ANYTHING BUT LOVE – Beth Ciotta
Cupcake Lovers , Book 3
Sugar Creek, Vermont – Present Day
Life for Luke Monroe should be good, as he enjoys running a bar and being popular with the ladies, but one woman has haunted his mind the past few months. One night he shared a fiery kiss with mousy Rachel Lacey, and shortly afterwards she mysteriously left town. Where is she…and why does Luke care so much? Luke put his friend, Jacye, on the search for Rachel, and it is soon discovered that she is really Reagan Deveraux, a rich heiress who is about to come into an inheritance of mega millions. Angry at the deception, Luke goes to Los Angeles on Christmas Eve to confront Reagan/Rachel and discovers that she's transformed herself into a beautiful woman. Their confrontation turns into heated kisses—and mind-blowing sex. Luke walks away and tries to forget about her, but just before Valentine's Day, Reagan shows up back in Sugar Creek. She has plans to invest in the town—and is pregnant with Luke's baby.
Luke might think Reagan is a “poor little rich girl,” but there's more going on than what she's sharing with him…or anyone. She has fond memories of her time spent hiding away in Sugar Creek. There is the daycare center, now closed, where she worked with children, plus the weekly Cupcake Lovers meetings where she met people who liked her for who she was and didn't know she was rolling in money. Then there was Luke…he gave her a job at his bar, which led her into contact with him. Their attraction sizzled, but kissing him made her realize it was time to leave town before she fell in love. But he found her, and they had amazing sex, which led her to getting pregnant. She doesn't want to be a burden to him, but Luke is persistent. He'll be there for her—and their baby. Can she accept (and trust) his kindness and protectiveness?
Reagan is one of the few people who know about Luke's learning disorder, and she has asked him not to tell anyone she is pregnant, so they have these bonds that keep them connected in ANYTHING BUT LOVE. Her life growing up in Los Angeles with a narcissistic actress mother who only criticized Reagan, no matter what, was difficult, so coming to Sugar Creek and pretending to be poor and mousy was a new start for her. She never expected to fall for Luke, nor become a source of contention between him and his cousin, Sam, who also liked her. The Cupcake Lovers want to publish a book, and Reagan plans to help them realize their dream. Plus, she wants to put money into reopening the daycare that closed down. Yes, she has philanthropic plans, but could it also mean settling down in Sugar Creek, despite Luke's presence?
Women are attracted to Luke like moths are to light, but it is only Reagan whom he wants now. Yes, she's pregnant with his child, but even before he found out that fact he wanted her, but she was off limits—first because Sam cared for her, and then Luke discovered she had misled them all those months while she lived as poor Rachel. The fact that she's wealthy doesn't impress Luke. She is the mother of his baby and he wants to do right by her. Of course, he has to convince her that he cares for her not just because she's having his baby…but he's also falling for her. Yet Reagan is hiding something about her past and continues to keep Luke at arm's length. What is it that makes her afraid of getting involved with Luke?
ANYTHING BUT LOVE is a small town romance that has the perfect blend of heartwarming love and endearing characters. As the third book in the Cupcake Lovers series, readers will catch up with Chloe and Dev from FOOL FOR LOVE and Rocky and Jacye from THE TROUBLE WITH LOVE. Plus, Sam finally gets some action of his own with a hotshot PR person new to town. Will he find his own happily-ever-after?
Trusting one another and taking tentative steps toward a future together with a baby are things Reagan and Luke need to consider in ANYTHING BUT LOVE. They initially acted upon their attraction in an explosive way, but finding love is a slow process they work on in this sizzling tale that's passionate and a must-read romance. Another terrific tale in the Cupcake Loves series that will have readers craving cupcakes…and wanting more books in this terrific series.