Second Helpings


Title: Second Helpings
Author: Scarlet Blackwell
Publisher: Samhain
Genre: Contemporary M/M
Buy Link: Amazon.com
Length: Novella (64 PDF pages)
Rating: 4.75 stars out of 5

Summary Review: Even better than Just Desserts and the dialogue sparkles.

THE BLURB

Table for Two, Book 2

French chef Luc Tessier once thought his world-class cooking skills—and cleaver-sharp ability to strike sexual sparks—had won him the ultimate prize. The heart of his beautiful English boyfriend, food critic Daniel Sheridan.

Little did he know the battle had only just begun. And now his most formidable foe has just shown up on their doorstep. Daniel’s mother. With Daniel still firmly in the closet and determined to stay, the chance that Luc will get laid any time soon is deflating faster than a failed soufflé.

Daniel has learned to deal with Luc’s natural arrogance and domineering tendencies. What he can’t handle are the repercussions, real and imagined, of coming out before he’s ready. Hence his nightmare task of juggling his nosy mother and his horny lover under the same roof.

Seven days is a long time for anyone to be on his best behaviour, much less a Frenchman who’s only a touch away from one desperate goal—his lover’s bed. But getting what he wants could come at too great a cost. Daniel’s trust.

THE REVIEW

Luc and Daniel met and fell in love in Just Desserts reviewed here. 6 months later they are still together and spend most of their waking hours having sex with each other in Paris or London. Currently Luc is staying in Daniel’s London apartment and the opportunities for sex are endless. On one such occasion at the most crucial point of their lovemaking the phone rang, and it was Daniel’s mother announcing that she would be visiting for a week. Of course everything wilted, even the lettuce. 🙂  She didn’t know her son was gay and living with a man since he was afraid to tell her, and he also omitted to tell Luc that his mother was unaware of his sexual orientation. When Luc asked why he had never told her this was the exchange

“She’s a good Catholic, she wouldn’t understand.”
Luc snorted. “So’s my mother, but she lives with it. I told her at sixteen, ‘Maman, I like cock. Deal with it or don’t’.”
“My mother won’t deal with it. She’ll just disown me. And my father’ll have me killed or something. I don’t know what he does for a living, but I think he’s a spy. He carries around a locked briefcase. It might contain a gun.”
“I’m not getting involved in your family disputes and your double life. I didn’t sign up for this.”
Daniel sat up, furious,“Oh?” he asked glacially. “What did you sign up for then, Luc?”
“You on your back four times a week,” Luc said arrogantly. “Or more if you let me.”

How were they going to hide their lust for each other while Daniel’s mother was staying in one of the guest bedrooms next door and was going to be with them 24/7? How would Daniel cope with his lusty lover whose libido never waned?

Mrs. Sheridan’s visit started out, as expected, with her and Luc at each other’s throats. The atmosphere in the apartment was frigid and frosty enough to hang icicles and Luc did everything he could to get on Mrs. Sheridan’s last nerve, with Daniel trying keep the peace and not out himself. How was he going to explain to his mother why Luc was living in his apartment when there were perfectly good hotel rooms available nearby at reasonable rates?

Luc came home drunk that first night and tried to have sex with Daniel, but Mrs. S. interrupted the lovers at a crucial moment and almost caught them. This state of affairs continued and everyone’s nerves were frayed as the stress got the better of Luc and Daniel, but Luc did not let Mrs. Sheridan’s presence deter him from his goal of getting into Daniel’s pants whenever they were in the same room. Who would win the battle for Daniel’s heart? Mrs. Sheridan, who was doing her best to get that disgusting Frenchman out of her son’s apartment? Or would Luc prevail?

I love the prose and most of all the dialogue in Second Helpings. There is no doubt that Scarlet Blackwell is an excellent writer and her characters come alive on the page. Spoiled Luc who is accustomed to getting every man he wants, even those he doesn’t want, which is a major bone of contention between him and Daniel who is very jealous and doesn’t trust him, for good reason. Their ability to find private moments with each other even with Mrs. Sheridan in the apartment took ingenuity and at times was sheer genius. While the plot wasn’t complex, the execution was flawless and the piece de resistance was so well done I can’t get it out of my mind even days after reading this book. The one liners were incredibly funny as well as the plot …. I thought I would die laughing. I won’t give you any of the clever and hilarious dialogue because you should experience it the first time yourself. I have no idea how Ms Blackwell came up with some of the scenes in this book, but I will never eat another cucumber without thinking of Mrs. Sheridan’s green salad. The protagonists were so attuned to each other sexually that they were like two halves of a whole and the sex was hot, titillating, sensuous as well as steamy but above all it was tender and loving. Here ‘s a bit of the prose after one scene when Daniel walked out on Luc:

 He tried desperately to get a grip on himself.
Come on, have some balls. What’s the worst that can happen? An afternoon with Luc, all your needs satisfied effortlessly, fucked into oblivion until you can’t even remember your own name. Isn’t that what you want? Oh God, yes.

 He needed to decide if this was worth it, because, at the moment, it didn’t feel like it. Not when there were a million men out there willing to lie on their backs for Luc, men who came with no baggage and no mothers, men he never had to see again once he had blown his load. But no one out there was Daniel. Luc knew that without looking. No one again in this lifetime would come close to having this hold over his heart. If he threw Daniel away, he would be empty for the rest of his life, his soulmate gone. He would be condemned back to his old life forever ….

