Frederic is living his dream…sort of. He finally owns the bakery he always wanted, but the money came from a payoff when he lost a televised cooking competition because it was fixed. Not only did he lose the competition, but he lost Blaire, the man who captured his heart from the first glance. Trying to deal with that disappointment is bad enough, but Frederic is working himself into the ground and is exhausted and sick trying to do it all himself as he sends most of his profits to his alcoholic father.
Blaire knows he made the biggest mistake ever fixing the competition and passing over Frederic for another guy with a prettier face. He has no idea how to fix his mistake, if he even can, or what the loss actually cost Frederic. He has been under his father’s scrutiny for so long working for him that their relationship is toxic, and Blaire finds himself constantly wanting to strike back. A change of scenery has Blaire relocating to Bluewater Bay to take on the marketing of Wolf’s Landing products and he is well aware that a certain baker has just relocated to the town as well.
Blaire turns on the charm to try and win Frederic back, but Frederic knows he shouldn’t trust anything Blaire has to say. Both men have family and business issues to deal with and, when Frederic finds his past destructive habits resurfacing, he just may have to let Blaire back in.
Not every author is for every reader and I am going to preface this review by stating that this author may just not be for me. There were many areas that didn’t work for me and it was a test of sheer willpower to make it all the way through this book.
This is the twelfth book in the Bluewater Bay series and all books are billed as being standalones. I have not read any of the books in the series and there was mention of the TV show Wolf’s Landing that the series is somewhat based around and the continued presence of a side character that may have been from another book. While these weren’t huge detractors, they didn’t add anything to this book for me and I did have the sense that I was missing the history.
Neither character was appealing to me. Frederic is exhausted all of the time and, while he seems to stay on his feet in the kitchen, every place else he is a stumbling mess. He has a colorful history with his father and we are shown specific instances that his father did not treat Frederic well, yet Frederic continues to have a soft spot for the man who is verbally abusive and treats him as a bank account. Frederic is working all of the time in an attempt to live out his dream, but also to support his father and all of his father’s medical bills.
Blaire always had it easy financially, but also has issues with his controlling father. A good portion of the book, for both characters, was father issues and when it’s not that, it’s issues with each of their businesses.
Frederic is also heartbroken over Blaire. The guys knew each other for three weeks and shared one kiss. Though Frederic was convinced Blaire was the one, but what he really had was a case of insta-love and infatuation and I couldn’t get behind Frederic pining over this supposed lost love. The fixing of the competition is also an issue for Frederic, but seemingly only second to his heart. Blaire, for his part, says he wants to make it up to Frederic, but he’s not completely altruistic as he equally wants to make himself feel better. When the guys do come together, Frederic is so tired every single moment that the connection was lost for me as he was one blink away from a deep dark sleep on almost every page.
The larger plot line with Frederic’s father posed another issue. The plot hinges upon Frederic paying for all of his father’s medical bills. I mean we are talking numerous and lengthy hospital stays, as well as dialysis with astronomical dollar amounts attached to it and Frederic is single handedly killing himself to pay for all of it. I have to inject reality here because this didn’t work for me. While people can get overrun with medical bills, there are patient advocates and programs to assist patients in this exact situation and this plot line fell apart before my eyes.
The single biggest detractor, however, is the language used throughout the entire book. Both Frederic and Blaire grew up in the USA on the East Coast and they sounded British. While I could pull specific words out to illustrate this, like “footwell” and the use of “bedclothes” for sheets, the entire tone was distinctly not American and it was incredibly distracting. There also were supposed emotional moments that fell flat as they read, “They clicked together like one of the complicated wooden brain teaser puzzles,” and supposed erotic moments that offered cringe worthy language, “…and pulled, a long steady haul on his gnads, making his skin crawl and his blood rush,” and one sentence to the next was not the style for me.
If you have been following this series, the best I can offer is that this is indeed the next installment. This book certainly did not make me want to go back to the beginning of the series and will then not be on my list to continue on with.