Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Baking Lessons by Katie Allen

A free-spirited baker becomes the best kind of mess in her uptight landlord’s perfectly ordered life in this next installment of the Off Guard series by Katie Ruggle writing as Katie Allen.

Leah loves everything about her bakery—the heavenly smells, the satisfaction of feeding people and, of course, unlimited cookies. The only thing she doesn’t like is her uptight landlord’s daily visits. Sure, the man’s drop-dead gorgeous, but for someone with an insatiable taste for treats, he’s anything but sweet.

Army vet Hamilton knows he comes off as rigid. He just can’t seem to bite his tongue around Leah—he might be a virgin but he can imagine a dozen better ways to use his mouth. But when the woman he considers absolutely delicious is threatened by an unwanted admirer, Hamilton intervenes, captivating Leah with his softer side.

Now the man Leah couldn’t avoid is swiftly becoming the one she can’t resist. Unrelenting temptation soon overwhelms them both, leading to an indulgence in everything they’ve been craving. But when past actions bring a fallout neither imagined, they’ll be forced to confront whether their affair is half-baked—or something to savor forever.

One-click with confidence. This title is part of the Carina Press Romance Promise: all the romance you’re looking for with an HEA/HFN. It’s a promise!

Add to Goodreads –

Book 2
Buy Links

Amazon US  ~  Amazon UK  ~  Amazon Au  ~  Amazon Ca
B&N  ~  Google Play  ~  iTunes  ~  Kobo
Carina Press

Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

Mary Jo☆☆☆☆
This book has so many elements that I absolutely LOVED that I can't name them all.

Leah is a pastry chef, running her own business with the help of one part-time employee. Her best friend, and roommate, is supportive and caring. When her building is bought by Anthony Fitzgerald Hamilton, III, she believes that he doesn't like her and will do just about anything to get her out of his building.

However, as she gets to know Hamilton, or "Ham" as she calls him, she sees that there is more to him than meets the eye. He's socially awkward, especially around women. He has some OCD tendencies that Leah finds quirky and cute, but most of all, it’s the heart of the man that Leah comes to adore.

Hamilton, I think, falls somewhere on the autism spectrum, although it’s not discussed in detail. He does tell her that he believes that his parents don't really like him much because he "didn't fit in" with their lives.

What really sold me on this book is that Leah not only accepts Hamilton's personality traits but embraces them. Her acceptance of him just the way he is gives Hamilton the ability to break down some of the barriers that has kept him hidden away from life.

Avid Reader☆☆☆☆
M/F Romance
Triggers: Click HERE to see Avid Reader’s review on Goodreads for trigger warnings.

This was a very sweet story. Leah is an amazing baker and has a great store. She has a hilarious employee, Q, whose antics had me laughing out loud. I loved the playfulness between these two and how they were able to respect each other but still have fun. I really enjoy that she is so accepting of everyone around her.

Hamilton is somewhat socially strange. It seems that he might have some OCD tendencies and perhaps is on the spectrum. Hamilton's quirkiness is endearing and sweet. He and Leah have a strange beginning and I actually thought he was kind of strange and creepy at first. However, when you see how devoted he is to Leah, his behaviors and mannerisms just endear him more.

Watching Leah and Hamilton find their way and their experiences together is a treat to watch. Then, when you throw in Leah's stalker and how protective Hamilton becomes, it's so sweet. This couple is well developed and have sweet, quirky chemistry.

This is a really fun book, with a bit of a stalker undercurrent, and a wonderful twist, which is just inspired.

Leah is a very warm hearted, very talented baker. I loved all the sections where she is baking and clearly pouring her heart into her work. She has a strange relationship with her landlord, but the interactions are essential. It was a clever way to give us some insight into Hamilton's cautious and reserved ways. As things heat up, it becomes clear that he has some issues – but Leah is a cure for them all. We get to enjoy their journey of exploration.

Super cute, sweet, and yet very, very sexy too!

2.5 Stars

I just didn’t love this one, I struggled to get through it. It starts off interesting but drags in the middle, and though I really like Leah’s character, I wasn’t a fan of Hamilton.

Leah is a baker who is putting her soul into her bakery, the highlight of her day is the few minutes each morning when her brutish landlord, Hamilton, comes by and Leah does her best to make him uncomfortable. Hamilton is very quiet and standoffish for most of the first few chapters but like an onion, Leah peels back his layers. Hamilton has a major sweet tooth and Leah can’t help but to feed his obsession, especially when it means she gets to see his gorgeous face all the time. When Leah winds up with a bit of a stalker from the bakery, Hamilton steps in to act as her knight in shining armor.

Unfortunately, I have to say Hamilton might be one of my least favorite characters ever, he just didn’t have a personality at all. I just don’t get why Leah was attracted to him from the start. Leah, on the other hand, is hilarious and the reason I kept reading to the end. I didn’t realize this was the second book in the series – so it can definitely be read as a standalone.

Also Available in the Off Guard Series

Book 1
Buy Links

Amazon US  ~  Amazon UK  ~  Amazon Au  ~  Amazon Ca
B&N  ~  Google Play  ~  iTunes  ~  Kobo
Carina Press

For reviews & more info, check out our Acting Lessons post.

Katie Allen is the fabulously filthy-minded alter ego of romantic-suspense author Katie Ruggle. She lived in an off-grid solar- and wind-powered house in the Rocky Mountains until her family lured her back to Minnesota. When she’s not writing, Katie rides horses, shoots guns (target shooting only, since killing anything other than paper makes her ugly-cry), cross-country skis (badly) and travels to warm places where she can scuba dive. A graduate of the police academy, Katie is a self-professed forensics nerd. A fan of anything that makes her feel like a badass, she has trained in Krav Maga, boxing and gymnastics.

Connect with Katie

Facebook  ~  Twitter  ~  Website  ~  Goodreads


Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of Baking Lessons (Off Guard #2) by Katie Allen to read and review.

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