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Aug 18

Discover a Spicy New Dish! INTO THE FIRE by Amanda Usen

Into the Fire

 


a Hot Nights novel
Amanda Usen
Entangled Publishing/Indulgence June 10, 2013
E-Book 148 pages
Provided by Publisher via NetGalley.com for review.
No remuneration was exchanged and except as noted all opinion presented herein is my own

Click for an excerpt

Jackson Calabrese has a lot of nerve. He beat Lila Grant in the Culinary Academy competition using her recipes. Now, he’s opening a restaurant and wants her help? Fine, she'll fix his menu, but it's going to cost him.

Heir to the Calabrese restaurant empire, Jackson can buy anything he wants, except creativity, so he buys Lila's instead. He can craft perfect paella, but to take New York by storm he needs her innovative spark.

Skillets aren't the only things hot in the kitchen, and an uneasy truce ignites into passion. They’re great in bed, but Jackson doesn't trust her, and Lila is contemplating revenge. The restaurant opening approaches, the menu is completed, and the tables are set for one final act of betrayal. How can love bloom in the midst of such a hot mess? http://www.entangledpublishing.com/into-the-fire/

My Take


I really loved this book; it was sexy and mouthwatering. As is often the case in romance, a lack of communication and trust issues are the basis for the problems between a couple who are clearly meant to be together. What would the romance book industry be if people were able to speak honestly and not assume that others mean them harm. 

Really though this book handles both damage done, unwittingly, by parents and with unknown motive by lovers. It looks at the assumptions we make based on class. And how we bring a big pile of baggage into relationships; especially when we are young and haven't figured it out. And it looks at how spending time with someone, learning their soft chewy center, makes the hard candy shell that much more crackable.

Another area the story explores is types of talent and ways of approaching expression. In this case it is food. Some chefs express it simply and others play ingredients in exciting new ways which helps the dish shine. Our young chefs formal education maybe over but their understanding of others and, in particular Lila's opportunity to walk in Jackson's shoes, or at least in his kitchen, helps her understand him  and herself so much more. 

These two understand food, which is sensual. This gives them both an appreciation of other forms of sensuality. And, when they are in the bedroom they are like a recipe coming together perfectly. Sometimes though, the oven's too hot and the roast burns.

And the food talk made me gain at least five pounds just reading it!

If you're looking for a completely engaging, satisfying story with a great HEA then I HIGHLY RECOMMEND INTO THE FIRE to you -- but don't read it hungry!


Characters: Different, interesting, nuanced.
Plot: Not entirely straightforward  and expected; it is tied up beautifully in those lovers' epiphanies and with the characters' baggage.
Themes: Assumptions, Baggage, Talent, Growing up
Hook Ups: Like Jalapeno Poppers with  a Scotch Bonnet Chaser and a cooling drink to make it sweet.

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