USA Today Bestselling Author
Sometimes the sweetest beginnings
come from bitter endings…
Juliet Monroe’s comfortable world has been turned upside down. She’s struggling to leave her trophy wife identity behind and make ends meet as a full-time event planner. When her handsome new neighbor needs to throw the perfect birthday party for his niece, Juliet offers her services. If she pulls this off, maybe she can get her life back on track. But to do so, she’ll need the help of the Cupcake Posse. Too bad her friends are grappling with problems of their own:
Missy’s recovering from injuries; Nell’s trying to thwart her mother’s matchmaking efforts; Selena’s husband wants her to work less when she needs to do more; and Bria’s facing obstacles she never anticipated trying to save her late aunt’s bakery.
Join the Cupcake Posse as they work together to navigate the difficulties of life, loss, and love. They continue to rely on each other, never losing sight of the importance of friendship and family, but will that be enough to save the Berry Lake Cupcake Shop?
When we left Juliet in Cupcakes and Crumbs she had just come home from her first Tea Party event. She was surprised to find her husband Ezra was home even more so with the bombshell he dropped.
From the moment Ezra was introduced I didn’t like him at all, he’s a pompous jerk after all. As this book opens he just proves my point. He not only informs Juliet that Remy is pregnant and he would be marrying her, but has the audacity to expect her to stay as nanny and housekeeper. While Juliet is stunned, she certainly isn’t going to stay, she’s got friends here in Berry Lake, she’d get through whatever Ezra throws at her.
Bria and Selena had returned to their respective homes, Missy is getting closer to being discharged from the hospital and trying to bribe Nell with cupcakes that won’t hasten the process.
Big changes await Bria as she returns to her life in San Diego and she finds herself in a position to make some decisions she might have put off.
Selena is as always a rock, with her hockey star husband Logan Trembley and their routines.
Juliet needs to get out of the house quickly and start her life without Ezra but first she needs to contact her friends.
This is a favorite scene.
She opened her eyes, blinking until her vision adjusted to the sunlight streaming in the room through the open blinds.
Two critical words, but ones she wouldn’t forget. She grabbed her phone from the nightstand and typed a message for the Cupcake Posse group chat, set up a week ago to help them stay connected. They’d needed something with Bria and Selena living elsewhere. But who knew in less than twenty-four hours after saying goodbye Juliet’s life would implode? She wanted to believe their vow to be there for each other was true, but Ezra hadn’t honored his vows. Why should her friends?
Here goes nothing.
She took a breath before hitting send.
Juliet: Ezra told me yesterday Remy is pregnant. He’s the father. I needed time to process last night. Now, I need to figure out what to do. I have to visit my grandmother and ask if I can move into the Huckleberry Inn. I want out of here ASAP.
Juliet exhaled. No matter how Grandma reacted, her friends would have her back. At least, she hoped so.
Doubts, however, surfaced, ready to take her out like a rogue wave on the coast. After nearly fifteen years apart, the five of them had reunited last week. Sure, they picked up right where they left off as if they still worked at the Berry Lake Cupcake Shop and Elise Landon was alive. But what did that mean today and tomorrow and every day after that?
A vow was only words. The intention behind it was what mattered.
She waited, staring at her cell phone as if she could wish a reply into existence. But people might be busy or not have their phones with them.
Dots formed on the screen.
Someone was replying.
Her hands trembled, so she tightened her grip on the phone.
Nell: I’m so sorry. But I don’t think you want to move out of the house voluntarily. Not sure why, but I remember hearing that. I can call the Carpenters. They handle all kinds of cases.
Juliet: Thanks, but you don’t have to ask him. I signed a prenup, and even if I hadn’t, I couldn’t afford to keep this house. Ezra wants me to move into the room above the garage and be his and Remy’s maid and nanny. I need to get away from him. Today!
Nell: You’re welcome to stay with me. I’m fostering a cat. Not sure if you’re allergic.
Missy: Hugs. My place is small, and Mario and Peach are there, but we can all fit.
Bria: Those are great offers, but stay at Aunt Elise’s house. The spare key is under the painted rock near the front porch. You’ll need food. I got rid of everything in the kitchen before I left.
Selena: Move into Elise’s place. I’ll call a top divorce attorney I know. She’ll get the prenup tossed out.
Juliet’s breath hitched, and tears— relieved ones this time— welled in her eyes.
Her hands shook, but she typed and sent another message.
