Gingerbread Palace by E.M. Lynley

GingerbreadPalaceLGTitle: Gingerbread Palace

Series: Delectable #4

Author: E.M. Lynley

Genre: Contemporary / Holiday

ISBN: 9781627983624

Length: Novella (130 pages)

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (December 11th, 2013)

Heat Level: Moderate

Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥3.5 Hearts

Reviewer: Thommie

Blurb: A Novella in the Delectable Series

A week before Christmas, Alex Bancroft’s bakery goes up in flames. When he runs back inside after a dog, firefighter Kevin Flint has to rescue Alex—and Quincy—from the smoldering building, endangering them, and inflaming Kevin’s resentment.

Now Alex can’t create the elaborate gingerbread house he donates to a foster-kids charity each year. Fire Station 7 again comes to his rescue, offering their kitchen and their manpower.

Everyone but Kevin Flint, that is. A third-generation firefighter, he’s fearful of stepping too far out of the closet. So when his powerful physical attraction for Alex ends in a sizzling secret encounter in the firehouse, Kevin can’t push Alex far enough away, and Alex returns the cold shoulder.

After a change of heart, Kevin risks his life to prove he’s worthy of Alex’s affection, but without a Christmas miracle, their chances at sweet romance might go up in smoke.

Like all Delectable stories, Gingerbread Palace includes recipes used in the book.

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Review: I think the timing I chose to read this story was simply perfect. I picked it up yesterday and finished it by the time I needed to sleep, thus my dreams were delectable. E.M. has a way of making your mouth water with her men just like she does with her cooking images. This time around, she gifts us a Candyman and a Fireman.

Let’s take a sneak peek on the story here. A bakery is on fire and the fire-team arrives to the rescue. The delicious chef gets himself in trouble trying to save the dog he was sitting and the equally – if not more – delicious firefighter saves his life, literally. And sparks cause a whole different brand of fire.

What? You thought the sexy fire didn’t you? Well, that most certainly comes later on, but the first sparks are darker than you might expect. You see Kevin, the firefighter, is deep, deep in the closet besides being a third generation fireman and one that sticks to the rules like he has tons of glue on his a$$. He thinks the sexy baker is a dumbass and actually goes ahead telling him so right after he’s rescued him. Talk about a bad start. To make it worse, they end up having angry sex only for Kevin to treat Alex like trash, triggering the most hurtful memories Alex has.

The characters are fascinating, both of them having multiple layers and hidden things that trigger their behavior. The author did a very nicely balanced job with this novella, as she managed to get lots of dark and cruel events in the middle of the light and vice-versa. This is not your typical happy and cheery read, even if it seems that way in first sight. I liked it so a lot and no, it didn’t feel heavy at all.

What I felt weird about was the abrupt change of heart Kevin suffered. It was a bit fast for me; one moment he’s a complete jerk, the next he’d a damned angel, and it caused me a feeling akin to vertigo. However, it still didn’t take away from my enjoyment.

As for the erotic part of the book, what can I say; it was as expected delicious, sensual, sexy and hot, and not nearly enough. This pair worked out so well, I’d have loved a couple more scenes for them to explore themselves through the different phases of their relationship. In fact, the entire book evoked strong cravings and made you wish for more.

Overall Gingerbread Palace is yet another lovely book in the series that will leave you drooling after having a fantastic time with its men and candies. Strongly recommended for fans of the genre and those of you who wish for a delectable Christmas read.

Eli’s Review:  ♥♥♥♥3.5Hearts

Alex and Kevin literally strike sparks off each other. Each meeting they have with each other is fraught with tension and angst, largely due to Kevin’s fear of being outed. The story progresses with this tension until Kevin and Alex hook up. But once again, Kevin allows his personal issues to get in the way of a potential relationship with Alex; and, he burns his bridges with the man. In the meantime, he’s beginning to learn more about Alex and he regrets his decision but there is little he can do to fix the situation.

When Alex goes out on a date and Kevin gets hurt on the job, this provides a powerful tool, which can move these men to finding each other.  The story moves between Alex and Kevin’s perspectives which is good, but the story would have been more powerful had this been Kevin’s story for the reader to see the arc of his growth which began with his and Alex’ interaction in the hospital, which is where the book ends.  Had the story gone on to have Kevin come out and embrace who he was not just to Alex but also to the world, especially his father and co-workers, and then end with he and Alex embarking upon a relationship, this story would have vaulted to perfection.  Kevin spent so much time hiding and being a douche, that the simple transition is anti-climatic.

However, this is not to say it wasn’t a good read, it really was, hence the rating of a 3.5, it was just that it built up to a climax that didn’t quite happen and it left the reader feeling a little let down that there wasn’t just a tad more. This story has enormous potential to be a solid 5 and I hope the writer goes back and does a few minor adds to vault this book into the stratosphere which is where it could really reside.  Kevin deserves to have his full growth explored and Alex deserves that man that Kevin will become.

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