Walkers Boys #1, Dreamspun Desires #24
Size: 4.20 x 7.00 in
The stakes are high and the heat is on.
Beau Walker, owner of the Barbecue Shack, needs the help of Jake Parnell, his one-time rival and secret crush, in a televised barbecue competition. Beau is a proud man, but the stakes are high, and smart, sexy Jake is his only hope, even if being around Jake reawakens the attraction he’s fought for years.
Jake left his hometown, determined to build a life somewhere his sexuality wouldn’t hurt his family’s restaurant business—and far away from hunky, obstinate Beau Walker. Then his twin, Josh, is killed, and Jake returns to support his brother’s wife and children. Despite his reservations, he agrees to go head-to-head against Beau on national television. Between stress and grief, as well as pride and determination, only one thing is certain—the heat between Beau and Jake extends well beyond the kitchen.
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Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Heat Level: 4
Romantic Content: 3
Ending: Click here to reveal
Character Identities: Gay
Tropes: Enemies to Lovers
Languages Available: English
Series Type: Same Universe / Various Characters
This is a frenemies-to-lovers romp that is spurred by a tragedy, lubricated by a series of misunderstandings, but in the end solidified by chemistry between two very conflicted but in the end lovable Texas hunks in their late 20s.
Jake (on the cover) comes back home to Buffalo Lick, Texas, from his math teacher job in Los Angeles to take care of his twin brother's widow and kids and run the family diner. Beau has never left Buffalo lick and runs his family's well-noted BBQ restaurant.
The fact that they seemed to hate each other when Jake left 10 years before is kind of fuzzy for a while and cannot be put off by implications that their rivalry as star football players at different high schools was the cause. Nope, life is too complicated to that to be the reason.
Jake and Beau finally start moving toward communicating without scowling when Jake is asked to replace his brother in a television show's BBQ contest in which Beau is the other star.
The romance builds slowly from there until, pow!, something triggers something in each of them at a certain point and then we are off on a sweetly developed and rapidly escalating torrid romance which is worth every word along the way.
Nice job, even if it's a bit fanciful in the telling and in the end.