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Entries in Beth Ciotta (1)

Tuesday
Aug282012

Read Chapter 1: Fool for Love by Beth Ciotta

Enjoy a short intro into Chapter 1

FOOL FOR LOVE by Beth Ciotta

A Cupcake Lovers Novel (Book 1)
Mass Market Paperback
St. Martin’s Press / Fiction
Contemporary Romance

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SHE’S CRAVING A SWEET NEW LIFE…

Call her a fool, but chef-in-training Chloe Madison wants to have her cake and eat it too. So when her boyfriend dumps her for some French tart, she decides to start over from scratch—with a new life and a job in Sugar Creek, Vermont. What could be sweeter than cooking for an eccentric lady who’s crazy for desserts? What could be more tempting than joining a club called the Cupcake Lovers? Just one thing: local business hunk Devlin Monroe…

AND HE’S THE ICING ON THE CUPCAKE

Although he’s the grandson of Chloe’s fun-loving boss, Devlin Monroe is all work and no play. Micro-managing the family business, he doesn’t have time to indulge in life’s sweetest pleasures—until he meets Chloe. How can he resist such a vibrant, beautiful woman who brings so much passion to the table? But when old grudges and secrets threaten to destroy the Cupcake Lovers, Devlin must decide if his feelings for Chloe are a recipe for disaster—or a sinfully delicious ever-after…


 "Ciotta’s wit adds spark to this tale of extended-family joys and sorrows, smalltown living, and complicated characters with secrets that will keep readers waiting eagerly for the next Monroe family story.' -- Publishers Weekly

 
Read Chapter 1:

Chapter 1

 Manhattan, New York Upper East Side

“How many years do you think I’d get for death by Cuisin­art?”

“Chloe—”

“I’m serious, Monica. I want to kill him.”

“With a hand mixer?”

“I don’t want it to be quick.”

“Or easy. How exactly would that work?”

Chloe didn’t know—exactly. She wasn’t thinking ratio­nally.Her brain was choked with visions of Ryan licking vanilla-bean buttercreamfrosting from her beaters—frosting she’d prepared for a celebratory cake—rightbefore announc­ing he was leaving her for a Parisian “tart.” (Chloe’sdescrip­tion of the other woman, not his.)

Heart full of equal parts grief and fury, Chloe squeezedback tears as she continued her long-distance tirade with her closest andoldest friend. “Maybe you’re right,” she said into her smartphone. “Maybe Ishould skewer his traitorous heart with my meat fork. Or pulverize him with mytenderizer.”

“That’s just grisly. And totally out of character. You’re apacifist, hon. Zero tolerance for gore. You threw up when we accidently ranover that squirrel on Route Twenty-two. Re­member?”

Senior year of high school. Driving home from a rehearsalfor West Side Story. Monica had swerved, but not enough. Chloe had screamedwhen she’d felt the thud, then, looking out the rearview window and seeing thefurry roadkill, had puked all over the backseat of Monica’s 1992 Camaro.

Remember?

“Sort of,” she mumbled, letting out an aggrieved sigh.Monica was right. Violence and gore wouldn’t do. Just think­ing about thatsquashed squirrel turned her stomach and soured her killer instincts. Once shewas depleted of rage, Chloe’s knees buckled. She slumped onto the love seat sheand Ryan used to cuddle on, misery pouring over her soul, slow and thick likethe homemade maple syrup Monica had shipped from Vermont.

Two years. Chloe had invested two years of her life in thisrelationship—her longest serious liaison ever. She’d had a severe falling-outwith her dad when she’d moved in with Ryan, and she’d lost touch with acontingent of her NYC friends when she’d given up partying for domestic bliss.She hadn’t expected a conventional union, what with Ryan fre­quently traveling overseesfor his job, but she hadn’t expected this. She hadn’t suspected an affair,hadn’t felt Ryan’s affec­tions straying. She’d thought they were a solidcouple, des­tined for marriage. She felt like the biggest freaking idiot on theplanet.

“Listen, Chloe. I know you’re crushed. The bastard cheatedon you. That sucks. And he’s leaving you for her. Sucks worse. But . . .”

“But what?”

Monica blew out a breath. “Okay. Here comes some tough love,sweetie. You had a comfortable relationship, lived a comfortable life, but didyou seriously want to spend the rest of your nights with a guy who couldn’tfind your G-spot?”

Chloe flushed. “I had orgasms.”

“With the shower massager. Doesn’t count.”

“I shouldn’t have shared that with you.”

“Why not? I told you about the time I got off sitting on topof the crazed washing machine.”

“Are you trying to make me feel better? Because, news flash,you’re not.”

“I’m trying to tell you Ryan Levine isn’t worth twenty-fiveto life in the state penitentiary.”

“Don’t worry. The murderous urge passed.”

“Good.”

“Now I just want to curl up and die.”

“Oh, hon—”

Chloe burst into tears and poured out her heart. Maybe Ryanwasn’t worth a stretch in the clink, but he was sure wor­thy of a good cry. “Heruined the happiest day of my life, Monica. After all these years, all thebotched courses and careers, I finally followed through, finally excelled atone of my passions. After four hundred and forty hours of in-class training anda two-hundred- and- ten-hour externship, I not only earned a diploma from theCulinary Arts Institute; I graduated with honors.”

“What? You’re kidding! I mean, that’s fantastic! Why didn’tyou tell me?”

“I just found out today. About the honors part, anyway. Thehappiest day of my life—ruined! The affair’s been go­ing on for months. Hecould’ve waited a day or two to dump me. Any day other than my proudest.”


“Or,” Monica growled, sounding like a provoked mother bear,“he could’ve broken off with you weeks ago, when the fling started.”

“He said he didn’t want to distract me from my studies.” 

“Big of him.”

“Said he’d feel better leaving, knowing I was finallyfo­cused on a sensible career.”

“Bastard.”

“He’s coming back at the end of the month to pack up histhings. He’s actually transferring to the company’s resort in France so he canlive with her. Said our apartment’s paid up for the next three months. Thatgives me three months to find a roommate or to find a place I can afford on myown. Both prospects are daunting. Not to mention I’ll be job hunt­ing at thesame time.”
“Maybe you could ask your dad—”

 “No.”

“Right. Dumb suggestion. Okay, then. Come stay with me.”

Chloe blinked. “You live in Vermont.” 


“So what? Put your things in storage and fly up for anextended visit. It doesn’t have to be forever. Just time enough to heal. Tocatch your breath and plan for your future. Who knows? Maybe you’ll fall inlove with Sugar Creek like I did and want to stay.”