Author: Darlene Panzera
Genre: Contemporary Romance
My Copy: ARC via Avon
Add to: Goodreads
Synopsis: Kimberly Burke has avoided all types of risk since her mother’s deadly plane crash—including risky relationships. Seems like everyone is always leaving her behind: her ex-boyfriend, her mother, and now her sister Andi and best friend Rachel—who have each found the man of her dreams.
Then she meets Nathaniel when she mistakes his backyard for the new community park. He loves her passion, and when he learns of her wistful desire to travel, he takes her up in a hot air balloon, hoping to overcome her fear of flying so that she can accompany him abroad.
But before he leaves, they must catch the Cupcake Bandit and replace the money stolen from Creative Cupcakes before the shop is shut down. Will discovering the thief’s identity persuade Kim to take a risk on love … or will she stay behind and let Nathaniel fly off without her?
Darlene Panzera’s Taste of Romance is the third novella in the Cupcake Diaries series. The first two novellas, Sweet on You and Recipe for Love, are already available. If you’re looking for a delightful read then this is the book for you!
Kim, Andi, and Rachel are back and business is going well for Creative Cupcakes. Andi decides to hire extra help and just as everything begins to fall into place, Creative Cupcakes suddenly has a thief on their hands and they begin to hunt for the Cupcake Bandit. On top of that, they have to find a way to raise funds to buy the building they are renting when their rental extension is denied. Kim is the dreamer of the group and she longs to travel, but since the death of her mother, she can’t board a plane. She’s also the practical partner and is wary of taking a chance.
I really enjoyed Taste of Romance and I felt terrible for Kim. She’s clearly stuck in a business that she has no real direct interest in and wants to pursue her career as an artist. When the opportunity arises to open an art gallery with some friends, Kim has to make a painful decision. She also sees love bloom all around her and wants her share at romance. One day she meets Nathaniel, a Swede who is a rosarian. It’s clear he’s attracted to her and I really liked how their romance developed. It was in many ways an old fashioned courtship. There’s a memorable scene involving Kim winding up in Nathaniel’s backyard.
Of course the cupcake business is the main character in Taste of Romance. Kim is the primary cupcake decorator and when the new employees come to work, they wreak havoc on the place. I understand Andi wanted to give them a chance, but it just felt way too drawn out. In terms of the Cupcake Bandit, I had an idea who it was and I’m glad I was right. The ending of Taste of Romance makes up for it and I cheered because it combines everything I wanted regarding Kim and Nathaniel’s romance and the additional hired help.
Taste of Romance is a satisfying ending to a charming trilogy. I don’t think you need to read the prior two novellas, but I do believe you should because the characters develop separately and you’ll fully appreciate each one and the journey to make Creative Cupcakes.