2. Never turns his back on a dare
3. Loves to create nicknames
4. Nobody cooks better than him
5. Doesn’t believe in love
2. Has her dream job of baking sweets
3. Always tries to make others happy
4. Never seems to succeed with her family
5. Is still a virgin, waiting for love
Standing By by Claudia Y. Burgoa
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
Hayley has worked hard to get her bakery Pieces of Heaven up and running. Her family is successful, but dysfunctional, and doesn't take her career seriously. Hayley is determined to work hard and be successful at the expense of having any real social life. Mitch Knight buys a restaurant from his friend Parker, but finds that all the wonderful pastries are supplied by Parker's sister Hayley. Mitch and Hayley have met before and didn't get along. Now they have to find a way to work together so that both business can continue to benefit from the partnership.
I'll mention that I haven't read the first book in this series (although I'm going to soon). This book stands alone just fine, and I had no problem connecting to any of the characters or figuring out what their relationships entailed. I love a good enemies to friends/lovers story, so right away I was intrigued by Hayley and Mitch's tumultuous relationship with one another. One of the things I liked, was that unlike other books with similar relationship dynamic, both Hayley and Mitch were pretty mature about their interactions (for the most part) and weren't just childishy mean to one another. They acknowledged the things that initially caused them to not get along, and then watching them give each other a chance and develop a true friendship was really rewarding. Hayley was an easy character to empathize with. She has been treated pretty badly by most of the people in her family. She does have a couple supportive brothers, and her dad is supportive at times, but other family members are flat-out villains. It was tough to see her treated so badly by people who are supped to love her.
Mitch was a great character, and I liked him right away. His family dynamic was entertaining and I liked how supportive he and his siblings were of one another despite their relentless teasing of each other. The way he really got to know Hayley and wanted the best for her and her business was really endearing. I loved watching their relationship evolve in the face of the many internal and external barriers they faced. The story was exciting and had some interesting twists and turns. I will be going back to read the first in the series, and would enjoy reading more by this author in the future.
*An ARC was provided in exchange for an honest review