It’s so exciting to see the release of the SECOND novel set in Arcadia Valley! I’ve been a fan of Elizabeth Maddrey’s writing for a couple of years, and she was the first author I approached when I started thinking about putting together a project such as this. (I reviewed her novel A Splash of Substance here.)
If you’ve read Romance Grows in Arcadia Valley, you’ll remember the awesome rapport between the hero, Corban, and his best friend, Emerson, in the novella Loaves & Wishes. This guy-talk is a strength of Elizabeth’s, and it shines through in Muffins & Moonbeams with the three Baxter brothers. Malachi may be the hero of the tale, but his siblings are definitely part of it!
In Loaves & Wishes (Elizabeth’s novella in Romance Grows in Arcadia Valley), Ruth’s brothers join her in Arcadia Valley and decide to start a community-supported bakery. This is a you-scratch-my-back-and-I’ll-scratch-yours business, where the bakery buys whatever supplies they can from local farmers, and the community “subscribes” to the program with standing weekly orders.
The system is getting underway in Muffins & Moonbeams, the first full-length novel in the Baxter Family Bakery series (part of Arcadia Valley Romance), with Malachi in his comfort zone of doing the online marketing work, though the website itself is more than he wants to tackle. Soon he begins to suspect that his favorite online gaming buddy not only lives in Arcadia Valley, but is the web designer he’s hired.
Here’s the official description of Muffins & Moonbeams:
Malachi Baxter is happy to hide in the background and manage the business-end of the family bakery. He’d much rather live in the online world of computer games where he can explore the galaxy and no one has to know he’s deaf.
Ursula Franks designs websites during the day and spends her evenings battling alien races online where relationships are easy and uncomplicated. When she agrees to design a website for the local Community Supported Bakery, she has no idea that Malachi is the real man behind her online persona’s best friend and her own secret crush.
As the two work together on the website, they uncover an attraction, but will they be able to put aside past hurt and insecurity to find love?
What will you enjoy in Muffins & Moonbeams? Besides the great brotherly camaraderie, I think you’ll enjoy watching a pair of geeks find their way past their social awkwardness and find love.
Here’s an excerpt:
She tugged open the bakery door and breathed deeply as the yeasty scent of fresh bread surrounded her. Maybe she’d just sit at one of the two tables by the window and eat here.
“Can I help you?” The man behind the counter set aside the book he’d been reading—a recent sci fi novel that was on her list as well—and stood.
Ursula’s breath caught in her lungs. No baker should look that good. Shouldn’t bakers be chubby and grandfatherly rather than broad-shouldered hunks with just the right amount of scruff on their chin to make a woman’s mouth water?
“Are you okay?”
“Yeah. Great. Hi. Sorry.” Heat flooded her face as Ursula stepped closer to the counter. “My mind wanders.”
The corners of his mouth poked up. “I have that problem sometimes too. First time here?”
She nodded and scanned the display case. They definitely leaned toward bread—which was what the man who’d emailed told her—but bakery conjured images of donuts and cookies and cakes. None of which were in evidence. “I’m Ursula Franks. You just hired me to do your website?”
“Sure. Hi. I’m Malachi. We emailed briefly yesterday.” He leaned his arms on the case. “What can I get you?”
“Maybe a loaf of the asiago?”
His smile did crazy things to her belly. “Sure thing. That’s one of our best sellers.”
As he turned to get a bag and tongs, Ursula scanned the other offerings in the case. “You make all of this on site? By yourself?”
Malachi turned back, reached into the case, and slipped the bread into a bag. “Anything else?”
Her eyebrows lifted. Rude or…? “You made this?”
“Me?” He laughed, shaking his head. “No. My brothers are the bakers. I do the books and the dishes. You want to talk to them? They ran out to help my sister, but they should be back soon.”
Elizabeth Maddrey began writing stories as soon as she could form the letters properly and has never looked back. Though her practical nature and love of math and organization steered her into computer science for college and graduate school, she has always had one or more stories in progress to occupy her free time. When she isn’t writing, Elizabeth is a voracious consumer of books and has mastered the art of reading while undertaking just about any other activity. She loves to write about Christians who struggle through their lives, dealing with sin and receiving God’s grace.
Elizabeth lives in the suburbs of Washington D.C. with her husband and their two incredibly active little boys.