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Babycakes

Babycakes, November 2012
by Donna Kauffman

Kensington
Featuring: Morgan Westlake; Kit Bellamy
336 pages
ISBN: 0758280505
EAN: 9780758280503
Kindle: B0085AQQTG
Paperback / e-Book
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"Take 2 lonely hearts + cute orphan mix in love, bake for 1 happily ever after"

Fresh Fiction Review

Babycakes
Donna Kauffman

Reviewed by Jessica Dunn
Posted December 21, 2012

Romance Contemporary

Kit Bellamy has devoted her life to Mamie Sue's Peanut Butter Pie. Kit had been in the kitchen baking her Great Grandma Mamie Sue's Peanut Butter Pie with Grandma Renni and her mother since she was able to walk. The three generations of Bellamy women home baked the famous treats until tragedy struck. Kit lost her Grandma to Alzheimer's then both her parents in an auto accident. This left Kit just twenty-four and her younger sister to run her family's legacy. Mamie Sue's was Kit's life but her sister was more interested in getting married to a wealthy man who would spoil her with the finer things it life.

Kit didn't mind her sister wasn't interested in the family business and didn't mind too awful much that her sister wanted her husband to take her place in the business. That was until Kit's overzealous brother-in-law weaseled his way in and sold off Mamie Sue's to Tas-T-Snaks, to the Westlakes. After fighting the Westlakes in court with all the money she had, the final decision came in favor of the Westlakes and Tas-T-Snaks. Kit had lost it all and she had no intention of sticking around to see her great grandma's peanut butter pies mass produced and placed in vending machines. Kit was taking the offer to run Babycakes a cupcakery in small town Sugarberry.

BABYCAKES is a charming, heartwarming romance novel. Once Kit arrives in Sugarberry she begins to let go of the pain and build friendships. Kit even has her breath taken away with the sight of a handsome stranger named Morgan who is raising his orphaned niece, Lilly. Kit starts to think Morgan and Lilly may be worth the risk of her heart but what will happen when she learns his name is Morgan Westlake?

BABYCAKES will grab your attention and keep you entranced from beginning to end. Lilly's charm will make you smile; Morgan's strength and determination will make your heart race while Kit's vulnerability will capture your heart. Three cheers to author Donna Kauffman for a surprising front-runner of this year's best romantic reads.

Learn more about Babycakes

SUMMARY

Molten Chocolate...Cinnamon Spice...Gingerbread...Old–Fashioned Vanilla...You can't stop at just one.

And the women of the Cupcake Club love to indulge...

Kit Bellamy was raised on pie. Mamie Sue's Peanut Pies, to be exact, the family company her scheming brother–in–law sold out from under her. Now Kit needs a new recipe for her life—and sleepy Sugarberry Island is the first ingredient. Running mail–order cupcake business Babycakes is a chance to get her baking on again—until she meets tall, dark, and adorable lawyer Morgan Westlake. New to the island to raise his goddaughter, he's as mouthwatering as any of Kit's creations. It's just her luck that he's the spawn of the very law firm that helped crush her dreams...

Fortunately, Kit's new friends can assure her that Morgan is no typical Westlake—and that even lawyers, not to mention single dads, need romance. If Kit can just be persuaded to follow her appetite—and set another place at her holiday table—her sweetest dreams just might come true...

Excerpt

Her whole life had been about peanut pie. Well . . . for the past twenty–nine years, five months, three weeks, five days, and—Kit Bellamy glanced at the digital clock on the dash of her car—about twelve hours, it had been about pie. Mamie Sue's Peanut Pie, to be specific. As if there were any other kind.

