Just Desserts Barbara Bretton

Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: originally Berkley;
this is a digital indie reprint
Date of Publication: print 2008;
digital 2013
ISBN: 9781940665047
ASIN: B00G2EE306
Number of pages: approx. 320
Word Count: approx. 88000
Cover Artist: Erin Dameron-Hill
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Book Description:
Hayley had sworn off bad boys
until Finn Rafferty set out to win her heart…
Once upon a time, Hayley had
believed that a good woman (her) could turn a bad boy (her ex) into a knight in
shining armor (pure fantasy). Ten years of marriage had finally drummed the
truth into her head. In the real world bad boys didn’t turn into knights in
shining armor. Bad boys grew up to be even worse men and the world would be a
much happier place if little girls were taught that basic fact along with their
Hayley Maitland Goldstein knew
all about how these things worked. First a girl giggled, then she sighed, and
the next thing you knew she was in Vegas taking her wedding vows in front of a
red-haired Elvis with an overbite. You knew you had made a bad choice when
Elvis slipped you his divorce lawyer’s business card while you were still
shaking the rice from your hair.
But then Finn Rafferty came into
her life and everything changed.
Hayley should have seen the kiss
coming but it surprised her just the same. He had been looking at her with a
crazy kind of unfocused intensity and she had been about to ask him if he was
having a stroke when she realized she was about to be kissed by a man she
actually wanted to kiss back.
Every now and then life handed
you a perfect moment but the secret was figuring out how to make it last.
Book Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KQ7ruFHrV1I

4 stars

Lawyer Finn Rafferty wasn’t sure what to expect when he sought out the unknown child of a rock legend, but Hayley Maitland Goldsetin wasn’t it.  Hayley questioned every motive for Finn being in her bakery ordering a cake for a rock star.  Why would he drive four hours out of his way to order a cake from a local bakery?

Hayley is waiting for the shoe to drop, the saying too good to be true is ever present in her mind.  It doesn’t help that she finds herself falling for Finn.  When Hayley discovers the truth though will she be able to forgive Finn for keeping her in the dark?

This was a delightful read.  I thought the pacing was good and was eager for Hayley to discover the truth.  Lizzie, the daughter of Hayley is highly entertaining and brings a very family feel to the story.  A true gem.

