant debut.’
Christmas at the Gingerbread Café

‘Raisin not only excels in creating a festive mood—
the tone of family and friends coming together is sweet
—but also portrays a lovely winter-wonderland setting, where things are covered in snow. This makes the book feel cosy and safe. It’s definitely an uplifting read.’
Sam Still Reading
Christmas at the Gingerbread Café

‘This is a short and incredibly sweet novella that explores a very endearing and unexpected romance. It is definitely one that will
make you laugh and warm your heart
, and one that can be happily devoured in one sitting.’ Louisa’s
Christmas at the Gingerbread Café

‘If you love Christmas, romance and HEA then you will love this sweet novella.

This one gets an A!’
Clue Review
Christmas at the Gingerbread Café

‘Wow—loved it, loved it, loved it! …
It was just like I was visiting with old friends
. Rebecca’s descriptions are so vivid I could very well have been stood in the café, hugging CeeCee and waddling out after sampling all the different chocolatey delights on offer. My mouth literally watered with every turn of the page. … I don’t know what I’m going to do whilst waiting for the next book—Christmas is so far away!!’
Crooks on Books
Chocolate Dreams at the Gingerbread Café

‘This book is sweet & delicious, and I am looking forward to the next in the series as they end all too quickly!’
All Booked Out
Chocolate Dreams at the Gingerbread Café

Also by Rebecca Raisin

Once in a Lifetime series

The Gingerbread Café trilogy

Christmas at the Gingerbread Café

Chocolate Dreams at the Gingerbread Café

(The Bookshop on the Corner)

Christmas Wedding at the Gingerbread Café

Coming soon:

The Little Paris Collection

The Little Bookshop on the Seine

The Little Antique Shop under the Eiffel Tower

The Little Perfume Shop off the Champs-Elysees

Secrets at Maple Syrup Farm

Rebecca Raisin


is a true bibliophile. This love of books morphed into the desire to write them. She’s been widely published in various short-story anthologies, and in fiction magazines, and is now focusing on writing romance. The only downfall about writing about gorgeous men who have brains as well as brawn is falling in love with them—just as well they’re fictional. Rebecca aims to write characters you can see yourself being friends with. People with big hearts who care about relationships, and, most importantly, believe in true, once-in-a-lifetime love.

To the girls I met in the UK and the ones who couldn’t make it, thanks for your unwavering support and friendship, always.

For Graham Basden





Book List

Title Page

Author Bio



Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

Chapter Seven

Chapter Eight

Chapter Nine

Chapter Ten

Chapter Eleven

Chapter Twelve

Chapter Thirteen

Chapter Fourteen

Chapter Fifteen

Chapter Sixteen

Chapter Seventeen

Chapter Eighteen

Chapter Nineteen

Chapter Twenty

Chapter Twenty-One

Chapter Twenty-Two

Chapter Twenty-Three

Excerpt: The Little Bookshop on the Seine



Chapter One

With the beeps, drips, and drones, it was hard to hear Mom, as she waxed lyrical about my painting. Her voice was weaker today, and her breathing labored, but none of that took away from the incandescence in her deep blue eyes.

Wistfully she said, “Lucy, you have a real gift, do you know that?” She patted the white knitted hospital blanket. “Look at that sunset, it’s like I’m right there, stepping into the world you’ve created.”

I sat gently on the edge of the bed, doing my best to avoid the wires that connected my mom to the machine. These days her hair hung lank—the wild riot of her strawberry-blonde curls tamed by so many days indoors, head resting on a pillow. I tucked an escaped tendril back, and made a mental note to help her wash it later.

“You’re biased. You have to say that,” I said, keeping my voice light. Beside her, I cast a critical eye over the piece. All I could find was fault. The sun was too big, the sky not quite the right hue, and the birds with their wings spread wide seemed comical, like something a kindergartner would do. When it came to my art, I still had a way to go before I felt confident. Mom was the only person I showed my work to these days.

“Hush,” she said. “I could stare at this all day. If I close my eyes I feel the heat from the sun, the wind in my hair…”

That’s why I’d painted the picture. She’d been suffering quietly for so many years, in and out of hospitals, unable these days to pack her oversized backpack and follow her heart around the globe. She’d been a wanderer, always looking to the next city, a new host of people, a brand new adventure…but her diagnosis had changed all of that. Even though she never complained, I could read it in her eyes—she still yearned for that freedom.

