Title: The Cake (Elemental Superpowers 1)
Authors: AJ Llewellyn & Serena Yates
Cover Artist: Posh Gosh
Genre: M/M Paranormal Romance
Length: Novel (158 pdf pages)
Rating: 4 stars out of 5
A Guest Review by Cole
Review Summary: A short novel about two possible adversaries falling in love and going against the system as a team, as well as the first book of an interesting world that I’m excited to continue reading about.
Book one in the Elemental Superpowers Series
Baking the best cupcakes in San Francisco is Daine’s true calling…who knew that the tastiest cakes could lead to a talent for danger?
Phillip Sedgwick is a lawyer who works for an unusual law firm: Arden, Bainbridge, Chinook and Damek is the supernatural world’s most prestigious company, protecting, and often prosecuting, members of the supernatural world for various crimes and infractions. His latest case involves the owner of Fabulous Cupcakes, Daine Paradis, who has been accused of abuse of his superpowers.
Daine is proud that he’s been able to keep his father’s bakery going and has made it a huge success. Weird things start happening, and hard work no longer seems enough to stay in business. When he meets Phillip the sparks fly, but will the two men be able to solve the case before everything goes up in flames?
Phillip Sedgwick has been a junior associate at one of San Fransisco’s supernatural law firms for six months. As a cover, he also teaches law at a local college. The work is strenuous and Phillip often feels like he’s signed his life away over to the senior partners. He must come at their beck and call, and when he is given a week to pursue an investigation into the illegal activities of Daine Paradis, who owns the bakery Fabulous Cakes just around the corner from his job at the university, he knows that it would be unwise to refuse. So, with a week to pursue finding evidence to move forward in prosecution of Daine, who is alleged to be using his supernatural power for fire to make his cupcakes the best in the city, Phillip finally gets his chance to taste the cakes he’s heard so many wonderful things about. What he finds when he gets to Fabulous Cakes, however, is not only a man who seems to take pride in being the hardest worker at his business, and completely unaware of his powers, but a sexy, caring, honest, and humble man that calls out to him in every way. Now, unsure of exactly who is putting pressure on him to find that Daine is breaking Superpower Law, he is forced to carry out an increasingly dangerous investigation, while at the same time unable to stay away from pursuing a relationship with Daine.
Daine has loved to bake since he was a little boy. Not only is the creation of new flavors and the act of making them his passion, but he loves the affect they have on his customers and the community. Supporting the local Girl Scout troop, as well as gearing up for the annual baking competition, whose previous two winners now have national chains of their stores, is a full time job. Since he has taken the bakery over from his father in the last three years, he hasn’t had time for dating. Keeping the business completely aboveboard, specifically in the interest of making sure his workers all have proper documentation is difficult, especially since his deliveries have recently stopped coming and his bakery has been broken into on numerous occasions. Despite all that, his hard work has paid off — there are daily lines around the corner from his bakery for his daily confections, and a new man he likes to think of as Mr. Gorgeous has been stopping by to taste his cakes and flirt with him. Daine really likes Phillip, but he hates lawyers after his parents up and left him for Venezuela years ago after some kind of legal trouble with his uncle. Everything seems to be going right, until he realizes in one day how everything can go completely wrong, and how little you can know about those who love you.
This is a short novel which only slowly allows room for world-building (more on that later), so the pace of the story moves quite fast. I really liked the characters — Phillip is passionate and driven, though possibly in over his head, and Daine is impossible not to love. I worry sometimes when a character seems to be perfect in every way, but I didn’t feel like this was the case here for two reasons. The first is much of the story is told from Phillip’s POV, which is admittedly admiring, as he is falling in love with the man, and secondly, Daine is so unfailingly honest and humble that it made sense for him to be a sort of shining light, a genuinely good person. I was also happily surprised that the book is more about two men who really try to work together and help each other, instead of (in Daine’s case) angsting about what was going wrong in his life.
I had a difficult time reading this story at first. I immediately liked the characters, and I loved Daine, but I really didn’t quite understand what was going on. Was this magic they were talking about? The world-building is sparse, which I usually prefer to being beaten over the head with backstory. Still, because I liked the growing romance between Phillip and Daine, I kept reading and I found that the answers slowly came. By the end of the story, I could see that this is really only the beginning of understanding the world of the Elemental Superpowers. Hopefully, the next few books will center on the other elements — water, earth, and air, and the development of the world will proceed to grow. The advancement of the world-building arc really makes a lot of sense, in the aspect of the overall series. Of course, I would have loved to know more about the world. At times, I also wondered actually what the dileniations in the law were (Was it the success of his bakery? Is using his powers at all a violation?), or to hear more about Phillip’s backstory, but they weren’t necessarily important to the story, and I admit, I’m probably alone in wanting to hear more about specific laws!
Still, this was an enjoyable read and I’m looking forward to the next book in the series. I’ve read quite a few books by both of these authors before, and I was curious to see the result of a working partnership between them. I have enjoyed their books separately and I found that I could see a bit of both their styles in The Cake. Most important though, to this baker and owner of a major sweet tooth, were the frequent and imaginative references to different flavors of cake. Yum! Even though it might sound strange, I’m starting to wonder about that Buttery Popcorn Cupcake…
I think that fans of both authors would enjoy The Cake.