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Hello, Stacey Wallace Benefiel here.  I’d like to thank Lissette for having me on her blog today! The short story I wrote for the Death by Chocolate anthology is entitled Back In Time.

 

Behold the blurb: Nothing in Aurelia Lemon’s life is turning out how she’d planned. She’s unemployed, unattached, and her family bakery is on the verge of closing. To make matters worse, the guy she dumped in high school is doing well and getting rich off of one of her departed mother’s recipes. It would take a miracle to right everything she’s done wrong. Or maybe just a phone call and the chance to go Back in Time.

 

I thought I’d treat you all to a little sneak peek of my story.  Enjoy! And, yes, you’ll be wanting to stuff yourself with baked goods by the time you’re through reading it.

 

Excerpt:

 

“Welcome to Dekker’s!” another uniform-clad woman said in an annoyingly cheerful voice. “How many dozen Death by Chocolate cupcakes can I get for you today?”

Aurelia almost gagged on the theoretical vomit that began creeping up her throat. “Does Cam really make you say that? What if someone wants a baguette or a slice of quiche?”

The woman nodded, a smile plastered on her face. “They are our best selling product!” She reached behind her and pulled a tray filled with little paper cups from the counter. “Would you like to try a sample?”

A tall man with expertly coiffed blonde hair wearing a charcoal grey business suit walked through the swinging door from the kitchen and stopped behind the woman, taking the sample tray from her. “I’ve got this customer, Delia, why don’t you call the next number?”

“Yes, Mr. Dekker.”

DBC BCAurelia stared, her mouth agape. It was Cam, but not the boy she remembered. This Cam was filled out and muscular. He’d gone from being a cute, scrawny guy with floppy hair who wore ratty t-shirts perpetually smudged with flour to a full-fledged, gorgeous, well-dressed man.

“Hey, Li-Le,” he said, taking an empty sample tray from the counter and loading it with cupcakes, mini-quiches and small ciabatta sandwiches filled with apples and brie, talking as he worked. “I assume Sadie’s with you? Y’know, I told her she doesn’t have to stand in line in her condition. I offered to have someone drop a delivery by her house in the afternoons.”

“I, uh,” Aurelia said, trying to pull herself together and come up with something neutral to say, something that didn’t involve the words hot, kiss, or finger lickin’ good. “I think she wanted me to see what you’d done to the place. It looks beautiful in here, Cam.”

“Thanks, that means a lot coming from yo-.”

“Although the Hazelgrove display is really jacking with your feng shui.”

Cam shrugged. “I can buy new qi.” He nodded in the direction of the seating area.

Aurelia stood at the counter dumbfounded for a second before she realized he wanted her to follow him. That’s all he’s going to say about that?

Cam set the tray down on the table in front of Sadie. “I’ll go in back and grab a couple more chairs. You two want anything to drink? Coffee? Sparkling water?”

“I’d love a water,” Sadie said. Not bothering to wait on them, she dug into one of the half dozen cupcakes Cam had brought over.

“Coffee would be great,” Aurelia said. “I take it with-”

“I remember how you take it. Splash of soy milk and two sugars.” He gave her a tight smile and then made his way back behind the counter.

“You,” Aurelia said, glaring at Sadie. “I thought he was ‘hardly ever here.’”

Sadie licked chocolate frosting from her fingers. “What day is it?”

“Thursday.”

She nodded. “Oops. He’s here on Tuesdays and Thursdays.”

“Sadie!”

“He looks good, doesn’t he?” She grinned.

Aurelia continued her purposeful glaring.

“And he’s successful. Single. Y’know, it’s not too late for you to get a piece of that.”

“He’s trying to buy my parents’ business out from under me and turn it into a crap factory!”

It was Sadie’s turn to roll her eyes. “Please, he’s trying to do your dad a favor. It’s not like any of us ever expected you’d actually come back. You wanted nothing to do with him or the bakery business, remember?”

“It wasn’t that I wanted nothing to do with him,” Aurelia huffed. “We were going in different directions and besides, if I’d stayed around he might not have ever decided to make something of himself.”

Sadie dropped the remains of her cupcake on the tray. “What? You mean like me? I know you think my life sucks-”

“I do not.”

“-but I like my life,” Sadie continued. “I may still live in Lang. I may be married and knocked up and live less than a mile from my parents, but there’s nothing wrong with that.”

Aurelia threw up her hands. “You’re right, and I get that now, of course I do. But at eighteen, your life, the life that Cam had planned out for us, it scared the crap out of me.” She picked Sadie’s cupcake up and offered it to her. “Please don’t be mad at me. You know I have a lot of insecurities and regrets when it comes to him.”

Sadie reluctantly took the cupcake back. “I know. I shouldn’t have gotten so defensive.”

Cam weaved his way through the seating area, dragging two chairs behind him with one hand and holding Aurelia’s coffee in the other.

