Thank you so much for having me. In my latest release DANCED CLOSE, a wedding coordinator and a baker have a romance fueled by dance lessons. Todd is actually the second baker hero that I’ve done—the first was Vic in BAKED FRESH, where Todd makes a brief appearance towards the end of that book. But unlike Vic, who always knew he wanted to be a baker, Todd is more reluctant. He’s scared of messing up and losing the position he’s come to value so much. I relate to my culinary heroes across the PORTLAND HEAT series so much, because I use food, especially baking, as stress relief and also as a way to share my love with my family and friends.

Do you use cooking or baking as stress relief? If so, do you have favorite things that really work for you? My interests tend to change with the seasons—in the summer, I am known for my gluten-free cobblers, heavy with local Oregon fruit and topped with fluffy gluten-free biscuits that even those able to eat gluten love. In the fall, I turn to pumpkin—pies, cake, bread, and as fall becomes winter, more spice makes its way into my baking. I love gingerbread spice in all its variations. I did gingerbread cupcakes with salted caramel frosting for Christmas Eve this year.  On Christmas, in addition to the more traditional foods, I’ve also made a tradition out of a cranberry filled, eggnog flavored cake. During long rainy season of winter and early spring, there’s lots of cookies to be made and pancakes and waffles to be shared. Then as the weather warms, the fresh produce starts making its way into my baking.

Unlike my baker heroes, I’m not that great at decorating my baked goods. They taste amazing and are gobbled down fast, but they’re not works of art by any stretch of the imagination. However, what they are is filled with love. Love for baking. Love for my family. Love for the fresh, local ingredients. And I think this love is what Todd ultimately comes to find in DANCED CLOSE—a way to truly love his job and take pride in his work.

In the comments, please tell us about your relationship to cooking and baking. Love it? Hate it? Stress relief or a big stressor for you?


Portland, Oregon, is one of the hottest cities in America. Just ask all the hard-working men sweating it up behind the counters of the restaurants, boutiques, and cafés all over town . . .

Newly clean and sober, Todd’s taken a shine to his job at Portland’s most talked about bakery. It’s not just the delicious desserts they sell, but the tasty treats who keep walking through the door. That certainly includes Kendall Rose, a wedding planner with eyes the color of brown sugar and skin to match. Todd doesn’t try to hide his attraction to Kendall’s elegant confidence and unique style, even as he worries about exposing the secrets of his past.

For Kendall, the attention is just part of the anything-goes Portland he’s grown to love. But he’s still looking for that special someone who will embrace all of him—including his gender fluidity. So he takes a chance and asks Todd to be his partner in a dance class leading to a fundraiser. When the music starts and he takes Todd in his arms, Kendall is shocked at how good it feels.  Turns out taking the lead for once isn’t a mistake. In fact, it might be time to take the next step and follow his heart . . .

You can purchase DANCED CLOSE at:

About The Author:
Albert, AnnabethAnnabeth 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 children.

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I am the Senior News Editor for Reader's Entertainment News. I also write articles, scripts, and reviews for multiple print and online media outlets. I am also the author of romantic comedies and humorous mysteries.

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