She'd lived, breathed, walked, talked, dreamed, eaten, baked, boxed, shipped, and sweated over peanut pie, every single day of her life, for as long as she could remember. So, she was having an understandably hard time embracing the idea that her future was going to be all about cupcakes. Twenty–nine years. She might have been slightly off on the number of weeks and days, math not being her strong point—a painfully evident truth, given her recent life evolution—but she knew she had the hours part correct. Grandma Laureen hadn't told the story of Kit's mother going into labor right there in Mamie Sue's kitchen just once. No, that story had become part of the Bellamy legend, which was a rich and colorful one, even without the story of Kit coming into the world between the burlap peanut sacks and the six–burner Wedgewood stove. But then, as Grandma Reenie always said, "Bellamy women know how to make an entrance." What Kit Bellamy was presently trying to figure out, was how Bellamy women—at least this particular Bellamy woman—made an exit. There wasn't any historical lore on that point. As far as Kit knew, at least in the previous three generations, no Bellamy woman had ever walked away. From anything. Or anyone. Ever. Least of all family, and most of all, the family business. Kit had done both.

Not that there was a business, per se, to walk away from—or much of a family, for that matter. She'd managed to destroy both of those first. She never should have trusted Teddy. "Having a few investors will allow us to expand Mamie Sue's into the kind of global empire she'd have been thrilled to see come to fruition," her brotherin– law had said, all earnest sincerity and gleaming dental perfection. Never trust a man with puppy dog eyes and pearly whites.

Kit could hear her great–grandmother's words of wisdom as clearly as if she was sitting next to her. "Lesson learned, Grammy Sue," she murmured. "Lesson so learned." The past thirteen months had been filled with lawyers, courtrooms, judges, shocking revelations, and the kind of utter betrayal Kit wasn't sure she'd ever recover from. Since Teddy's Big Reveal during what had turned out to be Mamie Sue's Peanut Pie Company's final board meeting she had stumbled from being frozen in shock, into utter devastation and guilt, on through blistering fury, and had only recently settled into merciful numbness. The Bellamy women who had come before her were surely still rolling in their graves. Kit had fought back, and could only hope they'd have at least been proud of the grit and gumption she'd displayed in striving to save every thing they'd all worked so hard for. But even that was a small consolation given that, in the end, Teddy and his fancy Westlake lawyers had won the day. The company and the women who'd built it had each experienced their share of stumbling blocks and setbacks. "But none of them screwed up so badly they managed to let the damn thing be sold right out from under them," Kit muttered. "Much less to a vending machine snack company." She bit out those last four words as if she'd tasted one of their products. You couldn't call what they sold food. Mamie Sue's deliciously decadent peanut pie—each and every one of them lovingly handmade with the very same ingredients Mamie Sue had used when she'd started the company in her own kitchen over seventy–eight years ago—should never, not ever, come in a cellophane wrapper. Or be shelved in the E5 slot of a Tas–T–Snaks vending machine, for a buck–twenty–five a slice. "I should have shot him dead right there in the boardroom,"

Kit mumbled.

Would a jury have convicted her? She thought not. All she'd have had to do was submit footage of smarmy, self– important Teddy orating his way though any of the board meetings he'd wormed his way into over the last few years now that the older generations of Bellamy women no longer presided over such things. It was probably just as well that Mamie Sue herself had passed on before Teddy had come on the scene. Kit had just graduated high school when, at ninety–four, Mamie Sue—who'd wielded a rolling pin pretty much every day of her long and bountiful life—had finally proven them all wrong and passed peacefully in her sleep. Up until that moment, they'd been pretty much convinced she'd live forever. Mamie Sue's daughter–in–law, Laureen, and her grand daughter–in–law, Kit's mother Katie, had continued running the company they'd helped build just as confidently and assertively as Mamie Sue ever had. Unfortunately, soon afterward, Grandma Reenie had begun a rapid decline in health, with the devastating diagnosis of early onset Alzheimer's. Her merciful passing had been followed only a few short years later by the tragic death of Kit's mother and father in a car accident, leaving Kit, who had just turned twenty–four, and her twenty–two year–old sister Trixie, to head up the family company far, far sooner than anyone could have predicted. Kit had, at least, been involved in the business since she'd been old enough to totter on top of a stool and smear flour on the rolling boards. Trixie's interests, however, had always been more focused on the lifestyle and prestige the family business brought her way—which was why Teddy, Trixie's husband of less than two years at the time of their parents' deaths, had stepped in and taken on what was Trixie's share of the company load. Kit recalled how relieved the family had been when Trixie had settled on Teddy Carruthers. Trixie had barely turned twenty when she'd gotten engaged, but after spending most of her teenage years bringing home the most amazing array of users and losers—her way of "acting out" when her parents wouldn't enable the lifestyle Trixie was certain she deserved—they'd been so thrilled with her choice, they'd given the couple their heartfelt blessing.

