Book Review, Romance Review

Review: Bake Off by Denise Grover Swank

Maddie Baker hasn’t seen Detective Noah Langley since he ghosted her a month ago, but now she needs his help to find a missing woman.

When Maddie Baker offers a self-defense course, a terrified young woman asks her for private lessons to escape a chokehold. Maddie readily agrees to meet Amy the next morning, but when she doesn’t show up, Maddie becomes concerned.

She enlists the help of Detective Noah Langley and his partner Lance Forrester. Since it’s not an official investigation, and the only thing they know about her is her first name, it’s not long before their hands are tied.

Besides, Noah has a dilemma of his own. A rash of home burglaries has taken a disturbing turn. Noah and his partner Lance feel pressed to catch the burglars before someone is physically assaulted…or worse.

To top things off, Maddie’s ex-boyfriend Steve is in town suddenly wanting her back. Her aunt’s dementia is worsening, and her best friend Mallory has shown up on her doorstep with news of her own.

Maddie’s got her hands full, so she should let her concern for the missing woman go, right? Only she’s trusting her gut, and it’s telling her something’s rotten in Cockamamie.

Trouble seems to find Maddie Baker no matter what she’s doing. After being nearly kidnapped, then kidnapped and almost murdered, she expects life to go back to normal. But there’s never a dull moment as she searches for a missing woman, especially once her idiot ex shows up. Maddie’s got enough on her plate already when Steve shows up with a giant engagement ring and declares they’ll be married in a month. Of course, she says no but Steve hears something else entirely. No matter what she says or does, he won’t take no for an answer and Maddie can’t figure out why he’d suddenly want to get married. He didn’t seem too broken up when she dumped him and moved away, so that makes his marriage plan highly suspicious. He refuses to explain and just insists he loves her, but Maddie’s determined to figure out his ulterior motives.

If only Noah was the one pursuing her, she’d be much happier. But despite how close they became so soon after meeting, Noah spooked and ran off once the case was over and Maddie was no longer in danger. He’s been ghosting her ever since, to Maddie’s disappointment. We get more insight into Noah’s baggage than we did in the first book, which I wanted. Yes, we know what happened with Caleb and Sarge and how he struggles to come to terms with it even now, but there’s a lot more affecting him.

The mystery has the perfect amount of suspense to balance the tension between Maddie and Noah. I like both characters a lot and really enjoyed the supporting cast. Mallory is hilarious and Maddie needs someone to count on. Lance might be my favorite character in the series so I really hope he gets his own book. This series keeps you guessing and I can’t wait to see what comes next for Maddie. I received an ARC from Valentine PR in exchange for an honest review.  

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