From our upcoming July publication releases, this is Heather Skow’s psychological thriller, set in the mouth-watering world of patisserie treats where you shouldn’t eat more than you can handle…


The synopsis to Heather’s book reads:


Get ready for a delectable journey through the tantalizing world of baking. In ‘The Cake House,' Heather Skow takes us on a sweet adventure filled with mouthwatering recipes, heartwarming stories, and unexpected twists. Join the protagonist as she navigates the challenges of running a bakery, finding love, and rediscovering the passion for cakes.

With each page, you'll be transported to a world of sugary delights and unforgettable characters. ‘The Cake House' is a delightful treat for foodies and romantics alike. Get ready to indulge in a slice of happiness!


Hungry for more? Here is the first chapter:




Chapter 1


Packing my belongings into my large purple backpack gives me a feeling of solace. My breath is heavy, but I am shot with the notion that I am really ready. I believe… no, wait… I know that I am ready. I reach my arms up high while on my tiptoes, like I am thrusting my hands toward the ceiling with my shirt exposing my midriff. Then I bring them back down, gently, to my sides. I am ready to finally escape the torture, the threats, the confusion, the gaslighting, the worry, the pain, the constant heartbreak and squashed hope, and the feeling of loneliness that was my entire childhood. At seventeen years old, I’m feeling liberation, finally enduring the palpable feeling of dominance in my decision making. Twirling around my room makes me feel like Anna Pavlova on stage during her heart-throbbing performance of Don Quixote, the fibers of my rug swirling against my sock as the afternoon sunlight shines through my bay window, illuminating the particles of dust that spread over everything that I have owned. I raise my comforter into the air and lay it down softly onto my bed, how the birds assisted Cinderella with smoothing out her blanket on her bed in the morning. It was her help when she had work to do. Spreading out the imperfections that were sprawled out on the mattress, I make my bed one last time. As I always remember, this has been my safe space. My walls are painted spring green – the way my mom painted them when she was pregnant with me and wanted a neutral color because she was committed to having my gender be a surprise.


Posters of Nirvana, Green Day, and Madonna hang up on my walls aligning with my acrylic pour canvases. The full-size bed with an extremely comfortable bob-o-pedic mattress has been my dream catcher for as long as I am willing to remember. A cherry wood headboard sits behind it, and fairy lights hang above and down the sides with colors that match my Himalayan pink salt lamp. I have a Death Note anime comforter set, which stands out against the enchanted forest theme. I will miss this room. Shutting my eyes and throwing myself back-first onto my bed with my arms spread out wide is like dropping onto a cloud.


Turning my head toward my open closet, my eyes lock with Mr. Cat-a-corn’s. Mr. Cat-a-corn is the half cat, half unicorn staring directly at me with his purple, sparkling googly eyes and protracted whiskers from the top shelf. Mr. Cat-a-corn came with me to every doctor’s appointment, playdate, and bedtime ritual until I was ten. My grandma brought him to the hospital when I was born and as it turned out, it was right before she died. As I lift myself up, I wipe the strands of hair that were tickling my cheek and push them back into my messy ponytail and walk over to my fury friend. As I drag him off the shelf, a box of beads falls, splashing a colorful hue all over my rug like an exploding rainbow.


I look down and shrug. “Oh well, I guess I don’t have to clean that up!” I smile devilishly at Mr. Cat-a-corn. He’s so cute with his embroidered smile with his felt tongue sticking out, faded rainbow fur, and gold sequence heart on his belly. I spare him a light squeeze. He smells like coconut yogurt and cinnamon. I snuggled him even when he was covered in dirt and smooshed up animal crackers. I read him books, and he played with me and provided as much comfort as a caring parent would.


“I certainly can’t keep you lying around here. You know too many secrets! Plus, you deserve better too! You, my lifetime friend, will fit in my backpack, as long as I don’t zip it up all the way.” Wrapping my arms around him brings me back to a better, more attractive part of my childhood—pulling him close to my beating heart, so tight I could have popped a puppy’s head off. I can see my reflection in the plastic covering his eyes. I wipe the dust off of his pupils, hoping he is ready for more adventures. This one is unpredictable, but exciting, nonetheless.


Sighing gives me relief, like exhaust steaming out from a car. It must be how a whale feels when blowing water out of its blowhole. I walk over to the kitchen and grab two out of the five credit cards my dad keeps in his junk drawer. You would think a domestic terrorist would have a safe full of cash, but not my dad. He carries a wallet full of cash and leaves the cards at home for ‘emergencies.’ Anyway, I think this will do for now. I hope.


This is certainly an emergency for me. After all these years, he owes me. Now I kinda wish I was darting out of here with cold hard cash. That would make this experience even more stimulatingly pleasant. For every smack in the face, every time he pulled on my hair, and I could feel the strands ripping from my skull, and he held his hand over my mouth as I tried to scream.


