cover image Battle Royal

Battle Royal

Lucy Parker. Avon, $14.99 trade paper (416p) ISBN 978-0-06-304006-9

Brimming with pop culture references and quick wit, the enemies-to-lovers romance that kicks off the Palace Insiders series from Parker (Headliners) finds Sylvie Fairchild’s bakery thriving thanks to her notorious turn on a baking reality show. Though her TV run ended in a hilarious accident involving a unicorn-shaped cake and a glitter explosion that doused one of the judges, she’s proven to the world that she’s a talented baker with a unique style involving lots of color, big flavors, and sparkles. Dominic De Vere, a baking traditionalist famed for both his elegance and his grumpy demeanor, disapproves of Sylvie’s over-the-top style, having been the judge on the other end of her big snafu, but he grudgingly admits her talent. When Sylvie is invited back to the show as a judge, the pair’s forced proximity leads to irresistible banter and even more irresistible chemistry. Add in a host of lovable secondary characters and a fierce competition for a contract baking a cake for an upcoming royal wedding, and it’s a recipe for delight. And as Dominic’s prickly exterior is pulled back, Parker tackles themes of grief and family disfunction. The result has all the fun of a fluffy rom-com, with the emotional catharsis of a more dramatic romance. [em]Agent: Elaine Spencer, the Knight Agency. (Aug.) [/em]