Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Baked Fresh by Annabeth Albert

Title: Baked Fresh
Author: Annabeth Albert
My Rating: B+

Genre: Contemporary Romance (m/m)
Series: Portland Heat #2
Main Characters: Vic and Robin
Release Date: April 2015
Publisher: Kensington
Links to Purchase:
Sexual Intensity: hot

Story Overview:
From its famous coffee to the mouthwatering fare at its cafés, restaurants, and bakeries, Portland, Oregon, has a lot to whet the appetite, including the hard-working men who serve it all up—hot, fresh, and ready to go—with no reservations…

Vic Degrassi is a baker on the rise, and it’s all thanks to his rare ability to make—and keep—his New Year’s resolutions. Whether it’s losing weight, giving up smoking, or graduating from culinary school, Vic goes after what he wants—and gets it. This year? He wants Robin Dawson, the sweet-hearted hottie who volunteers with him at the local homeless shelter. When he learns that Robin is suddenly single after being unceremoniously dumped, Vic is more than happy to offer a shoulder to cry on—or at least a fresh-baked pastry to bite into. But it’s been a long time since Vic’s gone on a date, and he’s nervous about risking his friendship with Robin. So when their flirtation turns into a steamy night together, Vic and Robin have to figure out if they’re friends with benefits or lovers in the making, and if Robin is ready for something more than just a rebound. There’s only one way to find out: turn up the heat…

My Review:
In this book, there are two heroes who have been brought together by their volunteering at the local homeless shelter...so you already know both of them are going to be great guys. And they don't disappoint. 

The entire book is told from Vic's point of view. Vic is a baker. He's big, Italian, gruff, and just lost 100 lbs after having a band surgery a year ago. He's lost too many people he loved too early in life and so he committed to becoming healthy. He didn't count on the scars and loose skin after losing so much weight and has been dealing with some self-confidence issues especially since his single hook-up after his surgery went totally wrong after he got naked. 

On the flip side of that is Robin. He's a former patron of the homeless shelter who's now one of their success stories. He got off the street, got off the drugs, and stopped hooking. But he hasn't forgiven himself from the things he did for all those years. He also just got dumped by a guy who was a jerk, but he was a jerk who he'd thought he'd be with forever, so Robin is having a hard time dealing with that. He doesn't want anything resembling a relationship after that so Vic has to slowly convince him. 

I really loved Vic's character. He's this huge teddy bear of a man, but he can be seriously intimidating when he wants to. He knows how to use his physique. But he's wanted Robin for years. Robin just hasn't been available, but now he is. I love the way the author showed the many little things that Vic did to make Robin's life better and easier. He truly is one of the good guys with unlimited patience for the guy who means everything to him. I especially liked the weight loss aspect of his story. He has a hard time seeing his appeal to another man after all he's been through....that felt so real.

Overall this was a good read. It was entertaining and I liked both characters although I really wanted Robin to appreciate Vic better. I loved the imagery of Vic's cake creations and there was some really romantic scenery in the book too. I liked that they met through the homeless shelter, too. 

This is the second book in this series, but these are totally stand-alone books. They tie together simply by food related themes in the Portland area. You will have no problem reading this one without having read the first (although that one was good, too.)
I received a complimentary copy of this book in return for an honest review.

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