Note: This ARC was provided by Riptide Publishing via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
The Burnt Toast B&B is the fifth book in the multi-authored Bluewater Bay series and was written by one of my favorite writing duos, Heidi Belleau and Rachel Haimowitz. This series is set in the town of Bluewater Bay, Washington and involves one or more members of the cast and crew of a fictional television show called Wolf's Landing. In most of the already released books, they interact and become romantically involved with one of the local residents, as is the case with this fifth installment.
The transition from being a logger to owning and being the one-man work force of a bed and breakfast hasn't been an easy one for Derrick Richards. As much as he wants to be as good as his parents were in managing their family-owned B&B, Derrick knows he's failing miserably. Just when he's ready to throw in the towel and close the place down, a new guest unexpectedly shows up. Not only is Derrick's plan for the B&B put on hold, but his guest forces him to see things he's always held true in a whole new light.
Being a stuntman is no easy feat but Ginsberg Sloan loves his job and the people he works with. Unfortunately, an injury on the set of Wolf's Landing has him sidelined for more weeks than he'd like and now he finds himself at the town's worst B&B in order to have an affordable but decent place to stay in the meantime. The grumpy owner has a tendency of burning food and playing country music but seems helpless and Ginsberg finds himself wanting to help both the owner and the establishment.
Try as he might, Derrick can't seem to get rid of Ginsberg, but there's also a part of him that's happy to have the guy around. Ginsberg gives Derrick a sense of hope and doesn't seem to mind when Derrick either purposely or accidentally screws things up in the B&B. Derrick finds out about Ginsberg's lack of a permanent residence and realizes that it has something to do with his being trans. All these, plus their obvious mutual attraction, makes Derrick want to try and make a go of fixing up the B&B.
When Ginsberg's presence is needed on the set of Wolf's Landing, not as a stuntman since his arm's still broken but as a stunt consultant, he isn't able to help around the B&B as much as he used to. The timing's also off since more guests have been booking rooms because of the positive changes to the place. Derrick's trying not to feel bad but he also simply just misses having Ginsberg around, especially since their relationship has grown deeper. Things come to a head and painful words are exchanged.
The events that take place in the story happen over a few months and I liked that what happens between Derrick and Ginsberg grows at its own pace rather than rushed. The stumbling blocks they encounter aren't that easy to overcome and I'm glad that they had to work to make their relationship better. I'll admit that I was a tad confused about Ginsberg being a trans guy but wanting to be with Derrick but then I'm sure it's wrong of me to assume that all trans guys just want to be with women. Forgive my ignorance.
This book made me think and feel, two things that point out just how good it is. Derrick questions his own preconceived notions when Ginsberg becomes a part of his life and this shows that they're such complex characters. The Burnt Toast B&B is a love story but it has dimensions to it and it has characters that I sometimes wanted to knock some sense into but also wanted to hug when they have their realizations. This was really special and squeezed my heart in all the right places. 4.5 stars! ♥
Release Date: 12 January 2015
Date read: 12 January 2015
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