cover image Hot Dish

Hot Dish

Connie Brockway. Signet Book, $7.99 (432pp) ISBN 978-0-451-21983-1

A rancid, 20-year-old bust carved from a 100-pound block of butter is the main ingredient for Brockway's saucy contemporary debut, which follows a long line of popular historical romances (most recently My Surrender). All Jenn Lind ever wanted was to put as much distance as possible between herself and Fawn Creek, the tiny Minnesota hamlet where her parents landed after gambling away the family fortune. Two decades after her escape, she's on the brink of TV stardom as the newest Martha Stewart. All is well until she learns that, as the former Buttercup Princess of Fawn Creek, she's been conscripted to serve as the town's sesquicentennial grand marshal, a title she's to share with Steve Jaxx-the famed sculptor (and ex-con) who carved her bust out of butter twenty years before. Upon arrival she learns that the butter head, which her mom had stored in the barn freezer all those years, has been stolen and is being held for ransom. While the inept blackmailers barter, the butter head is slowly melting, and Steve is desperate to rescue the head before something he hid in it resurfaces. While the plot has a make-it-up-as-you-go feel, Brockway's talent for creating funny characters and a dead-on sense of place will keep romance fans enchanted.