Title: Delivered Fast
Series: Portland Heat #3
Author: Annabeth Albert
Genre: M/M Romance
Publisher: Kensington Books - Lyrical Press
Release Date: 26 May 2015
Note: Each book is connected by the city but all can be read as standalone
Cover Artist: Fiona Jayde
Portland, Oregon, aka Hotlandia, where the coffee shops, restaurants, and bakeries are ready to serve everything piping hot, fresh, and ready to go—like the hard-working, hard-bodied men behind the counters—with no reservations…
Sure, Chris O’Neal has problems. His restaurant is still co-owned by his ex. His flannel-and-tattoos style is making him accidentally trendy. He can’t remember the last time he went out and had fun. But he’s not lonely, he’s driven. And the hot bakery delivery boy is not his problem, no matter how sweet his buns.
Chris is old enough to know Lance Degrassi’s sculpted good looks and clever double entendres spell nothing but trouble. Lance is still in college—he should be hitting the clubs and the books, chasing guys his own age, not pursuing some gruff motorcycle-riding workaholic. Especially when he’ll be leaving for grad school in a few months. But Lance keeps hanging around, lending a hand, charming Chris to distraction. Maybe some steaming hot no-strings indulgence won’t hurt.
Then again, maybe it will…
From Chapter One of Delivered Fast
The delivery boy had sweet buns. Not to mention prize-winning rolls. He wore a pair of those fancy over-the-ear headphones and shimmied around the white bakery truck, his hips and ass working in time to what was apparently a killer beat. Even the way he climbed into the back of the truck was a choreographed dance. I wasn’t usually one to get distracted by eye candy, but that ass . . .
I’d propped open the service door at the rear of my coffee shop about fifteen minutes earlier, hoping to coax a cool breeze into the stuffy storeroom where I’d been working. I leaned against the door frame, appreciating the unexpectedly fine view in the alley.
When the guy emerged from the truck—headphones around his neck, carrying a stack of pink boxes—I pushed away from the door and met him at the edge of the concrete steps. I tried to play it cool, like I hadn’t spent the last five minutes perving on his world-class bubble butt.
“You’re not Vic,” I said as I ushered him into the hallway that led back to the kitchen and storeroom.
“Nope. I’m Lance, Vic’s cousin. I’ll be handling your deliveries from here on out.” His smile—a wide, toothy grin—was almost as adorable as his butt. The only resemblance he had to my usual beefy delivery guy was in the chiseled facial features and light olive skin. He looked like he’d be right at home playing World Cup soccer for Italy with his wide shoulders, lean torso, muscular thighs and legs. And that ass.
Which I was going to stop thinking about right the hell now. He was too young—I could see that even more clearly under the fluorescent lights of my kitchen. Early twenties, if that. His gelled-up black hair fell across his forehead in artfully bleached strands. Too high maintenance for my taste.
“I’m Chris O’Neal. Here, let me help you with those.” Taking part of the stack from him, I showed him the metal racks where I stashed recent deliveries.
“Nice setup you’ve got here.” Lance looked around the cramped but efficient kitchen area.
“Thanks.” Most of The People’s Cup square footage was devoted to the coffee bar and seating area in the front, so I made do in the back with my organization system, which bordered on the obsessive. I’d installed floor-to-ceiling shelving on every wall, including over the cooktop and counters. The center prep table was where most of the action happened, and its broad expanse was covered with the beginnings of several dishes for tomorrow’s Sunday brunch.
“I’ve been here before with friends from PSU—for your Sunday thing. And during the week once or twice to study.”
I made a noncommittal noise. Great. A college kid. As if I needed to feel like more of an old, cranky perv.
“Let’s get the rest of the boxes.” I herded him back out to the alley. I was eager to get him and his distracting ass on his way. I had several more hours of staging work ahead of me to prepare for Sunday’s buffet. During the week we were just another coffeehouse, but we were known all over Portland for our Sunday brunch.
“So are you the owner? This all yours?” Lance asked as he got another load of boxes from the truck.
“Yeah. Mine and my partner’s. Business partner.” I fumbled the stack of boxes he handed me. Why had it felt so necessary to make that qualification? Like the kid would be in any way interested in my messed-up business relationship with my stubborn bastard of an ex.
Despite his pretty-boy looks, the kid was probably straight; he had a confident swagger girls his age likely found irresistible.
