Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Sweet Valentine by S.A. Clayton


Valentina loves owning her own bakery and making her customers smile. But being her own boss means spending every waking hour working and leaves little time for anything else. No matter, finding a man to stand by her side was never in her plans—at least not anymore. But when a handsome man walks into her shop, stealing her breath, everything changes.

Noah was content teaching his second-grade class and devoting all of his time to his students. Until he steps into Val’s Sweet Treats, and his whole world turns upside down. What is it about Val that draws him? Is it her compassion for her customers? Her ability to create such mouth-watering treats? Or is it the fact that she wants nothing to do with him? Regardless, now that he’s seen her, he will stop at nothing to get her attention.

But everyone has a past, and when theirs start to creep back into their lives, will they be able to weather the storm? Or will their relationship crumble into pieces…

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Book 3
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You know why I left, it’s not a secret you think the bakery is more important than our relationship. I hope you find someone who will accept being second fiddle to your job, but that’s not me.

I take a deep breath and read the letter for the millionth time. It’s not like I don’t have it memorized, but seeing the words written in his handwriting cements it home.

He’s gone.

For good.

It’s been eight months since I came home and found this letter, along with half my shit taken, never to be seen again. And it’s been six months since I decided to move and relocate to be as far away from memories of him as I could. Did I want to relocate my bakery and risk everything I’ve worked for? Not really. But being there, surrounded by slivers of what our life should have been, didn’t seem healthy. So, I packed up and went back home to Smithfalls.

“I’ve brought the wine!” Mandy yells before I hear the knock on the front door. I place the letter on the coffee table and chuckle as she jiggles the front door, thinking it’s unlocked. I weave through the living room and open the door. She hands me a grocery bag that weighs at least 10 pounds as she pushes past me and heads down the hallway toward the kitchen. I follow, making sure the plastic bag doesn’t break on the way.

“Is this really necessary?” I ask leaning against the doorway as she places a very large tote bag on the island and begins to take out bottle after bottle of my favorite wine. The cheap plastic of the bag in my arms starts to dig into my palms, but I stay where I am.

“Val Miller, get your ass in this kitchen and help me.” I roll my eyes as I set the bag of mystery items on the island. “Don’t look at me like that, girl’s night means food, lots of food. And not the healthy kind either.” She says pointing the wine opener in the direction of the bag. “Now be useful and grab us the biggest wine glasses you can find.” Now that I can do. I head to the other side of the kitchen and open my wine cabinet. Yes, I have one, and no it’s not sad. Once I set the glasses beside her, she looks at me, smirking.

“You want the good news or the bad news first?” I look at her for a second and wonder if she knows that’s there is only one right answer to that question.

“Obviously good news.” I mutter as she finally uncorks the wine and pours a generous amount into each glass.

“Good news is, I finally got the preview of the review of Val’s Sweet Treats going in this weekend’s paper.” My whole body locks. I’ve been waiting for this for days, and since Mel has connections at the paper, I knew she would get the inside scoop. “You okay?” she asks, holding out the glass for me to take.

I nod my head, taking a large sip and feeling the warmth cascade over my skin. “Yeah, I’m good.” Val’s Sweet Treats is my baby. The one constant, besides Mandy, that brings a sense of calm over my otherwise mess of a life. Owning your own bakery is tough but moving said business from downtown to a small town with no assurances that it will succeed is hard, stressful, and maddening.

“You know it’s good right? I’ve already read it,” she says winking in my direction. God, I love her. She’s like my security blanket in human form. She’s been my best friend since we were kids and has seen me at my best and my very worst. “This is going to work, I promise.” She whispers, taking my arm and leading me into the living room.

“So, what’s the bad news?” I ask, curiosity getting the better of me.

“Oh shit!” she says running back into the kitchen and rummaging through the plastic bag of food. I follow and laugh when I see her taking a carton of ice cream and putting in in the freezer. “I think I saved it.” She mutters to herself and when she sees me standing there silently laughing, she gives me the finger. “And here I was sad they had no mint chocolate chip… but now I know you deserve to only get cookie dough.” I shrug my shoulders, leaving her alone in the kitchen. When she makes her way back in, she notices the letter on the table.

“You still have it?” she picks it up, reading it over as she shakes her head. “I can’t believe you wasted three years in that douche.” I don’t say anything because it’s true. I wasted so much time on he-who-should-not-be-named, a guy who never truly believed I could open a successful bakery.

