Sugar and Spice – A Karma Café novella by Tawny Weber

SPICE
Sugar and Spice – A Karma Café novella by Tawny Weber
Publisher: Self Published
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (84 pgs)
Other: M/F
Rating: 4.5 stars
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

Hot kisses, sexy shoes and a midnight rendezvous – the perfect recipe for Happy Ever After.

Throw in a fairy godmother with personal agenda, a midnight deadline and a marriage-of-convenience and you have a hot and sassy twist on a modern day Cinderella story.

For over a hundred years, the Karmanski women have been cooking up delicious treats, and a little magic. But now their business, Karma Café, is in trouble and each of the Karmanskis has a different opinion on how to save their livelihood. The matriarch, Odette, is old-school, and more than ready to rely on magic. Natalia is sure if she can just marry her daughter off to a wealthy suitor, all their problems will be solved, and she has just the suitor in mind-the gorgeous CEO of Chastain Shoes. Anja’s just as determined to foil her mother’s plans and stay single. She cooks up a scheme to serve up the perfect match for this prince of a guy. With the aid of a little magical help, she’s going to put a Happy Ever After twist on her mother’s matchmaking.

Administrative Assistant, Dedra Hanson has three addictions. Gorgeous shoes, yummy treats and her sexy boss. Her credit card balance and bathroom scale do a pretty good job of keeping the first two addictions in check. And the third? Love of her job has always kept her from acting on her passion for Paul Chastain. But now that she’s leaving her job because her playboy CEO boss is about to become engaged to a chilly socialite to save his business, Paul Chastain is fair game.

All she needs for one wild fantasy night? The nerve to seduce her boss, and a little bit of magic. The only question left is, can she leave when the clock strikes midnight?

Mix a little magical chocolate with a secret lust and watch a sensual volcano explode between two people who have insisted on liking each other into a state of banality.

Paul Chastain won’t touch his secretary. She’s the best one he ever had, and his best friend. He’s put her on a pedestal and won’t even dare to rock the boat. Oh, don’t mention ‘rocking’ anything – the hero has to be so very careful about his thoughts because, you know, they’re inappropriate. I so enjoy watching a man try to control himself when everything inside screams ‘TAKE!’ What made him so interesting was wondering what was going to trip him up. A man who has to struggle so hard to keep a rein on his urges is bound to blow in a spectacular fashion and that was what I couldn’t wait to see.

Dedra has absolutely no problems with admitting she has the hots for her boss. Has for years. Ms. Weber made it very clear that Dedra’s feelings weren’t’ shallow or short-lived and that’s what made her unrequited love that much more poignant. I liked the list of things the author had the heroine do to ‘distract’ herself from her ‘inappropriate’ feelings. Distraction is good because based upon some family history, Dedra refuses to be a cliché. Also, I understood the heroine’s decision once she found out about Sylvia Bittle. What she hadn’t counted on, and what I found fascinating, was the wrinkle coming out of left field – the daughter of a woman determined to see her wed, and that daughter equally determined not to be. Dedra was the perfect foil.

What follows is entertaining. A little hint there, the taking on of a dare, and a few subtle clothing changes later and a reader finally gets to enjoy what all Paul and Dedra’s careful posturing could not prevent. Passion explodes and both characters are made aware of each other on a whole new level, on every level. This wouldn’t be a Tawny Weber romance if it ended there. No, there comes the moment after the glow wears off. One has an epiphany and the other freaks and somehow they both have to come to terms with their new potential relationship and all that it means or could mean. That whole process was interesting and I enjoyed it.

As for the daughter who didn’t want to get married, her name was Anja. She played an integral role in getting the plot to move along but the way the author presented this secondary character lead me to believe that she will have her own story someday. No one that successful in thwarting a matchmaking momma can resist forever. Mothers have their ways. And, although I found some of the scenes that ventured into Anja and her family’s life a bit distracting from the main story arc, probably due to the depth of detail that the author took pains to get into, I guess it served as a solid hook to get a reader interested in Anja’s future story. If that was the intent, then it was successful.

On the whole, Sugar and Spice is a fun way to spend an afternoon. It’s a typical scenario fulfilled in an unconventional and entertaining manner. Paul and Dedra were sweet and saucy together and I enjoyed watching them unravel and then come back together in a stronger, potentially happier place. The fireworks between them were believable and fun. I liked the little bit of mystical manipulation and its effects. It’s a cute story and I think fans of Ms. Weber will like it.

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