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Fool for Love (Cupcake Lovers Series #1)
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Fool for Love (Cupcake Lovers Series #1)

4.3 26
by Beth Ciotta

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Fool for Love

Beth Ciotta


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 job in Sugar Creek, Vermont. What could be sweeter than cooking


Fool for Love

Beth Ciotta


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 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…


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…

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Setting up her Cupcake Lovers romance series, Ciotta (Charmed) draws an array of distinctive well-developed characters. Chloe Madison, newly graduated from Manhattan’s Culinary Arts Institute, is dumped by her boyfriend, Ryan. She leaves the city for Sugar Creek, Vt., where her best friend lives. Chloe was once a spontaneous live-in-the-moment person, but Ryan molded her into a sedate woman. Now she needs to reclaim her identity. Her job as companion to Daisy Monroe, a feisty 75-year-old, seems simple in theory, but in reality leads to nonstop hilarious situations from which Daisy’s sensible, ultra-responsible, sexy grandson, Devlin, has to rescue them. Chloe also has to deal with a business that needs revamping, Devlin’s matchmaking relatives, and the Monroes’ longtime feud with another family. 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. Agent: Amy Moore-Benson, AMB Literary Management. (Sept.)
From the Publisher

“Rich with emotional complexity and a cast of wonderfully rich characters, Fool for Love is an absolute treat.” —Kristan Higgins, New York Times bestselling author

“Ciotta writes with style, wit and heart. Can't wait for the next one!” —Susan Andersen, New York Times bestselling author

“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 on Fool For Love

Product Details

St. Martin's Press
Publication date:
Cupcake Lovers Series , #1
Edition description:
First Edition
Product dimensions:
4.34(w) x 6.60(h) x 1.06(d)

Read an Excerpt


Life is uncertain. Eat dessert first.


—Ernestine Ulmer

Manhattan, New York

Upper East Side


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


“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 buttercream frosting from her beaters—frosting she’d prepared for a celebratory cake—right before announcing he was leaving her for a Parisian “tart.” (Chloe’s description of the other woman, not his.)

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

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

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


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

Two years. Chloe had invested two years of her life in this relationship—her longest serious liaison ever. She’d had a severe falling-out with her dad when she’d moved in with Ryan, and she’d lost touch with a contingent 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 oversees for 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 solid couple, destined for marriage. She felt like the biggest freaking idiot on the planet.

“Listen, Chloe. I know you’re crushed. The bastard cheated on 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 did you seriously want to spend the rest of your nights with a guy who couldn’t find 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 top of 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-five to life in the state penitentiary.”

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


“Now I just want to curl up and die.”

“Oh, hon—”

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

“What? You’re kidding! I mean, that’s fantastic! Why didn’t you tell me?”

“I just found out today. About the honors part, anyway. The happiest day of my life—ruined! The affair’s been going on for months. He could’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 finally focused on a sensible career.”


“He’s coming back at the end of the month to pack up his things. He’s actually transferring to the company’s resort in France so he can live with her. Said our apartment’s paid up for the next three months. That gives me three months to find a roommate or to find a place I can afford on my own. Both prospects are daunting. Not to mention I’ll be job hunting at the same time.”

“Maybe you could ask your dad—”


“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 an extended visit. It doesn’t have to be forever. Just time enough to heal. To catch your breath and plan for your future. Who knows? Maybe you’ll fall in love with Sugar Creek like I did and want to stay.”

Chloe glanced around the living room and into the kitchen, her gaze drifting toward the bedroom. Every square inch of this apartment reminded her of Ryan and the life they’d shared. She couldn’t imagine staying here for the next three months. What’s more, she didn’t want to.

“I don’t feel right about imposing on you and Leo. You’re trying to have a baby. I … I wouldn’t feel comfortable.” According to her friend, she and her husband of three years were doing it like bunnies every chance they got. Last week when he’d come home for lunch, she’d greeted him at the door naked.

“Potential for awkward moments,” Monica said with a smile in her voice. “True.”

“Plus, what would I do with my time? Sugar Creek is even smaller than the town we grew up in. I’ve been a city girl for fourteen years. I need culture. Activities and distractions.” Especially now. The last thing she needed was empty hours enabling her to wallow in the breakup.

“We have activities and distractions in Sugar Creek,” Monica said. “Just different than what you’re used to. Hey, I know. Daisy Monroe is looking for a cook and companion.”

“Who’s Daisy Monroe?”

“You’ll love her. She’s just like you—charmingly off beat—only older. The town just celebrated her seventy-fifth birthday.”

“The whole town? What is she, famous or something?”

“You could say that. She lives alone in a beautiful old colonial home. I bet if I asked, I could get her to include free board.”


“It’s perfect! Time away. Time with me. Plus you get to cook. Let’s put that diploma to use, honey!”

“I don’t know.”

“I do. Say yes.”

She hugged Ryan’s favorite toss pillow to her chest, breathed in his scent. Her aching heart pounded with renewed fury. What the hell. “Yes.”

“Fantastic! I’ll line everything up. You pack. Oh! Speaking of activities, you can join Cupcake Lovers. Hit us with some of those fancy recipes you learned in culinary school.”

“No, thank you.”

Monica had mentioned the local club in her e-mails. A small group that met once a week to swap recipes and ideas on how to make a difference in the world via cupcakes—chocolate, red velvet, banana walnut …

Chloe envisioned the devil’s food cake she’d chucked in the garbage less than an hour ago. Thought about the way Ryan had sampled the frosting, the groan of delight just before the weary sigh. Remembered the way he’d raved about her cooking over the last few months, especially the dishes she’d created during her Contemporary Desserts course.

