Sweet Stuff

Donna Kauffman. Kensington/Brava, $14 trade paper (336p) ISBN 978-0-7582-6636-1

Romantic fun, lovable leads, and surprising emotional complexity in both the main relationship and the supporting deep friendships make this quick return to the tiny Georgia island of Sugarberry (after Sugar Rush) a deliciously warm and feel-good read. Writer Quinn Brannigan, returning to his childhood town, gets a unique first impression of clumsy, adorable house stager Riley Brown when she flies off a treadmill and into the bushes of the seaside house he’s decided to rent. Riley’s Cupcake Club friends encourage her to heal her old romantic wounds and take a chance on Quinn’s obvious interest. Kauffman describes her characters’ internal monologues and thoughtful conversations with an eloquence that makes them feel like the reader’s best friends, and secondary characters like gossipy bookie Alva and Riley’s goofy dog sparkle with personality. Contests and cupcake recipes will keep fans eager for Kauffman’s next sweet treat. Agent: Spencerhill Associates. (Feb.)