Taste The Heat by Rachel Harris
Series: Taste The Heat #1
Published by Entangled Bliss
Publish Date: July 8, 2013
Source: Publisher/Author for Review – Thank you!
Find It: Goodreads / Amazon / B&N
One sexy fire captain. One Cajun chef, One combustible kitchen…
When chef Colby Robicheaux returned home to New Orleans to save her family restaurant, the last person she expected to reconnect with was her brother’s best friend and her childhood crush. As tempting as a sugar-coated beignet, Jason is one dish she doesn’t want to taste. Colby is counting down the days till she can leave the place where her distrust of love and commitment originated and go back to Vegas.
Fire captain Jason Landry isn’t looking for love, either. He knows he should focus on finding the perfect mother for his daughter, but when he first sees Colby, all grown up and gorgeous, he can’t help but be drawn to her. And when she suggests a no-strings-attached fling, Jason doesn’t want to say no.
As their relationship grows more intense, Colby finds that Jason isn’t as easy to leave behind as she thought. Could turning up the heat on something real be worth the possibility of getting burned? -(from Goodreads)
Taste The Heat by Rachel Harris
My Thoughts: Taste The Heat by Rachel Harris is one of the best examples of using setting and food in a story to create mood and tension that most of us just love to pieces in our romances. We all know that both of these things can work so well to set up atmosphere and attraction between characters when they’re written well. Well played, Ms. Harris! I loved it. Ok, so…
The first thing you need to know is this:
Colby left the New Orleans area years ago – for reasons –
but now she’s back. For reasons.
We first meet Colby as she’s judging a cooking competition – we find out that she’s temporarily back in her family’s Cajun restaurant working as their chef. See, she’s made a big name for herself out in Las Vegas and it’s kind of a big deal that she’s back in town – being semi-famous and all – and the family restaurant needs her name to up their business. So she’s doing this guest-judging gig…and being a judge is how she comes in contact with a long-lost former crush (a huge crush, actually) from years and years ago. Oh hello there, firefighter Jason! How ya doin?
Okay, so we’ve already made some big leaps in this book and we’re not even out of chapter one. Colby can barely believe her eyes when she sees Jason – dude definitely has kept his looks over the years – but OHMYGOSH he has also gained a daughter! WHAT?!? While her body and her heart are SCREAMING at her to find out more about her dream guy from long ago (where’s the kid’s mother anyway), her mind is BEGGING her not to get involved. After all, she knows that she isn’t staying in town permanently – she’s leaving after the summer to go back to Las Vegas. Plus Colby has no idea what’s up in the daddy/daughter/When-did-Jason-get-a-family? department.
Still, the heart wants what the heart wants, right? And Colby’s heart wants more information. Plus, Jason’s daughter Emma is a bit starstruck by Colby (being a huge Food Network fan); Emma keeps coming around because she thinks Colby is super-cool. Where Emma comes, it seems Jason follows. Re-acquaintance is hardly an option in this small area, it seems. Sigh sigh sigh, thinks Colby.
The second thing you need to know is this:
Jason remembers Colby from long ago.
And he notices that she’s definitely grown into herself.
Outside of Colby’s back-and-forth/confusing feelings for Jason, he certainly has feelings for his own. See, what Colby doesn’t know is that Emma’s mother is no longer in the picture, so Emma is the main lady is in his life. Everything he does is for that little girl, and even though he is wildly attracted to Colby – it won’t work at all unless Emma is safe and secure and won’t be hurt by his actions. So everything Jason does and thinks and feels, he tries to think of Emma first because he’s a really great father. But DANG he is so attracted to this woman.
Things become really interesting when, on Emma’s birthday, she asks her dad Jason to take her camping – her first camping trip! Because she has taken such a liking to Colby, she quickly asks Colby to come along. Now, here are the issues with this:
- It’s Emma’s party and Jason wants her to be happy. If she wants Colby to go, maybe he should invite Colby. Right?
- Jason is WILDY attracted to Colby. So if he goes along with this invite, is it solely to make Emma happy or is it because he secretly wants to spend a teensy bit more time with Colby too? — HMMM.
- Colby doesn’t want to intrude on the camping trip BUT it does seem like Emma genuinely wants her there, and Jason doesn’t seem to mind. PLUS HELLO!! it’s more time around Jason.
Okay! It’s settled. The three of them are going camping and that’s that. But it’s TOTALLY for Emma’s birthday and NOTHING ELSE. Nope, nothing else.
The third thing you need to know is this:
As I said earlier, the heart wants what the heart wants you guys.
