Format read: e-book
Series: Love and Games, #1
Release Date: 8 July 2013
Publisher: Entangled Bliss
Length: 191 pages
Formats available: ebook
Purchasing Info: Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Author’s Site
One sexy fire captain. One Cajun chef, One combustible kitchen…
When chef Colby Robicheaux returned home to New Orleans to save her family restaurant, the last person she expected to reconnect with was her brother’s best friend and her childhood crush. As tempting as a sugar-coated beignet, Jason is one dish she doesn’t want to taste. Colby is counting down the days till she can leave the place where her distrust of love and commitment originated and go back to Vegas.
Fire captain Jason Landry isn’t looking for love, either. He knows he should focus on finding the perfect mother for his daughter, but when he first sees Colby, all grown up and gorgeous, he can’t help but be drawn to her. And when she suggests a no-strings-attached fling, Jason doesn’t want to say no.
As their relationship grows more intense, Colby finds that Jason isn’t as easy to leave behind as she thought. Could turning up the heat on something real be worth the possibility of getting burned?
This book may feature a lot of spicy Cajun food, but it’s made up of the sweetest of sweets! From its opening pages, Taste the Heat kept a smile on my face with its comfy hometown setting, the tight-knit familial connections, and the consistently dulcet tone of the storytelling.
With the relatively short length (roughly 200 pages), this tale does a fine job of both setting the mood and atmosphere right away–even in the opening scene, the reader is made to really feel the hometown Louisiana vibe. The dilemmas that drive the storyline are introduced early and are fairly clear-cut, as well. [Jason (fire fighter) digs Colby (chef). But Jason can only offer a no-strings, loveless marriage of convenience, if anything at all. Colby also happens to be Jason's best friend's sister. And lastly, Colby's heart is off the market anyway, due previous relationship transgressions she'd witnessed in her life. What to do?!?!]
What fleshes out those basic dilemmas is a whole lot of exploration into familial relationships and their influences on various aspects of the main characters’ lives. Though the romance is the centerpiece to Taste the Heat, the secondary characters–from Jason’s daughter to Colby’s siblings–and their connection to the main characters are just as gripping and crucial as the connection between the romantic leads.
Though this story is a bit like flying on a light puffy cloud, there was a surprising degree of realism to the characters. In particular, I think Colby’s a smart cookie. She recognizes her own shortcomings, and has good sense to call herself out when she falls short of her own expectations. So refreshing to have a character who’s not completely oblivious to her own nature!
The intimate moments in the book are more of the fade-to-black variety, but this works wonderfully with the overall sweet timbre of the story. Besides, there’s still plenty of breathless moments. “Sweetly spicy” is the phrase that comes to mind, and there’s no shortage of palpable electricity between the romantic leads.
It’s so sweet to watch the main characters’ respective healing processes unfold. For Colby–a chef–her memories are tied to food. You feel her love of it as viscerally as you comprehend the pain to which certain cuisines are connected, for her. In this case, her healing comes through exploring sensory memories, making for a unique mechanism to propel the romance.
Really, this book is one big ball of precious. At every moment, in every scene, you get glimpses of how cute and perfect the HEA will be in the end. Instead of detracting from the anticipation of reading, it makes the reader want to just sit and revel in the good vibes all day!
. . .
Verdict: This story is very easy to dive into, hard to step away from, and perfect for reading on a lazy afternoon. Just be prepared for some major “awwwwwww” moments! ^_^
I give Taste the Heat 4 stars!
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