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Better Than Chocolate

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Better Than Chocolate

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Sweet Dreams Chocolate Company has been in the Sterling family for generations, ever since Great-Grandma Rose literally dreamed up her first fabulous recipe. But now it looks as if they're about to...
Sweet Dreams Chocolate Company has been in the Sterling family for generations, ever since Great-Grandma Rose literally dreamed up her first fabulous recipe. But now it looks as if they're about to...
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  • Sweet Dreams Chocolate Company has been in the Sterling family for generations, ever since Great-Grandma Rose literally dreamed up her first fabulous recipe. But now it looks as if they're about to lose Sweet Dreams to the bank--and that would be a disaster, not only for the family but for the town of Icicle Falls, Washington. Can Samantha, the oldest daughter and new head of the company, come up with a way to save it?

    After Samantha does some brainstorming with her mother and sisters, inspiration strikes. They'll have a chocolate festival! Time's running out, but the Sterling women are determined and the town's behind them, so everything's bound to go smoothly....

    Or not. Events seem to be conspiring against Samantha, and her mother's attempts to help aren't helping. To make matters worse, the fate of her company is in the hands of her archenemy, Blake Preston, the bank manager with the football-hero good looks. It's enough to drive her to chocolate. But Blake's also enough to convince her that (believe it or not) there's something even better than chocolate.

  • From the book

    Samantha Sterling sat next to her mother in the first pew of Icicle Falls Community Church and fought back the urge to jump up, run to the front of the sanctuary, grab her stepfather, Waldo, by the neck and throttle him. She didn't, for two reasons. One, a girl didn't do things like that in church. Still, she could have overcome her reservations if not for the second reason--God had already taken Waldo out. Waldo was as dead as roadkill on Highway 2. In addition to a daughter from his first marriage, he'd left behind his grieving wife, Muriel, his three stepdaughters, Samantha, Cecily and Bailey, and the family business, which was nearly as dead as Waldo.

    Sweet Dreams Chocolates had been healthy when Samantha's father was alive. The company had been started by her great-grandmother Rose and had slowly but steadily grown under his leadership--one big, happy family to mirror the happy family who were living off its profits. All three sisters had spent their summers working at Sweet Dreams. All three had it drummed into them from an early age that this business was the source of both the family's income and honor (not to mention chocolate). But it was Samantha who had fallen in love with it. Of the three girls, she was the one who'd stayed and she was the heir apparent.

    But then her father had died and everything came to a halt. Samantha lost the man she and her sisters idolized, and her mother lost her way. Muriel left it to Samantha and the bookkeeper, Lizzy, to keep the company running on autopilot while first she mourned and then later searched for a new husband.

    Enter Waldo Wittman, a tall, gray-haired widower recently retired, encouraged to do so by his company, which was downsizing. (Now, looking back, Samantha suspected there were other reasons Waldo had been turned loose.) He'd wanted to get away from the rat race, or so he'd said. With its mountain views, its proximity to eastern Washington wine country, its small-town friendliness and its attractive widow, Waldo decided Icicle Falls would fit the bill. And Muriel decided the same about Waldo. So, after a year and a half of widowhood, she got a new man.

    And now there he was, at the front of the church, stretched out in his favorite--expensive!--gray suit. Sweet, beloved Waldo...the money-eater. Oh, Waldo, how could everything have gone so wrong so fast?

    It was early January, the beginning of a new year. And what a nightmare year it was promising to be, all because Mom had made her new husband president of their family-owned business. She'd left Samantha as VP in charge of marketing; much good that had done.

    Now Samantha was VP in charge of disaster and she could hardly sit still thinking of the mess waiting for her back at the office.

    "You're fidgeting," whispered her sister Cecily, who was sitting next to her.

    Fidgeting at a funeral probably wasn't polite but it was an improvement over standing up, pulling out her hair and shrieking like a madwoman.

    Why, oh, why hadn't Mom and Dad done what needed to be done to make sure that if something happened to Dad the business passed into competent hands? Then Mom could have skipped happily off into newly-wed bliss, no harm no foul.

    None of them had expected her to remain alone forever. She was only in her fifties when Dad died and she didn't function well alone.

    When Waldo arrived on the scene she came back to life, and Samantha had been happy for her. He was fun and charming, and she and her sisters gave him a hearty thumbs-up. Why not? He'd brought back Mom's smile. At first everyone got along well. Like Samantha, he'd been a shutterbug and they'd enjoyed talking...

About the Author-
  • Sheila Roberts lives on a lake in the Pacific Northwest. Her novels have appeared in Readers Digest Condensed Books and have been published in several languages. Her book Angel Lane, was an Amazon Top Ten Romance pick for 2009 and her holiday perennial, On Strike for Christmas was made into a movie for the Lifetime Movie Network. You can visit Sheila on Twitter and Facebook or at her website (

  • First for Women on The Snow Globe "Within minutes of cracking open the book, my mood was lifted...The warm, glowing feeling it gave me lasted for days."
  • Publishers Weekly on Angel Lane "Will doubtless warm more than a few hearts."
  • Booklist on Small Change "Most fiction lovers will enjoy this feel-good approach to today's uncertainties."
  • RT Book Reviews on On Strike for Christmas "Realistic characters populate the pages of this captivating story, which is a great escape from the holiday hustle and bustle."
  • Booklist on Angel Lane "An uplifting, charming, feel-good story from the author of Bikini Season (2008)."
  • RT Book Reviews on Angel Lane "Roberts's book of small-town life is as sweet as ginger cookies and as homey as raisin pie (recipes included). Readers will laugh and cry with the women lovingly portrayed in this heartwarming story that explores the joys of friendship and the power of good deeds."
  • Publishers Weekly on Small Change "Homing in on issues many readers can identify with, Roberts's women search for practical solutions to a common challenge with humor and froth."
  • The Seattle Times on Love in Bloom "A congenial cast of subsidiary Hope at a community garden plot and share their stories there. Roberts effectively knits these troubled but kindly characters together in a story line that throws the reader a few unexpected twists."
  • Fresh Fiction "Love in Bloom is a wonderful story with characters so real and defined I feel like I am personally acquainted with them...There is humor and emotion in large quantities in this fantastic book that is next to impossible to put down. Kudos and a large bouquet of flowers to Sheila Roberts for giving us one of the best books of the year."
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Sheila Roberts
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Sheila Roberts
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