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Just Desserts    by Barbara Bretton order for
Just Desserts
by Barbara Bretton
Order:  USA  Can
Jove, 2008 (2008)
* * *   Reviewed by Martina Bexte

Hayley Goldstein wears many different hats: she's a single parent raising a precocious teenager; she owns and operates a popular small town bakery; she participates in various volunteer projects; and she sees to the needs of a menagerie of pets, mostly rescued from shelters. As a growing sideline, she also creates specialty cakes that many consider works of art. One day she has high hopes of taking her creations nationwide. That dream presents itself sooner than expected when flashy New Jersey lawyer Finn Rafferty offers her the chance to design a cake for world-renowned rock star Tommy Stiles. What Hayley doesn't know is that the arrangement is part of Rafferty's plan to quietly check out the middle-aged mom who might be the aging rock star's first-born child.

Finn would do just about anything for Tommy Stiles, the man who all but claimed Finn as his own son after his parents were killed. It had taken all of Finn's smooth persuasive skills to convince his enthusiastic rocker boss that announcing his and Hayley's possible relationship prematurely could cause problems. Without paternity tests, careful background checks and coordinated damage control, once the tabloids got wind of the story, things could turn ugly. So Tommy reluctantly agrees to wait and let Finn work as his intermediary. Within days, Finn finds himself falling under Hayley's enthusiastic spell and realizing just how much like Tommy she is. As for Hayley, she's having the time of her life, not only creating a series of cakes that resemble drums, but also spending time with Finn. But ever the worrier, she's certain the other shoe is about to drop - somewhere behind Finn's handsome and charming fašade lurk secrets that may further damage her already fragile trust.

Veteran contemporary romance author Barbara Bretton gifts her fans with another unique and entertaining confection that focuses on family, life, love and all the variables in between. Hayley and Finn are wonderfully realised leads whose attraction leaps off the pages during every encounter, whether it's their clever verbal sparring or more tender moments once they realise how well they mesh. But given Hayley's trust issues, not to mention the bombshell about her paternity, their road to happiness presents hurdles. Bretton sweetens the deal with a very large cast of diverse characters, a few of whom are wonderfully flamboyant. Just Desserts is a zesty, fun-filled, feel-good read that will leave readers buzzing with a glowing sugar high.

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