This whole experience reminds me of an anime called The Promised Neverland, but instead of a bunch of kids being trapped in an orphanage and then brought to be killed, it’s just me, and there’s been a way out for a while. I never felt like I could escape before because if I went to a neighbor or a friend, they would just rush me back because my dad does “such a great job taking care of me.”


I head back to my room and place the cards along with a few of my picture memories from my childhood into the front pocket of my backpack and I zip it up. There’s a black and white picture of my mom holding me in her arms when I was an infant, and I have a few nice pictures with Dad when he was in a cheerful mood. This was usually due to him receiving a promotion at work or bringing a woman home with him the night before who doesn’t have the ability to see right through him.


I never could understand the brain capacity of these women; spending valuable time with a monster that spends his time abusing his only child. But my mom was one of those women, and she was kind-hearted. I remember her warm touch and smile. Her voice was gentle and kind, and she sang lullabies like a nightingale on a rainy morning. At least, this is how I imagine her because I am still not quite sure if this is a real memory.


Suddenly, I wake up from my deep thought as I hear the crackling sound of tires running over rocks on the gravel driveway. My heart races to my throat, and I can barely breathe. He’s home early, and I planned to escape before he arrived. This can’t be happening right now.


“Okay, okay, it’s all right, Elise, just relax and play it cool.” The sound of the tires rolling stops. “Okay, playing it cool is not as easy as it sounds.”


A cold sweat breaks free from my face and neck as I hear the footsteps on the front porch and then the key turning in the lock. My hand swipes my forehead, wiping the sweat, so I can appear calm on the outside even with my panic on the inside. I’ve gotten good at that, but I also know now that I cannot just keep pretending like this is some aporia, I truly cannot take one more day living with this man! The door creeks open, and the keys crash like a heavy satchel full of change onto the kitchen table. The footprints are making an eerie sound and squeaking from not fully picking his shoes up against the hardwood floor. The drawer opens, and then the drawer slams shut, and it pounds through my nervous system like someone is banging on a closed door.


I pull one of my favorite Nancy Drew books out from the shelf-frame. In this book, Nancy is helping an Italian prince prove to his family that he gave a painting that belonged to the family away in good faith. I pretend I’m reading it as I sit down cross-legged on my bed. A shiver runs down my spine. I should have crawled out of the window while he was coming through the door, but it’s too late now.


It takes a few minutes for him to come to my room, but he soon stumbles in, probably already had a few beers. He moves toward me, kneels down, and puts his hand on my knee. The light now illuminates the bags under his eyes and the yellow coffee stains on his teeth. He removes the book out of my hands at a leisure pace and places it down beside me. He puts his other hand on my cheek.


“Sugar plum,” he says with a devious smile. “Do you happen to know why I am missing two credit cards from my drawer?”


He catches me look over to my backpack, and seconds go by, as I stare a worried glare into his eyes, and the feeling of him knowing what I am thinking is discernable. I quickly and satisfyingly lean back and kick him hard in the face and rise up. He resiliently jumps up and pulls my hair back as I’m reaching for my backpack. Although it is a challenge, I am able to struggle out of his grasp and seize my backpack.


As I run for the door of my room, he grabs my legs, and I fall face first to the floor. I feel paralyzed, glancing down at his calm and collected looking face staring back at me. He starts to pull me in by my ankles, and I’m slipping back in like I’m being swallowed by unforgiving quicksand. First, I try to squirm and pull myself forward with my hands grasping at the rug on the floor, then I grab a hold of my bookshelf and push inward as hard as I can.


The bookshelf falls on him. I kick his hands off, grab my backpack, and pick myself up. I struggle to catch my breath. I turn around in the doorway looking back into my room. Then there’s a pause. My eyes looking down at his body lying on the floor, sprawled out, appearing lifeless, covered in mystery novels and a huge wooden case. He’s out, but probably not for long. I book it to the front door, turn the knob, and the cool breeze smacks at my skin, sending a wave of shivers throughout my body. I’m free! As my sneakers trample off the porch, I bend down, grab a rock and toss it through the window of my dad’s shiny black truck.


I keep running without looking back, and I don’t stop even when I reach the main road. I keep running, watching the cars and the trees blur by until I can barely breathe. When I slow down to a stop, I lean over, and put my hands on my knees trying to catch my breath. Strands of hair are now swiping my forehead, and I can feel the sweat and oil seeping into my pores. I look up; the rays of the sun are still blinding so I squint. I form a bill with my hand to block out brightness, and right in front of me is a sign to the Days Inn hotel. I need a place to stay for now, so I enter.



The Cake House is out July 25th in paperback.