for Just Desserts
“Very few romance writers
create characters as well developed and realistic as Bretton’s. Her books pull
you in and don’t let you leave until the last word is read.”—Booklist
(starred review)
“Once again Bretton produces
a wonderful, heartwarming story full of strong emotion, humor, charming pets,
delightful characters and a lovely romance. There’s also a poignant secondary
romance. The way Bretton brings all this to life and pulls it all together for
a satisfactory conclusion are what make her a wonderful storyteller.”   —Susan
“Good pacing and dialogue
make this warm-hearted story one that readers are sure to relish. The romances
have both serious and funny elements. If you like light-hearted, feel good,
romantic tales, you are sure to enjoy reading JUST DESSERTS.”  —Marilyn
“There are surprising, funny
twists to this story and a lot of touching episodes to pique the emotional
side. I found Barbara Bretton’s JUST DESSERTS to be highly entertaining,
cleverly written and hard to put down. Being a witty and warm read, I recommend
JUST DESSERTS and look forward to reading other novels by this author.” —Kay Quintin, FRESH FICTION
“If you’ve not ever read Ms.
Bretton then you are in for a real treat with Just Desserts.” –Sandi, A Romance Review
“Just Desserts is a fun,
romantic read. I enjoyed it and recommend it for all those who like a great
story filled with humor and romance.”–Victoria
Kennedy, Midwest Book Review
“JUST DESSERTS is a warm
family drama filled with tender humor . . . Fans will appreciate Barbara
Bretton’s invasion of South Jersey as everyone receives their JUST
DESSERTS.” —Harriet Klausner, Genre
Go-Round Reviews
“Ms. Bretton gives her
readers an easy, yet not bland, story with wonderful, vibrant characters and
wholly believable situations. You’ll want her backlist in your library, if it’s
not there already.”--Amanda
Killgore, Huntress’ Book Reviews
Trish, one of
the high school girls Hayley was currently mentoring, burst into the kitchen
looking like she had just bumped into Justin Timberlake and then ricocheted off
Johnny Depp.
“There’s two
guys outside who want to see you and they’re unbelievably hot!” Trish was
seventeen, the age when the arrival of any biped with a Y chromosome rated a
breathless announcement. “One of them looks like a rock star from, you know, way
back in the eighties.”
Ouch. She had
been Trish’s age in the eighties.
“A rock star?”
she asked, lifting a brow. Rock stars were in short supply in Lakeside.
“A rock star,”
Trish confirmed. “And he’s wearing leather.”
There was only
one reason an aging leather-clad hottie would show up at Goldy’s Bakery at
three o’clock on a Wednesday afternoon and it had nothing to do with brownies,
cheesecake, or bagels.
“Tell him Mr.
Goldstein doesn’t live here anymore.” And that Mrs. Goldstein couldn’t be
happier about it. Not even sending him his monthly share of the store’s profits
dimmed her joy.
“But he didn’t
ask for Mr. Goldstein. He asked for you.”
Why did that
surprise her? She was the Goldstein with a bank balance, after all. It had been
a while since someone had come looking for her ex but the knot in her stomach
was painfully familiar. The faint stench of danger still lingered in the air.
She wished she had a dollar for every angry enabler who had shown up at Goldy’s
in search of the reluctant Mr. Goldstein. She’d be able to buy him out once and
for all and still have money to spare.
“Then tell him
I’m not here.”
“But, Mrs. G., I
already told him you were.”
“Then tell him
the truth,” she said. “I’m busy working on a cake that should have been
finished an hour ago. I can’t spare a second.” And here she’d thought her life
would settle down after Michael moved to Florida to mooch off his mother. The
man’s problems had the half-life of uranium.
Trish rearranged
her pretty features into an even prettier frown. “He really wants to see you,
Mrs. G. Maybe—”
Hayley could
feel the hot breath of the Cumberland County Association of Female Realtors on
the back of her neck. She whipped out The Look, the same look every mother on
the planet had down cold, aimed it in Trish’s direction, then hoped for the
“I’ll tell him,”
Trish mumbled, then pushed through the swinging door to deliver the bad news.
The Look had
stopped working on Lizzie when she was seven, but it was nice to know she still
had enough maternal firepower at her command to keep her young staff in line.
She pressed her
ear against the swinging door but she couldn’t make out Trish’s words, just a
high apologetic string of female sounds that was followed by a male rumble.
Leather Boy had a good voice, baritone, a little smoky. She couldn’t make out
his words either but Trish’s answering giggle conjured up some painful memories
of herself at that age.
First a girl
giggled, then she sighed, and the next thing you knew she was in Vegas taking
her wedding vows in front of a red-haired Elvis with an overbite. You knew you
had made a bad choice when Elvis slipped you his divorce lawyer’s business card
while you were still shaking the rice from your hair.
She listened
closer. Trish said something girly. Leather Boy rumbled something manly. This
time Rachel, her other counter girl for the week, giggled too, a sound that
sent Hayley’s maternal early-warning system into overdrive.
Rachel Gomez was
a serious straight-A student bound for Princeton next year on full scholarship.
She needed the paycheck more than any mentoring Hayley might have provided her.
Rachel had probably never giggled before in her life.
If Rachel
giggled, then even Lizzie might not be immune. Fourteen was when it started,
that fizzy sensation in your veins, the yearning for things you couldn’t
define, the sudden realization that boys were infinitely more interesting than
global warming or the fate of the humpback whale.
Fourteen was
also when young girls parted company with their self-confidence and traded in
their love of math and science for a date for the prom.
Sometimes she
wanted to lock Lizzie away in her room with her computer, her books, and a cell
phone (maybe), and not let her out again until she was twenty-one. Thirty
sounded better but even fantasies had their limits. The advisor at Olympia Prep
had suggested that Lizzie might be better served intellectually by skipping the
rest of high school and starting college in the fall but Hayley was dead set
against it. Lizzie might be brilliant when it came to science but when it came
to life, she was still only fourteen.
The world could
be a scary place. A mother did her best to protect her kid from fast cars,
drunk drivers, broken bones, flu, the common cold, but there was nothing she
could do to protect her kid from growing up. No matter what you did or how well
you did it, your little girl wasn’t going to stay a little girl. Right before
your eyes she was going to grow up on you anyway and all you could do was pray
she didn’t follow in your foolish footsteps.
Once upon a
time, Hayley had believed that a good woman (her) could turn a bad boy (her ex)
into a knight in shining armor (pure fantasy). Ten years of marriage to Michael
Goldstein had finally drummed the truth into her head. People didn’t change with
time. They just became more of who they were to begin with.
In the real
world bad boys didn’t turn into knights in shining armor. Bad boys grew up to
be even worse men and the world would be a much happier place if little girls
were taught that basic fact along with their ABCs.
Why didn’t women
teach their young how to cope with the things that were really important
instead of how to walk in their first pair of heels? Why didn’t they make a
point of sitting their girl children down and telling them the truth about men
instead of letting some guy in a leather jacket seduce them over a tray of
black-and-white cookies?
That was one of
the many reasons why she had helped institute the mentoring program at the high
school. Lizzie claimed her overflow worrying needed an outlet but it went far
deeper. She saw herself in those girls, insecure, struggling, hungry for love,
and ready to hand over their futures to the first guy who came along.
Those idiot
girls out there were like ripe fruit on a very low-hanging branch. The
slightest breeze would be enough to shake them from the tree and into the
waiting arms of Leather Boy or someone just like him and their entire lives
would be changed forever.
Except it wasn’t
going to happen on her watch. With apologies to the good real estate agents of
Cumberland County, it was time to prepare for battle.

