Amara Maria Robles is a good girl. So good that she gave up her dreams of becoming a renowned pastry chef to help her parents with their struggling Mexican bakery. Yet her parents reject any changes she suggests, and refuse to sell her mouth-watering confections. Clearly being a good girl isn’t paying off. So when her brother’s sexy ex-best friend walks into the bakery, Amara’s tempted to be very bad indeed…
After a scandal twelve years ago, resident bad boy Eric Valencia has returned to make things right with his family and friends. One glance at Amara and her wicked curves, however, and Eric finds himself thinking about how she’d feel beneath him—something he promised Amara’s brother he would never think about, let alone do.
But this bad boy is in deep trouble…because Amara’s determined to have her cake, and Eric, too.
Source: ARC from Entangled Brazen via NetGalley
Although I’m growing a little tired of the brother’s-best-friend romance trope, I still love a bad boy turned good, so I found plenty to enjoy in this book – edible and otherwise. Amara is a bit of a doormat, having given up a successful career in another city in order to run home and help out her family, and yet I admired her dedication to her family especially when they did nothing to really deserve it – her controlling, disapproving mother in particular would drive me nuts. Amara is excellent at what she does, but she’s not particularly assertive and she’s surrounded by stronger personalities. Yet she does have her own strengths – they just tend to be quieter. I also loved that she develops a bit of a rebellious side throughout this book.
But mostly I liked Eric. He was most definitely a bad boy as a teenager, one who ended up running off to Las Vegas and spending the next twelve years ignoring his past and swilling himself in alcohol. While he might have kicked the drink and most of his bad boy ways, there’s no great success story behind Eric. Instead he’s been battered and bruised by the economic downturn and he’s lost a lot, which is why he’s come home to help look after his grandmother while he tries to sort himself out. He’s not rich, he’s not successful, but he is real and I liked him. I especially liked the relationship between him and his grandmother, and how things changed with his mother.
However, what I absolutely loved about Eric was the way he supports Amara. When she’s feeling downtrodden and crushed by her parents’ inability to believe in her, he provides that belief. He buoys her up. Yes, the pair of them have smoking hot sex and lots of delicious chemistry, but he’s also there for her, pushing her to follow her dreams, even when he doubts he’ll ever be allowed to be a part of them. It might have been nice if Amara had reciprocated this belief, but she does offer comfort when he really needs it, even if it takes a hefty push to make her give them a real chance.
Of course, being a romance between a good girl and a bad boy there’s plenty of obligatory disapproval from her family, not to mention some secretive sneaking around and plenty of soul-searching about being good enough or daring to try. There’s also a fun, bossy cousin who tells Amara to go for it, not to mention another handsome playboy on the sidelines providing useful moments of jealousy. Sure, this is overall a predictable tale that’s been told before, but I still found it utterly enjoyable with the added bonus of some delicious baked goods to tempt my imaginary taste buds.
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