Title: Baked Fresh by Annabeth Albert
Portland Heat Series Book Two
Publisher: Lyrical Press
Genre: Contemporary, Erotic, M/M, Romance
Length: 131 pages
Book Rating: B+
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley
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…
Baked Fresh is the second installment in Annabeth Albert’s delightful Portland Heat series. In this outing, it is Vic Degrassi’s turn to find love after he makes a New Year’s resolution to start dating. His longtime crush Robin Dawson has recently gone through a break up, so Vic proposes a no strings fling since Robin is not interested in dating again. The two men are soon burning up the sheets but will Vic convince Robin to take another risk on love?
Both Vic and Robin bring a lot of baggage into their friends with benefits relationship. Vic is endearingly insecure as he works to overcome his low self-esteem from years of being overweight. Although he has dropped over 100 pounds, Vic is still struggling to see himself as desirable. The recent end to his relationship is the least of Robin’s problems since he is still plagued with issues from his not too distant past. Vic is incredibly patient with Robin as he tries to help him work through his problems but Robin pulls away in the aftermath of a tragic loss.
Vic and Robin’s longstanding acquaintance provides a strong foundation for their current relationship. Robin is refreshingly honest about his past and Vic does not hesitate to offer him some much needed reassurance and support. Although they are quick to begin a sexual relationship, there is also an underlying emotional connection between them as well. Vic respects Robin’s boundaries, but Robin is surprisingly eager to let Vic take control in the bedroom. This takes their sexual relationship a little into D/s territory but this is just what Robin needs to help conquer the lingering effects from his troubled past.
Baked Fresh by Annabeth Albert is a sweet yet scorching hot novella. Robin and Vic are wonderfully developed characters and although flawed, they are very easy to like. Their romance is slow growing but this makes their transition from friends to lovers much more realistic. It is a wonderful, drama free addition to the Portland Heat series that old and new fans are sure to enjoy.