Equating confectionary with heartache, she wondered if she’d ever be able to mix up another dessert without feeling depressed or homicidal. “I’m swearing off sweets,” Chloe said with a sniff. “Forever.”

Monica snorted. “Now that’s just crazy talk.”


Copyright © 2012 by Beth Ciotta

Meet the Author

Beth Ciotta is an award-winning author who specializes in romantic comedy with a twist. Her work includes contemporary, historical, and paranormal romantic fiction. "I can't think of anything more fulfilling than writing stories where everyone (except the villain, of course) gets a happy ending!"

Beth lives in New Jersey with her husband, two zany dogs, and a crazy cat. A retired professional performer, Beth now pours her artistic passion into her writing. To learn more about her colorful life, visit her website at www.bethciotta.com.

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Fool for Love: A Cupcake Lovers Novel 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 26 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Baergirl More than 1 year ago
This was the first book that I have read from this author, and I enjoyed it enough that I bought the 2nd in the series and have pre-ordered the 3rd! It's a fun, lighthearted, sometimes laugh-out-loud funny story filled with characters that you want to keep reading about. Daisy is a hoot!
shadow24 More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you enjoy romance books this one is worth reading. Cupcakes and a small town, definitely equal a comfort book.
Irishcontessa More than 1 year ago
I bought and read Fool For Love the day it came out. Once I started reading, I couldn't put it down! It was a compulsive read - I couldn't wait to see what stupid thing Devlin would say next, how Chloe would respond to it, or how they would both react to Daisy's next crazy idea. I very much enjoyed Chloe as a main character - her free spirit, her loyalty to the people in her life, and her unwillingness to allow anyone to get away with bullying or other BS is refreshing and fun to read. I'll admit that I mostly didn't care for Devlin but Chloe brings out his best once he lets her :) The supporting characters are all well-written and made me want to revisit Sugar Creek to see how they are doing. Luckily, Fool for Love is the first in a trilogy so I'll be able to wander back to Sugar Creek in the next book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Beth Ciotta has stepped up her game with this wonderful first book in her new "Cupcake Lovers" trilogy. While Ciotta has always written strong female characters, personal chef Chloe Madison has a depth and backstory that is particularly engaging. Add to that some great romantic twists and turns, the always-anticipated and tantalizing "spice" of a good romance novel, and the very fully-realized community of Sugar Creek (I want to live there!) -- and you have a delicious beginning to an extremely promising three-course feast.
PJ16 More than 1 year ago
New author and I loved this book. Daisy was a great character and her need to be like Errol Flynn. Chloe was a great side kick and the tubing ride is a great scene. Dev is the perfect match for Chloe. I loved this book and all of the family and friends of Sugar Creek. The cupcake recipes in the back sound realy good and can't wait to try. Looking forward to the next book.
jeter2 More than 1 year ago
Loved it so much, I finished it way to fast, and then I bought the rest of the series.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
RtBBlog More than 1 year ago
Reviewed by Valerie Book provided by the publisher for review Review originally posted at Romancing the Book Beth Ciotta has hit a homerun with this book! I was hooked from the first chapter and retreated into the world of laughter and romance until I turned the last page! I absolutely love books that have small town characters and while this one does, it has so much more… Chloe gets dumped by her fiancee right at the get-go. She is totally crushed and decides to accept her best friend’s suggestion to move to Sugar Creek, Vermont – as a personal companion, no less. What’s haunting her, besides being dumped, is that she seems to start projects and never finishes them. The ONLY thing she’s ever finished is culinary school. In the beginning, going to Vermont is a way to run away from the pain she’s feeling. Besides her love life being in the toilet, her relationship with her dad is estranged because of that very fiancee. In a nutshell, she’s in a bad place in her life and needs some cheering up. Enter my favorite character of this story, hands down – Daisy Monroe. An elderly ball-of-fire determined to live life her way, not the way her family wants her to. She drives a caddy that is the size of a tank, wants to go tubing down the river in her skivvies, and lives life to the fullest. She can’t believe how prude and reluctant Chloe is. She reminds her that she’s young yet a totally boring dud and invites her to join their town’s Cupcake Lover’s Club. Chloe does have a culinary degree, after all, so she can contribute to the club Daisy reminds her. And as the story unfolds, the fireworks start to fly. From the first time Devlin sees Chloe, he’s starstruck with her looks. THEN, he finds out she’s been hired to take care of his most beloved docile grandmother (snort). AND, then he finds out that Chloe’s a flaky person with a checkered past. He has enough to do trying to save his family’s department store which is about to be stomped on by a local Wal-Mart. Be prepared for laugh out loud moments as Daisy gets Chloe into trouble over and over, both with the law and with Devlin. Enter all the other characters of Sugar Creek and you have a fun read that you will want to read again just to enjoy the laughs over and over! The back of the book has reader-submitted cupcakes too!
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This was a great story to lose my day in. The characters are compelling, quite colorful, and refreshing. I really liked the flow of the storyline and never once got bored. I look forward to reading the second now. If you enjoy a lighthearted, romantic read, then give this book a shot.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love that you get a taste for the next book with the alternating pov. Each character introduced has been lovable and you want to route for each couple.
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Got u dont have it but want it caus i hered its a good book