Friday, April 28, 2023

Said No One Ever by Stephanie Eding

Stephanie Eding. Said No One Ever.

Ellie Reed's self-esteem can't take it anymore…

Ellie has just about had enough of her family's constant criticism and attempts to control her life. But when she rents an Airbnb getaway on a gorgeous farm in Montana, she encounters a whole new set of family drama. Now she's the reluctant and borderline competent caretaker of a barn full of unruly farm animals, caught between two handsome men competing for control of the farm, and the sudden best friend of a spunky elderly widow whose outrageous ideas just might change her destiny…


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Said No One Ever by Stephanie Eding

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Sourcebooks Casablanca




Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

Said No One Ever was an absolute joy to read! This story has everything – comedy, drama, a touch of romance, and a donkey! The cast contains a hilarious, feisty grandma (or two), a cantankerous, skeptical grandson, and a city girl who just needs to take a moment and reexamine her life.

Ellie needs to relax and rewind, she needs to get out of Columbus, Ohio. She's in the middle of some life-altering situations – one of her own doing, but the others not so much. Where better to forget everything than a middle-of-nowhere farm in central Montana? Marilyn Perry is a spicy, elderly farmer who just so happens to be excited to rent out her tiny house to interested travelers.

I don't know what to say, this was a sweet, funny story about different women finding what they want or need. It's a story about life and the different stages and ages. This was a story of friendships formed in unlikely places. It was also about finding one's voice and the confidence to wield it. It's a story about different family dynamics and the effect they have on those they're trying so desperately to help.

I honestly loved this book and will be adding it to my re-read shelf.

I really enjoyed this book – it leads the reader down a variety of garden paths and they are all great fun. Ellie has left a boring relationship and is reassessing her future – as far away from her hometown that she can be, in a guest house at a farm. She ends up doing far more animal care than she could imagine.

Marilyn, the elderly, injured owner of the farmhouse is highly entertaining, but also pretty insightful. Her desire to retain her freedom even as she gets older and less able is admirable, and when we also understand her desire to give her grandson, Warren, a different future, she is even more of a hero.

Eding uses our natural desire to give Ellie a romantic interest to make us think about how perception affects our judgment! It gives Ellie a chance to work out what is important and just how much she needs to value what she wants above family and expectation.

Fun read!



Author Bio

STEPHANIE EDING specializes in humorous women’s fiction about the struggles of adulthood in the twenty-first century. She works as a freelance editor, cleans when stressed, and hates cooking but loves to eat. Away from her desk, she’s a wife, mother, expert napper, and leader of a cat horde.

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ARC provided by


Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided with a free copy of Said No One Ever by Stephanie Eding to read and review.

Thursday, April 27, 2023

Deep Tide by Laura Griffin

The deeper they delve, the darker the case becomes. Available Now. Deep Tide by Laura Griffin.

An undercover FBI agent and a coffee shop owner who values her independence must team up when a local barista is found dead in their coastal Texas town in this new romantic thriller from New York Times bestselling author Laura Griffin.

With two brothers on the police force, Leyla Breda is well aware of the rising crime in her small beach town, but she never expected it to show up on her doorstep. When Leyla finds one of her employees murdered in the alley behind her coffee shop, she’s deeply shaken, and as a new law enforcement officer in town begins to circle her place of business, her instincts only sharpen.

Sean Moran is on an undercover mission: The seaside community of Lost Beach may look like a picturesque postcard, but his team suspects it’s a point of intersection for several crime syndicates that the FBI has been investigating for years. Even so, when the brash and beautiful Leyla Breda starts bossing him around, he's immediately intrigued. He knows her brothers want him to back off, but every time he sees her, he feels more of a spark.

Leyla’s connections in the local community and Sean’s skills allow them to go deeper into the case together than they would be able to go alone. But when a single crime spirals into something much darker, Sean’s carefully planned mission takes a deadly turn.

Don’t miss our reviews of other books in The Texas Murder Files!
For book one, Hidden, click HERE.
For book two, Flight, click HERE.


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Deep Tide by Laura Griffin

Book 4
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Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

Avid Reader☆☆☆
M/F Mystery, Romance

Leyla is a shop owner and caterer who loves her town. She is good at what she does and loves it too – even in the stressful times. When her brother finally gets married and is happy, Leyla helps with the catering and cake. What she doesn't plan on is for her employee to be killed just outside the cafe where she works.

