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Marry Me In Good Hope

Marry Me In Good Hope, February 2018
Good Hope #6
by Cindy Kirk

Author Self-Published
280 pages
ISBN: 0990716635
EAN: 9780990716631
Kindle: B077X3C941
Paperback / e-Book
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"Secrets in Good Hope"

Fresh Fiction Review

Marry Me In Good Hope
Cindy Kirk

Reviewed by Susan Gorman
Posted February 7, 2018

Romance Contemporary

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!

Learn more about Marry Me In Good Hope

SUMMARY

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 meant 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 that can happen, she must come clean. David deserves to know what really brought Hadley to Good Hope—even if hearing it means he’ll want Hadley gone for good.

Excerpt

Chapter One

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 interesting.

“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 Good Hope.

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 happy.

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, Camille.

“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 back?”

“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 mother left.”

Mother.

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 time.

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 speak up.

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 for everyone.”

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 around.

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 responsibilities.

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 depleted.

Damn Whitney.

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 her daughter…

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 life.

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 the child.

“Care for a refill?”

David’s head jerked up.

Hadley stood beside the table, coffeepot in hand.

“Thanks.”

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 nachos.”

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 surgical facility?”

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 Whitney.

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 shop.


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