Mattie Spencer has spent the last decade raising her three younger and grooming Sweet Treats Bakery into a thriving business. Over the years, she's watched her sisters grow into beautiful women and find the men of their dreams. Now it's her turn, but, at thirty-five, she feels too old to dream of a husband and children of her own. Tyler Jacobs, a firefighter in the small town of Mount Ridge, keeps busy raising his seven-year-old daughter. The death of his wife during three years ago still haunts him, but morning stops into Sweet Treats, along with a dose of conversation and a handful of Mattie's delicious mint meltaways, kindle a desire he thought was extinguished forever. Now Tyler has just one goal--to convince Mattie that love knows no age.
The bell above the Sweet Treats door jangled. Mattie glanced up from the display case as the door swung open, ushering in a cold gust of air.
“Mornin’.” Tyler Jacobs nodded and tugged scuffed leather gloves from his hands. He brushed sandy brown hair from dark, walnut eyes.
Mattie didn’t miss the fine, jagged scar along his hairline—a reminder of the danger of his job as a firefighter.
“It sure is a cold one.”
“Wind’s restless, too.” She motioned to the street beyond the shop-front window. Weeping willows gyrated in a frenzied dance along the boulevard. “Do you think it’s gonna snow?”
“Might. Certainly feels like it.” He sidled up to the counter and dropped his gloves beside the cash register. “Could use a hot cup of coffee and a bite to eat.”
The scent of pine soap and something purely masculine mingled with lemon and chocolate. Her pulse quickened, and she turned away to wipe her hands on a towel. What was wrong with her? Her insides suddenly felt like tangled spaghetti noodles. She cleared her throat and checked the coffee maker as its gurgles subsided. The brew was fresh—Tyler was usually the first customer of the day. “One muffin, or two this morning?”
“Make it two, both to go. I’m running a bit late. Jessie forgot her reading book at the house, and we had to rush back for it.” He pulled a paper napkin from the dispenser on the counter. “And then we realized Nibbles—”
“Jessie’s new hamster, right?”
“That’s right.” He rolled his eyes and grinned. “Well, Nibbles escaped from his cage, so we had to launch a search and rescue.”
Mattie laughed. “Was the mission successful?”
“Barely. Fluffy had him cornered in the laundry room.”
“Oh, no. Not the cat.”
“Yes, the cat.” Tyler loosened the zipper on his leather jacket and tugged the collar from his neck. “Anyway, after I calmed Jessie, she insisted on giving Nibbles a good talking to, then Fluffy, too, before we could leave again. Then we were a few blocks from the house when—”
“Let me guess…you realized you forgot the reading book, again.”
“Right.” He groaned and ran a hand across the crown of his head. “I think I have a few new gray hairs.”
“You look fine to me.” Better than fine. Mattie turned her attention to the display case. “But that was some way to start a morning. Sounds like you’ve earned your breakfast.”
“You can say that again.” He sighed and propped his elbows on the counter, leaning in. “And I’ve been looking forward to your apple-cinnamon muffins. Nothing better to quell my appetite.”
“Coming right up.” Mattie reached for a foam cup, poured a robust house blend. Her hands shook as Tyler trained his gaze on her, his deep brown eyes like rich, chocolate coins, and a bit of the cloudy brew splashed onto the hot burner, hissed and spat.
“You OK?” Tyler bolted around the counter and took the carafe from her. He set it back on the burner and reached for her hand. His long fingers grazed her palm, her wrist. “Did it burn you?”
“No. I’m fine.” She waited while he lifted her hand for a closer inspection. Her breath came in small gasps as his fingers gently skimmed hers.
“Well…it looks OK.” He nodded and let her fingers slip from his. “What’s got you so jittery this morning, Mat?”
“Nothing.” Mattie shrugged and brushed damp palms across her apron. The coffee hadn’t burned, but his touch sure had. She turned from his gaze and trembled as the rich brew filled the shop with the aroma of hazelnut and vanilla. With a quivering voice she diverted his attention to something—anything—else. “So, how’s Jessie…other than a bit forgetful?”
Mattie and Tyler have known each other for years, yet only as friends in passing. What do you think was the catalyst that began their romance?
Q2. Do you think Mattie's fears of having a child later in life are valid? Tyler also has fears of losing Mattie during childbirth. What would you say to him?
Q3. Mattie's Meltaways is based on Hebrews 11:1. a verse about faith. How has faith changed your life?