Author: RJ Scott and Chris Quinton
Publisher: Love Lane Books
Pages/Word Count: 141 Pages
Rating: 4 Stars
Blurb: Serving up passion, family, love and hate, with a side order of arson.
Lewis has lost nearly everything, and now it seems that Devon is here to take the last thing he has left – working in his beloved restaurant, Laurels. But when an arsonist threatens everything Lewis loves, he realizes sometimes everyone has their ghosts, and he discovers an unexpected ally who is prepared to risk everything for him.
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Set in the small cathedral city of Salisbury, Master Chef Lewis Mandineau no longer owns the Laurels, the restaurant that had been in his family for generations. Betrayed and robbed by an ex-lover, he’s had to sell to Carnegie Enterprises, an American corporation. That isn’t all Lewis has to contend with. Rachel, his beloved younger sister has been left severely hurt by the car crash that killed their parents, and taking care of her has to be his priority.
Enter Devon Trelawney III, sent to assess the viability of the restaurant and its staff. Devon knows all about family tradition. But he also knows sentiment has no place in business matters, and the Laurels’ potential is swamped by the debts it has accrued. Devon is a hardheaded businessman, first and foremost, but Lewis and Rachel test his resolve in different ways. Soon Devon is forced to admit that what seems like an impossible love can sometimes become something very real.
Review: There’s more heat than you can imagine in RJ Scott and Chris Quinton’s Heat. It’s set in a restaurant, so there’s that. There’s a firebug on the loose. And of course, there’s Lewis and Devon burning up the sheets and the office and any other flat surface they can find.
The Laurels is a restaurant that has been in the Mandineau family for generations. The current chef/owner, Lewis, has been conned and robbed by a lover and is forced to sell his generations-old family business to an evil American company. He and his staff are to be given one week to prove to the new owner, Trelawney Enterprises’ rep Devon Trelawney III, whether the business is worth saving, or if it should be sold or possibly developed into a hotel.
Devon of course comes off like an ogre initially, and is tamed by the sweetness of Lewis’ younger, handicapped sister. Devon’s father seems to have ulterior motives in sending him to this particular location, as he tells him to give the staff three weeks instead of the customary one to prove itself. Meanwhile, things are warming up between Devon and Lewis. They both realize the other is gay and hot.
Lewis has had so much bad heaped on him in his life; his parents’ death in an auto accident which also leaves his sister disabled, the no good, dirty rotten scoundrel of an ex boyfriend to name a couple. Trusting is not something that comes easily to him, especially when he has his sister’s needs, the family business, and the livelihood of all his employees weighing heavily on his shoulders. It’s a hard lesson to learn, but Lewis needs to realize that he isn’t in this thing alone. He has friends and co-workers who care about him and Sarah both.
Among those who care is Devon. He slowly but surely wins over Lewis after clearing the first hurdle: Sarah. He is a put up or shut up kind of guy, and he proves through his actions that he is a man of his word. And he has a heroic turn as well. How is a man to resist someone who charms his sister and friends and then goes all Captain Courageous on him?
Heat isn’t the greatest book I’ve read lately, and some might find it a bit cliché. For me it was just a really pleasant read with all the ingredients to make it just what I needed. There was a dash of anger, a heaping tablespoon of betrayal, a package of jelly babies, a light dusting of mistrust, a bushel of love, and a cup of sexual chemistry all roasted until well done over an open flame. The perfectly fulfilling one sitting read.
You can buy Heat here: