"Secrets in Good Hope"
Reviewed by Susan Gorman
Posted February 7, 2018
Hadley Newhouse's story is featured in MARRY ME IN GOOD
HOPE. Hadley has had a significant role in each of the Good
Hope novels. Hadley started working at Ami Bloom's
bakery in Christmas At Good Hope, and she has assumed more
responsibility at Blooms Bake shop with the birth of Ami's
baby. Cindy Kirk has sprinkled hints about Hadley in each
book—the last two books contained BIG hints— I can honestly
say this story was well worth the wait! I LOVED it!
Hadley is a well-liked member of the community. She works
two jobs to support herself and lives above the bakery.
Hadley doesn't share a lot about her family or her
past—just the basics. Two things about Hadley have intrigued
me: her past and her interest in Brynn Chapin and her
father, David. Brynn adores Hadley, and it didn't surprise
me when David offered Hadley a job as Brynn's nanny while
the bakery was being remodeled.
Hadley reveals to David that she is Brynn's natural mother
but, that's not the only well-kept secret in the novel.
David and his ex-wife Whitney were not honest during the
adoption process. After DNA tests confirm that Hadley is
Brynn's mother, David reveals that his wife omitted an
important piece of medical history during the adoption
process. This story technique worked as both characters
needed to come to terms with the other's actions before they
could move forward.
The very emotional scene when Hadley confesses that she is
Brynn's mother to the Bloom sisters is superbly written.
Each sister reacted differently to the news and Fin gave
Hadley an important piece of advice. David's mother, Lynn,
does not react well to the news and believes Hadley is
taking advantage of the situation. MARRY ME IN GOOD HOPE has
all of the small town charm and warmth that I adore in this
series. Both characters had secrets, and they worked
together to build an honest relationship. The chemistry
between David and Hadley was off the charts, and the
couple's sensuous, romantic scenes were perfect! Cindy Kirk
includes several tough issues in this novel; adoption, DNA
testing, abuse and inherited medical conditions. She weaves
these elements through the novel—and they add depth and
authenticity to the story. Hadley and David's journey
toward happiness wasn't easy, but it ended PERFECTLY!
Of all the things Hadley Newhouse expected to find in Good
Hope, love wasn’t on the list.
The baker extraordinaire has spent the last three years
hiding her past and holding her breath. It isn’t that she
likes being evasive. She just doesn’t want to open old
wounds. Still, Hadley understands there’s a fine line
between discretion and disaster, and she’s pretty sure
agreeing to work for sexy single-father David Chapin leaps
right over it.
David knows firsthand the havoc secrets can wreak. It was a
secret that made his ex-wife walk out on their family, and
now a secret elopement has cost him his daughter’s longtime
nanny. When he learns that Bloom’s Bake Shop will
temporarily close, leaving Hadley without work, he
immediately offers her a job. He already knows his daughter
adores Hadley, and after a few days with the beautiful
baker, David realizes he does too.
Hadley has always believed that happily ever after was
for other people, not for her. Yet when David paints a
picture of a life with him and his daughter, Hadley begins
to believe her dream really could come true. But before
can happen, she must come clean. David deserves to know
really brought Hadley to Good Hope—even if hearing it means
he’ll want Hadley gone for good.
Hadley Newhouse normally didn’t eavesdrop. Still, the way
she saw it, whatever went on in David Chapin’s life was
very much her business.
At the moment, Hadley was the only one working in Blooms
Bake Shop. After an early rush this morning, business had
slowed to a trickle. For now, David and his mother, Lynn,
were the only occupants in the dining area.
Hadley was busy restocking the bake case when the
conversation between the mother and her adult son turned
“I can’t believe Camille would do something so impulsive.”
Hadley’s hand froze on the pastry she was adding to the
bakery case. Slowly, she added a kouign amann to the tray,
then even more slowly reached for a Danish.
“She and Allen have been dating over a year, so getting
married doesn’t really fall into the impulsive bucket.”
David expelled a breath and sat back in his seat. “I just
never expected her to marry him while they were on
vacation. Or to quit without notice.”
Hadley inhaled sharply. Camille had been Brynn Chapin’s
nanny since David and his now ex-wife had first moved to
Lynn, an attractive woman with silvery blond hair, set down
her cup. David’s mother was a businesswoman and head of the
Chapin banking empire. She was a person who identified
problems and found solutions. “What are you going to do?”
It was the same question Hadley wanted to ask.
Through the bakery case glass, Hadley watched David’s brows
pull together. She waited, barely breathing, for him to say
he already had someone wonderful in mind. A special woman
who would care for Brynn and make the child ridiculously
That’s what Hadley wanted more than anything for Brynn. She
wanted the girl happy. Losing her longtime nanny was
another blow to a girl with a young, tender heart who’d
already faced so much loss. First, her mother leaving.
Then, the recent death of her best friend from cancer. Now,
“I got the call from her right before I left to meet you. I
haven’t had time to formulate an action plan.” David raked
a hand through his thick, dark hair. “It’s too bad there
isn’t an agency on the peninsula that supplies nannies. But
I’ll start by asking around. Unless you know someone?”
Lynn’s brows pulled together in thought. Then she slowly
shook her head. “Does Brynn know Camille won’t be coming
“Not yet.” David expelled a breath. “I asked Camille to let
me tell her.”
Hadley frowned and added a cherry Danish to the case.
“This news will crush her.” Lynn’s voice thickened with
emotion. She took a sip of the floral tea she preferred
before continuing. “She’s been through so much since her
Hadley gritted her teeth at the word. David’s ex-wife had
never been a mother to Brynn. From the moment Hadley had
first set foot in Good Hope, she’d seen where Whitney
Chapin’s priorities lay.
There were the numerous trips Whitney took, always with
friends, rarely with her daughter and husband. Not to
mention the programs at school and the Seedlings activities
that Whitney had dismissed as mundane and not worthy of her
Hadley pulled her thoughts back to the present when she
realized David was answering his mother.
“…and no.” He leaned back in his chair.
When his eyes flicked to the counter, Hadley dropped her
gaze and busied herself shelving the rest of the pastries.
As if suddenly conscious of her presence, he lowered his
voice. “It’s been a difficult year for Brynn.”
He obviously had more to say, and Hadley didn’t want to
miss a single word. If she went into the back, listening
would prove impossible. She couldn’t very well ask him to
Yet, she couldn’t stay crouched behind the bakery case
without arousing further suspicion. After placing the last
Danish on the lower shelf, she stood.
At five feet nine inches, Hadley towered a good foot and a
half over the top of the case. Clad in a hot-pink T-shirt
emblazoned with the slogan “Baking Up Some Love,” there was
little hope of blending into the woodwork.
Lynn reached across the table and covered her son’s hand
with hers. “I’ll do everything I can to help you find a
suitable replacement for Camille.”
Hadley bought herself a few seconds by wiping the counter.
“All I want is for Brynn to be happy.”
Hadley refrained from glancing in their direction, but she
heard the tears in Lynn’s voice.
“I know you do, Mom.” David’s voice held that comforting
reassurance Hadley had often heard him use with Brynn. “We
need to remember that, in the end, this will turn out best
Hadley forced herself to breathe. David was right. He’d
find the perfect nanny, and everything would go back to
normal. She reached the doorway leading to the commercial
ovens just as the bell over the door jingled. Hadley swung
Ryder Goodhue, owner of the Daily Grind, a coffee shop that
featured pastries and desserts baked at Blooms Bake Shop,
covered the short distance to her in long, confident
strides. Though summer was in full swing on the Door County
peninsula, Ryder was dressed in his customary black. Black
jeans. Black T-shirt. Black high-tops.
Hair and eyes the color of walnut completed the picture.
Hadley offered him an easy smile. “You only needed to call
if you needed more pastries.”
Ami Cross, the owner of Blooms Bake Shop, had secured
several outlets for the shop’s pastries and baked goods.
While it would be unusual for Ryder to have run out of
product so early in the day, because of the high influx of
tourists at this time of year, anything was possible.
“We got hit hard this morning, but after upping our order
last week, we’re in good shape.” Ryder halted in front of
the bake case. “Is Ami available?”
“She’s at Muddy Boots today.” Hadley gestured with one hand
in the direction of the café Ami and her husband owned. “Is
there anything I can help you with?”
Though Hadley didn’t have a formal title, she functioned as
Ami’s second-in-command. Once her boss had become a mother,
Hadley had assumed even more administrative
Out of the corner of her eye, Hadley saw Lynn push back her
chair and watched David stand.
Though Hadley wanted to listen to any last comments, she
forced herself to concentrate on Ryder. “Or, if you need to
speak with Ami now, I can reach her on her cell.”
“I’ll stop by Muddy Boots.” Ryder cocked his head and
studied her. “Are you working at the Crane tonight?”