“I’ve been to your other place, too—the one in Northwest. Did the delivery there earlier. I like this location better.”
“Me too,” I said, my voice drier than gin. “Randy give you any issues?”
Randy had his location; I had mine. Our relationship had turned into something out of a bad chick flick, except there wasn’t any cute ending coming.
“Randy? Nah. It was some girl named Becky, with a nose ring and huge gauges.”
I nodded. That sounded about right for Randy’s taste. And I was not going to care whether he was banging her or how long she’d last as an employee. His shitty employee turnover wasn’t my problem. I’d washed my hands of what happened at the 23rd Street store.
“You want a cup of coffee for the road?” I asked before I could stop myself. It was the same courtesy I’d always extended to his cousin and to most of our other delivery people, but somehow my offer felt tinged with more than politeness.
“What do you have on offer today?” His grin was more than a little wicked.
Wouldn’t you like to know? I bit back the flirtatious retort. And what the hell was up with that? I did not flirt. Hell, anything other than bitter and grumpy hadn’t been my MO for months now.
Can Lance bring out the softer side of this cranky chef? Find out in DELIVERED FAST!
Foxy Rating = Five Stars
*ARC provided by Kensington/Lyrical via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review
This is the third book in the Portland Heat series which I am absolutely loving and this is my favourite one so far.
Chris O’Neal is out of a long term relationship but is still tied to his ex through his restaurant which they both co-own. He’s become a bit of a recluse recently with his only thoughts on his business, not his love life, so imagine his surprise to find the young delivery driver putting out the signs that he is wanting Chris! Not only is Lance far too hot for him but he is also far too young. What would a young college kid be wanting to be with an old man like him? Chris therefore fights off the charm offensive and tries to put off Lance with his clear intended advances.
Lance DeGrassi comes from a good supportive family and he is confident in his self. He is on his way to grad school to make something of his dreams. He knows what he wants and not afraid to go for it but Chris is one stubborn man! He can’t believe that this sexy tatted, motorbike riding man cannot see how hot he is.
Eventually Chris cannot fight the attraction anymore and figures a young friend with benefits for a short while can only be a good thing if only for a short while. But then things start to change and he finds Lance is becoming a major focus of his life. Surely he needs to let him go and not hold him back as it is just like history repeating itself and just like he was a decade earlier. Can he really expect Lance to give up his dreams? Being the older guy surely he knows best?
It isn’t quite a ‘May to December’ romance (which I love!) as Chris was thirty-five and Lance twenty-two, but I loved the age gap and the presumption that Chris was the level headed one. However, in this case it was Lance with his level of maturity and self-belief who knew his own wants and needs, no matter how much Chris tried to back away.
The chemistry between the pairing was instantly believable and enticing. The reader was given glimpses between the lines of how Chris was feeling sub-consciously, no matter what was coming out of his mouth or what he was thinking. This was cleverly done as it just had me routing for Lance to get through to the obstinate Chris! The ‘sex with no strings’ lead to some steamily hot and lusty sexy times that had me gasping. However it was the heartfelt conversations that were all the more poignant and left me swooning, especially the ‘Beautiful boy’ comments. Aww.
There was also plenty of fun and hilarity with Lance’s quick one liners and cheekiness. He was adorable and the way he gave Chris back his confidence was so lovely to see develop.
Yes there was plenty of angst too, especially with Chris’ hang ups about the age difference, but having been in the same scenario when he was Lance’s age (and look how that turned out!) I could easily understand his hesitance and caution.
I loved the storyline and how it developed from a quick and harmless lusty fling to a more stable and steadfast true love story. I just wish I could have had more!
If you love your romances to be all about exception, trust and belief in each other, then this is definitely one not to be missed. A brilliant series that, for me, keeps getting better and better. Five ‘beautiful boy’ stars!
About The Author
Annabeth Albert grew up sneaking romance novels under the bed covers. Now, she devours all subgenres of romance out in the open—no flashlights required! When she’s not adding to her keeper shelf, she’s a multi-published Pacific Northwest romance writer.
Emotionally complex, sexy, and funny stories are her favorites both to read and to write. Annabeth loves finding happy endings for a variety of pairings and is a passionate gay rights supporter. In between searching out dark heroes to redeem, she works a rewarding day job and wrangles two toddlers.
Represented by Saritza Hernandez of the Corvisiero Literary Agency