Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Served Hot by Annabeth Albert Blog Tour

In Portland, Oregon, the only thing hotter than the coffee shops, restaurants, and bakeries are the hard-working men who serve it up—hot, fresh, and ready to go—with no reservations…

Robby is a self-employed barista with a busy coffee cart, a warm smile, and a major crush on one of his customers. David is a handsome finance director who works nearby, eats lunch by himself, and expects nothing but "the usual"—small vanilla latte—from the cute guy in the cart. But when David shows up for his first Portland Pride festival, Robby works up the nerve to take their slow-brewing relationship to the next level. David, however, is newly out and single, still grieving the loss of his longtime lover, and unsure if he’s ready to date again. Yet with every fresh latte, sweet exchange—and near hook-up—David and Robby go from simmering to steaming to piping hot. The question is: Will someone get burned?

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Book 1
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My nooner was late. Well, technically, David was my 11:50. Without fail, ten minutes before twelve every work day, David P. Gregory bought a vanilla latte from my coffee cart in the Old Emerson building in Portland. I only knew his name because he used his debit card to pay, and I knew the time because of the old-fashioned, massive brass clock directly across the atrium from my cart.

I knew David banked at a local credit union, knew that he worked somewhere that required a tie, knew that he had a smile that made his mouth crinkle up at the edges when I handed him his coffee, and knew that he was an excellent tipper.

What I didn’t know was whether or not he was straight. We’d had this weird dance for months now—he’d arrive for his coffee, stilted and uncomfortable, relax into a bit of small talk while I made his drink, and then he’d take his coffee to one of the metal tables out in the atrium to have with the lunch he packed in a blue bag. I liked watching him eat because he gave it his entire focus—no smart phone or gadget, no newspaper or book, no folder of work. A few times I’d caught him looking back in my direction. But his gaze never lingered and either my flirting while I served him was more subtle than I’d thought or he was simply immune.

Today David was late. Unexpected disappointment uncurled in my stomach, souring my caffeine buzz. It was a good day—a steady stream of customers at my cart and bustling business for the pizza place and the vegan sandwich bar on the other side of the atrium. The hundred-year-old office building had been renovated to include a few small eateries in the newly added skylit atrium. Plenty for me to look at, but my eyes kept returning to the double brass doors that opened onto Ninth.

David pushed through the heavy doors at 12:45 just as I was finishing up a caramel soy latte for one of the Goth girls who worked at the jewelry place across the street. I hid my smile behind my espresso machine. Eager for it to be his turn, I tapped my toes against the linoleum.

“The usual?” I figured it would freak him out if I mentioned I’d noticed his lateness.

“Hmmm.” He studied my specials sign. I’d glued a chalkboard panel inside a silver frame from a secondhand place on Hawthorne and put the whole thing on a silver-painted easel. Classy on the cheap.

Today I had a half-price tuxedo mocha—white chocolate with dark chocolate swirls. David had never paid any attention to the sign before, but today he gave it a long stare, consideration tugging his mouth back and forth. God, I loved his mouth—full pink lips, a hint of stubble on his upper lip like he’d missed a spot shaving.

After a few seconds, he shrugged, broad shoulders rippling the fine cotton of his dress shirt. “Yeah. The usual.”

“Sure thing.” I grabbed the cup for his small vanilla latte.

“Wait.” He held up a hand as I started to ring him up. “Iced. It’s sweltering out.” He’d rolled up the sleeves of his crisp white shirt, revealing muscular forearms and a heavy silver, antique-looking watch.

“Meaning it’s eighty-five degrees in Portland and everyone is freaking out. You know . . . it’s good to try something different once in a while.”

Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

This is a very sweet novella, which raises a number of issues in a subtle and meaningful way. The two men are both products of their upbringing and their previous relationships. Fighting those demons takes courage and trust. I am looking forward to more in the series.

Served Hot is a sweet romance about two guys who are not very good at relationships. Both David and Robby bring baggage from previous relationships into their new one which causes problems.

I loved the setting of the coffee cart inside the office building. I particularly like reading books about regular people with regular jobs and Served Hot fits that bill nicely. This is an easy romantic read and a little bit of hot thrown in and I quite enjoyed it. I'll be reading the next book in the series.

Short and sweet story about Robby and David. Robby owns his own coffee cart and David is a customer. Things heat up at a Pride festival and slowly we learn there is more to David than meets this eye. This story is a fast read and keeps you drawn into the story. I can’t wait to see where the series goes. My only complaint is the story wasn’t longer. I loved Robby and David.

