Book Reviews

Sweet to the Core (Lighthouse Bay 3) by Amy Aislin

Genre Gay / Contemporary / Romance
Reviewed by Barb on 20-May-2022

Book Blurb

Dev has pined for his cousin's best friend for years, but no matter how hard he wishes, Clark sees him as nothing but a friend. And it's as a friend that Clark comes to him for help.

Clark’s father is on the brink of losing his house and the fastest way to make a quick buck is to win the $10,000 prize in the inaugural Sweet to the Core apple baking contest. Only problem? He's never baked anything that hasn’t come out of a box.

But Dev has. As a baker, he’s Clark’s best chance.

For the first time, Dev has something Clark wants. Only problem? Dev needs the prize for himself. The only thing he wants—besides Clark—is to buy the local lighthouse where he last spent time with his parents before they died.

Working together means opening a lot more than a barrel of apples, though. They may have found the recipe to love.

But will Dev have to give up the only connection he has left to his parents in order to have it? Or will Clark let his father down? They can't both have everything.

Or can they?

 

Book Review

I loved this story—an M/M friends-to-lovers romance with a touch of ghostly activity, two delightful middle-aged men, and a whole lot of apple pastries. It’s book three in the series but can stand alone. In fact, I was halfway through before I realized I had read book one, ‘Christmas Lane’. No wonder the setting was so familiar! Duh.

 

Amy Aislin always comes through with sweet, honest, hardworking, and admirable characters, and this story was no exception. Dev, Lighthouse Bay’s baker extraordinaire, has been baking as long as he can remember. His goal is to save enough to purchase the old lighthouse and cottage at the edge of town where he feels closest to his parents, who died when he was five.

 

Clark Ricci has been friends with Dev for years, but Dev doesn’t interact often with Clark and their other friends socially since he spends any free time doing paperwork or taking on catering projects. The outgoing and gregarious Clark is an environmentalist who is known to be helpful, friendly, and flirtatious. His free time is spent helping his dad, hanging with his friends, or teaching a course at the local college.

 

Together, they unite in the common goal of winning the inaugural Sweet to the Core apple baking contest at the county fall festival. Clark convinces Dev to let him handle the social media and Dev will handle the baking. The grand prize of $10,000 will go a long way toward a down payment for Dev to purchase the lighthouse property and for Clark to help his dad get out from under a heavy mortgage debt.

 

Both good guys with a solid friendship, once they start working together, they begin to see each other in a different light. I love that the author took each of their strengths and found a way for them to not only collaborate on a contest but to show each other unconditional caring and concern. In fact, Dev is shocked to learn that Clark is not a devil-may-care playboy. At his core is a kind man who wants only the best for Dev. He also realizes that Clark just might return his previously unexpressed desires and rather than being a one-night-stand, he may actually be the man to whom Dev can entrust his heart.

 

Amid the drama of a tropical storm and power outage, Dev and Clark help each other by sharing their fears and shaking loose their inhibitions, and they emerge on the other side of the storm stronger—as both individuals and as a couple.

 

Will they win the apple baking contest? Well one must read to find out. No spoilers here. I can only say this is the sweetest story I’ve read this year with low angst and a host of varied emotions—for both the characters and the readers. I easily devoured it in less than twenty-four hours and absolutely loved it. This story would make the perfect gift for those are looking for a feel-good, small-town romantic getaway during fall in New England.

 

 

DISCLAIMER: Books reviewed on this site were usually provided at no cost by the publisher or author. This book was provided by the author via GRRT for the purpose of a review.

 

Additional Information

Format ebook and print
Length Novel, 238 pages
Heat Level
Publication Date 17-May-2022
Price $3.99 ebook, $12.99 paperback
Buy Link https://www.amazon.com/Sweet-Core-Lighthouse-Bay-Book-ebook/dp/B09YN1F4PK