Amanda Usen. Sourcebooks Casablanca, $6.99 mass market (320p) ISBN 978-1-4022-5982-1
In the small but expanding niche of foodie romance, Usen’s debut rules the kitchen with lip-smacking prose and rowdy protagonists who put Iron Chef to shame. Marly Bennet has been through every boy in the bar, while Joe Rafferty scored with every female classmate in culinary school. When the two cross paths, it looks like a hookup made in heaven—until Joe says no, remembering his secret promise to his mother that he’d settle down. Meantime, Marly’s best friend, Olivia, who owns the restaurant where Marly works, has just dumped her two-timing chef husband. She needs another pair of hands in the kitchen, and Joe agrees to fill in. As Joe and Marly cook together, snipe at each other, counter the ineptitude and sabotage of Olivia’s ex, some sizzling personal chemistry ensues. The way the two keep secrets from each other is perhaps too convenient, but the pacing, emotion, and erotic exuberance all sparkle. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 11/14/2011
Release date: 01/01/2012
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