Title: Dinner for One (The Carlisles #1)
Author: Meg Harding
Release Date: July 12, 2016
Page Count: 190
Reviewed by: Gigi
Heat Level: 5 flames out of 5
Rating: 5+ stars out of 5
Bastien isn’t used to bad reviews. His French restaurant is the toast of the town, and when a well-known critic insults it, he’s left off-kilter. Luckily for him he’s found a distraction. He’s just met an attractive writer at his niece’s school bake sale. He’s into food, into Bastien and the touch of kink they share, and there’s a chemistry between them that might make the perfect recipe.
James isn’t expecting to meet a good-looking French chef at a bake sale, but he’s not going to let the chance slide. It comes as a surprise when the chef turns out to be the owner of a place he knows—and has reviewed—and it puts James in a sticky situation. So he might have to omit some pertinent information to make it work… at least for now.
Let’s get straight to the point, shall we? I fucking LOVED this book. It is steamy, romantic, refreshing perfection.
Quick overview: James is a renowned food critic for the New York Times and writes gay romance novels on the side. Bastien is a renowned French chef who owns a restaurant called L’amour Dans La Ville (Love in the City) in New York. James writes under the pseudonym Harper Carlisle and wrote the first bad review of L’amour Dans La Ville since it opened a year ago. The review makes Bastien angry and cranky since he thinks the reviewer is way off track.
James and Harper meet at a bake sale at the elementary school where their nieces and nephews attend. The attraction is there and Bastien makes a small overture for James to visit him at his restaurant. After encouragement from his siblings, James decides to go back to L’amour Dans La Ville as James, not Harper, and get to know Bastien a little better. The two men find themselves in bed together and the sex is ridiculously hot.
I want to make you come again, and then I want to fuck you while you’re over sensitive and begging for it.
And Bastien DOES beg for it IN FRENCH. Fuck…
His back arches off the bed at the first touch of James’s tongue over his hole. It’s hot and wet, and he hasn’t been touched like this in so long. James isn’t hesitant or slow. He goes right for it. One of Bastien’s hands goes to his headboard, bracing himself, and the other tightens in James’s hair. “S’il te plaît, S’il te plaît,” he gasps, legs clenching around James’s torso.
At this point, Bastien does not know James is Harper, which is the major plot point that causes the future angst (and romance, believe it or not).
Points that need to be made:
1. The sex here is kinky and delicious, but not so kinky as to throw off folks who don’t like the BDSM genre. There are no whips or chains, just a bit of spanking and toys and a touch of orgasm denial. Jesus, it’s hot as hell, let me tell you!
- The word “gay” comes up exactly ONE time in this book and that is when James tells Bastien he writes gay romance. ONE TIME. There is no homophobia, no stories about coming out, no family members who give them the side-eye or friends who “don’t care” that these men are gay. NOTHING. These are two PEOPLE who fall in love, not two gay men. And I gotta tell you, it was a fucking delight. Bravo to Ms. Harding for writing this piece of romance perfection about men who don’t have labels weighing them down.
2. This book is a romance to beat all romances. These men were adorable in their courtship and genuinely liked and felt real affection for one another. They listened, confided and worked hard at winning the other over. And it worked, in spades.
3. James and Bastien’s family and friends were the perfect kind of crazy in their love for James and Bastien. I honestly felt only love and affection from all the siblings/spouses/friends towards James and Bastien.
4. Now, when I say refreshing, I really mean it. I’m going to put a spoiler tag here, not because it gives away a plot point but because I want those who haven’t read it yet to experience it themselves and (hopefully) come to the same delightful, refreshing realization.
Read this book. It is heartfelt, fluffy, sexy and utterly romantic. It will definitely be one of my top 10 books for 2016.