Molten Chocolate…Cinnamon Spice…Gingerbread…Old-Fashioned Vanilla…You can’t stop at just one.
And the women of the Cupcake Club love to indulge…
Kit Bellamy was raised on pie. Mamie Sue’s Peanut Pies, to be exact, the family company her scheming brother-in-law sold out from under her. Now Kit needs a new recipe for her life—and sleepy Sugarberry Island is the first ingredient. Running mail-order cupcake business Babycakes is a chance to get her baking on again—until she meets tall, dark, and adorable lawyer Morgan Westlake. New to the island to raise his goddaughter, he’s as mouthwatering as any of Kit’s creations. It’s just her luck that he’s the spawn of the very law firm that helped crush her dreams…
Fortunately, Kit’s new friends can assure her that Morgan is no typical Westlake—and that even lawyers, not to mention single dads, need romance. If Kit can just be persuaded to follow her appetite—and set another place at her holiday table—her sweetest dreams just might come true…
“Donna Kauffman writes smart and sexy, with sizzle to spare!” --Janet Evanovich
“One incredibly sweet read!” --Mariah Stewart, New York Times bestselling author
Her whole life had been about peanut pie.
Well . . . for the past twenty-nine years, five months,
three weeks, five days, and—Kit Bellamy glanced at the
digital clock on the dash of her car—about twelve hours,
it had been about pie. Mamie Sue’s Peanut Pie, to be specific.
As if there were any other kind.
She’d lived, breathed, walked, talked, dreamed, eaten,
baked, boxed, shipped, and sweated over peanut pie, every
single day of her life, for as long as she could remember.
So, she was having an understandably hard time embracing
the idea that her future was going to be all about
Twenty-nine years. She might have been slightly off on
the number of weeks and days, math not being her strong
point—a painfully evident truth, given her recent life
evolution—but she knew she had the hours part correct.
Grandma Laureen hadn’t told the story of Kit’s mother going
into labor right there in Mamie Sue’s kitchen just
once. No, that story had become part of the Bellamy legend,
which was a rich and colorful one, even without the
story of Kit coming into the world between the burlap
peanut sacks and the six-burner Wedgewood stove. But
then, as Grandma Reenie always said, “Bellamy women
know how to make an entrance.”
What Kit Bellamy was presently trying to figure out,
was how Bellamy women—at least this particular Bellamy
woman—made an exit.
There wasn’t any historical lore on that point. As far as
Kit knew, at least in the previous three generations, no
Bellamy woman had ever walked away. From anything.
Or anyone. Ever. Least of all family, and most of all, the
Kit had done both.
Not that there was a business, per se, to walk away
from—or much of a family, for that matter. She’d managed
to destroy both of those first. She never should have
trusted Teddy. “Having a few investors will allow us to expand
Mamie Sue’s into the kind of global empire she’d
have been thrilled to see come to fruition,” her brotherin-
law had said, all earnest sincerity and gleaming dental
Never trust a man with puppy dog eyes and pearly whites.
Kit could hear her great-grandmother’s words of wisdom
as clearly as if she was sitting next to her. “Lesson
learned, Grammy Sue,” she murmured. “Lesson so learned.”
The past thirteen months had been filled with lawyers,
courtrooms, judges, shocking revelations, and the kind of
utter betrayal Kit wasn’t sure she’d ever recover from.
Since Teddy’s Big Reveal during what had turned out to
be Mamie Sue’s Peanut Pie Company’s final board meeting
she had stumbled from being frozen in shock, into utter
devastation and guilt, on through blistering fury, and
had only recently settled into merciful numbness.
The Bellamy women who had come before her were
surely still rolling in their graves. Kit had fought back, and
could only hope they’d have at least been proud of the grit
and gumption she’d displayed in striving to save every
thing they’d all worked so hard for. But even that was a
small consolation given that, in the end, Teddy and his
fancy Westlake lawyers had won the day.
The company and the women who’d built it had each
experienced their share of stumbling blocks and setbacks.
“But none of them screwed up so badly they managed to
let the damn thing be sold right out from under them,” Kit
muttered. “Much less to a vending machine snack company.”
She bit out those last four words as if she’d tasted
one of their products. You couldn’t call what they sold
Mamie Sue’s deliciously decadent peanut pie—each and
every one of them lovingly handmade with the very same
ingredients Mamie Sue had used when she’d started the
company in her own kitchen over seventy-eight years
ago—should never, not ever, come in a cellophane wrapper.
Or be shelved in the E5 slot of a Tas-T-Snaks vending
machine, for a buck-twenty-five a slice.
“I should have shot him dead right there in the boardroom,”
Would a jury have convicted her? She thought not. All
she’d have had to do was submit footage of smarmy, self-
important Teddy orating his way though any of the board
meetings he’d wormed his way into over the last few years
now that the older generations of Bellamy women no
longer presided over such things.
