Beefcakes is a standalone second-chance romance that readers will gobble up in one sitting (much like Neil’s signature cupcakes). It’s got a little bit of everything – family drama, romance, humor, sibling relationships, reality TV baking shows, and small town charm.
Elaina Dyker, also known as Lainey, is the town manager of Maple Grove, a small town in which her Daddy is the Mayor. She is a hard worker, determined and predictable. Her long-time boyfriend of 9 years cheated on her and left her, leaving her bitter and not interested in opening herself up to love an inevitable heartache again. The one she will never forget, however, is Neil Evans. During their last year of high school, she and Neil were inseparable, sharing many firsts with each other and making plans for a future together. But, then Neil left without a word or a goodbye, breaking Lainey’s heart. Elaina’s current project is to save the old mill from becoming a shopping center complete with Target and Starbucks, and instead turn it into a healthcare and events center to save the local businesses (like Neil’s bakery) from going under. The problem is: the town doesn’t have enough money to purchase the property. How will she get that kind of money that fast?
Neil, the former Mr. Universe and Hollywood stuntman, has recently moved back to Maple Grove to help his siblings run their mother’s bakery while she goes through cancer treatments. In a cupcake delivery to a bachelorette party that went wrong, the beefy, muscular Evans brothers turn the unfortunate situation around, and in the process make a name for themselves as “Beefcakes,” which goes viral and the bakery’s business booms. The bachelorette party happened to be for Lainey’s younger sister, Chloe, and ever since Neil laid eyes on Lainey again, he has been unable to get her off of his mind. Even after 10 years, he is certain she is the one for him. He just has to find a way to get past the walls she has put up and back into her broken heart. Meanwhile, the bakery is busy, but his family is in all sorts of debt from his mother’s medical bills and the bills that will be coming for her upcoming surgeries. Neil needs to find a way to make a large sum of money quickly.
Enter a new reality TV show called Bake it or Break it, which is the brain-child of some of Neil’s Hollywood friends. They approach Neil and give him the option to be on the show, filmed right in Maple Grove. It’s a baking competition where contestants work with an ex-girlfriend or ex-boyfriend, and, as such, things could get rather sticky! However, the winning team wins a million dollars to split. Neil can’t turn down an opportunity like this to help his mom get out of debt. The only catch…the producers want Lainey to star in the show right along side him. And Lainey acts like he is a germ she wants to wash out of her life. How will he convince her to join him on the show and spend so much time with him? I guess you’ll have to read it to find out!
I loved this book. The story was unique and well-written in dual narrative between Neil and Lainey. The banter between characters was hilarious and the second change romance was extra sweet. There are even some Beefcakes cupcake recipes at the end of the book as an added bonus. Score! I highly recommend this book for romance fans!
Thank you to Social Butterfly PR for providing me with an early review copy of this title.