Leyla knows that there is more to Sean than he'd like people to know. Since Leyla is from a family with law enforcement, she knows they can't always talk about their jobs. Sean wants to know Leyla better but can't let his personal life get in the way of his job. People are counting on him.

Leyla and Sean don't have great chemistry for me. It's a miss for the relationship since they could have been really explosive. Leyla is smart, funny, and a great chef and baker, who has a nose for sleuthing too. Sean wants to be the alpha protector but has horrible communication skills.

I really wanted much more from this story and just didn't get it. While I enjoyed the story, it was not like the previous books in the series that I had read.



Author Bio

LAURA GRIFFIN is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of more than twenty-five books and novellas. She is a two-time RITA Award winner, as well as the recipient of the Daphne du Maurier Award.

Connect with Laura Griffin

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ARC provided by

Berkley Romance.

Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided with a free copy of Deep Tide (The Texas Murder Files #4) by Laura Griffin to read and review.

Wednesday, April 26, 2023

Moorewood Family Rules by HelenKay Dimon

The family that steals together stays together.

Knives Out and Ocean’s 8 meets The Nest in this hilariously twisty novel by award-winning author HelenKay Dimon, about a woman who returns home from prison to her dysfunctional con artist family and tries to get them to go legit.

One day a con man met an heiress, wooed her, married her, had two kids… and kept on conning. Jillian Moorewood is the oldest child from that meet-cute-gone-wrong marriage. The stable one. The sensible and dependable one. The one who protects and fixes. The one who went to prison to save their sorry butts. Now, thirty-nine months later, she’s out and she’s more than a little pissed.

Finally home she finds the scheming clan in full family fleecing mode. They all claim they didn’t really agree to Jillian’s previous go-legit-or-else ultimatum before she went away. They viewed it as a “suggestion” then ignored it. So, business as usual. But Jillian is done with the lies and fakery. She demands the whole messed-up crew clean up its act, and this time she’s not kidding—she has the leverage to make it happen.

Problem is, her life is in shambles, but with the help of a great aunt (crooked but loveable), a bodyguard (who is a nice surprise after three years in prison), and a few allies (all working undercover), Jillian starts to put her life back together. She kicks out a few mooching relatives living under her roof, sets limits on everyone’s access to the money, ducks from their various attacks, and sees if that bodyguard is maybe interested in sticking around for a while. For the first time, she’s Jillian Moorewood, her own woman, and she’s ready to figure out who she is.


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Moorewood Family Rules by HelenKay Dimon

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Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

This is such a fun read – I really recommend it to anyone!

I loved how we have to work out who is genuine, who plans on being genuine in the future, and who is actually in control... so many double crosses, so much blaming others, such a crazy, dysfunctional family – and at the centre, a woman who gave up a lot and still they don't respect her.

The layers are revealed at just the right time to keep the tension at the perfect level, and I could really only wish it was longer!



Author Bio

HELENKAY DIMON spent the years before becoming a romance author as a... divorce attorney. Not the usual transition, she knows. Good news is she now writes full time and is much happier. She has sold over thirty novels, novellas, and shorts to numerous publishers. Her nationally bestselling and award-winning books have been showcased in numerous venues, and her books have twice been named "Red-Hot Reads" and excerpted in Cosmopolitan magazine. But if you ask her, she'll tell you the best part of the job is never having to wear pantyhose again.

Connect with HelenKay Dimon

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ARC provided by

Avon Books.

Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided with a free copy of Moorewood Family Rules by HelenKay Dimon to read and review.

Tuesday, April 25, 2023

A Cruel Arrangement by Tijan

A Cruel Arrangement. Kings of New York Series.

From New York Times bestselling author Tijan comes the intensely passionate story of a man trying to make amends and the woman who makes him want to keep his promises.

This was my place. My business. Easter Lanes.

Then a guy comes in, trying to rob me, daring to take it away from me.

My home. My life.

Hell no. I won’t let my livelihood be threatened.

No one knows what I’ve done to build this life for myself.

Except he might.

Ashton Walden, a man I remember from when we were kids.

Even back then I could tell how dangerous he would be one day.

He’s now the head of the Walden mafia family, and my father is so in debt to them that they practically own him.

My dad and I are estranged and I want nothing to do with him or his debt, but the day after the attempted robbery, I don’t wake up in the hospital.

I wake up in Ashton Walden’s home. And he drops a bomb on me.

