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Served Hot by Annabeth Albert
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3.5 ( )
  CressK | Feb 28, 2018 |

11:50 a.m. is the best time of Robby's day. Owning his own coffee cart was his self-employment dream, but seeing the seemingly up-tight, quite possibly straight suit walk in has become his living daydream. He can't get a read on him, though, can't tell if David is interested or not, gay or straight, available or taken. And when Robby finally gets up the nerve to mention the upcoming Pride festival, things are no clearer. Until he sees David there…

The Verdict: Robby's been crushing on David forever, but David seems impossible to figure out, and while Robby certainly doesn't want to come on to a straight guy, he's even more afraid of falling for someone who's still half in the closet. His last boyfriend put him through exactly that, and as much as he may want David, he knows he deserves better than to be someone's dirty little secret.

David's previous relationship lasted twelve years, but it was twelve years of secrecy that was all revealed when his lover died, and David has since fled the small town in which he became the subject of whispers and judgement. But he was deeply committed, in some ways is still mourning, and isn't sure if taking a chance on a new relationship is something he's ready for. Besides, having to hide his sexuality for so long has left him with no clue how to navigate a normal, out relationship.

I really wasn't sure what I was in for when I picked this up. While I have zero aversion to m/m romances, I'm not a big fan of stories that are 95% erotica and 5% romance, and I've been burned by the genre before. So I was absolutely thrilled when it soon became clear that yes, these two had some seriously hot chemistry, but there was a good depth of romantic story here as well.

Watching Robby's struggle to give David the patience and time he needed to feel comfortable with himself and their new relationship was sweet and angsty, and I almost wanted to shake him and demand he ask for the love he so clearly deserved. But knowing what David had been through in his last relationship, it soon became obvious that David just had no idea how to actually date. His complete lack of direction was sad to watch, and it was great to see Robby handle it with maturity, despite his desperation to move things forward. David's awkwardness was adorable, but at the same time it was tough to see Robby suffer through insecurity because of it. In other words, it was pretty much the perfect angst combo, relying on character development rather than contrived drama, and I loved every second of it.

Served Hot is a quick, often lighthearted, beautifully romantic story of two very different men who find love to eclipse their somewhat similar pasts. Now if only I could get my hands on the next book in say…the next five minutes?

***FicCentral received this book from Kensington Books (via NetGalley) for free in exchange for an honest review. ( )
  ysar | Jul 8, 2015 |
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Book description
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? [Kensington]
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