cover image Sweet Love

Sweet Love

Lauren Accardo. Berkley, $7.99 mass market (336p) ISBN 978-0-593-20031-5

Accardo’s passable but uninspired second Forever Adirondacks romance (after Wild Love) centers on insecure Mila Bailey, who was raised in Pine Ridge, N.Y., and has never left, working as a waitress instead of pursuing her dream of becoming a baker. She’s never even had confidence to enter the local pie baking contest—but that changes when she receives a small inheritance that will cover the entry fee and all the testing ingredients she’ll need. Her best friend, Jared, encourages her to be brave, though he lacks the courage to act on his own desires—for Mila herself. Ladies’ man Jared’s feelings are strong, but he avoids serious relationships after living through his parents’ failed marriage. And while Mila feels tied to Pine Ridge, Jared is desperate to leave. Accardo suggests that Mila and Jared’s friendship is solid, but this is hard to see when they constantly misunderstand each other’s intentions, dragging out their strained will-they-won’t-they. A subplot involving Jared’s real estate career doesn’t add much, but does introduce a charmingly goofy football player who could add life to this plodding series in the next installment. Series fans will be glad to return to quaint Pine Ridge, but there’s little to make this stand out for new readers. Agent: Eva Scalzo, Speilburg Literary. (Sept.)