Secrets abound in Benson's Bakery. A crazed Santa wants something valuable hidden inside the building, and only two things stand in his way...Jake and Sara.
When Sara Henderson receives threatening letters just days before Christmas, she asks sexy bread baker Jake Benson for help. Jake is more than happy to provide the muscle to keep the beautiful cake decorator from harm, but he has an ulterior motive--to steal a kiss under the mistletoe. Sara wants that kiss as much as he does, but first they have a mystery to solve.
Will they find out who is stalking Sara, or will Santa succeed in stealing Christmas?
She combed trembling fingers through her hair. She’d rather leave the police out of the equation, but maybe if she showed them the letters they would take her seriously this time. Either way she wanted the harassment to stop.
She sighed. “Wha-what did you hear on the news?”
“They’re called ‘Santa Muggings.’ Several individuals have been robbed by Santa, mostly at the mall though. The police can’t really help without a better description.”
“Did they receive threats, too? Did you read that note, Jake? This guy is very specific.” Apprehension flickered through her stomach, twisting her in knots. She paced the small office. “What am I gonna do? Do you know how many Santas are running around this time of year?”
He grinned. “Can you imagine how this has hurt sales at the mall?”
She tossed him a frosty glance. “You’re making jokes, and I’m serious.”
Jake captured her hand. His warm, rough palm calmed her agitated nerves. She met his stare, and surprised delight flickered under his concern. Had he also noticed the tiny jolt arcing between them?
She rested her gaze on his lean, boyish features. His smooth toffee skin held a smattering of day-old stubble and seemed to be the only thing she could think of some days. Well, that and his mouth. She longed to lean across the desk, to taste his full, sexy lips and never stop. She blinked. Now was not the time.
“I’m here for you, honey.” He drew lazy circles on the back of her hand with his thumb.
She loved the contrast of their skin tones, his a rich caramel and hers a warm chocolate. Butterflies whispered through her veins until Sara had a hard time concentrating on anything but him. “I think these notes may have something to do with your grandfather’s death.”
“Why do you say that?”
With reluctance, she withdrew her hand. “Every year Jerry would open twelve of the deposit boxes downstairs. If he found something valuable, he would split the contents with the rest of the staff, as kind of a year-end bonus.”
For more than fifty years, the bakery had serviced the Genesee County area, but in the early to mid-1900’s the building had been occupied by a private company specializing in lock boxes. Somehow the deposits boxes remained.
Jake sat up straight. “You really think this has something to do with the safety deposit boxes?”
“I didn’t start receiving the letters until after the funeral.”
He stared at her, concern flickered in his eyes. “You mean this isn’t the first one?”
She shook her head. “I didn’t want to bother you, especially since I thought they were a joke at first. But the wording is becoming more aggressive.” She sighed. “Why else would someone send threatening letters right before we’re planning to open the boxes?”
She turned to leave, but Jake recaptured her hand. Heat sizzled up her arm, down through her body and pulsed low.
“You’re not in this alone, Sara. All you have to do is call me.”
She closed her eyes, unease forming an icy knot in the pit of her stomach. “I thought someone was following me the other day.” She shuddered. “And just now. Outside.” She gazed into Jake’s compassionate gray eyes. “I don’t like being afraid.”
He stood, bringing his other hand to her waist.