Series: Briar Creek #2
Published by Forever on April 28, 2015
Source: the publisher
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This kitchen isn’t big enough for both of them…
If there’s anything Anna Madison knows, it’s how to turn life’s lemons into a lemonade cocktail served in a vintage glass. So when her beloved Briar Creek café burns down, she sees it as an opportunity to start fresh. But the only kitchen available to her is in the diner down the street—owned by her sinfully sexy ex.
If Anna thinks she can take over his greasy-spoon kitchen with her high-end cuisine, Mark Hastings is about to set her straight fast. Their breakup is his biggest regret—not that he’ll ever admit it to her. Nope, he’d rather show her exactly what she’s been missing. With desire set on a high simmer, their menu is about to get a whole lot spicier…
I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Chef Anna Madison is broken-hearted when her restaurant is destroyed in a fire. Even though she has insurance and the place will be back up and running soon, she still has to provide food for the local bookstore’s coffee shop, which Anna co-owns along with her sisters. With her own industrial kitchen temporarily out of commission, her only option is to use the kitchen from Mark Hastings’ diner just a few blocks away. While it is nice of Mark to offer use of his space, it is also a bit awkward. See, Anna and Mark aren’t exactly friends, which has the potential make things a little awkward.
The two grew up together in Briar Creek and were actually pretty close while they were in culinary school. When their relationship ended suddenly, so did their friendship, and the two have some major unresolved feelings and issues after this relationship. Not one single soul in town (including their closest friends and family) know that they ever dated, much less fell in love. Everyone wonders why they go to such great lengths to avoid each other, but no one pushes too hard for the answer.
I liked this story so much. It was so easy to read and I was once again pulled into the small-town charm of Briar Creek and everyone that lives there. While it didn’t hold quite the same amount of charm for me as the first book in the series, I did like the way that this story centered around two people with a shared passion for food. In fact, I love that Anna and Mark were working together to win a cooking competition – the contest added a nice amount of tension and forced the two to confront their past in a way that they may never have otherwise.
Speaking of the cooking competition, I love the way that entire event worked out – it actually surprised me! The contest (and preparation for it) was stressful for Anna and Mark, but it made for fun reading and was a great way to carry some of the tougher parts of the story. It was also a way for their friends and family to show their support, which is one of the best parts of this series (I LOVE the friend and family relationships here).
I love the way Grace and Luke weaved into this story, and I also love guessing at subsequent plot lines to come with some of the other characters’ side stories. If I could change anything, I wouldn’t have minded reading about the painful past between Anna and Mark a bit less – it was somewhat repetitive – but this was really just a small nagging detail for me and it didn’t keep me from enjoying the story at all. I’m anxious to dive into the third book and will be starting it right away.