“Bread – like real love – took time, cultivation, strong loving hands and patience. It lived, rising and growing to fruition only under the most perfect circumstances.” ~ Melissa Hill (Something from Tiffany's)
Ian Wallace, from 'The Baker' by Serena Yates, does everything his father demands, with no thanks or praise. He doesn't mean to be ungrateful, but a compliment, at least once in a while, would be nice. Ian has no time for a social life; he's lonely, but being gay limits his opportunities. He is beginning to unravel at the seams, becoming more resentful all the time. He needs a catalyst to spur him into action and it might just be the stranger, Cameron Lewis, who walks through the bakery door and into Ian's life.
Ian is tired of being under his father's thumb. His dad is one of those people who thinks an idea doesn't have merit unless he comes up with it himself. Ian tries his best to explain how the baking contest at the Tartan Day celebration will be great publicity for their store and a chance to show people what they can provide. When Ian mentions the contest will be for the younger generation, his father throws a gasket because he realizes for Ian to compete properly, he would have to have the secret ingredients of some of his baked goods. His father goes into a rant, informing Ian if he doesn't get married and have a male child, he will not inherit the bakery; his eldest daughter's son will instead. Ian can hardly believe what he's hearing, but facing down his father, especially when he's this angry and unreasonable, is fruitless. Now, at least, Ian doesn't have to be miserable alone. He has Cameron with whom to commiserate.
Cameron can't believe Ian's father's attitudes, but he's very understanding. Cameron is there for support, but is intent on letting Ian work his problems out for himself, neither pushing or holding him back. Ian has never had this kind of support and it feels magnificent. The men try to be discreet, but unfortunately, someone sees them sharing a kiss. It gets back to Ian’s father who disowns him. Ian would be lost without Cameron, who swoops in with a solution. Loving Ian gives Cameron the courage to reexamine his own family's past and come to terms with it.
Although Cameron and Ian aren't together very long before they become a couple, it doesn't seem like insta-love. Like the gentleman he is, Cameron is always very concerned about Ian's feelings and does not want to rush him. It is refreshing to have this in a story instead of them jumping in bed the first time they are together. They don't play games. They are honest with each other from the start. The men take the time to get to know each other by talking and joking about things and just being together. This, among other things, is what makes them so endearing. If you like reading about two men struggling to be themselves, living honestly, loving each other openly, angst, suspense, overcoming hardships, bakeries, Scottish customs, Hogmanay rituals, kilts, and black buns, then you may enjoy this story. Thanks, Serena, for your magical touch when it comes to giving your couples the happy ending they deserve, and for making me drool all over my Kindle while describing all of the fabulous baked goods.