Falling for your best friend might be a recipe for disaster, but this small-town baker can't help jumping from her pie pan into the fire.
Mila Bailey has always had a special talent for creating unique, show-stopping pies. But until her great-aunt leaves her the entry fee to the Pine Ridge Spring Bake-Off, she's only ever shared them with friends and family. Thrust into the spotlight, Mila is determined to prove to everyone—but mostly herself—that she has what it takes to compete with top-level bakers. There's only one flaw in her plan: The not-so-half-baked feelings she's starting to develop for her best friend, Jared Kirkland.
Jared has always believed in Mila's gifts, but lately he's struggling not to fantasize about sampling more than just the spoon from the batter. No matter how much he tries to tell himself that Mila is not for him—his dreams have always reached beyond Pine Ridge—he can't deny this new spark between them.
Mila embodies Pine Ridge, and Jared wants to break free. How can either of them move on knowing the loves of their lives have been right under their noses all along?
Accardo's passable but uninspired second Forever Adirondacks romance (after Wild Love) centers on insecure Mila Bailey, who was raised in Pine Ridge, N.Y., and has never left, working as a waitress instead of pursuing her dream of becoming a baker. She's never even had confidence to enter the local pie baking contest but that changes when she receives a small inheritance that will cover the entry fee and all the testing ingredients she'll need. Her best friend, Jared, encourages her to be brave, though he lacks the courage to act on his own desires for Mila herself. Ladies' man Jared's feelings are strong, but he avoids serious relationships after living through his parents' failed marriage. And while Mila feels tied to Pine Ridge, Jared is desperate to leave. Accardo suggests that Mila and Jared's friendship is solid, but this is hard to see when they constantly misunderstand each other's intentions, dragging out their strained will-they-won't-they. A subplot involving Jared's real estate career doesn't add much, but does introduce a charmingly goofy football player who could add life to this plodding series in the next installment. Series fans will be glad to return to quaint Pine Ridge, but there's little to make this stand out for new readers.