Oh how fun it is to watch these two at war with themselves over their feelings for each other. Should I just go for it? Or maybe not? And the funny thing is that they BOTH are feeling the exact same way! They both are crushing SO HARD, just like they’re teenagers when in reality they’re just adults – my age! – that have come through tough times and tough situations and are finding their way back into each others’ paths again. Ultimately, they both have the same goals in mind – the same end results – just one of them making sure that sweet Emma doesn’t get caught in any cross-fire when Colby packs up and heads back to Las Vegas. But then, Colby starts thinking along the lines of New Orleans vs Las Vegas and it gets REALLY GOOD.
THIS IS GLORIOUS READING. It is so much fun.
Not to mention that the heart also seriously wants: fantastic food (which there is) and a great setting (which there is).
Taste The Heat by Rachel Harris is a FUN, FUN, FUN adult contemporary romance that I just enjoyed. It’s as simple as that. I think it has some older-YA appeal to it and there is ABSOLUTELY appeal to those that live in the deep Southern US as well as those who are the foodie-type readers because there so much food in this book, it made me hungry every time I turned the page.
Colby is a lot of fun to read – she’s come out of some trying circumstances but unlike many books (even romances) that we read these days, her bad times aren’t overplayed. Colby is written in the present and tells the story of her past, if that makes any sense at all, and I just loved that. She doesn’t MOPE AROUND, she thinks hard about what she wants to do and then BY GOD THE GAL GOES FOR IT. Sure, she thinks and overthinks sometimes, but don’t we all? Especially when we’re making a giant leap at something. Colby has a great sister and brother that have her back – strong sibling relationships, you guys! – and their interaction was fun to read about. Her ties to the region are strong but her need to flee the region and strike out on her own (before the book began, re-imagined through conversations) are totally understandable. She has a few moments that make me chuckle a little bit and best of all, I see a little bit of myself in this character, which is always fun.
And merciful heavens – firefighter Jason. I thought I loved cowboys (I DO) but this firefighter isn’t too shabby, you guys. First of all, and most importantly, he loves his daughter with everything in him. He also respects his best friend, who happens to be Colby’s brother, even though he is firm in his resolve that he wants to pursue her. I love this – their conversations and interactions – because I find them to be so believable and what I would imagine two dudes talking about a topic like this (Dude, how do you feel about me possibly dating your sister cause I’m totally into her?**). Jason also had a great relationship with his family, which is wonderful. So wonderful. I love it when books write in great relationships, and the bond that this guy had with his father – one conversation in particular about love – aahh, my heart just melted. But it was the way that Jason pursued Colby that just got to me and made me kind of fall for him too.
See, she was upfront with him – told him she was leaving at the end of the summer. She didn’t want to do anything to hurt Emma and OF COURSE neither did Jason. So the plan they devised was really fun, and then how it all worked out was even funner. But it was Jason, in my opinion, that made it that way. Heartthrob city.
I would be a bad blogger if I didn’t mention (again) the incredible setting written into this story. Set in New Orleans and overflowing with Cajun food and talk of how to make it, descriptions of the taste, the smell, the look of it – it was just wonderful. Also – and this is probably a little odd but just go with me here – I loved the play on the title, Taste The Heat. There are lots of references – bold and also subtle – of heat in this story, from Jason being a firefighter to the spiciness of the food, to everything in between. I loved it.
Taste The Heat is my first novel by author Rachel Harris and it will not be my last. In looking on Goodreads, I can see that this will be a series (here and here), and I will absolutely be following it. If I’m being honest, I wasn’t sure how I would enjoy a book so immersed in the food-culture, but I really loved it and I’m hoping that you guys love it too.
I recommend Taste The Heat by Rachel Harris for fans of adult contemporary romance (but there is older-YA appeal, readers!), books with FANTASTIC settings, books that have lots of food-talk and food-culture in them, and books with lots of swoon but are not overly-steamy. I think that a lot of my reading friends will really enjoy this one and I will be spreading it word-of-mouth and hopefully some of you guys reading this will pick it up as well. Great book, so glad I read it!
**paraphrasing, you guys!
Rachel Harris grew up in New Orleans, where she watched soap operas with her grandmother and stayed up late sneak reading her mama’s favorite romance novels. Now a Cajun cowgirl living in Houston, she still stays up way too late reading her favorite romances, only now, she can do so openly. She firmly believes life’s problems can be solved with a hot, powdered-sugar-coated beignet or a thick slice of king cake, and that screaming at strangers for cheap, plastic beads is acceptable behavior in certain situations.
Taste The Heat will appeal to fans of:
Adult Contemporary Romance
Romance: Instant-attraction based on feelings from long ago.
No triangle. Lots of swoons!
FANTASTIC setting: New Orleans
Taste The Heat by Rachel Harris
is currently available for purchase.
And now for the Giveaway!
Author Rachel Harris
is offering (1) TASTE THE HEAT gift basket
(1) exclusive copy of TASTE THE HEAT!
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Tons of stuff inside that basket!
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