The characters were wonderfully drawn, from pompous, insufferable Mrs. Sheridan who treated her son as if he was 12 years old, and regarded Luc as a servant. Luc, the imperious French chef who expected his minions to do his bidding unquestioningly, and even though he really wasn’t going to accept any offers for a bit on the side he would have been disappointed if they didn’t materialize. 🙂 As for Daniel, at times I understood why his mother did not respect him as an adult because he was her door mat and would do anything to gain her favour and love, acceding to her slightest wish, and he cried at the drop of a hat when Luc got angry at him for not standing up to her. In the end nothing mattered because the guys had a very big finish, so big I’m still laughing. If I have one complaint it’s that I think Ms. Blackwell needs to brush up on her French.

Second Helpings is a delight with two three dimensional protagonists that I wanted to stay much longer. Table for Two, Book 3 The Last Supper, will be released March 29 and I can’t wait. This book is not a standalone and should be read after Just Desserts for maximum enjoyment.

Highly recommended.

Author

I live in Canada and I love big dogs, music, movies, reading and sports – especially baseball

Aunt Lynn

The cucumber scenes were hilarious. I just went back and read the initial scene (at the end of the phone smexxin) and laughed out loud. It is so Luc!

Wave

I think this is Scarlet’s forte. Her characterizations rock and the dialogue and everything else is wonderful. 🙂

Aunt Lynn

Just wonderful Wave — the review and the book. Although a bit more emotional and angsty than Just Desserts, it was a great read. I adore Luc and his arrogance and one liners. My single complaint is Daniel and his lack of backbone/crying issues.

Wave

Lynn
At times I felt like slapping Daniel and saying to him “Grow some balls and tell Mama to go shove it so that you can get something shoved into you.” lol.

How did you like Mrs. Sheridan’s salad and Luc’s explanation about the cucumber? I thought I would die laughing. I will never eat another cucumber without thinking about Mrs S.

I’m so glad you enjoyed both books. They are so different from the one book by this author that you reviewed.

Cole

Hey Wave 🙂 I didn’t read your review yet because I’ve had Just Desserts in my TBR pile for a long time, but I’ve yet to read it. I’m certainly glad to hear that you liked it though! I have to move both of these to the top of my list now.

Wave

Cole
These two books are set around cooking since Luc is a chef so I think you will love them, but they are so much fun. When you read Second Helpings you have to tell me what you think about cucumbers (you can’t say what the scenes are about of course, just say how you liked them) lol. I love her writing.

Cole

Mmm, I love cucumbers. Especially the English hot house ones. They longer and slimmer so, oh wait, you didn’t meant to eat did you? 😉

But really, as far as eating goes, I’m addicted to cucumbers. Now I can’t wait to read these!

Wave

Let’s just say that you will never think of cucumbers the same way again. lol. Unfortunately I can’t say any more but I guarantee that you will enjoy ummm eating them. 🙂 Hurry up and read these books – they are short, especially Second Helpings.

Feliz
Wave, this is interesting – when I compare your review to Lynn’s of Ms. Blackwell’s other book today, it appears to me that the same qualities that endeared you to Luc and Daniel put Lynn off of Matt and James. Reads as if the author does slight exaggerations of her character’s primal traits, making the characters a bit larger than life. I think that particular style of writing, if done right, can make for a very vivid and colorful read. Now I’m intrugued to read all three, “Just Desserts”, “Second Helpings” AND “Rescue me”. Damn! So many books, so little… Read more »
Wave
The difference here is that Luc is never abusive or vicious and he truly loves Daniel. He is also very funny and there’s no angst in this series, or hardly any. His dominant traits come out when he’s trying to impress, in typical French over-the-top fashion. You will understand if you read Just Desserts when Luc and Daniel first meet and are at each other’s throats because Daniel dared to criticize Luc’s cooking in print, and how Luc tried to get back at him, only to have his revenge smack him in the face. 🙂 There is no way I… Read more »
Luci

I read book one and really liked it. So I’m off to buy book two. Ah Wave, if you were only aware of the influence your review site has over my book budget =) Ooh, I love wedding stories so bring on book 3.

Wave

Luci
Some books are worth busting the old book budget for and this one certainly is one of them. You will split your sides laughing and will fall in love with Luc and Daniel all over again. 🙂

Jennifer Tunny

Can’t wait for book 3. I loved both 1 and 2. Luc and Daniel are such a fun, volatile couple.

Wave

Hi Jen
Aren’t they fun? I love how different they are and how, even when Luc is at his most bombastic, he is so loving towards Daniel. The wedding sounds like a riot. 🙂

Wave

Thanks Lily. I loved this book even more than I did Just Desserts. The writing is great and the characters are so well drawn. I hope that many readers more will love this short series as much as I do.

Lily

I loved Just Desserts and can’t wait to read this one and The Last Supper. Great review, Wave! 🙂

rdafan7

I totally agree with you Wave, I loved both this and “Just Desserts” and hope Scarlet will reconsider and write more than 3 books with Luc & Daniel.
Both of these stories were so much fun, the characters were great and I really adore Luc!
Highly recommended!

Wave

Thanks. I think The Last Supper will definitely be the last book because it’s the big wedding. lol. Can you imagine? The blurb was so funny.

rdafan7

Yes, but then we can have “The Honeymoon” and settled married life! SOOO many possibilities!!

Wave

You would have them stay forever. lol.
I think the honeymoon would be great. Settled married life as a book? Boring! 🙂

rdafan7

Yes, I would! 🙂
How can you even think Luc (& Daniel) could EVER be boring?? No Way!!
There are all kinds of possibilities, with Luc managing his restaurant, Daniels new career, trips abroad, complications with friends etc., etc….
the possibilities are endless and I hope Scarlet is listening 🙂

Wave

I can see this – they will be rocking in their rocking chairs in the senior citizens’ home before you will let this one go. lol.

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