cover image In the Case of Heartbreak

In the Case of Heartbreak

Courtney Kae. Kensington, $16.95 trade paper (320p) ISBN 978-1-4967-3897-4

Kae’s tasty second Fern Falls rom-com (after In the Event of Love) serves up a sugary friends-to-lovers tale seasoned with heaps of parental and professional drama. Shy small-town baker Ben Parrish is on the cusp of winning reality TV competition Take the Cake using his family cinnamon roll recipe when his friend and secret crush, mechanic and guitarist Adam Reed, rebuffs rumors that they are dating by adamantly insisting they’re just “good friends” during a live episode. Worse, his narcissistic music producer father, who abandoned him as a child, publicly claims that the recipe is his. Ben is mortified on both counts and in hot water with the show’s producers, but he has to go to California for the two-week-long birthday celebration of his raunchy, meddling grandmother. Unbeknownst to him, she’s also invited Adam in hopes of sparking a romance. The men, when they finally talk things out, discover deep feelings. Their ensuing relationship is blissful; conflict comes from the outside pressures that threaten to tear them apart. Though the plot over-relies on characters keeping secrets, the chemistry between dreamboat Adam and sensitive Ben is lovely. Replete with sexy banter and foreplay, this strikes a great balance of sultry and sweet. Agent: Claire Friedman, InkWell Management. (Aug.)