Hadley nodded. “I’m there every weekend.”
Despite Ami giving her a substantial pay increase, along
with the extra responsibilities, Hadley had held on to her
second job at the popular waterfront bar.
“I’ll see you tonight, then.” The wink he shot her on his
way out of the shop left her puzzled.
Reaching the door several steps ahead of Lynn, Ryder held
it open for her. The two stepped out into the sunshine.
David resumed his seat at the table.
Lines of fatigue edged his eyes and sadness filled the gray
depths, leaving Hadley to wonder if his confident assertion
that he’d find the perfect nanny had been merely an act.
David decided he should have left with his mother instead
of brooding over a cup of now lukewarm coffee. Right now,
he didn’t have the energy to get up. Between his work as a
partner in an architectural firm and trying to be both
father and mother to a distraught child, his stores were
His lips pressed together as he thought of his ex-wife. If
she didn’t love him anymore, so be it. But to run out on
David knew the demons that haunted Whitney and the fear
that was ever present in her life. But Whitney had made her
choice. Right now, she was living it up in Boca. The
popular South Florida hot spot north of Miami had been a
favorite haunt of his ex and her friends.
His ex-wife could take care of herself. It was Brynn’s
welfare that concerned him. He and Whitney had adopted the
child as a newborn. For him, it had been love at first
sight. The day they’d signed the private adoption papers in
the Chicago attorney’s office had been the happiest of his
Initially, Whitney had appeared equally enamored of the
baby with sweet features and wisps of blond hair. She’d
purchased loads of clothes and paraded the baby before her
friends. When the teething started, Whitney had tired of
“Care for a refill?”
David’s head jerked up.
Hadley stood beside the table, coffeepot in hand.
She refilled his mug in silence. It was a welcome change
from the servers at Bayside Pizza, Brynn’s favorite place
to eat. The servers there talked nonstop to the patrons.
Hadley, on the other hand, exuded a calm, restful presence.
It was no wonder Brynn adored her.
“Did I hear you say you were working at the Flying Crane
tonight?” The second the words left his mouth, David wished
he could pull them back. That had been a private
conversation between her and Ryder.
Still, she had a voice that carried, and it had carried
right over to where he sat.
“I’m there every Friday and Saturday night.” She flashed a
bright smile. “Stop by. I’ll give you a free plate of
David wondered if she offered free nachos to everyone. He
hadn’t heard her mention anything about nachos to Ryder.
“Of course, you’ll probably be home with Brynn.” Two bright
patches of pink appeared on her cheeks when the silence
extended. “I just thought—”
“Actually, Brynn is spending the night with Lia, one of her
friends from the Seedlings.” He paused. “The Seedlings are
a scouting organization—”
Hadley laughed. “Oh, I may not have grown up here, but I
know all about the Seedlings.”
David mentally kicked himself. Of course, he didn’t need to
explain the Seedlings to Hadley. He remembered how excited
Brynn had been last year when Hadley had helped the leaders
with a rock-climbing unit held at the YMCA.
“Yes, well, it’s a great organization.” David shifted in
his seat, wondering just why he felt so awkward. “I was
planning to stay home tonight and finish up a project.”
Her eyes lit with interest. “Another hospital? Or a
It surprised him that Hadley knew his firm specialized in
designs of healthcare facilities, until he recalled a brief
conversation they’d had last year. He’d mentioned that an
emergency department he designed for a hospital in Queens
had won an AIA/AAH Healthcare Design Award.
Even if she didn’t recall that specific conversation—and
why would she?—everyone in town was aware he’d designed the
Good Hope Living Center. The retirement community project,
financed by the Chapin Foundation, focused on independent
living for seniors.
“C’mon, what is it this time?”
He flashed a smile, and the awkward feeling vanished.
“Another emergency room, this time in Spokane.”
“I’m sure it will be both lovely and functional.” She
waited for half a beat as if truly interested.
David knew he’d been mistaken when she turned and headed
back to the counter. He took a deep gulp of coffee, tossed
a five on the table as a tip and stood.
Before Hadley reached the counter, she bent to pick up a
napkin from the floor.
He couldn’t help admiring her toned backside. Hadley had
the whole package. Brains, body and personality.
Then he remembered that was what he’d once thought about
David swallowed the words he’d been about to utter, the
ones that would have committed him to stopping by the
Flying Crane that evening.
Instead, he paused when he reached the door and called out
the inane, “Have a nice day,” before strolling out of the
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