It’s a weekend morning, and you have time to take it slow. Get yourself a treat. And maybe… meet someone special?
But where do you think you might find your sweet-as-candy sugar pie? In the land of milk and honey, where we go nuts for donuts and are, uh, cross for croissants, because we like big bundts and we cannot lie, cake it until you make it at… A BAKERY!!!!
We may expect bakers to bake love, not war, but remember, if they couldn’t take the heat, they wouldn’t be in the kitchen! In Lucy Parker’s Battle Royal, owners of rival bakeries got off to a bad start on a reality show and are now co-judges competing to make a royal wedding cake. Reality-TV vet Jada, of Jamie Wesley’s Fake It Till You Bake It, and NFL-player-turned-baker Donovan also thrive on a challenge. And obviously nobody lives for danger quite like Jennifer Sylvester, the Banana Cake Queen who seizes the chance to blackmail Cletus Winston – Cletus Winston! – in Beard Science.
But bakeries can also be cozy, not competitive. In The Ultimate Pi Day Party by Jackie Lau, tech exec Josh Yu hires Sarah Winters to cater a pie-themed pi day celebration to help reforge Josh’s relationship with his estranged math teacher father. A workaholic baker meets the single mother of her dreams in The Secret Ingredient by K.D. Fisher. In Gimme Some Sugar, Molly Harper’s heroine Lucy finds her hero while delivering, of all things, a cake shaped like a penis.
In terms of sheer numbers, it’s not exactly Starbucks on every corner in Romancelandia – far more books are set in bakeries than in coffee shops. But when it comes to DIKs, the bakeries are in for a brewed awakening: coffee shops outnumber them 10 DIKs to 7! There’s no doubt about it: you can find a whole latte love at… A COFFEE SHOP!
A lot of happy cup-ples have had their “meet cute” over a cup. Often, for one of them, a coffee shop is the daily grind. In Irene Hannon’s Blackberry Beach, an incognito actress meets the owner of the local coffee shop; in Heidi Cullinan’s The Professor’s Green Card Marriage, it’s a barista and professor; in Elizabeth Rolls’ A Marriage of Equals, it’s the proprietor and a lord’s man of business. B.G. Thomas’s Hound Dog & Bean features an owner who even takes a punch to spare a customer (who’s being harassed for rejecting a bully’s application to adopt a dog).
Getting deja brew from all of these coffee shop owners? There are other ways to stir things up! Sarah Mayberry has two coffee DIKs with different protagonists: Must Love Coffee, where two customers strike up a teasing rivalry over which of them is the best customer, and Sweetheart, where the hero owns a roastery. Two customers also meet at a shop in Mr. Hotshot CEO by Jackie Lau – a wealthy CEO struggling with depression meets a heroine enjoying her latte and asks for her advice on keeping the roast the only thing around that’s dark.
And this isn’t all! Please check out our coffee and bakery tags for further beloved reads with these locations!
So what do you think? Can the bakers show that baristas are drips? Or will the coffee shops make the bakeries eat humble pie? Vote your opinion here!
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I'm a history geek and educator, and I've lived in five different countries in North America, Asia, and Europe. In addition to the usual subgenres, I'm partial to YA, Sci-fi/Fantasy, and graphic novels. I love to cook.