Synopsis: Once upon a time, Hayley 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 finally drummed the truth into her head. People don’t change with time. They just become more of who they were to begin with…
Hayley Goldstein should be jumping for joy. She’s been offered the chance of a lifetime: to bake a cake for world-famous rock star Tommy Stiles. But why would such a celebrity send his big-time lawyer to her small-time South Jersey bakery? Hayley’s had enough hard knocks in her life to always suspect the worst. And she has a sneaking suspicion that this is about more than just cake…
Well, lawyer Finn Rafferty has to admit she’s right. The truth is, Hayley is Tommy’s long-lost daughter, and the aging rocker wants to meet–and maybe spoil–Hayley and her daughter. With her world turned upside down, Hayley will need help letting down her guard and hanging onto the things that matter most. And Finn may just be the man for the job . . . .
My Thoughts: I loved, loved, loved this story! Finn and Hayley were real if you get my meaning. Well, as real as fictitious characters go. She is 38; he is 39. She is a mother, a baker, a small business owner who is barely making ends meet. According to her, her thighs are a condo where cellulite has made themselves at home. She is a classic TV fan and had the pets to prove it ~ Mary, Murray, Rhoda, Ted, and Mr. G (a little Mary Tyler Moore, anybody??). She has one failed marriage behind her, and an ex-husband who quite frankly isn’t worth the energy it takes to breathe in oxygen. Add to that a mother who she doesn’t quite have a relationship with because she is always on the road lecturing, an aunt who helped raise her and who is now a permanent fixture in her daughter’s life, a 14-year-old daughter who could probably out maneuver the best businessman in the world, and a best-friend who is also her former sister-in-law and that pretty much sums up Hayley’s life.
Finn is a lawyer full-time and a rocker part-time. With the rocker part of his lifestyle he finds himself part of an extended, loving, mixed-up menagerie of Tommy Stiles children, ex-wives, fiancé, band members, and all that comes with that. Tommy however, is not your typical rocker. He has his head on straight when it comes to family and it definitely shines through to all who know him. There’s also Anton, a shaved-head, tattooed, pierced, hard-rocking man who likes to bake, cook, and read romance novels on the side. (Who for some strange reason reminds me of Preacher from Robyn Carr’s Virgin River series ~ not sure why? Maybe because Preacher screams like a girl?????)
When Finn and Hayley meet they can’t stop looking at each other. He, because he is looking for a family resemblance to Tommy Stiles; she, because he keeps looking at her. That’s how it starts. Then it extends to emails, phone calls, last minute dinners, and soon a romance has developed.
But this book is more than a romance. It’s family, friendship, forgiveness, chaos, gossip, and all that goes with it. It’s a wonderful, wonderful story that immediately sucked me in from the moment I started it until I finished it.
Verdict: This was Excellent. I laughed, I cried, I got angry, I got the “ahhhh” moments ~ it was just an awesome. This was my first Barbara Bretton, but most definitely will not be my last. I loved every minute of this book and I look forward to reading more by her in the future.