Title: The Burnt Toast B&B
Author: Heidi Belleau, Rachel Haimowitz
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Release Date: January 10, 2015
Page Count: 241
Reviewed by: Jewel
Heat Level: 3 flames out of 5
Rating: 4 stars out of 5
After breaking his arm on set, Wolf’s Landing stuntman Ginsberg Sloan finds himself temporarily out of work. Luckily, Bluewater Bay’s worst B&B has cheap long-term rates, and Ginsberg’s not too proud to take advantage of them.
Derrick Richards, a grizzled laid-off logger, inherited the B&B after his parents’ untimely deaths. Making beds and cooking sunny-side-up eggs is hardly Derrick’s idea of a man’s way to make a living, but just as he’s decided to shut the place down, Ginsberg shows up on his doorstep, pitiful and soaking wet, and Derrick can hardly send him packing.
Not outright, at least.
The plan? Carry on the B&B’s tradition of terrible customer service and even worse food until the pampered city-boy leaves voluntarily. What Derrick doesn’t count on, though, is that the lousier he gets at hosting, the more he convinces bored, busybody Ginsberg to try to get the B&B back on track. And he definitely doesn’t count on the growing attraction between them, or how much more he learns from Ginsberg than just how to put out kitchen fires.
I actually enjoyed The Burnt Toast B&B more than I thought I would after reading reviews of Derrick’s overall personality. The man has some issues, there is no doubt about that, and there were many times while reading, I just wanted to shake him.
Derrick is a gay man who is overly conscious of doing anything that could be construed as even remotely “feminine”. He’s got rather outdated ideas on gender roles, and, interestingly enough, he didn’t get most of it from his parents. Derrick has managed to isolate himself and alienate nearly everyone since his parents died in an accident a few years before. Since then, Derrick has been trying (though, arguably not very hard) to run the B&B himself. He can’t cook, his cleaning skills need serious help and his organizational skills are abysmal. The only person he hasn’t managed to drive away is his friend Jim (who also used be a friend with bennies). Jim is a saint (and that status was just cemented by the donuts with candied bacon sprinkles).
Ginsburg, unlike Derrick, is unapologetically who he is. He has had to work very hard on being comfortable in his own skin and he’s had to learn, the hard way, mostly, that other people cannot define who he is, and to let them would be unhealthy. I liked Ginsburg pretty much right away. He’s no nonsense and unafraid to be himself. After being injured during a stunt on the set of Wolf’s Landing he needs a cheap place to stay while he recovers and he ends up at Derrick’s B&B. And that’s where the fun begins.
What do a lumberjack, a stuntman and a dog named Victoria Beckham have in common? Maybe not a whole lot, on the surface, but I can definitely see where the dog got her personality. Derrick is prickly, tends to run hot and cold and is generally unpleasant to be around. Ginsburg manages to win them both over, but the dog, overall, had better manners than Derrick.
I enjoyed the interactions between Derrick and Ginsburg quite a lot. Ginsburg just doesn’t let most anything get to him. I would have loved for more of the sex and intimacy to have been on the page, however. We only get one full sex scene, and it is super hawt. More of that, please! And, I think their separation (after Derrick takes an extra large dose of idiocy with his coffee) covered a bit too much time, but maybe they both needed the time and space to re-center themselves. I did love how Derrick went about winning Ginsburg back, though. I thought that was awesome.
I haven’t read many stories involving a transgender character, but I loved how Ginsburg was portrayed and I loved how the story really emphasized just how gender is about a whole lot more than the equipment between your legs. And any book that prompts me to take to Google to learn more about a subject, I think is a winner.