Juliet: I appreciate the offers Missy and Nell, but Elise’s house is within walking distance to work and my grandmother’s. I’m not sure if the car is in my name or not, but knowing Ezra, it isn’t.
Bria: Elise signed over her car to me when she stopped driving. The insurance is up to date. Use it. The keys are in the top drawer in the kitchen.
And thank you, Elise.
The woman, who’d been her former boss fifteen years ago, had a lightning-fast temper, but she loved as fiercely whether family, friend, or customer.
More dots appeared on Juliet’s screen.
Missy: I’ll be out of the hospital this afternoon, but I can’t do much to help now.
Selena: Your job is to recover, Missy. We’ll pick up the slack until you’re better.
Nell: Yes, we will, so hang up, Missy. You’re not supposed to be staring at screens with a concussion.
Nell: I’m at work, but I’ll grab groceries when I get off and bring them to Elise’s.
Selena: I’ll come to Berry Lake this weekend. If Ezra cleaned out your bank account, text me, and I’ll send money ASAP.
Uh-oh. Juliet hadn’t considered their money. She opened the banking app on her phone and did a double-take at the balances in the two accounts. Only $ 150 remained in their checking account and $ 25 in their savings.
As her heart sank, her shoulders drooped. “Why, Ezra?”
On Saturday, there’d been over ten thousand dollars in each account when she’d taken out her weekly allowance for groceries.
Her muscles bunched. All she wanted to do was scream. Instead, she dropped the phone onto the bed.
Okay, until this past week, he’d been the only one earning a paycheck. She kept him fed, clothed, and the house clean, which made her… his glorified maid and nanny.
Ugh. Juliet buried her face against her hands before straightening.
She needed to stop pretending life was a fairytale. That storybook had ended years ago.
Why wouldn’t Ezra drain their accounts?
The man had cheated and gotten another woman pregnant.
A rat, remember?
At least she had a withdrawal slip with the amounts that had been in both. After three deep breaths, she picked up her phone and typed.
Juliet: I need a good divorce attorney, Selena, so please pass on my number to your friend or give me hers. Ezra cleaned out the bank accounts, but I have some cash to tide me over.
Juliet: Feel better, Missy. You can help me later. And Nell, milk, eggs, cheese, butter, and bread would be great. I want to lie low for a few days.
Bria: If you have questions about the house or car, text or call me.
Juliet: You guys are the best friends ever. I don’t know what I’d do without you. Last night was a nightmare, but I don’t feel so lost anymore.
Selena: You aren’t.
Bria: We promised to be there for each other.
Nell: We sure did.
Missy: Cupcake Posse forever!
Nell: Off the phone, Missy, or I’ll talk to your doctor again.
Laughter bubbled over. Something Juliet never expected to experience this morning. But wasn’t that why she texted her friends? So she wouldn’t have to face this by herself?
Their offers, however, left her stunned but oh so grateful for their friendship and them.
Melissa McClone. Tiaras & Teacups (Kindle Locations 685-773). Cardinal Press, LLC.
With the wheels in motion for her divorce Juliet with help from Charlene, Sabine, her husband Max, and Sheridan with her husband, Michael helping getting Juliet moved into Elise’s house goes quickly and efficiently. There was of course a confrontation with Ezra but that was to be expected.
There’s a lot that happens in this book, a new neighbor for Juliet, Roman the new veterinarian and his daughter, more Nell and Gage with the addition of the paramedic Welles, more of Brie and Dalton too. Some never ending drama with Ezra, Remy and even Juliet’s grandmother Penelope Jones gets in the act.
Juliet also gets a couple of housemates, Charlene brings Butterscotch, Elise’s cat to Juliet thinking the cat would much rather be in his own home than her condo. Then Mrs. Vernon a friend of her grandmother’s brings her dog Lulu. She’s going into assisted living and the dog can’t come with her. An interesting development that includes Roman.
I loved this book so very much. There is so much growth with each of these characters. I really can’t wait for the next book in this series.
5 Contented Purrs for Melissa!
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USA Today bestselling author, Melissa McClone has published over forty novels with Harlequin and Tule Publishing Group.
With a degree in mechanical engineering from Stanford University, Melissa worked for a major airline where she traveled the globe and met her husband. But analyzing jet engine performance couldn’t compete with her love of writing happily ever afters.
Her first full-time writing endeavor was her first sale when she was pregnant with her first child! When she isn’t writing, you can usually find her driving her minivan to/from her children’s swim practices and other activities.
Melissa lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband, three children, two spoiled Norwegian Elkhounds, and cats who think they rule the house. They do!