Monday, April 13, 2015

Blog Tour - Baked Fresh by Annabeth Albert - Review, Giveaway, & Excerpt!




Baked Fresh
Portland Heat # 2
By: Annabeth Albert
Releasing April 13th, 2015
Kensington


Blurb
From its famous coffee to the mouthwatering fare at its caf├ęs, 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…


Buy Links:  Amazon | B & N | iTunes | Kobo

My Review

4 Stars!

I enjoyed this story.  This is only the second M/M romance that I have read with the other story being the first in this series, Served Hot.  I thought that this story was just the right combination of sweet and sexy just like the first in the series.  This story could easily be read as a stand alone since the stories really don't overlap at all with the exception of a appearance of the couple from the first novella in one scene.  This is a rather short piece that most readers will be able to finish in a couple of hours but it tells such a completely wonderful story.

This story focuses on Vic and Robin and is told from Vic's point of view.  Vic is a baker and the bakery where he works donates food to the local shelter.  Robin spends a lot of time at the shelter as a volunteer.  Vic has had a crush on Robin for quite some time but he has never acted on it.  When Vic finds out the Robin and his boyfriends have broken up, he decides to take a chance.

Vic has recently underwent a lot of changes.  He made the decision to lose weight after the death of several family members and he ended up losing over 100 pounds.  His self esteem isn't great but he is willing to take a chance with Robin.  He decides that he is willing to be the rebound guy for Robin if that is what it takes to be with him.

Robin has been through a lot as well.  The shelter is incredibly important to him.  He had no idea that Vic has had a crush on him.  He decides to spend some time with Vic and the pair seem to work well together.  Both of these men have been through a lot in their lives and they end up being very supportive of each other. 

I liked both of the characters even though there was a lot of issues with self esteem.  I think that a lot of people have these issues in real life and I thought it was presented in these characters very authentically.  There seemed to be a much larger focus on sex in this story than in the first.  These characters had a lot of chemistry and worked well together. 

I would recommend this story to fans of M/M romance.  This novella really tells such a full story in just a few pages.  I can't wait to read the next installment in this wonderful little series. 

I received a copy of this book from Kensington Books via NetGalley for the purpose of providing an honest review.


Author Info
Annabeth Albert grew up sneaking romance novels under the bed covers. Now, she devours all subgenres of romance out in the open—no flashlights required! When she’s not adding to her keeper shelf, she’s a multi-published Pacific Northwest romance writer.
Emotionally complex, sexy, and funny stories are her favorites both to read and to write. Annabeth loves finding happy endings for a variety of pairings and is a passionate gay rights supporter. In between searching out dark heroes to redeem, she works a rewarding day job and wrangles two toddlers.
Represented by Saritza Hernandez of the Corvisiero Literary Agency

Author Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Tumblr | Goodreads

Rafflecopter Giveaway ($25 Amazon Gift Card)



Excerpt

From Chapter One of Baked Fresh

“So, what’s your plan this year?” Cliff asked as we unloaded pallets of food for Victory Mission. The stinging December wind whipped through the loading dock, howling against the concrete walls. I had to strain to hear Cliff’s booming voice. “Sky diving? Marathon? How you gonna top last year, Vic?” 

“Dunno.” I hefted a box of tomato sauce cans. That’s what everyone wanted to know—how I was going to top last year’s resolution to lose a hundred pounds. Truth was, I was pretty good at resolutions. Four years ago, I’d resolved to go to culinary school. Three years ago, I gave up smoking. And last year I lost 111 pounds. But this year I had a smaller, simpler goal in mind. 

“Thought I might try dating.”

“Dating? As in a boyfriend?” Cliff snorted, a dry sound that echoed off the metal loading bay doors. “I’d go with a marathon.”

My stomach churned as I grabbed another box of rolls. I had my own doubts. I was hardly a prize catch. I hadn’t dated anyone in the four years I’d been working for Cliff. Never had a boyfriend beyond the rare three-peat hookup. ’Course, Cliff didn’t know about my hookups, but I hadn’t even had one of those in eight long months. Up until a few months ago, I hadn’t realized what I was missing. Ever since then, this weird, restless longing had plagued me. New Year’s was the perfect excuse to do something about it. Get out there.

“You guys done out here? Whole stack of boxes waiting inside. We don’t have all day.” Robin bustled out onto the dock, bringing a shit-ton of bad mood with him. A far cry from the sunny, talkative guy who made me think crazy thoughts, like that maybe dating wasn’t a terrible idea. He was gone before either Cliff or I could reply. 

“What’s up with him?” I asked Cliff once I heard the pantry door shut inside. 

“Melissa said Paul broke up with him.” Cliff always found the gossip. The food bank volunteers were like bored high schoolers, passing rumors around their shifts like joints at a party. 

“Finally.” I didn’t realize I’d said the word aloud until Cliff laughed. 

“Aha! On second thought, I highly approve of your resolution. I’m gonna have to get a bet going with Trish about whether or not you can land your man. Talk about aiming high though, kid.”

“Didn’t say anything about dating Robin,” I mumbled into a sack of rice. The last time Robin was single, I had spent months thinking about him. Wondering if he was out of my league. Knowing he was out of my league but trying to work up the courage to ask him out anyway. Coming to volunteer more often just to be around him. Then Paul swooped in like a star pitcher and sent me back to the minor leagues, where I belonged. 

I readjusted my grip on the sack so I wouldn’t accidentally tear the darn thing in two. No, I wasn’t stupid enough to make a resolution to date Robin. I just wanted to get out there. Give myself a chance to maybe meet a nice guy who wouldn’t care about my food issues and my loose skin and my bald-by-choice look. 

But now that Cliff had planted the dating-Robin idea in my brain, I couldn’t stop thinking about it. Which irked the hell out of me. I’d worked hard to deep-six my crush on him. Finding out he was single was a stupid reason to unearth it. Robin was the nice guy of my fantasies. And fucking gorgeous. He was sex walking around in KEENs and hipster T-shirts. He was everything I wanted and everything I wasn’t ever going to have. 

*****
Once Vic resolves to be Robin’s rebound guy, can he convince Robin that they’re meant to be? Find out in BAKED FRESH!






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