If I want my livelihood back, I need to earn it back.

And thus begins our cruel arrangement.

Don’t miss our reviews of the rest of the Kings of New York series!
For book one, A Dirty Business, click HERE.


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A Cruel Arrangement by Tijan

Book 2
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~ Also Available with KindleUnlimited ~




Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

This is the second book in this series – and I would definitely recommend that you read them in order, and possibly close together. Tijan does a good job of reminding the reader of the importance of elements of the story from the previous book, and actually, that reminder of what Ashton did... makes it very difficult to warm to him.

Any fan of Tijan's books will know that it can be quite a stretch to see how on earth a happily ever after can come from what is first given to us, and in this book I found it even more difficult – but Molly was a far stronger character that one might have first imagined.

Be ready for a bumpy ride, but have faith. I am looking forward to the next installment already!

Avid Reader☆☆☆☆
M/F Mafia Romance

Molly owns a bowling alley that has become the local hangout. Her family is there for her. But when tragedy strikes and she loses two of her own, Molly will have to rely on old skills learned from her con man father to survive what's to come.

Ashton is the new head of his family. While he knows what's at stake, he doesn't truly know how it will play out. Molly is his new target, but when he gets to see how strong and amazing Molly is, Ashton will have to decide if he's still willing to go through with his plan.

Tijan does a good job of walking you through the issues from the previous book without going histrionic. You could read this as a standalone, but I don't recommend it.

I wish that Ashton was stronger in this story. After all, it was his story. I felt that he had a stronger voice in book one. For me, the romance just didn't work well. Ashton and Molly were an odd pairing and just didn't seem to mesh as well as other Tijan characters have. But if you're a fan of Tijan, that will only be a slight blip in the story. You'll still enjoy the heck out of it.

3.5 stars

A Cruel Arrangement is the second installment of the Kings of New York series.

Can it be read as a standalone? Honestly, I do believe so, especially since this is two new narrators connected to the previous two. It has been so long since I read the first in the series, I had forgotten many plot points, yet I had no problem diving in. While I do believe the novel can be read as a standalone, the emotional payout is greater if read in series order.

Tijan did an excellent job spiking my memory to events that happened in the previous novel without a dreaded info-dump. A smooth transition between sets of narrators, the novels flawlessly connecting as the story continues.

Molly Easter is sweet yet has tons of moxie. She owns the bowling alley, which she purchased off her gambling addict of a father. They're connected to the mafia through his debts. Molly keeps a clear divide between her life and her father's, only to discover what she thought was truth was false, upturning her entire life.

Ashton is the new head of the Walden family. While he is a loyal and supportive friend, the darker and grittier aspects of life are his true calling. He enjoys the cruelty of it all when it comes to those who put his way of life at risk.

Opposites attract, yet there are some similarities too. Ashton is on a quest to discover who murdered a pair of their friends, especially since his best friend's girlfriend is hurting. Ashton sees it as a way to heal the wound he created during the last novel. Since it all connects to Molly, a shared group of friends, Molly is willing to do anything to help.

On the mafia front, there are three mafia families preparing for war. Ashton and his best friend, new to being in charge, are allies. The murdered friend was a member of a rival mafia family by blood but not by deed. Add law enforcement in the rival mafia family, burglaries drawing Molly into it, along with her shyster of a father, Molly become Ashton's full-time job.

While I was entertained, I was not hooked as I usually am with Tijan's novels. All the right elements were there, but they just didn't seem to grab my interests. I enjoyed Molly's character and personality, but Ashton wasn't as intriguing during his own narration as he was in the previous novel when I wasn't deep inside his head.

There were a ton of pages, but I felt it meandered. I didn't feel the need to feverishly read as I usually do with a Tijan novel. I was able to put the novel down and go do other things without the story invading my thoughts. I wasn't connected to it. I wasn't hooked. I wanted to love it, and I did enjoy most of it, I just wasn't as enthralled as I hoped to be.

I loved Molly other than the odd "switch" and I wanted the intriguing Ashton from the previous novel instead of the one-note character I felt him to be while inside his head. Honestly, I felt the "voice" of both narrators sounded more like teenagers, not fully grown adults who owned businesses and were in charge of many beneath them.



