Rating: 4.25 stars out of 5
Portland, Oregon, is one of the hottest cities in America. Just ask all the hard-working men sweating it up behind the counters of the restaurants, boutiques, and cafés all over town …
Newly clean and sober, Todd’s taken a shine to his job at Portland’s most talked about bakery. It’s not just the delicious desserts they sell, but the tasty treats who keep walking through the door. That certainly includes Kendall Rose, a wedding planner with eyes the color of brown sugar and skin to match. Todd doesn’t try to hide his attraction to Kendall’s elegant confidence and unique style, even as he worries about exposing the secrets of his past.
For Kendall, the attention is just part of the anything-goes Portland he’s grown to love. But he’s still looking for that special someone who will embrace all of him—including his gender fluidity. So he takes a chance and asks Todd to be his partner in a dance class leading to a fundraiser. When the music starts and he takes Todd in his arms, Kendall is shocked at how good it feels. Turns out taking the lead for once isn’t a mistake. In fact, it might be time to take the next step and follow his heart …
Ever read a book that made you want to do a little singing and a swaying? For me that’s Danced Close by Annabeth Albert, the sixth book in her warmhearted, and lovely series Portland Heat. I’m a fan, both of this author and series (let’s get that out of the way) so I look forward to seeing what Albert will bring to enliven up an already quirky, surprising series. We start off back at the Bakery owned by Vic (couple Vic and Robin) from Baked Fresh (Portland Heat, #2). Vic’s employee is Todd, who had rough times in his past where he turned to drugs. Now clean, he’s learning about baking and staying sober. Its a constrained life until the stylish and outgoing genderfluid Kendall Rose enters the bakery and his life.
Now one of the things I have always loved about Annabeth Albert’s writing and characters is that she loves to defy peoples expectations. You might look at that blurb above and carry some expectation about each character with you into the story. Fine, great. Than enjoy Albert turning those expectations right on their proverbial heads as she reveals lovely unexpected layers and backgrounds to Todd and Kendall. Its a dance not only on the ballroom floor but of relationship dynamics that sometimes make you sigh, sometimes smile, and don’t be surprised if even you can imagine the dancing and here yourself singing in your head.
With all that, there’s still a goodly amount of heartache, discarding of old wounds and healing to be done before these two can move forward together. Still sighing here.
I throughly enjoyed the journey to happiness for both Kendall and Todd. I loved their give and take with each other. And of course, Portland always keeping it strange. What on earth is Annabeth Albert going to do next?
Cover art absolutely works.
Expected publication: March 14th 2017 by Lyrical Shine
SeriesPortland Heat #6