Title: Home Skillet (Culinary Kings #1)
Author: Cate Ashwood and Sandra Damien
Publisher: Kydala Publishing
Release Date: June 17, 2018
Genre(s): Contemporary Romance
Page Count: 196 pages
Reviewed by: CrabbyPatty
Heat Level: 3 flames out of 5
Rating: 3 stars out of 5
Sometimes the only way to move forward… is to go back.
I don’t know what’s more shocking—the sudden end to my marriage, or the fact that I’d married a woman at all. But now I’m broke and homeless, kicked out of my Upper West Side apartment while my ex-wife walks away with everything we’ve ever worked for.
So what’s an executive chef stripped of his dignity gonna do?
Go back to Jersey with his tail between his legs, that’s what.
I can’t say that spending a decade pining after my best friend was the best use of my time. While I’d pretty much become an expert at the whole unrequited love thing, I’d resigned myself to the fact that Jimmy and I were never gonna happen. But when Jimmy turned up on my doorstep in his hour of need, I jumped at the chance to offer him my bed—er, couch. I mean, what are friends for, right?
Now that he’s released from the shackles of matrimony, I can’t wait to show him exactly what he’s been missing out on all these years.
What I didn’t anticipate was him showing me that maybe I’d been missing out too.
It’s 1992 and Jimmy and Ben have been friends since junior high, and most recently friends-with-benefits, until Jimmy comes home one day and announces he is getting married to Jenna. Fast-forward six years, and the Carvery (Jimmy and Jenna’s restaurant) is a hit, booked out months in advance. Until, Jenna tells Jimmy she wants a divorce … and the restaurant.
Jimmy turns to his best friend Ben and soon they are back sharing an apartment. Ben, god bless ’em, is a nice guy while Jimmy reeks of “jerky best friend / asshole” and Ben is a bit conflicted, to say the least: “It made for a really fucking confusing existence—one interspersed with periods where all I could think about was what it would be like to let Jimmy fuck me, and ones where I was so irritated he was still around I was ready to smother him in his sleep.”
Over the course of the book, Ben and Jimmy work out their relationship and work together in the same diner Ben has worked in the last 10 years, all the while pondering what the future holds for them. However, I didn’t really sense any passion about either aspect – Jimmy is supposedly a famous chef with a high-demand restaurant but we never really get a sense of his love of food, nor how he became such a well-known chef. And while their relationships rekindles, I didn’t really feel any spark or sizzle. Also, the book is set in the 1990’s, but other than a few references to music of the era there are few details that evoke the era.
After finishing this book, I felt like I had eaten a meal that had all the basic nutrients, but didn’t have that “flavor profile” that would have made the food memorable (or maybe my literary taste buds are messed up!). My rating for “Home Skillet” is 3 stars.
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