The Burnt Toast B&B by Heidi Belleau and Rachel HaimowitzRating: 5 stars
Buy Link:
Amazon | All Romance | Amazon UK
Length: Novel

Derrick runs the worst B&B in Bluewater Bay. The place belonged to his parents who are now dead. To feel like a good son, Derrick has kept the B&B barely afloat since their deaths, but he’s at the end of his rope. This is a hospitality and service industry, and he’s a gruff, sullen, ex-logger who has no wish to continue doing something he’s failing at. He’s five seconds away from closing shop.

But who should enter other than Ginsberg, an injured stuntman for a TV show, Wolf’s Landing, that’s being shot in town. He’s got no money but he needs a place to stay and recuperate. Derrick can’t let the guy stay out in the cold so he gives him a room for the night. But it turns out Ginsberg needs long-term lodging. Derrick decides to get rid of him by being a poor host and providing subpar services, making sure the experience is pure hell for Ginsberg.

But he’s not ready for Ginsberg’s unwavering optimism, let alone his perfect bouncy butt. And when Ginsberg turns out to be an excellent cook, Derrick cuts him some slack. As time passes, the two men grow closer as friends, and then some. Ginsberg’s ideas on how to make the B&B a success work like a charm—but then Ginsberg is healed and he’s got his stuntman work to get back to, so he leaves. Derrick realizes he doesn’t want to run the B&B alone, so he resorts to his original plan: To kick Ginsberg out and close up the place. Where does that leave the two men, both hurting and lost, looking for a place to call home?

This book is part of a Riptide Publishing’s Bluewater Bay series, but it’s completely a standalone, as are all books in the multi-author series.

I loved this book. There was nothing I didn’t like about it. Everything rang true. Each bit of dialogue, each action taken, every sliver of personality revealed, each hot and heavy moment brought to life.

Ginsberg was a gem. His upbeat, super-bright personality was a hoot, and I couldn’t wait to see how he reacted to Derrick’s grumbling, morose ways. Ginsberg is transgender, female-to-male. He’s gone through the whole process, giving him a firm chest and a dick. I waited to see how this topic would be addressed in the story, as in the thoughts of the characters, the dialogue spoken, and the sex. All of it was realistic and sweet and hot, and I just loved it. Fell head over heels.

Derrick, on the other hand, keeps to himself, a self-professed hermit who hates his job and hates people. When interacting with anyone, he’s either capable of sullen monosyllabic grunts or awkward shyness that has him at a loss for words. It’s hella cute, if it weren’t so annoying. In a good way, I promise. Best of all, he learns from his mistakes, and begins to see that reaching out to people doesn’t make you vulnerable or girly, but brave and good. Plus, in bed he’s a dream lover, I tells ya.

Every character in the book has a distinctly different personality. These are not carbon copies of hot guys in a horrible B&B. Even the dog, Victoria Beckham, is quite the character. Jim especially stood out, being Derrick’s ex and best friend. The thirty-something queen is kind and generous, and a wizard in the kitchen, but when he puts his foot down? Oh boy.

Everything in this book shines. I was laughing out loud, I was grumbling in anger, I was crying my eyes out. The interwoven humor keeps the mood light, and not once did I feel stuff could have been left out to tighten the pace, the plot, or the length altogether. I simply recommend this wholeheartedly.

susan sig

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