Rating: 4 stars out of 5
Ian Wallace works as a baker for his tyrannical father in the family-owned Scottish Bakehouse in Casper, Wyoming. He wants to represent the bakery in the upcoming Tartan Day competition, but his father refuses to reveal the secret ingredients that make them so successful—unless Ian gets married and has a son, proving he is fit to continue the family line.
Just before New Year’s Eve, Cameron Lewis, a former Marine turned police detective, comes into the bakery for donuts for his department and some black buns for himself. Cameron is hooked, and as his visits become more frequent, they stir Ian’s father’s suspicions. But threats can’t stop Ian from donning his kilt and entering the competition anyway—to show his father what he can do on his own. Though he he might not have the secret ingredients, Ian and Cameron might still discover a recipe for happiness.
The Baker by Serena Yates is the first I’ve read in her Workplace Encounters series but I enjoyed it so much that I’m going to search out the rest. The Baker charts the romance of Scottish family baker Ian Wallace and Det. Cameron Lewis of the Casper, Wyoming police department. This story manages to bring in Scottish baking and recipes, a Tartan Day and Hogmanay celebrations and rituals, and the pain and anguish of growing up under un-demonstrative and autocratic father and makes it all gel together.
At first I had a difficult time getting a handle on Ian’s character. At times he comes across as naive and younger emotionally than his age of late 20’s. Then during other scenes, he acts accordingly to his age level. I had to decide if his actions were reasonable and did they fit into his history as we knew it? I came to the conclusion that someone who had grown up under in such a restrictive family, with such rigid expectations impressed upon them and with little love shown during their formative years, that his actions, however, odd at times, felt about right.
That one issue dealt with, I could concentrate on the romance and altogether charming interactions between Ian and Cam. Their steps towards happiness and love were as touching as they were hesitant. I appreciated the give and take between them and the fact that the men actually discussed important issues such as how open they were going to be about their relationship and the steps they were willing to take in getting to know each other better before making any important decisions. It felt believable and realistic, given the place and backgrounds.
One more element I enjoyed, the fact that Cameron’s police department was not a hotbed of homophobia. I don’t think any of us can separate the words Wyoming and Matthew Shepard in our hearts and minds but I hope that plays like the Laramie Project and other actions can make such an open-minded squad as much a reality as it is here in this story. So yes, I adored his partner and fellow officers and the part they played in Cam and Ian’s romance. Just lovely.
Finally, I enjoyed the Scottish baking recipes and traditions that the author folded into her story. It added depth and interest to an already engaging romance. Plus it gave me things to research…something I always get a kick out of.
Not familiar with Serena Yates or her Workplace Encounters series? Start with The Baker! Its charming, its characters loving and believable, and their romance and climb towards a relationship is heartwarming. I recommend it and look forward to reading more stories in this series.
Cover art by L. C. Chase is lovely. I think that design is fun and captures the essence of the character and his passion, even if I doubt his father ever let him look like that inside his shop.
Sales Links: Dreamspinner Press | All Romance | Amazon | Buy It Here
ebook, 1st Edition, 133 pages
Published July 15th 2015 by Dreamspinner Press (first published July 1st 2015)
seriesWorkplace Encounters #6
charactersCameron Lewis, Ian Wallace
Workplace Encounters Series with Goodreads links:
- The Elevator Mechanic (Workplace Encounters, #1)
- The Chauffeur (Workplace Encounters, #2)
- The Bricklayer (Workplace Encounters, #3)
- The Ship Engineer (Workplace Encounters, #4)
- The Carpenter (Workplace Encounters, #5)
- The Baker (Workplace Encounters, #6)
- The Truck Driver (Workplace Encounters, #7) to be released Aug. 26, 2015
- The Model (Workplace Encounters, #8) #8 to #11 coming from Dreamspinner
- The Plumber (Workplace Encounters, #9)
- The Cellar Hand (Workplace Encounters, #10)
- The Florist (Workplace Encounters, #11)