Type-A chef Carolyn Henderson has walked away from her job at a trendy NYC restaurant after an abrupt family tragedy. Now, as a guardian to her four-year-old niece, Emma, and a very disobedient mutt – kids and dogs are so not her skill set – moving back to Marietta, Montana seems the best temporary option. But when confronted by her parents’ declining health, Carolyn has to face reality. And she’s going to need some serious help. So who better to ask than Matthew West, a blast from her high school past… and as hunky and helpful as ever.

Vet – and very eligible, if reluctant, Bachelor – Matthew West can’t believe his luck when his high school crush stumbles through his door. Dogs, kids, and gorgeous damsels in distress. Carolyn needs help with the pup, and he needs help whipping up delicious concoctions for the Bachelor Bake-Off. So she wants to make a deal: dog obedience lessons for cooking tips… but Matthew wants to broker quite a bit more.

Titles in the Bachelor Bake-Off series include:  A Teaspoon of Trouble by Shirley Jump – A Spoonful of Sugar by Kate Hardy – Sprinkled with Love by Jennifer Faye – Baking For Keeps by Jessica Gilmore – A Recipe For Romance by Laura Van Hulzen

Title:  A Teaspoon of Trouble
Series:  Bachelor Bake-Off #1
Author:  Shirley Jump
Genre:  Contemporary Romance
Published:  February 7, 2017
Publisher:  Tule Publishing
My Rating:  3.5 stars

A Teaspoon of Trouble kicks off the  Bachelor Bake-Off series.  I always enjoy these types of stories from Tule authors, a good cause, handsome men, lovely ladies and love in the air is a perfect combination.

This romance is a bit of a second chance should they decide to take it for Matt and Carolyn.  Once high school sweethearts, their time together came to an abrupt stop when Carolyn left Marietta for New York City, determined to follow her dream of being a top notch chef.  She had no desire to live in a small town with limited possibilities for her future.  Her decision rocked Matt, but he let her go because that’s what you do when you love someone enough to let them be what they need to be.  It certainly wasn’t easy, and its not as if she really gave him a chance to do anything else.  A quick good bye in the school parking lot and Carolyn was gone, leaving his love for her far behind.

Time and life moves on, and now Carolyn is back in Marietta, for what she insists is only a two week break from her job in the city to make decisions and find out what she’s going to do now.  Her sister, and her brother-in-law’s deaths at the hands of a drunk driver completely upended Carolyn’s life.  Not only was she grieving, but she’s suddenly the guardian to an adorable four year old niece who she barely knows, plus an unruly mutt.  Her thought was to leave Emma and the dog with her parents… until she realized just how deeply they both were overpowered by the death of Sandy.  When she reconnects with Matt her plan is to still not stay – but plans can always be changed.

I enjoyed A Teaspoon of Trouble, it’s a charming story.  Yet.  I could not connect with Carolyn at all.  I understand that she is being portrayed as a woman who is overwhelmed by grief at losing her sister, and unprepared to take on a mothering role.  I do get that, and I tried to factor that in to my reactions to her… but in the end my inability to have any empathy with this character at all did color my reaction to the entire story.

This is where I have to say that everyone takes something different away from any story they read.  It’s a good story, a charming setting and one very adorable little girl at the heart of it all.  So while I couldn’t connect with one character, does not mean that you won’t either – so as always, you need to read this one for yourself and decide how you enjoy the characters.

*I received an e-ARC of this novel from the publisher via NetGalley. That does not change what I think of this story. It is my choice to leave a review giving my personal opinion about this book.*

Available for the Kindle