Served Hot: Portland Heat # 1 by Annabeth Albert with Excerpt and Giveaway

Welcome to my stop for the first in a new M/M Romance series from Annabeth Albert. Please be sure to check out the other tour stops, and don’t forget to enter the tour wide giveaway where you could be the lucky winner of a $25 Amazon eGift Card.

Served Hot

The first in a new M/M Romance series, Annabeth Albert brings us the story of Robby and David.

Robby owns a coffee cart, and has a steady stream of regular customers. But, when one of his regular customers that works around the corner from his usual spot shows up at the Pride Festival to grab a cup, Robby takes a chance to be more open about his attraction.

David is newly single, mourning the loss of his last relationship and not really sure he’s ready to start a new one. He finds Robby cute, but the questions about relationships in a town so ripe with possibilities and temptations have him conflicted.

And while the two are undoubtedly attracted, and their connection is sweet, they interact well and have a nice rapport, the steps from dating / flirtation to relationship is moving at a snail’s pace. Through molasses.

David’s reasons are easy to understand and his hesitations feel natural and honest. But, if they would only TALK to one another about their fears, they could have found their happy far sooner.  But it is hard not to like them, even as you want to shake them both and push them forward.

A lovely start to a new series, I’m curious to see where Albert takes the stories and hope to see more of David and Robby as they build on their relationship.

Served Hot:  Portland Heat # 1 by Annabeth Albert with Excerpt and Giveaway

Title: Served Hot
Author: Annabeth Albert
Series: Portland Heat #1
Also in this series: Baked Fresh, Delivered Fast, Danced Close
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Published by: Lyrical Press
Published on: 3 March, 2015
Format:eARC
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Pages: 112
Rated: three-stars
Heat: One FlameOne Flame

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In Portland, Oregon, the only thing hotter than the coffee shops, restaurants, and bakeries are the hard-working men who serve it up—hot, fresh, and ready to go—with no reservations…

Robby is a self-employed barista with a busy coffee cart, a warm smile, and a major crush on one of his customers. David is a handsome finance director who works nearby, eats lunch by himself, and expects nothing but "the usual"—small vanilla latte—from the cute guy in the cart. But when David shows up for his first Portland Pride festival, Robby works up the nerve to take their slow-brewing relationship to the next level. David, however, is newly out and single, still grieving the loss of his longtime lover, and unsure if he’s ready to date again. Yet with every fresh latte, sweet exchange—and near hook-up—David and Robby go from simmering to steaming to piping hot. The question is: Will someone get burned?

See the Series on Goodreads

A copy of this title was provided via Publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.

My nooner was late. Well, technically, David was my 11:50. Without fail, ten minutes before twelve every work day, David P. Gregory bought a vanilla latte from my coffee cart in the Old Emerson building in Portland. I only knew his name because he used his debit card to pay, and I knew the time because of the old-fashioned, massive brass clock directly across the atrium from my cart.

I knew David banked at a local credit union, knew that he worked somewhere that required a tie, knew that he had a smile that made his mouth crinkle up at the edges when I handed him his coffee, and knew that he was an excellent tipper.

What I didn’t know was whether or not he was straight. We’d had this weird dance for months now—he’d arrive for his coffee, stilted and uncomfortable, relax into a bit of small talk while I made his drink, and then he’d take his coffee to one of the metal tables out in the atrium to have with the lunch he packed in a blue bag. I liked watching him eat because he gave it his entire focus—no smart phone or gadget, no newspaper or book, no folder of work. A few times I’d caught him looking back in my direction. But his gaze never lingered and either my flirting while I served him was more subtle than I’d thought or he was simply immune.

Today David was late. Unexpected disappointment uncurled in my stomach, souring my caffeine buzz. It was a good day—a steady stream of customers at my cart and bustling business for the pizza place and the vegan sandwich bar on the other side of the atrium. The hundred-year-old office building had been renovated to include a few small eateries in the newly added skylit atrium. Plenty for me to look at, but my eyes kept returning to the double brass doors that opened onto Ninth.

David pushed through the heavy doors at 12:45 just as I was finishing up a caramel soy latte for one of the Goth girls who worked at the jewelry place across the street. I hid my smile behind my espresso machine. Eager for it to be his turn, I tapped my toes against the linoleum.

“The usual?” I figured it would freak him out if I mentioned I’d noticed his lateness.

“Hmmm.” He studied my specials sign. I’d glued a chalkboard panel inside a silver frame from a secondhand place on Hawthorne and put the whole thing on a silver-painted easel. Classy on the cheap.

Today I had a half-price tuxedo mocha—white chocolate with dark chocolate swirls. David had never paid any attention to the sign before, but today he gave it a long stare, consideration tugging his mouth back and forth. God, I loved his mouth—full pink lips, a hint of stubble on his upper lip like he’d missed a spot shaving.

After a few seconds, he shrugged, broad shoulders rippling the fine cotton of his dress shirt. “Yeah. The usual.”

“Sure thing.” I grabbed the cup for his small vanilla latte.

“Wait.” He held up a hand as I started to ring him up. “Iced. It’s sweltering out.” He’d rolled up the sleeves of his crisp white shirt, revealing muscular forearms and a heavy silver, antique-looking watch.

“Meaning it’s eighty-five degrees in Portland and everyone is freaking out. You know . . . it’s good to try something different once in a while.”

 

 

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About Annabeth Albert

Annabeth Albert grew up sneaking romance novels under the bed covers. Now, she devours all subgenres of romance out in the open—no flashlights required! When she’s not adding to her keeper shelf, she’s a multi-published Pacific Northwest romance writer.
Emotionally complex, sexy, and funny stories are her favorites both to read and to write. Annabeth loves finding happy endings for a variety of pairings and is a passionate gay rights supporter. In between searching out dark heroes to redeem, she works a rewarding day job and wrangles two toddlers.

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