My mom, a free spirit, looked out of place in the gray-white room. She needed sunshine, laughter, the frisson of excitement as she met other like-minded souls, nomads with big hearts and simple lifestyles. The painting, I hoped, would remind her of what we’d do when she was home again. A short road trip to the beach, where I’d sketch, and she’d gaze at the ocean, watching waves roll in.

“Honey, are you working a double tonight?” she said softly, her gaze still resting on the golden rays of sun.

I had to work as many shifts as I could. Our rent was due, and the bills mounting up, just like always. There were times I had to call in sick, to help Mom. We lived paycheck to paycheck, and I was on thin ice with my boss as it was. He didn’t understand what my private life was like, and I wasn’t about to tell him! It was no one’s business but my own. I kept our struggles hidden, a tightly guarded secret, because I didn’t want pity. That kind of thing made me want to lash out so I avoided it. When I had the odd day off, I tried to make up for it by covering any shift I could. We needed the money anyhow. “No,” I lied. “Not a double. I’ll be back early tomorrow and I’ll take you out to the rose garden.”

She gazed at me, searching my face. “No, Lucy. One of the nurses can take me outside. You stay home and rest.”

I scoffed. “You know the nurses won’t take you all that way. You’ll go crazy cooped up in here.”

She tilted her head. “You think you can fool me? Not a double, huh?” She stared me down, and I squirmed under her scrutiny. “Don’t worry about me. I’ve got plenty to do here.” She waved at the table. “Sudoko, knitting, and…” Laughter burst out of us. The Sudoko and knitting needles were a gift from the lady in the bed over, who’d been discharged earlier that morning. When I’d walked in, Mom’s face had been twisted in concentration as she tried to solve the puzzle of numbers. The yarn lay on her lap, knotted, forgotten. She didn’t have the patience for that kind of thing, not these days, with her hands, her grip, unreliable at the best of times.

With a wheeze, she said, “There are not enough hours in the day to waste boggling my brain with knit two, pearl one, or whatever it is.”

I laughed. “I could use another scarf or two. Who cares if you drop a few stitches?” A million years ago Mom had taken up knitting for a month or so, producing with a flourish a bright pink sweater for me to wear to school. She’d been so damn proud of it, I hadn’t had the heart to point out all the holes from dropped stitches. She knew though, and looped a pink ribbon through them, and said, “Look, it’s all fixed with a belt.” I wore that sweater until it fell apart, knowing how much love she had poured into every stitch. It was one of her foibles, taking up a new hobby with gusto, and then dropping it when something else caught her eye. It was a sort of restlessness that plagued her, and she’d skip from one thing to another without a backward glance.

She gave me a playful shove. “I’m not the crafty one of the family, that’s for sure. That’s reserved especially for you. Would you put the painting by the window? I’m going to pretend we’re at that beach, drinking fruity cocktails, and squinting at the sunshine.”

“We’ll be there in no time,” I said, knowing we wouldn’t. It was January, rain lashed hard at the window. Detroit in this kind of weather had a gloominess about it; it cast a pall over the city, almost like a cloud of despair. It was different than other places in winter. Sadder.

I leaned the painting against the rain-drizzled glass, its colors too bright for the dreary room, but maybe that’s what she needed—a bit of vibrancy to counter the gray. The bleak city was not our first choice, but rent was cheap enough for us to afford on one wage. It pained me to think of the places we’d lived when we’d both worked. I’d loved the sun-bleached streets of Florida, and being blown sideways in the woolly weather of Chicago. Those were happier times, when we disappeared for weekend escapades. Home for me had always been where Mom was, as we squished our too-full suitcases closed, and moved from place to place.

Stepping back to the bed, I pulled the blanket up, and settled beside her, checking my watch.

“Before you head to work, I want to talk to you about something.” Her tone grew serious, and her face pinched.

“What, Mom?” I inched closer to her.

She cleared her throat, and gave me a hard stare. “I want you to make me a promise.” She held up her pinkie finger.

“OK,” I said warily. I’d promise my mom anything, she was the light in my life, but I sensed somehow this was going to be different. I could tell by her expression, the way she pursed her mouth, and set her shoulders. The air grew heavy.

“I mean it. You have to promise me you’ll do as I ask, and not question me.” Her lip wobbled ever so slightly.

BOOK: Secrets At Maple Syrup Farm
12.7Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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