Characters: The characters were well written and believable.
Sex: Yes
Religious: No
Would I recommend to others: Yes
More than one book in the series: Yes
Genre: M/M/Romance
Would I read more by this author: Yes

Served Hot was such a sweet M/M romance. Robby has a crush on David, one of his customers, but hasn’t been able to figure out if he is gay or straight. With the Pride celebration being held during the upcoming weekend, Robby finally works up enough courage to make a nonchalant mention of the weekend’s events and is STILL unsure about David’s sexuality, although now Robby suspects that David may indeed be straight. Poor Robby. So when David shows up at the Pride festival and makes a point to seek Robby out, Robby finds himself even more confused until David asks him out for coffee. Priceless! Ask the coffee guy out for coffee.

But David’s faux pas was exactly the kind of ice breaker these two needed so that the courting could commence, and courting was how their relationship felt. Mind you there was the modern day twist on it as we’re not only talking about two men, but also a couple of really hot bedroom encounters. Yet David comes off as an old-fashioned guy and while he seems quite taken with Robby, he’s unsure of how to proceed. My heart actually broke for David when he told Robby about Craig and their non-relationship. With both Robby and David having been in closeted relationships, neither wants to be someone’s dirty little secret again and that should make things easier for them, right? Sadly it does not because David has no actual relationship experience and because neither man wants what they have together to be threatened, neither is willing to voice their wants, concerns, and insecurities. Eventually situations align in such a way that Robby is forced to speak up and ask for more out their relationship. But Craig’s ghost and David’s baggage may prove to be more the Robby can handle.

This novella has couple of rather sad scenes that left me looking for my tissues. I didn’t quite need them, but Robby and David are such sweet guys that it seemed to make the sad parts even sadder. Thankfully Served Hot is a stand-alone novella and this cute couple got their happy ending, complete with a Coconut Frappé.  This was an adorable story and I am already looking forward to reading Baked Fresh, the second book in Ms. Albert’s Portland Heat series.

This is such a sweet m/m love story.

Robby owns a coffee cart in Portland which David frequents daily. Robby is attracted to David and doesn't know if he is gay. After lots of small talk while making his daily vanilla latte and mentioning he'd be working at a friend’s coffee stall at Pride Festival, Robby is excited to see David in line waiting for coffee that weekend. Could this be the beginning of something special, just a weekend fling or nothing but friends seeing each other? Robby is up for most anything especially if it involves David. David is coming out of a long term relationship, can Robby help him learn things about himself? What could be, should have been?

I loved this story and the characters. This isn't my first read from Ms. Albert and I know it won't be the last. Her writing is easy to get invested in, she writes such realistic heartfelt characters.

Mary Jo☆☆☆☆
Robby has been quietly admiring David for quite a while. David, the always on time, never late, 11:50 on the dot customer at his coffee cart. Until the day he was late and Robby just had to mention the Pride Parade that weekend. Thinking that he had just blown whatever chance he had had with the conservative David, even if he were gay, Robby works the festival for one of his friends, never expecting David to show. When he does, Robby thinks he may just have a chance.

Robby knows that there is something in David's past that has hurt him to the core, so he's satisfied at the moment to take things nice and slow. Still, when he finds out that David's last relationship forced David not only to hide who he was but the relationship as well, his heart can't help but break for him.

I really enjoyed this story. The author did a great job of letting the characters get to know each other before they jumped into bed. The relationship between Robby and David is solid and real and you can feel the love they share jump off the page.

Also Available in the Portland Heat Series
Book 2
Coming April 14th

Pre-Order Links

Amazon US  ~  Amazon UK  ~  Amazon Au  ~  Amazon Ca
B&N  ~  iTunes  ~  Kobo
Book 3
Coming May 26th

Pre-Order Links

Amazon US  ~  Amazon UK  ~  Amazon Au  ~  Amazon Ca
B&N  ~  iTunes  ~  Kobo

Annabeth Albert grew up sneaking romance novels under the bed covers. Now, she devours all subgenres of romance out in the open—no flashlights required! When she’s not adding to her keeper shelf, she’s a multi-published Pacific Northwest romance writer.

Emotionally complex, sexy, and funny stories are her favorites both to read and to write. Annabeth loves finding happy endings for a variety of pairings and is a passionate gay rights supporter.  In between searching out dark heroes to redeem, she works a rewarding day job and wrangles two toddlers.

Connect with Annabeth

Facebook  ~  Twitter  ~  Website  ~  Goodreads
FB Fan Group  ~  Google+  ~  Tumblr  ~  tsū

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Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of Served Hot (Portland Heat #1) by Annabeth Albert to read and review for this tour.

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