Author Bio

TIJAN is a New York Times bestselling author who writes suspenseful and unpredictable novels. Her characters are strong, intense, and gut-wrenchingly real with a little bit of sass on the side. Tijan began writing after college, and once she started, she was hooked. She's written multi-bestsellers including the Carter Reed Series, the Fallen Crest Series, Ryan's Bed, Enemies, and others. She is currently writing many new books and series with an English cocker she adores.

Connect with Tijan

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Facebook Group: Tijan's Crew


ARC provided by


Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided with a free copy of A Cruel Arrangement (Kings of New York #2) by Tijan to read and review.

Friday, April 21, 2023

Fauxmance in the Falls by J.E. Birk Release Blitz

Release Blitz. Fauxmance in the Falls by J.E. Birk. April 20 – 26.

I'm here to destroy this town. How did I end up in a fake relationship with its hero?

I've spent my life proving to my grandpa and dad that I'm more than just the Lewis family mistake. So when Grandpa sends me to Devon Falls, VT to take some ridiculous leaf festival to court, I head straight there and get to work.

But Dr. Jack Lancer keeps getting in my way.

He's everywhere. Helping me out with my migraines, making me dinner, insisting people be nice to me even though I’m the enemy. Who is this guy? The next thing I know I'm pretending to be Jack's boyfriend to get him out of a bind. I swear he's putting kindness pills in my food or something.

Jack thinks he can fix me the same way he fixes everyone else. But I'm not broken. This podunk town will be when I'm done with it, though. And Jack? Well, he's about to learn the meaning of the term "collateral damage." Because I'll do anything to win this case and end this festival.

Even if it means losing something that feels an awful lot like love.

Fauxmance in the Falls is an age-gap romance featuring a small town full of quirks, a grumpy lawyer and a charming physician, a fake relationship gone wild, some inappropriate use of a doctor’s office, and a healthy mix of humor and angst. It stars Benson Lewis, who first appeared in the book Counterpoint.


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Fauxmance in the Falls by J.E. Birk

Book 1
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Benson stands before us, looking as wrecked as I could ever imagine seeing him. He’s barely standing upright, and there are dark circles surrounding his sagging eyes. He’s wearing a wrinkled pair of jogging pants and a shirt that looks like he’s sweated through it, and his facial expression screams of absolute misery. I simultaneously feel extremely guilty for knocking on his door and extremely glad that I did. “Benson,” I say softly. “Migraine?”

He nods, immediately wincing at the head motion. And that tiny little movement is all the cue I need to start taking charge.

“Elijah, I need you to run to the drug store,” I tell him quietly. I list off a series of items that Benson likely needs.

“Be right back,” Elijah whispers, though I never warned him about being quiet. He’s far more astute than his grandparents give him credit for. He runs off down the hall and I step into Benson’s space, examining him with my eyes. “How long?” I ask.

“Since the Thai restaurant.”

Shit. Almost twenty-four hours, then. “Have you taken anything?”

“Just aspirin.” He winces at the ray of light peeking around the door from the hallway. “Don’t have anything else,” he mumbles. I’m going to make sure we correct that the second he’s well enough for conversation. But right now, all I want to do is make him feel better.

“Okay,” I tell him gently. “We’ll fix it, Benson. I’ve got you. You’re not on your own anymore.”

He stares at me, squinting, and I notice his eyes are wet. “I’m really glad you’re here,” he says hoarsely.

I startle slightly. I know Benson well enough by now to know those probably aren’t words he says often.

I guide him gently into the apartment, which is a small studio with a double bed in one corner and a combination kitchen/living room taking up most of the space. The curtains are closed tightly. They’re mostly light-blocking, at least. I surprise him, I think, when I guide him over to the sofa and help him lay down there. “I’m going to get you some water and change your sheets,” I whisper. “Have you been able to keep food down?”

He shakes his head slightly.

“Well, I sent Elijah for applesauce and electrolytes. We’ll see if we can fix that.” I can feel his eyes track me as I make use of what his small space has to offer. I find a glass of water and help him sit up long enough to take a few sips. When he shakes his head at me, I don’t push for him to drink more. I find clean sheets and quickly make his bed, then grab some sweatpants and a Burlington U Law shirt from his dresser. “C’mon,” I urge him. “Let’s get you into some more comfortable clothes.”

He holds onto my shoulders as I help him step out of his pants. I look away to give him as much privacy as possible, but Benson draws my attention back to him when he says, “this isn’t really how I envisioned you getting in my pants for the first time.”