Privately, Kit had always thought Teddy was a little too slick and a lot too full of himself, but all the family saw was that he was smart, ambitious, and came from an established Atlanta family, which meant he wasn't after Trixie for her money. Even with his too–polished exterior, none of them could have predicted the true nature of Teddy's ambition or the depths of his greed. Least of all, as was now self– evident, Kit.

She allowed herself a moment to savor what the courtroom scene would have been like once the jury saw the heartless deviousness of Teddy's back–stabbing plan—one he'd concocted with the assistance of her "whatever you think is best, dear!" sister, who was far too busy with her new life as Trixie Carruthers, enjoying her country club groups and Junior League engagements, to pay any attention to what her husband was doing with her stake in the family company. With the help of his slick, high priced, and oh–so–smug Westlake lawyers, Teddy had used his sneaky little investor plan to blindside Kit, the board of directors . . . and everyone else at Mamie Sue's, into giving him the leverage to sell the company to Tas–T–Snaks, which was interested only in owning rights to the name of the product itself. They'd be mass producing the product in another country and shipping it out in cartons, putting generations of employees who had invested heart, soul, and faith into the company out on the streets. Right next to Kit. "Oh yeah. I'd have walked a free woman."

She was a free woman, all right. Free of the family business she'd loved with all her heart. Free of the family—if she could still consider Trixie or Teddy family—who had taken that beloved business and turned it into a colossal joke. All for greed. It begged the question, just how much money did two people actually need? Kit was even free of their equally beloved family home, with the very kitchen Mamie Sue had used to launch her fledgling little business over three–quarters of a century before. The same home Trixie and Teddy had summarily sold the moment the judge's verdict had been handed down on Kit's last and final appeal. Yep, Kit was free to start her life completely over. From scratch.

Yippee.

She'd spent pretty much everything she'd had and all of what she'd gotten from the sale of the company to pay the lawyers she'd hired to fight Teddy and Tas–T–Snaks. Teddy had been astonished when she'd fought back, unable to comprehend why she hadn't been happy and just skipped into the sunset with the sudden windfall of income he'd procured for her from the sale. And Trixie had had the nerve to ask her why she was betraying her own sister like that, dragging family into court. Kit still almost had apoplexy just thinking about that conversation. When Kit hadn't backed down, Trixie's righteous tears and Teddy's cajoling "there, there, it's just business" pats on the head had swiftly turned into downright fury when they'd had to spend their own money to fight back. It wasn't much vindication—Teddy's family's pockets were deep—so Kit sincerely doubted he'd suffer from paying Westlake's steep legal tab, but it made her feel she'd at least done her best in the name of her family. That was what mattered to her, doing the right thing for all of those who'd worked so hard to make Mamie Sue's what it was. Or... had been, anyway. Of course, now she was in the same boat they were— scrambling to find new work, trying to start over, figuring out what came next. She frowned hard to keep fresh tears of anger and guilt from leaking out. She'd cried far too many already. It was just...how had she let it happen? Why hadn't she seen through his plan? Those two questions would plague her for the rest of her days. Through the shimmer of threatening tears, she spied the sign for the causeway over Os sabaw Sound to her final destination. Sugarberry Island.


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