the Author:


Oh, how I hate bios! All of that
deadly dull information about name (Barbara Bretton) and date of birth (June
25) and geographical data (born in New York City; lives near Princeton, NJ),
marital status (many years married), and hobbies (who has time??). How do you
gather up all of those dull, dry facts and turn them into something
No wonder I tell lies for a
I considered weaving a story for
you about life on a houseboat on the French Riviera. Or maybe my years as a
concubine, hidden away in a golden pleasure palace in the shimmering desert.
Then I decided to do the unthinkable and tell you the truth.
When I sold my first book and my
life changed forever. I sent in my manuscript on Thursday February 21, 1982 and
four days later the telephone rang and I heard the amazing words, “We want
to buy your book.” How I wish you could have seen me. I was standing by
the kitchen door of our North Babylon house, the picture of cool
sophistication, as I listened to Vivian Stephens explain the terms of the deal
to me. You would have thought I’d sold a first book every single day of my
life. Yes, I said. Sounds wonderful. Thank you so much for calling. I look
forward to our association. That cool sophistication hung on until I hung up
the phone, took a deep breath, then promptly threw up on my shoes.
I was thirty-one years old,
unagented, unschooled, unfamiliar with anything to do with the business of
publishing. To put it mildly, I was in shock. My husband was working in
Manhattan at the time (and finishing up his degree at night) so it would be
hours until I could break the news to him. This was too exciting to waste on a
phone call. I wanted to see his face when I told him that my dream had finally
come true — and came with a $6000 advance!
He pulled into the driveway at
midnight. I was waiting in the doorway, holding a bottle of champagne and two
glasses. I didn’t have to say a word. He knew right away and the look of joy
and pride in his eyes warms me now, years later, long after the advance faded
into memory.
A lot has happened to me in the
years since that first sale. I’ve learned that this is a difficult and
demanding business (it takes a tough writer to write a tender book) and that I
am happiest when I am most ignorant. I’ve also learned that a good friend, a
writer and pal who truly understands, is worth her weight in good reviews and
royalty checks.
I fell madly in love with Skye
O’Malley in early 1982 and wrote an unabashedly gushy fan letter to our beloved
Bertrice Small. By the time Sunny answered, I had joined the ranks of the
published and Sunny became friend and mentor, guide and confidant. She has held
my hand through broken dreams, disappointments, family illnesses, and accepted
my bizarre need to go underground from time to time with great affection and
understanding. Over the years I’ve come to understand the difference between
the writer and her work, that loving the book doesn’t guarantee that I will
love the author. But what a joy it is when you discover that the author of a
beloved favorite is even more wonderful and witty and wise than the characters
she creates.
So this bio is for you, Sunny,
for being the best of friends during the worst of times and — even more
wonderful — during the good times as well.
And now for the statistics:
Barbara Bretton is the USA Today
bestselling, award-winning author of more than 40 books. She currently has over
ten million copies in print around the world. Her works have been translated
into twelve languages in over twenty countries.
Barbara has been featured in
articles in The New York Times, USA Today, Wall Street Journal, Romantic Times,
Cleveland Plain Dealer, Herald News, Home News, Somerset Gazette,among others,
and has been interviewed by Independent Network News Television, appeared on
the Susan Stamberg Show on NPR, and been featured in an interview with Charles
Osgood of WCBS, among others.
Her awards include both
Reviewer’s Choice and Career Achievement Awards from Romantic Times; Gold and
Silver certificates from Affaire de Coeur; the RWA Region 1 Golden Leaf; and
several sales awards from Bookrak. Ms. Bretton was included in a recent edition
of Contemporary Authors.
Barbara loves to spend as much
time as possible in Maine with her husband, walking the rocky beaches and
dreaming up plots for upcoming books.