The corners of his lips are turned up in a hint of a wry grin, and my heart speeds up. Has he really had those thoughts too? Now is not the time for that conversation, unfortunately. “Me either,” I tell him, keeping things light as I help him into the fresh pants and shirt.

I change the sheets on the bed and get him settled into it before I dampen a washcloth with cool water. Some migraine patients are sensitive to any kind of touch when they have episodes like this, but Benson sighs with happiness when I lay the cloth across his forehead.

I sit down gently on the side of his bed. “When Elijah gets back we’ll try food and more water,” I tell him. “Get excited for that applesauce.”

Benson grimaces. “I’ll try it,” he promises. “I already feel better than I did. Thank you, Jack.”

I gently take one of his hands, and when he doesn’t object, I hold it while I rub my thumb against his palm. “Thank you for what?” I ask. I’m not sure what I’m being thanked for. Changing someone’s sheets and getting them some water when they’re ill are about the most basic things you can do for another human.

“No one’s ever really done this before. You know. For me,” he mutters. “Not lately, anyway.”

“Do you get migraines often?” I ask him.

He sighs. “I used to get them a lot more when I was younger. I thought they were going away. But lately they’ve been getting worse.”

“Who used to take care of you when you got them?” I ask.

He shrugs into the sheets around him. “I think my nannies did. Well, some of them anyway. Until they… couldn’t anymore.” Benson grimaces again, and I decide this isn’t the best time to have this conversation.

“You’re going to be okay,” I tell him. It’s a universal line I’ve used a million times in my career. Some patients believe it. Some don’t. From Benson’s expression, I can’t tell where he stands.

“It was worse last night,” he replies. “In the middle of the night. It was so bad. They’ve gotten worse lately, like I said. I was here, in this bed, and the pain was so awful I started to wonder if I was going to live through it. And I kept thinking… kept thinking that I didn’t want to die by myself in a studio apartment. Alone. All by myself.” He closes his eyes against pain I can’t see, and suddenly I need to be holding more than just his hand.

“You’re not alone,” I tell him. I lean over farther and graze his cheek with the fingers of my other hand. It’s a test to see if my touch hurts, but all he does is lean farther into it. And just like that, I know I’m doing the right thing. “You’re not alone right now,” I repeat. “And you never have to be alone again. Not if you don’t want to be. You have me now. Me and Elijah.”

Benson has settled his cheek deep into my hand at this point. He’s almost nuzzling it. “Not forever,” he mumbles. “Just for now. Just for pretend.”




Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

I instantly fell in love with the town of Devon Falls. Small towns are so charming and close knit, I just love it.

Jack is the local doctor, and he has some past issues that he still hasn't gotten over. Benson is a law clerk who took on a case against the town of Devon Falls. Benson doesn't get along with his family and is always trying to prove himself. This case is what he thinks he needs to finally get that approval.

Jack and Benson both have things they are trying to work through, but when a situation arises and Benson says something that even surprises him, he and Jack are now in a fake relationship. These two together are amazing, they bring out the best in each other. Throw in Jack's nephew, who reminds Benson of his own childhood, and things get even messier inside his head.

This was a sweet romance with some family drama on both main characters’ sides. In the end, good conquers evil, family drama is solved, and Jack and Benson get their happily ever after.

This is the first in a new series, but is linked to the Vino e Veritas series and the book Counterpoint in particular, which is set in nearby Burlington. It would not matter if you have read that story first, but you will enjoy catching up with Aaron and Jeremy if you did!

Benson has been trying to prove himself to his obnoxious, stuck-up, judgmental family since he was dropped off with his dad as an unwanted mistake by his mum. He has fought for recognition, and has now been tasked with a land ownership case against the town of Devon Falls. He is desperate to impress, but as time goes on, his research does lead him to think of ethics over success. I really enjoyed the legal elements of this book, they added context and drama in just the right measure.

Jack left Devon Falls to train as a doctor, and after a time in New York and an unhappy ending to a romance, he returned home to practice medicine with his mum. He is also looking after his ex-wife's nephew, as his father is away on service. This is proving to be quite a challenge, as Elijah is not academically gifted, but a budding musician who wants to practice with his band rather than study. In fact, his bad grades are like the first pebble that starts an avalanche resulting in Benson claiming to be Jack's boyfriend to keep Elijah from having to go to Florida with his grandparents...

