Miles Costa doesn’t hate his job, he’s just … bored. Unfulfilled. It’s the same thing day in and day out. Make wonderful desserts at Terrior — a world class, Michelin-starred restaurant in Napa — perfectly, over and over, night after night, and it’s driving him a little bit crazy. In an effort to entertain himself, Miles starts making baking vlogs for his sister, who is away at college. He bakes tarts, muffins, croissants, cookies, whatever comes into his head. It’s gotten Miles a bit of notice and a bit of notoriety, but everything changes after the tarts.
Delicious mixed berry tarts. Wonderful tarts that have people talking about them from coast to coast. Miles’ Twitter explodes; even Chef Aquino, owner of Terrior, watches the video. But the true magic happens when Martha Stewart retweets it, followed by Snoop Dogg. Miles suddenly goes from a nobody to the next big thing in cooking! It doesn’t take long before he’s visited by Reed Ryan. Reed Ryan, a famous chef who now works as the culinary producer at Five Points — a pop culture website gaining steam — wants Miles to turn his blog from a hobby into a new job. Miles leaps at the chance. True, he risks throwing away everything he has, all of his friendships and connections, but to be happy, to make his own food as his own person, isn’t that worth the risk?
Evan Patterson has been working, scheming, and slaving at Five Points for years, going from unpaid intern to producer. His first show, the one he hand-picked himself, is Pastry by Miles. He’s watched the blog since its early days and once the tarts made Miles the talk of the town, Evan knew he had to get Reed to agree to sign him before someone else did. Unfortunately, when Evan and Miles meet, it’s antipathy at first sight. They just can’t stand one another. Evan needs to control everything and Miles refuses to budge even an inch. There’s only one thing the two men can agree on and that’s how much they both want Pastry by Miles to succeed. So, teeth gritted, the two of them try their best to work together. Unfortunately, their best isn’t working at all and now they have one week left to prove to Reed that they can do the impossible before he pulls the plug on their show.
Miles has worked a long time in the culinary field, always having to cook someone else’s food. It’s why his vlog means so much to him. Not only is it a way for him to keep in touch with his sister and cheer her up, it’s also a way for him to be creative and adventurous with his own food. No “yes, chef,” “no, chef,” “three plates full, chef.” In his own kitchen he can make silly things, like Ding Dongs, or more elaborate pastries. It’s his freedom and his fun and … just his. By signing up with Reed, he’s giving away control over something that brought him joy. It makes him nervous and protective, and — adding to that — he’s given up everything else he’s earned. Getting the job in Terrior, the connections and respect that gave him, his friends, his reputation, everything familiar and safe. Is it any wonder he’s growling like a dog with a bone?
Evan grew up in the foster system, having almost no control over his own fate. It wasn’t terrible, but it wasn’t easy, and it’s left him determined to be in charge of every aspect of his own life. The fact that he earned his internship at Five Points because he was a foster child only makes him work three times harder to prove that he deserves the spot, that he isn’t a charity case. He’s put so much of himself into getting Pastry by Miles that — in part due to Miles’s potential, in part due to the fact that he may or may not have a bit of a giant crush on Miles — he can’t wait to get started. He has so many ideas of how to help Miles take his show to the next level that he’s forgotten step one: Talk to Miles.
Miles wants zero change to his show and thinks Evan wants to change everything. Evan thinks the show needs to be made a little more accessible to the non-bakers in the audience and doesn’t understand why Mile’s is refusing to see things his way. Neither of them want to listen to each other, because listening to the other person means that they’re not being heard. Then there’s the letter. A drunken letter Miles sent to Evan telling him all manner of things from “I don’t like your face” to insulting Evan’s bow ties and telling him how good he looks in khakis. It was childish and mean and Evan, graciously, decides to use it to blackmail Miles into doing things his way.
The two way the two of them snipe at each other, hating not so much each other as much as what they think the other person thinks (if that makes sense), they make complete asses of themselves. Evan comes across like a sanctimonious prick, Miles comes across like a primadonna. It doesn’t help that every time Evan and Miles come close to kissing — or something more — that letter keeps getting in the way. Eventually Miles does apologize, but it takes a few days and Reed finding out about it before he does.
Neither man is at their most mature, and neither of them come across as terribly on the ball when they’re busy antagonizing each other, but there’s a sincerity to both the attraction and the enmity between them. When they finally do manage to do more than insult one another, it feels natural and real and right for the story. However, I didn’t actually care for the ending. Evan and Miles made a good couple, each with their own character arc and both being true to themselves until the Epilogue where they became a sickeningly cutesie couple. They went from being Miles and Evan to being Mr. and Mr. Perfect For Each Other and I didn’t quite care for it. Still, the pacing was very good, the writing was good, and the arguments were fun. I also very much liked Miles’s attempt to seduce Evan through baking. I can’t wait for book two in this series!