Grace Torres has a lot to lose. And the Texas Hill Country restaurateur isn’t letting Ty Beckett steal her thunder. He may be the Lone Star State’s most famous bachelor chef, but Grace has a family legacy to save. She’ll do whatever it takes to keep her beloved restaurant afloat…even go head-to-head in a reality TV cook-off only one of them can win.
Growing up dirt-poor just made Ty more determined to succeed. But he’s facing some stiff competition. Grace may be the only female alive who sees past Ty’s footloose facade and charming one-liners. She’s also igniting more heat than a Mexican jalapeño.
Walking away with first place could give Ty everything he ever wanted. It could also make him lose the one woman who’s ever come close to taming this culinary cowboy!
WARNING: Do not read this book on an empty stomach…or if you are on a diet.
In this contemporary tale Grace Torres is struggling to keep her family’s restaurant afloat and sees a national cooking competition as the perfect chance to save the place she loves. The only thing that Grace didn’t count on was sexy T.V. personality Ty Beckett(yes, Castle fans, you can giggle, I did.) to also be in the competition. The guy is known for his skills in…and out of…the kitchen, but Grace is immuned to his charms, at least that’s what she thinks.
Michaels sets the book in the Texas Hill Country(Fredricksburg to be exact), which isn’t that far from where I grew up, so it would really neat to have places mentioned that I knew about. It was also refreshing to see a book be set in a smaller town and the usual big cities like New York or L.A. Don’t let the book fool you though. It may be only 217 pages but it was fast paced but I didn’t feel like I missed anything or that I was trying to catch up. Michaels was very descriptive of the people, personalities and places she was wanting to show the reader. And as I mentioned before the receipe descriptions were enough to make your mouth water(mine is while I’m writing this).
From the very beginning I got a sense of who Grace was, but that didn’t mean that she was boring. She’s quite complex. She’s trying to carve out a place for herself but without completely forgetting where she came from or what she was fighting for. She just wants to add her own spin to it. Grace knows her own mind and knows she is talented, but she’s not above listening to new ideas, and that’s what I really liked about her. She’s not some shrinking violet who is constantly doubting herself throughout the book only to be miraculously cured of her all insecurities at the end. She’s feisty and sure of herself, which is why she stands up to her brothers, who think the restaurant is too much for her to handle. I really enjoyed the family dynamic between Grace and her brothers, Ben and Victor. It was natural and not forced, which is how it should be. And without giving any of the plot away when Ben and Victor pulled the stunt they did I wanted to smack both upside the back of the head. I also really liked the secondary romance that started to bloom between Ben and Amy, the restaurant’s eccentric bartender. I wonder if they will get their own book?
Ty Beckett. The guy is sexy, confident, and a real smart ass but I liked him. The snappy dialogue between him and Grace had me laughing out loud in a few places. He also has a past that he’s trying to forget, but who doesn’t have at least some part of their past they’d like to forget? He’s done quite well for himself in life, especially since he grew up poor, and he’s very much protective of that, almost to the point of being pompus, but only because he never wants to go back to it. It’s admirable of him and it really fleshes out his character, that his past bothers him. It’s awesome that he has one. He’s not just some description on a page, but a person we care about. In the end, after much reluctance, he comes to terms with his past and can see his future without the past mudding it up. Ty’s relationship with his manager, Stephen was also very well fleshed out. It was very similar to the relationship I have with my best friend, sometimes brutally honest, sarcastic and loving at the same time.
Grace and Ty as a couple make you care about them, too. Their chemistry is fantastic and completely believable. I was cheering for them and laughing during their witty verbal exchanges. You can tell Michaels watches a lot of television but I loved the pop culture references that were sprinkled throughout the book but it’s hysterical so it totally works. All in all it was a fantastic book that’s got a place on my keeper shelf, and not just because she was nice enough to autograph it for me, but so I can reference back and make some of those recipes! (and to reread a great romance.)
If you’d like to check out this one or any other books by Tanya here is the link to her website: www.tanyamichaels.net