I loved the different strands running through the story. They gave us humour, family, ethics, and the recognition of what love means and how valuable it can be. Cannot wait for the next installment!

Fauxmance in the Falls is the first book in the Devon Falls series. If you are an avid J.E. Birk reader you will recognize Aaron and Jeremy from Counterpoint.

Benson has to prove himself to his grandfather by winning a legal battle against Devon Falls. His client claims he owns the land where the town's famous festival is held. He knows everyone in town will hate him if he wins this case but maybe, finally, his father and grandfather will give him the recognition he deserves. But he never expected Jack – and Jack changes everything.

Jack returns to Devon Falls after a break-up to practice medicine. Looking after his ex-wife's nephew proves to be a challenge. And fighting with the ex-in-laws is something he doesn't want and when Benson says they are dating to help him keep Elijah, he goes along with the fake relationship.

I was so invested in this read. I loved everything about Benson and Jack. I love a "fake dating" read and this one checks every box for me. I can't wait to see more from this small town!



Author Bio

Books by J.E. Birk. Where unhappy beginnings find happy endings.

J.E. BIRK was raised in Vermont and is now adulting in Colorado with intermittent success. She is a long-time lover of stories, and she writes and reads in worlds where imperfect characters find their happily ever after. Snag free bonus content and stay up-to-date on J.E. Birk's news and releases by signing up for her newsletter.

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Hosted by

Gay Book Promotions.

Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of Fauxmance in the Falls (Devon Falls #1) by J.E. Birk to read and review.

Thursday, April 20, 2023

Sweet as Pie by Beth Bolden Release Blitz

Release Blitz. Sweet as Pie by Beth Bolden. April 17 – 21.

Luca Moretti is grumpy—and he wouldn't have it any other way.

Wrangling six—Italian—siblings and the family's restaurants would make anyone cranky. But when his mother requests that he save his aunt’s struggling Italian deli in charming, picturesque Indigo Bay, he has no idea that he's about to overdose on sweetness.

Luca expected his aunt’s stubbornness—she’s a Moretti, isn’t she?—and his cousin’s resistance to actual work, but the last thing he expected is the absolute ball of sunshine known as Oliver Billings.

Oliver loves Indigo Bay. Loves owning his small artisan bakery, Sweetie Pie’s. Helps nice old ladies cross the street. Even volunteers for the local Sweethearts Festival.

Sweet isn't really Luca's style, or so he thinks. But when he discovers Oliver can be a little spicy too, his prickly exterior begins to crumble like a well-baked crust.

If Luca isn't careful, he's going to develop a taste for sweets—and a particular baker’s pie.

And one or two servings will never be enough.


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Sweet as Pie by Beth Bolden

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Paperback (US)
~  Also Available with KindleUnlimited  ~




“Ah, they sent the fixer out.” Oliver sounded amused again. “I can see it. You’re definitely more of a fixer than a baker.”

Luca shrugged. “I run my family’s four restaurants. They do not typically need fixing.” Don’t be arrogant, don’t be arrogant. “But Nonna’s Deli here, it is... an investment of ours. Not directly under my control. So I’m not here to order changes but to... suggest them. Nicely.”

“Which is how they’ve managed to underperform all these years,” Oliver said with another of those smirks. They shouldn’t have been so frustratingly attractive. But Luca felt them deep down, stirring him up in a way he hadn’t expected.

Oliver was definitely a very attractive package, one he’d love to unwrap.

Would he be as sweet as promised? Or a little salty too? Maybe even a bit spicy?

“You could say that,” Luca said. “Part of the proposed changes are aligning the menu more directly with our other restaurants. And that includes fresh bread, daily. Nonna’s here doesn’t have the staff, the resources, or the equipment to do this, but you do.”

“I do,” Oliver conceded. “My schedule’s already pretty packed, but I suppose I could fit you in. French bread? Sourdough bread? Focaccia? Rolls? Loaves? How many dozen per day?”

Luca liked every part of Oliver he’d seen so far. He was charming and sweet and undeniably adorable. Then there was how goddamned sexy he was when he got down to business.

“I’m not sure yet,” Luca said. “In fact, they may not need any at all. Giana and Enzo have my proposed changes, but they are not required to accept all of them—or any of them, actually.”

“You must hate that, not being able to actually impose your control over them.” Oliver said it casually, like a true control-freak business owner, like he understood.

