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{Review & Giveaway} Baked Fresh by Annabeth Albert

Baked Fresh (Portland Heat) - Annabeth Albert

When his best friend and cousin died of a heart attack far too young, Vic knew it was time to make some changes, the first of which was to lose all the extra weight.  But even though he’s a hundred pounds lighter, he’s no poster boy for self-confidence, and getting into the dating scene is harder than he expected.  But it’s time for a New Year’s resolution, and when he discover that the friend he’s been crushing on is suddenly single, it seems there’s only one resolution that will do — get a date with Robin.

 

Judging Covers:  I am really loving the covers for this series so far!  The “labels” for titles are cute as can be, and they’re exactly the kind of design that’s floating around in the industry right now.  And the photos, while they make it clear that we’re in for some hot M/M action, are so much classier and sexier than what I find on most contemporary romance novels — for any gender preference.  Whoever’s putting these together is kind of brilliant.

 

The Verdict: It’s impossible not to immediately feel for Vic, a guy who’s never even had a boyfriend due to his weight and self-confidence issues.  And while he’s certainly slimmed down, he’s worried about the flab that remains, not to mention the fact that he has no clue how to go about pursuing a relationship.  He’s been crushing on his friend Robin, a guy who volunteers at a local homeless shelter, forever.  But he’s always thought Robin was out of his league.  Of course, now that Robin’s jerk of an ex dumped him, Vic’s finally thinking of taking that leap.

 

Robin’s not without his issues either, some of which explain why he’s so generous with his time spent helping others.  He had a rough few years and did some things he’s definitely not proud of, things that mean he doesn’t drink anymore and apparently can’t keep his boyfriend happy.  Granted, said boyfriend is now an ex, not to mention a grade-A douche, but once the nature of Robin’s issue was made clear, my heart just broke for him.

 

Their coming together is a slow and awkward journey, as neither of them have the confidence in themselves to fully believe in what is happening.  Vic is resigned to take what he can get, so to speak, and while he is patient with Robin and certainly wants something long-term, he’s a bit convinced that it won’t last.  Robin, on the other hand, simply doesn’t believe he can be in a real relationship.  It’s not that he doesn’t want one, but his problems in the bedroom and the demise of his last attempt at a relationship have really done a number on him.  Fortunately, Vic is all-in, and he won’t let Robin give in to his own personal demons.

 

Baked Fresh is an incredibly sweet, sexy story of two men whose damage resides in their minds.  They take some flirting, turn it into a fling, and then let their hearts turn it into something so much more.  Neither fits the kind of stereotypes you normally find in romance novels, making them seem all the more real, their relationship entirely true.  It’s impossible not to feel for both of them and then start mentally cheering when they finally take a chance on each other.  If you love the M/M genre or are even considering giving it a shot, this is the series to grab.

 

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***FicCentral received this book from Tasty Book Tours for free in exchange for an honest review.
Source: http://ficcentral.com/central-picks/giveaway/review-giveaway-baked-fresh-by-annabeth-albert