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The trouble with truffles is that you have to try them to know what’s inside.

Tracy’s life finally is the perfect box of chocolate truffles: all triple fudge and no cherry. Her son's doing better at school. Work is busy but great. And now that she's reconnected with childhood best friend Pauline, everything feels possible. With life going her way, Tracy volunteers as the chair for the Belmont Village Autumn Festival.

 

Then her perfect box of truffles gets overturned.

 

The festival suddenly loses its marketing manager, and her ex-husband, Eric, becomes her new boss at work. His old passions reignited, he wants the titles of Dad and Husband again, much to Tracy’s dismay.

 

Then a fender bender with marketing executive Ben Landry, her best friend’s dreaded former manager, raises Tracy's anxiety even more. To her, Ben’s a cherry truffle, the most despised flavour in the box: his ego sports as much horsepower as his Porsche. Fired and headed for the unemployment line, Ben's only way out is to convince Tracy to recommend him for a chief marketing officer job in her company.

 

So they cut a deal: if Ben will volunteer for the festival, Tracy will recommend him—and even offer room and board until it’s over.

 

But will having Ben in her life and home really make things easier?

 

Oh, What the Fudge is an enemies-to-lovers romance and the second book in Lori Wolf-Heffner's sweet romance series, Love on Belmont. The books can be enjoyed as a series or on their own, but ideally with your favourite tea or chocolate.

Oh, What the Fudge

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Take a Peek...

Two can play this game, Ben thought. He just had to figure out the rules—and still ask for that reference.

Tracy introduced everyone by name and offered him a drink. He accepted. Not only would Susie consider it rude if he declined, but staying longer would allow him to network. No one knew anything about him other than what Tracy had already shared, and her about-face with him suggested it was positive. He could control his own narrative and keep his options open. Another bonus. Whatever game Tracy thought she was playing, Ben had the upper hand.

She brought him a cup of tea. Of course. What else would Pauline’s best friend serve? It was just as well. A small burst of caffeine would improve his bedtime performance.

Evening performance. For f—udge’s sake. Ben had to watch his language not only for potential innuendoes, but he had to match his language to the crowd. Tracy didn’t swear, so he could assume her friends here didn’t either. He could keep himself from swearing. But Tracy looked so sexy in her work clothes tonight. And she had her hair pulled up and had already outsmarted him once this evening… Everything about her said Type A, someone who always thrusted ahead.

Oh, s—ugar.

“So, why are you in town?” asked a woman named Sabine who was the owner of a German bakery in Belmont Village.

Happy to be brought back to Earth, Ben answered eloquently. He had prepared for this question from Tracy, but he could give Sabine the same answer. “I realized it was time to leave my job in Toronto. I was on my way to my sister’s in New Hamburg, but a car accident’s keeping me here.” Ben waited not only for the expected reactions of concern and sympathy but also to see if anyone mentioned Tracy. He didn’t want to embarrass her, given that he still believed the accident was her fault, no matter what the official decision had been.

When no one mentioned her, he said, “I’m fine, thank you, but my car’s in the garage for at least a week.” He’d just saved Tracy from embarrassment with her friends. That should help with the reference, especially since part of the front end of his very expensive car now looked like a beginner’s origami project.

He continued, ad libbing by adding the one detail he knew all small business owners desired. “But sports marketing is too cutthroat, so now I’m looking for something challenging but fulfilling, something that will reignite my passion for marketing.”

Nods all around. He’d impressed them. Excellent.

But when he smiled at Tracy, he realized he’d done it again: fallen into her bed.

Um, her trap.

“We have the perfect offer for you while you’re looking for something fulfilling,” Tracy said smoothly. “You see, one of our committee members has come down with pneumonia and can’t complete his duties as the marketing coordinator. Our festival is just over two weeks away and we’re looking for a volunteer to fill his role. I thought you might be interested. It’s very challenging: festival attendance has been waning for some time.”

Everyone stared at him. Ben Landry did not volunteer. It was a dog-eat-dog world out there, his dad had always said.

“Well, I’m honoured,” Ben lied. “But I’ll be taking the first bus to New Hamburg in the morning. I can give you some guidance right now, though.” Ben offered some advice. He pushed down the frustration he felt for giving advice for free, reminding himself that if it got him that reference and consequently that CMO position, he would consider that compensation.

He responded to questions for easily fifteen minutes. Everything looked promising again.