How did Oliver know how much he hated it? Was it that obvious? Was it written all over his face that he’d love nothing more than to march down the street and tell Giana and Enzo exactly what to do?

“Yes,” Luca admitted.

“Nonna’s isn’t just an Italian affectation, is it? Was there actually a Nonna?” Oliver asked.

“My grandmother.”

“Ah, well, there you go.” Oliver leaned back, grinning. Luca wanted to chase him, but he stayed on his side of the table, with what he thought was pretty admirable restraint.

“So why does Enzo dislike you so much?” Luca asked.

“That’s a long story. And I’ve got to tend to these rolls. If they overproof...” Oliver shrugged. “I’m a perfectionist, what can I say?”

“If he supposedly turns against you every chance he gets, what’s he going to say,” Luca said, deploying the most persuasive smile in his arsenal, “when he finds out I want to hire you to bake our bread? I need the insider info. Need to be able to convince him it’s a good idea.”

“It’s not going to help you, and you’re not going to like it,” Oliver said. “Though, you sorta look like there’s plenty of things you don’t like.”

But I like you. “You’re not wrong.” It was hard to admit it, but there it was. He was particular, okay? Particular and more than a little arrogant about his particularity.

Maybe it was good Oliver knew that now, even if all they ever had was a date and a night—though even that was still up in the air.

“We dated,” Oliver said. His watch beeped, and he stood, just as he’d left Luca speechless for another long moment. “Well,” he amended, with a cute little shrug. “It was one date. But still. He wanted to continue. I did not. And that’s the story.”

“That wasn’t a very long story,” Luca managed, and was he trailing after Oliver in his own bakery like a lost puppy looking for his owner? Yes, he was, a little.




Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

I'll be honest, it took me a few tries to get into this book. I just couldn't connect with Lucas and didn't really like him at first. I put the book down and came back a few times and finally, the connection happened. Oliver was instant, such a sweet, wonderful guy. These two have their ups and downs but it feels real, like a real relationship not just a story. Both of these men are family men, and we grow to not only love them but also their family. This book gives you all the feels and makes you hungry at times too. LOL.

This is such a fun (and sweet) read. I almost read it in one sitting, as I had to find out how things could be resolved!

Luca is a man on a mission – to make sure all his family and their businesses live up to the promise he made his Nonna, to keep them protected. He has done this relentlessly for years, and some of them have already made a bid for freedom, much to his dismay. When his mum asks him to go and help his aunt with their failing offshoot in a small town across country, he is reluctant, but complies.

Indigo Falls is not living at the pace of the West Coast, and this change is a shock to Luca's system – but his aunt and cousin's business practices are beyond shocking! They are, however, perfect at keeping him busy and in town whilst he gets to know the local baker, Oliver.

Oliver manages to combine an excellent business sense, wonderful baking skills, and a sweet and charming disposition – and he finds Luca irresistible.

The scene set, we get a fabulously fun and bakery heaven romance – and I enjoyed every minute!

Luca has dedicated his life to making sure his family’s restaurants are doing well and would make his Nonna proud. When his aunt and cousin are having a hard time, his mom volunteers his help to see what they are doing wrong and get them back on track. Going to Indigo Falls isn't somewhere Luca wants to go but it's what he has to do for his family. Oliver owns the local bakery in Indigo Falls. He loves owning his own business. He's worked hard to turn his bakery into a success. When Luca and Oliver cross paths, sparks fly. The attraction is instant. Oliver is such sunshine and brings such happiness to everyone, including grumpy Luca.

I loved everything about this read. It was so sweet and emotional. I highly recommend this one!



Oliver had a feeling Luca’s bark was worse than his bite… Though he wouldn’t mind a little bit of Luca’s biting, if he was being totally honest.


Author Bio

Fun, Flirty & Fluffy Romance. Beth Bolden

A lifelong Pacific Northwester, BETH BOLDEN has just recently moved to North Carolina with her supportive husband. Beth still believes in Keeping Portland Weird and intends to be just as weird in Raleigh.

Beth has been writing practically since she learned the alphabet. Unfortunately, her first foray into novel writing, titled Big Bear with Sparkly Earrings, wasn’t a bestseller, but hope springs eternal. She has published over forty novels and novellas.

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Come for the grumpy hottie. Stay for the sweet baker. Sweet as Pie by Beth Bolden. Available at Amazon. Kindle Unlimited.


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Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of Sweet as Pie by Beth Bolden to read and review.