It was probably just as well that Mamie Sue herself had
passed on before Teddy had come on the scene. Kit had
just graduated high school when, at ninety-four, Mamie
Sue—who’d wielded a rolling pin pretty much every day
of her long and bountiful life—had finally proven them all
wrong and passed peacefully in her sleep. Up until that
moment, they’d been pretty much convinced she’d live
Mamie Sue’s daughter-in-law, Laureen, and her grand
daughter-in-law, Kit’s mother Katie, had continued running
the company they’d helped build just as confidently
and assertively as Mamie Sue ever had. Unfortunately,
soon afterward, Grandma Reenie had begun a rapid decline
in health, with the devastating diagnosis of early onset
Alzheimer’s. Her merciful passing had been followed
only a few short years later by the tragic death of Kit’s
mother and father in a car accident, leaving Kit, who had
just turned twenty-four, and her twenty-two year-old sister
Trixie, to head up the family company far, far sooner
than anyone could have predicted.
Kit had, at least, been involved in the business since
she’d been old enough to totter on top of a stool and smear
flour on the rolling boards. Trixie’s interests, however, had
always been more focused on the lifestyle and prestige the
family business brought her way—which was why Teddy,
Trixie’s husband of less than two years at the time of their
parents’ deaths, had stepped in and taken on what was
Trixie’s share of the company load.
Kit recalled how relieved the family had been when
Trixie had settled on Teddy Carruthers. Trixie had barely
turned twenty when she’d gotten engaged, but after spending
most of her teenage years bringing home the most
amazing array of users and losers—her way of “acting out”
when her parents wouldn’t enable the lifestyle Trixie was
certain she deserved—they’d been so thrilled with her
choice, they’d given the couple their heartfelt blessing.
Privately, Kit had always thought Teddy was a little too
slick and a lot too full of himself, but all the family saw was
that he was smart, ambitious, and came from an established
Atlanta family, which meant he wasn’t after Trixie for her
Even with his too-polished exterior, none of them
could have predicted the true nature of Teddy’s ambition
or the depths of his greed. Least of all, as was now self-
She allowed herself a moment to savor what the courtroom
scene would have been like once the jury saw the
heartless deviousness of Teddy’s back-stabbing plan—one
he’d concocted with the assistance of her “whatever you
think is best, dear!” sister, who was far too busy with her
new life as Trixie Carruthers, enjoying her country club
groups and Junior League engagements, to pay any attention
to what her husband was doing with her stake in the
With the help of his slick, high priced, and oh-so-smug
Westlake lawyers, Teddy had used his sneaky little investor
plan to blindside Kit, the board of directors . . . and everyone
else at Mamie Sue’s, into giving him the leverage to
sell the company to Tas-T-Snaks, which was interested
only in owning rights to the name of the product itself.
They’d be mass producing the product in another country
and shipping it out in cartons, putting generations of employees
who had invested heart, soul, and faith into the
company out on the streets. Right next to Kit.
“Oh yeah. I’d have walked a free woman.”
She was a free woman, all right. Free of the family business
she’d loved with all her heart. Free of the family—if
she could still consider Trixie or Teddy family—who had
taken that beloved business and turned it into a colossal
joke. All for greed. It begged the question, just how much
money did two people actually need? Kit was even free of
their equally beloved family home, with the very kitchen
Mamie Sue had used to launch her fledgling little business
over three-quarters of a century before. The same home
Trixie and Teddy had summarily sold the moment the
judge’s verdict had been handed down on Kit’s last and final
Yep, Kit was free to start her life completely over. From
She’d spent pretty much everything she’d had and all of
what she’d gotten from the sale of the company to pay the
lawyers she’d hired to fight Teddy and Tas-T-Snaks.
Teddy had been astonished when she’d fought back, unable
to comprehend why she hadn’t been happy and just
skipped into the sunset with the sudden windfall of income
he’d procured for her from the sale. And Trixie had
had the nerve to ask her why she was betraying her own
sister like that, dragging family into court. Kit still almost
had apoplexy just thinking about that conversation.
When Kit hadn’t backed down, Trixie’s righteous tears
and Teddy’s cajoling “there, there, it’s just business” pats
on the head had swiftly turned into downright fury when
they’d had to spend their own money to fight back.
It wasn’t much vindication—Teddy’s family’s pockets
were deep—so Kit sincerely doubted he’d suffer from paying
Westlake’s steep legal tab, but it made her feel she’d at
least done her best in the name of her family. That was
what mattered to her, doing the right thing for all of those
who’d worked so hard to make Mamie Sue’s what it was.
Or... had been, anyway.
Of course, now she was in the same boat they were—
scrambling to find new work, trying to start over, figuring
out what came next.
She frowned hard to keep fresh tears of anger and guilt
from leaking out. She’d cried far too many already. It was
just...how had she let it happen? Why hadn’t she seen
through his plan? Those two questions would plague her
for the rest of her days. Through the shimmer of threatening
tears, she spied the sign for the causeway over Os sabaw
Sound to her final destination.