“A holiday escape as fluffy and sinful as a Christmas pastry.” —Entertainment Weekly
All’s fair in love and prank wars
For barista and café owner Sari Tomas, Christmas means parols, family, and no-holds-barred karaoke contests. This year, though, a new neighbor is throwing a wrench in all her best-laid plans. The baker next door—“some fancy boy from Manila”—might have cute buns, but when he tries to poach her customers with cheap coffee and cheaper tactics, the competition is officially on.
And Baker Boy better be ready, because Sari never loses.
Foodie extraordinaire Gabriel Capras want to prove to his dad that his career choice doesn’t make him any less a man. The Laneways might not be Manila, but the close-knit community is the perfect spot to grow his bakery into a thriving business. He wasn’t expecting a gorgeous adversary in the barista next door, but flirting with her makes his heart race, and it’s not just the caffeine.
It’s winner takes all this Christmas. And more than one competitor might just lose their heart for the holidays.
De Guzman (If the Dress Fits) serves up a sugary sweet, enemies-to-lovers contemporary set in the Philippines. After Sari Tomas and her sisters inherit Tomas Coffee Co. from their grandmother, Sari realizes her dream of opening her own caf in her hometown of Lipa City on Luzon island. Caf Cecilia has everything she's ever wanted for her business except for good pastries. When Sunday Bakery opens next door, it only makes the problem worse. It doesn't help that the baker, Gabriel Capras, recently arrived from Manila, is infuriatingly nice and his locally inspired treats vividly evoke emotional childhood memories Sari would rather ignore. Playful prankster Gabriel finds Sari's baseless animosity hilarious and goads her into a friendly rivalry by offering free instant coffee with each pastry he sells. Their competition turns friendly, then romantic, though Gabriel struggles to balance his goal of turning the bakery into a successful chain, proving himself to his demanding father, and his newfound connection to Sari and Lipa. Sari's abandonment issues, meanwhile, make her doubt Gabriel's sincerity. Though their contretemps are resolved a bit too abruptly, Gabriel's good-natured liveliness is a breath of fresh air among typically brooding heroes. Mouthwatering descriptions of Filipino baked goods and a gorgeously realized setting make this the perfect read for romantic foodies.