Review copy was received from Publicity team. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
No Whisk No Reward by Ellie Kay
Series: Donner Bakery #3
Published by Smartypants Romance on November 12, 2019
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Source: Publicity team
How do you know if a risk is worth taking? If you knew, there wouldn’t be any risk.
Following a disastrous appearance on a televised baking show, Sophie Copeland is certain things can’t get any worse. Several calamities later, Sophie finds herself in Green Valley, Tennessee with no plan, no place to stay, and no prospects. But at least she has a temporary seasonal arrangement with the famed Donner Bakery. And that's something, right?
It's not permanent, and it's not a home, but it's still something.
Enter Joel Barnes, a Green Valley mystery, wrapped in rumors, and a whispered connection to the local notorious biker gang. Joel’s got a name for being bad news, but he also has an apartment for rent.
Intrigued by the dichotomy of Joel’s reputation and sexy southern pull, Sophie can’t help but be tempted, even though she knows—given her (bad) luck—she should stay far, far away.
The Donner Bakery series is a favorite in the Smartypants Romance books. I enjoy the food and the peeks at Jenn and Cletus. No Whisk, No Reward is the third book and is available in Kindle Unlimited. We watch the cross-country traveler and pastry chef, Sophie, meet and become friendly with Joel Barnes, who has always lived in Green Valley.
Sophie had a bad experience and is going to join her best friend, Anna in opening a new bakery in Boston. Her car breaks down in Green Valley. She ends up getting a temporary gig at the Donner Bakery. It was great to see Tempest and Joy, already known to you if you are reading the series. Jenn is the kindest and best person, ever, except maybe Bethany Winston, but I digress.
Joel has lost his father and brother. He came back to town to help his brother even though he preferred his construction work in Nashville. Now he’s in a mess between his auto repair shop and pressure from the biker gang.
I didn’t find this story very realistic but it did grab me emotionally. There is more leeway in a small town for the parameters of what I found unrealistic, though. I liked Sophie and thought she was good-hearted and trying her best. I wasn’t as happy with Joel’s choices especially when he shut her out. It was a fun read with an HEA which is a good effort for the author’s first book.
That’s when I saw Joel sitting alone in a booth by a large window, eating a sandwich, and reading a newspaper.
Oh. Hello, conflicted feelings. You’re looking extra conflicting today. Did you do something with your hair?
His gorgeous brown hair was a mess and the sleeves of his gray shirt were pushed up revealing his forearms which looked even thicker than I remembered them being, as he worked to fold the gigantic pages of the newspaper into neat manageable folds.
This man was seriously hotter than a melting ice-cream analogy.
And also, possibly involved with a crime organization! I reminded myself as I continued to stand uselessly trying to find somewhere to sit.
I tried not to stare, but it was impossible not to smile at the indelicate way he shoved the corner of his sandwich into his mouth and then proceeded to chew as though it might try to escape.
He picked up his coffee and was mid-sip when his eyes rose up from the rim of his cup and saw me standing by the entrance staring at him.
“Take a seat wherever you can find one, hon, I’ll be along shortly to take your order,” a lady with a nameplate that read Janice, instructed me as she hurried by with a tray of coffee and doughnuts.
I looked back over at Joel who was watching me and gestured to the empty seat across from his.
My mind immediately went to Joy and Tempest’s reaction when they found out he was my landlord, but I quickly reminded myself that he’d done nothing to warrant any rudeness on my part.
Despite their apprehension, I figured this was a good opportunity to try and get more insight into whether I thought their response carried any weight.
Plus, I really needed coffee.
I made my way over, feeling his eyes on me as I crisscrossed around tables while trying to be ever vigilant of any sudden movements from other patrons.
My good sense will not be thwarted by your blue-green eyes and frowny brows, you magnificent biker beast.
“Good afternoon,” he greeted in a smooth as hot honey drawl. I was glad that I was already halfway into the seat because I felt my knees completely give out.
My armor of detachedness was not as hefty as I’d hoped.
“Taking a break from work?” I inquired, proud of my cool, even tone.
“Yep, just grabbing something to eat. You?”
“I’m done for today,” I replied reaching for a menu and unfolding it as though it were just as informative as his newspaper.
“Nice. Got any plans?”
“Not really, I was going to check out the bookstore downstairs, but that’s about—”
I was interrupted by the feeling of fingers gently stroking my cheek and looked up to find him reaching across the table, his eyes focused on a spot as he gently swiped at something on my face.
“Sorry, you got flour or something on your cheek it was driving me crazy,” he said before pulling away and leaning back coolly against his seat.
I’m gonna get thwarted, aren’t I?
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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:
- 2019 Releases