Love on the Rise by A.C. Thomas

Love on the Rise is a sweet as sugar Christmas novella...
"It tasted like sharp cinnamon and warm molasses, like cloves and cuddles under a blanket. It tasted like love."


Matteo Leonelli is getting by, running his old-fashioned family bakery in the heart of Belleview, North Carolina. He’s struggled to keep the place going since his parents passed, and his cakes don’t taste the same without someone to share them. Then, Matteo meets Ethan, a thoughtful, handsome artist, who sees Matt in a way no one has before, who touches him as if it’s a privilege. One date, and Matt is in love, dancing among clouds of meringue as he bakes up a storm to prepare for the holidays. Ethan Price is getting by, running his family banking firm. He had to abandon his dreams of becoming an artist, but he gives it his best effort in his father’s memory. Then, he meets a man who makes his stress melt away like butter on warm bread. Matt, who smells like cookies and looks like a Caravaggio painting. Ethan is in love, head over heels as he rushes through the business of the day so he can see Matt again. He plans to sweep him off his adorable feet. Disaster strikes as Matt’s bakery loans come due during the holidays. The news is just as shocking as the man who delivers it. Ethan isn’t the sensitive artist of Matt’s dreams, but a cold-hearted banker, and Matt’s heart crumbles like shortbread. As Christmas draws near, Matt works to save his bakery, while Ethan works to win him back. Beneath the sparkling lights of bakery windows displaying holiday treats, they must decide: can Ethan reconcile his passion for art and his love for Matt with his obligations to the family business? Can Matt forgive Ethan and open his heart to a love so sweet it outshines his pastries? With determination, well-placed mistletoe, and a dash of cinnamon, they just might.

Miki J.'s Review:

Matt is an Italian baker and such an adorable character. Ethan is the square peg in round hole guy. After a wonderful night together, Matt is on cloud nine......but then the bankers, one of whom is Ethan, come with bad news....this is how the book starts. It then follows the anguish of how to save the bakery (just before Christmas) while trying to be stoic and avoid Ethan. However, Ethan is doing his damnedest to help Matt. It's very sweet (pun intended) read and I love how both characters are learning about themselves while trying to reconnect. Lovely book to read.

Rating: 4 Stars

Jacquie's Review:

Accidental enemies to lovers done well. Ethan and Matt don't know that Ethan's family's bank is about to out Matt's Bakery out of business and the reveal hurts them both. Matt doesn't forgive easily and Ethan works hard to convince him that he doesn't want to hurt Matt and works to save the bakery. They are utterly adorable together and although it's a slower burn, there's plenty of eat between them considering the length of this novella. Although this is technically the second book in this series, I read it as a standalone with no issues. I am tempted to pick the first one up now though since I enjoyed the writing.

Rating: 4.5 Stars

Heather's Review:

Love on the Rise is the second book from A.C. Thomas that I've had the pleasure of reading and it was a pleasure to read! It's such an age old trope - they guy you hook up with because he's only in to wn for a short while is actually there to meet you in a professional capacity and pull the rug out from under you, but the pull is too strong...

I raced through the book, given it's a novella length, but it flowed well and I didn't feel like either character was rushed or missed out on the time to really determine their place and their feelings. If you're looking for a sweet and cinnamon roll Christmas story, than Love on the Rise is the perfect choice!

Warning: have an Italian bakery on standby because you'll want all the yummy goodness!

Rating: 5 Stars