Title: How The Cookie Crumbles
Series/Universe: A Bluewater Bay Novel (#12)
Author: Jaime Samms
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Publication date: February 15th 2016
Page Count: 345 pages
Age Rating: Adult (language, explicit sexual scenes, pain play)
How I got my hot little hands on it: Received an ARC to review
Publisher’s page: How The Cookie Crumbles
After losing a rigged cooking show competition—and a potential lover—to another baker, Frederic Jackson packs up his considerable baggage and moves to Bluewater Bay. He uses the network’s hush money to buy a new bakery where he hopes the small town’s revitalized economy will let him start anew.
Blaire Caruthers never wanted to work for his father at Caruthers Industries. He should have known that fixing the company’s show results was a mistake, and that choosing another man over kind, generous Frederic was an even bigger one. But the damage is done. To escape the fallout, he’s gone to Bluewater Bay to oversee the company’s interest in Wolf’s Landing merchandise.
Stuck in a small, nowhere town doing a job he hates, Blaire wants nothing more than to prove to Frederic he’s changed. However, Frederic struggles to trust the man who betrayed him once already. As Blaire loses ground with his father, and Frederic starts falling back into self-destructive habits, they both have to find the balance and control that’s been missing from their lives.
Oh my goodness, I loved this book! Set in the small coastal town of Bluewater Bay where a popular tv show (Wolf’s Landing) is filmed, How The Cookie Crumbles follows two men, Frederic and Blaire, getting a second chance at love after Blaire, as Frederic’s best friend Alicia puts it, “got all fickle on you and passed you over for a shinier toy” (Alicia is sassy as all heck and we love her).
More backstory is needed: Once upon a time, clumsy, awkward, chatty Frederic signed up for a cooking competition and felt an instant connection with Blaire, one of the producers (who happened to be the son of the head of the network). The feeling was mutual and everything seemed to be coming up Freddie – until Blaire’s attention was snared by another contestant, a flashier and trashier guy (boo). And then Blaire fricken rigged the competition so his new lover would win, even though it was pretty obvious that Freddie would have won fair and square (double boo). So Frederic complained and the network (i.e. Blaire’s father) throws some money at him and he takes the money and opens a bakery in Bluewater Bay where he goes to lick his wounds and focus on his bakery dreams.
But all that happened before How The Cookie Crumbles even begins. When the book opens Frederic is struggling to keep himself and his business afloat. And of course, who should show up? Blaire. His father’s company also works with Wolf’s Landing and Blaire is there to overlook the merchandising – and try to get back in Frederic’s good graces. Frederic resists, but Blaire is persistent and manages to weasel his way in there (I know I’m being harsh here, but I was totally team Frederic the whole time. He’s such a vulnerable, sweet guy and I felt so bad for him).
While dealing with all this second chance romance drama, both guys also have daddy drama to deal with. Blaire’s dad is a homophobic control freak determined to keep Blaire under his thumb and Frederic’s dad, also homophobic, is a total moocher, draining Frederic dry financially and emotionally. Things get worse before they get better, with Frederic almost literally working himself to an early grave to keep it all together – and this is where Blaire shines, becoming someone for Frederic to lean on and proving that he’s gonna be the long haul guy, the guy who Frederic can count on to be there when he needs him (he also learns a valuable lesson his father never learned – throwing money at something isn’t always the answer).
How The Cookie Crumbles is number 12 in the series, but reads as a total standalone. This was my first time reading a book in the Bluewater Bay universe, and my first time reading this particular author, and I loved it. I’m kind of feeling like I might already be hooked here; I can’t wait to get my hands on more Bluewater Bay books (small coastal town romance drama here I come!) and I’ll totally be on the look out for more books by this author.
Danishes have a special place in Frederic’s and Blaire’s relationship – they’re kind of a yummy pastry barometer of their relationship status. They’re the first tasty treat Frederic ever baked for Blaire (back when he was trying out for the cooking competition). After their falling-out, Frederic stopped making them, but towards the end of the book, when all signs point to a HEA for the couple, he starts back up again, a sign that things are really going to be okay between the two. What better coffee to go with this book than Scribblers Coffee Co. Danish Pastry Flavored Coffee – it’s a great light morning coffee delicately flavored with a combination of sweet brown sugar and buttery richness to evoke the taste of a perfectly flaky Danish Pastry (it also comes in Decaf, perfect for people like Frederic who avoid caffeine).