“So, that’s what I recommend,” he said, wrapping things up. “Shouldn’t take you too much time. From the sounds of it, it’s the engagement stage of the sales funnel you really need to focus on now. I don’t think you’ll have too much trouble with awareness. Everyone in Belmont and Westmount has friends and relatives. Have them help you spread the word more. Really make it a friends-and-family event.”

This was going perfectly. Tracy would look silly to turn down his request for a reference.

Tracy couldn’t have been more grateful for Ben Landry’s ego in that moment. She went for the kill. “So, you have time to help us?”

Ben swallowed, clearly trying to contain his surprise. “What?”

“I’ve seen you in action, Ben.” Always good to mention a person’s name. “The fundraiser you put together this past summer for the children’s hospital was fabulous.” She felt guilty leaving out Pauline’s name this one time, but she needed to keep stroking Ben’s ego. 

She addressed the group. “You should’ve seen the video he created—the stories he highlighted about the families being helped were touching and beautifully told, and the video itself was gorgeous.” Tracy’s heart skipped a beat as she remembered his work. “You designed all that, right?” Ben nodded and sipped his tea. “You just shared so many incredible ideas with us, Ben, and you said it wouldn’t take much time—”

“I said it wouldn’t take you much time. I’m busy searching for my next great fulfillment.”

Tracy was certain Ben Landry was not searching for fulfillment. Money, yes. Fulfillment? Heck, no. But she had a festival to pull off in the midst of everything else.

“I’m guessing you’re not searching for fulfillment in sports marketing, since it’s so cutthroat?”

Ben took another sip of his tea, probably to stall for time. Checkmate again.

“So,” Tracy continued. “Wouldn’t it make sense to get a little experience outside your main industry? Just among the six of us are six different industries, and Belmont Village actually includes a couple dozen businesses. That’s a lot of potential connections. Not to mention a lot of potential references.”

Ben’s lips tightened.

The Love on Belmont Series

Have You Tried the Prequel Short Stories to Tea Shop for Two?

Prequel 1: Claire's Tea Shop

She's opened his eyes to the delicious world of tea. Can she open her own heart to his love?

It’s 1967 and young widow Claire is living her dream as the owner of Claire’s Tea Shop, a dream she refuses to give up on again.

Richard is a successful up-and-coming realtor and believes his life is complete. Until he falls cup over saucer for Claire.

Both feel the steam in the room, but Claire fears falling in love again will force her to choose between a second flush on love and her beloved store. Can she find the perfect blend of romance and dreams?

Prequel 2: Trick or Tea

Will tea bags come between Claire and Richard?

It’s 1987 and Claire’s Tea Shop is losing business to herbal teas that promise health benefits, the doughnut shop that serves smokers, and Claire’s ultimate nemesis: tea bags that offer convenience. So intently focused on saving her business, Claire’s romantic feelings for Richard, her husband of almost 20 years, have all but evaporated.

Seeing his wife struggle leaves Richard’s heart steeped in sadness. She refuses his every offer of help but it’s almost Halloween and Claire must turn things around by Christmas or risk closing her store forever. Richard takes one last courageous stand: He suggests Claire sell tea bags.

Prequel 3: Oh, Christmas Tea

Can tea and Christmas magic mend a broken heart?

Claire and Richard are preparing Claire’s Tea Shop for the 40th Annual Christmas Sale and Tea Party. When Pauline, their oldest daughter, surprises them with news of a dream opportunity for herself, Claire and Richard know their family has been touched by Christmas magic.

Until they see that Pauline’s broken heart is holding her back from believing in herself.

Again.

Claire and Richard want Pauline to follow her dreams. Can their special blend of love flush out the hurt in their daughter’s heart?

About Lori Wolf-Heffner

Across the tracks and up a set of cement stairs from Lori's grandmother’s home was Belmont Village, a quaint shopping district with restaurants, a drug store, a convenience store, and several small businesses. The neighbourhood for Lori means family and romance, which is why she's set both her young adult and romance series there. 

Lori is also a former competitive dancer, dance teacher, and theatre manager, and was a member of the first Canadian National Tap Team, back in 1996, under the leadership of Bonnie Dyer, with choreographer Matthew Clark. Dance took Lori to competitions all over Southern Ontario, into the US, to Disney World, and to Germany. She has many fond memories of performing with her dance team. 

And that's why she uses dance as a backdrop in many of her stories.

Oh! And she's also spent a day in Luxembourg and 15 minutes in Switzerland, and she can still do cartwheels.

Lori Wolf-Heffner holding a copy of Tea Shop for Two in front of the rusty bell sculpture mentioned in the book

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