“This conversation is to-be-continued,” Aurelia whispered. She walked over to Cam and took one of the chairs and her coffee from his hand. “Thanks,” she said, barely able to look him in the eye.

“No problem.” The three of them sat around the table.

Cam pulled a bottle of sparkling water from his suit jacket, twisted off the cap, handed it to Sadie and turned to Aurelia. “How long are you in town for?”

She sipped at her coffee. It was heaven. “Indefinitely.”

“Oh?” He arched an eyebrow at her. “So we’re really going to duke it out over who gets A Piece of Cake then?”

“No, I already have A Piece of Cake.”

“Me too,” Sadie chimed in, toasting them with her second cupcake.

They both rolled their eyes at her.

“And you think you can whip it back into shape?” Cam pointedly eyed Aurelia’s attire, a smirk spreading across his mouth.

Aurelia sat up straighter in her chair. “I can. You know just as well as I do, Dekker, that I can bake and market circles around you if I put my mind to it and I don’t need some lame ass company backing me.”

Cam snorted. “Down, girl, down! I haven’t signed a contract with Hazelgrove…yet.” He gestured to the bakery. “I did all of this on my own and it is packed. Every. Single. Day. All because of these babies.”

Cam took a cupcake from the tray, peeled the paper off, removed its lower half and placed it on top of the frosting, making a sandwich of sorts. He winked and held it out to her. “I remember how you take your cupcakes, too.”

 

 

Synopsis:

Death by Chocolate– The paranormal young adult anthology with a cocoa twist.

 

Authors Suz KorbCheryl CarvajalNikki JeffordKira SaitoStacey Wallace Benefiel, and Lucy Swing.

 

 

Back in Time by Stacey Wallace Benefiel

Nothing in Aurelia Lemon’s life is turning out how she’d planned. She’s unemployed, unattached, and her family bakery is on the verge of closing. To make matters worse, the guy she dumped in high school is doing well and getting rich off of one of her departed mother’s recipes. It would take a miracle to right everything she’s done wrong. Or maybe just a phone call and the chance to go Back in Time.

 

Sweet Witchery by Cheryl J. Carvajal

Catalena is only one of many dreamers in a small medieval town in Romania. When the witch Ramnusia opens her chocolate shoppe, suddenly dreams turn into reality. The chocolates are divine, but their power is greater than their sweetness. Miracles abound, dreams come true, and Ramnusia’s magic confections become the talk of the town. But if these chocolates can make dreams come true, will they win for Catalena the deepest dream of her heart?

 

Spellbound by Nikki Jefford

Two months after dying, Graylee Perez wakes up in her identical twin sister, Charlene’s body.

As the daughter of a witch, can anyone blame her mother for attempting to bring her back to life? Only now Gray’s stuck sharing her sister’s body 50/50 in 24 hour shifts.

The race is on for Gray to find a way back into her body before Charlene purges her from existence.

Warlock Raj McKenna is rumored to meddle in the black arts, not to mention he’s after Gray’s invisibility spell and worse – her heart. But Raj might be the only one powerful enough to save Gray from fading away forever.

 

Bloody Valentine by Lucy Swing

One by one the girls of Hollow High disappear and when Bailey receives a heart-shaped box filled with chocolates she might be next.

 

Sweet Torture by Kira Saito

Sixteen year old Claudia Bernstein is obsessed with two things: chocolate and Dante Torres. However, being an invisible minion to Upper East Side princess Beatrice Wildenbert isn’t helping her get anywhere with her dream guy.

Everything changes over Christmas break when Dante actually starts noticing her.

But are Dante’s intentions as pure as they seem? When Claudia finds herself in the middle of a cruel prank, she decides to take revenge. But is revenge enough? Or will she finally realize that her own worst enemy is herself?

 

The Girl with Three Heads by Suz Korb

Kate wakes up on the morning of the Death by Chocolate fundraiser event to discover she has two extra heads resting upon each of her shoulders. She is not pleased about this. She’s even more displeased when she discovers the head on her right shoulder (which looks like Santa Claus, complete with fluffy white beard) is actually Zeus, lord of lightning, or something like that. The head on her left shoulder? Yeah, it’s the head of Hera; goddess-of-looking-like-a-blonde-bombshell and getting on Kate’s nerves by shouting in her ear all the time.

Will Kate ever rid herself of these two extra heads? Will she ever get to experience an actual kiss from a boy without extra-head-situation interruptions? Join Kate as she struggles to survive being flung into the Underworld, as well as eventually landing upon Mount Olympus.

Just because she’s got two extra craniums doesn’t mean either head is an extra set of useful brains.

 

 

SWB PictureAbout The Author:

Stacey Wallace Benefiel is the author of the Zellie Wells trilogy, the Day of Sacrifice series, and The Toilet Business, a collection of essays.  She lives in an orange house in Beaverton, OR with her husband and their two young children. Stacey likes ABBA, the color green, all forms of chocolate, and going barefoot.

 

http://staceywallacebenefiel.com

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