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REVIEW - Baked Fresh

Baked Fresh (Portland Heat) - Annabeth Albert
4 “Rebound Guy” Stars!

“I was the rebound guy, not the forever one.”

Baked Fresh is the second book in Annabeth Albert’s Portland Heat series. I am fast becoming a huge fan of this author with her fun and heart-warming books that leave you clenching your heart and happily sighing. This book was no exception. From the first page I was hooked and wanted to see just how things would play out between the beefy baker and the sexy homeless shelter volunteer with a heart of gold.

Thirty-three year old Vic Degrassi made some radical changes in his life after his cousin and best friend passes away after a heart attack. After watching not only his cousin die from heart disease but also his father and uncle, Vic does not want to be the next statistic. He knows how to stand by his New Year’s resolutions and see them come to fruition. After all, he’s given up smoking, completed culinary school and has lost over one hundred pounds and each one of those goals started off as a resolution. This year Vic wants to start dating and maybe take things further with someone than a random hook up. He’s never had a boyfriend and finally wants to be in a loving relationship. When Vic discovers that Robin, a sweet friend who volunteers with him at the homeless shelter, has been unceremoniously dumped, he can’t help but step up and offer that shoulder to cry on and possibly a bit more.

Vic has had a crush on Robin Dawson for a couple of years with their relationship never moving past the confines of a casual friendship. Vic has never had the courage to approach Robin and let him know that he is attracted to him. Even though he has lost the excess weight that he was carrying, Vic still sees the heavy man he has always been when he looks in the mirror. In his mind there is no way the much younger and very gorgeous Robin would give him the time of day. Now that Robin is single he is not looking for another boyfriend; however, that does not stop things from getting a little hot and heavy between the pair one steamy night. So ensues a slow and sensual dance where Vic begins to prove to Robin just how special he truly is and how good they would be together. There are some bumps along the way as they both figure out what it means to overcome your past and the preconceptions you have about yourself.

This was a tender, sweet and sexy tale as we watch the two men go from a flirty fling and a friends-with-benefits type of situation to something more. I loved how patient Vic was when it came to waiting for Robin to be ready to take things to the next level between them. He never pushed too hard knowing if he did Robin would likely run in the other direction. Vic saw something special in Robin and he was willing to take it as slow and steady as was necessary and when Robin goes through a rough time due to a tragedy at the shelter Vic is there to support him and catch him when he falls.

All in all, Baked Fresh was a wonderful addition to this series. I love how real the characters this author creates seem to be. Vic and Robin were no exception. They had their flaws but in the end all that matters is finding someone who accepts you, the good and the bad. This is definitely a series to check out for lovers of the M/M genre.

*****An advance reading copy of Baked Fresh by Annabeth Albert was generously provided to me via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.