Hero: Joe Rafferty
Heroine: Marlene Bennett
TALL DARK AND DELICIOUS
Joe Rafferty is just as mouthwatering as the food he cooks. But if he thinks he’s going to waltz in and take over her kitchen, he’s denser than a thick slice of chocolate ripple cheesecake. Marly has invested too much of her life in Chameleon to hand off the restaurant to someone else—especially a cocky-as-all-get-out superstar chef. But there’s no denying the man knows how to light her fire. Question is: Can she have the sizzle without feeling the burn?
It’s been a long time since I’ve read a book that featured chefs and I’m thinking I need to change that in 2012 because I really enjoyed this book. I enjoyed seeing what happens behind that kitchen door at restaurants where the food magic happens. Seeing these two chefs battle it out in and out of the kitchen made for an entertaining read that kept me all too happy to keep turning the pages.
This book follows bad boy chef Joe Rafferty as he sweeps into town to visit his friend Olivia Watson and ends up helping her out when she fires her husband for not pulling his weight around the restaurant and banging the bartender in the storage room. His first night in town, Olivia throws her best friend Marlene Bennett in Joe’s direction and after his mother died six months before, he’s in a different place then he was before (when Olivia knew him) and that first night up at Marly’s house had me cracking up.
Marlene has been there for Olivia and Olivia’s parents since they were there for her back in the day. They gave her a place to run away to when she needed to get away from her home life and they helped shaped her into the person she is today. She’s never forgotten that and she’s one of the most loyal people in this book.
Joe and Marly butt heads time and time again because they’re both stubborn and because of that first night but it wasn’t a get-on-my-nerves kind of butt heads. I liked that you could see the sparks flying off of the both of them, it made the story just that much more entertaining.
Joe was a fabulous hero, one that I wanted to bang ten ways to Sunday. The things that he did to Marlene made me jealous because, well, wow. He’s the kind of lover that could teach me some things and why would you not want to bang him? He was…scrumptious. There were some things that I wasn’t a fan of with him though. First, his nicknames for both Olivia and Marly. I hated whenever he would call Olivia, Kiddo. Ummm, she’s not a kid and well, that nickname just sucks for the owner of the restaurant and then every time he called Marly, Sugar, I wanted to bean him in the head. It just didn’t sound right. The other thing that bothered me was how he kept referring to Marly as a slut. Even if it was just to himself and even if he didn’t think it, he still thought it. It didn’t sit right with me but he more than makes up for those things that I didn’t like about him because he was just all around, delicious. The way that he woos Marly at the end was pure cheese but I loved it. I ate it all up. So cute!
Marly is loyal and she’s a hardworker but there were times when I wish that she would have spoken up more where Olivia was concerned. I mean, she was a great best friend to Olivia but Olivia wasn’t a mindreader and I felt that their relationship would have been more solid if Marly would have spoken up about the real reason she left the line and went to work in the bakeshop. They could have avoided a lot of misunderstandings if she would have just opened up her mouth.
This book was an entertaining read and I’m sincerely hoping that there will be more from this cast of characters in the form of future books. I will definitely be reading more by Usen in the future because while this book wasn’t the most perfect read, it was fabulously imperfect and I enjoyed getting to know each of the characters, even when they were driving me crazy. My favorite part of this book was the behind the scenes action in the kitchen. I loved being apart of all of that madness. The fire on the stove, the sugar/salt mix up, the speed with which all of the food is prepared and sent out- it was all fabulously entertaining and I seriously want more of that stuff.
I definitely recommend this book to fans of books featuring chefs and restaurants. This will definitely be a hit!
Grade: 3.5 out of 5