“Yeah well, not anymore.” I take another large sip of wine as Mandy’s eye scan the letter once more.

“I can’t believe he told you your baking wasn’t that impressive. That’s just mean.” I absently nod, remembering exactly the part she’s talking about. I’m sick of you spending so much time in that stupid kitchen making up recipes that aren’t even that great.

“He was just jealous of your success.” Say says, clinking our glasses in a toast. I laugh, because the term success to describe what my bakery was back then is laughable.

“Success? Mandy I was barely afloat when I was downtown. He’s not wrong when he said that some of my recipes weren’t good enough. They weren’t.” Mandy goes to say something, but I stop her. “I know some of my stuff is good, great even, but I was so stuck in the idea of constantly innovating that I forgot why I became popular in the first place. Simple recipes. Simple concept.”

“That’s why this time it’s gonna work. No more frills. Just you.” I hope she’s right. ‘Cause if this doesn’t work, I have no idea what I’m gonna do.




Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

Avid Reader☆☆☆☆
M/F Romance

Valentina has a sweet demeanor and she just wants to make others happy with her baking. Despite her messy personal life, she picks herself up and creates a whole new dream. I really enjoyed her character and felt that she was the quintessential girl next door personality. She has a big heart and wants everyone to have love in their life.

Noah is a dedicated teacher who loves his kids and wants to find someone who he can have a life with. What he isn't expecting is to run in to his soul mate while ordering cookies for his class. Noah is instantly taken with Valentina's personality. He can't help but want to take her out. Noah is willing to put in the work to see her and isn't afraid to love someone who is their own person.

While this is a quick read, it has all of the parts to a romance – buildup, conflict, and resolution. They were sweet and funny together and you can't help but want to cheer them on.


Ruthie☆☆☆☆
This is a very sweet and enjoyable novella perfect for celebrating the upcoming 14th of February. Whilst they certainly feel the pull of chemistry very quickly, they have enough issues and style to wait just a little longer than would be classified as insta-love, just. It works though, as we can determine pretty quickly that they are both good people, who do not usually act with such haste.

Valentina is a baker who has started afresh after a horrible breakup. She is positive, caring, and clearly super sexy. She definitely now deserves someone who will put her first and recognise that her bakery is an important part of her life. She wants the whole white picket fence, children et al, but after her last boyfriend wanted only a trophy wife, she is not trying to rush anything.

Noah teaches 7 year olds, and falls instantly for the lovely baker when he goes to order Valentine's Day cookies for his students. He will not take no for an answer, but he is prepared to be patient (sort of) – I loved their texting and his increasing impatience.

There are obstacles along the way, but we do get a fully rounded story in the course of the book with a really sweet and fun ending.


Mary☆☆☆☆
I found that I really liked this story except for the ex-wife. But there always has to be someone or something from the past that gets in the way for a little while to make the couple work for the love they share.

Valentina moves her bakery to a small town after her boyfriend breaks up with her because he said she spent too much time working at the shop. Well yeah, it's a bakery and you have to start work early. And shouldn't a boyfriend support your dreams no matter what they are? Maybe his leaving was for the best.

Noah is a second-grade teacher and he loves his job. When a fellow teacher tells him to go to the new bakery for cookies for the upcoming Valentine's Day party, he was not expecting Val to be at the shop.

The attraction is almost instant and the chemistry is off the charts. But when he asks her out, she turns him down several times. Will Noah ever get a date with Val? Can Val trust herself to not fall for Noah so quickly?

If you are looking for a quick, sweet story then this one is for you. This is a first for me from this author and I can't wait to check out some of her other books.



S.A. Clayton lives in a small town outside of Toronto with her husband of five years and her scary large collection of books that seem to take over every room.

She has worked on both sides of the publishing industry, both in a bookstore and for actual publishing companies. Although she loved both for different reasons, she found that writing was her true passion and has spent the last few years breaking into the industry as best she can. She is a lover of all things romance and began her writing journey in her late twenties. Since then, she has immersed herself in the romance genre and couldn’t be happier.

When she’s not writing or reading, she enjoys binging a great Netflix show (Stranger Things anyone?), baking (because who doesn’t love cookies!) and spending time with her family.

Connect with S.A.

Facebook  ~  Twitter  ~  Instagram  ~  Website  ~  Goodreads


Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of Sweet Valentine (By Chance #3) by S.A. Clayton to read and review.

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