Title: Recipe for Romance
Author: Ari McKay
Publisher: Ari McKay
Release Date: June 28th, 2019
Page Count: 455
Reviewed by: Kirstin
Heat Level: 2 flames out of 5
Rating: 3.25 stars out of 5
Four couples, four different stories — and one spicy Recipe for Romance from author Ari McKay!
Welcome to Montgomery House, Charleston’s finest restaurant. When you walk in the front doors of the stately former mansion, you’ll be surrounded by true Southern charm. Owner Rhys Montgomery will personally welcome you, while the tantalizing scents of Executive Chef Stephen Pierce’s latest culinary masterpiece linger in the air. Enjoy a walk in the gardens or an elegant meal in the dining room, as you watch the love stories play out around you…
Bay Leaves and Bachelors — Clay Turner’s heart was broken by a wealthy man who said he was boring. When rich, outgoing restaurateur Rhys Montgomery sets his sights on the quiet academic, drawn in by Clay’s intelligence and sex appeal, he finds he has an uphill battle to win Clay’s trust. Can Rhys burrow his way into Clay’s heart, or will Clay’s insecurity become a wall between them that not even true love can break down?
Fennel and Forgiveness — Seven years ago, Max Boyd broke Darius Cooper’s heart. Darius wanted a commitment, and Max wanted to focus on his career in Georgia’s television industry. Their ten year difference in age and experience tore them apart, but fate throws them back together when Max arrives at the Montgomery House, where Darius now works. Will Southern Wedding Belles bring them a second chance for love or is Darius’s trust too shattered for Max to heal?
Ginger and Gentlemen — Ian Pierce has lived in his older brother Stephen’s shadow his entire life, always feeling second best. His best friend, Matt Davis, is the only person he trusts to be on his side. Despite being in dire financial straits, Ian wants to refuse Stephen’s request to film an episode of Mouth of the South at Ian’s restaurant, but the bonus money offered in the contract is too much to resist. He accepts without knowing the hefty bonus comes from Matt, not the production company. Will Ian feel betrayed by the one person he trusts above all others when he finds out, or will Matt’s desire to help Ian succeed even at his own financial risk take them from friends to lovers at last?
Cinnamon and Seduction — Chef Stephen Pierce has talent and a determination to succeed that is matched only by his fierce temper and prickly personality. Yet his long-suffering personal assistant, Robert Logan, has carried a torch for Stephen since the day they met. Everyone around Montgomery House knows Robert is in love with Stephen — everyone, that is, except Stephen himself. Can Rhys, Clay, Darius, Max, Ian, and Matt find a way to make Stephen see that Robert is the perfect man for him, or will even Robert’s legendary talent for matchmaking fail to win him the man he loves?
Rhys Montgomery is kind of a big deal in Charleston. He’s the owner of the Montgomery House, a former mansion that’s been completely renovated and turned into a restaurant and rental hall for catered events. It’s within this house that all 4 stories are set.
Bay Leaves and Bachelors is the story of Rhys, the mansion owner himself. When he sees a diner at the restaurant one night he knows he wants him and tries his hardest to get him. Unfortunately, Clay Turner, historian, has been harboring issues from his last failed relationship and isn’t very quick to trust.
Fennel and Forgiveness is the second chance age gap story of Darius Cooper, the maitre d of the Montgomery House and his long time ex, Max. When Max shows up to film a wedding, he sees Darius for the first time in 7 years. He had told Darius he wasn’t looking for long term back then, but he made a mistake and now it up to him to convince Darius that he’ll stick around this time.
Ginger and Gentlemen is the friends to lovers romance of Matt and Ian. Ian accepts his brother’s request to be on his cooking show to save his diner with the help of Matt, his best friend and business manager. But Matt wants to help him succeed and does so without Ian’s knowledge. Trust is a difficult thing to bridge.
Cinnamon and Seduction is the story of Robert and Stephen, the chef and his assistant, who have been talking around romance forever. Both oblivious to their obvious connection, it takes the whole of the business to get involved to show them what they’ve been missing.
If you are looking for a few fun, relatable, quick reads, this is a great place to go. Given that all of the stories are related, you get more and more glimpses into the relationships and the characters as you read their tales. Each story is unique in the issues and romance.
I was a bit disappointed at the lack of character depth. Given the length of each novella, it’s difficult to accomplish, however I felt a bit lackluster at each of the couple’s relationships. I had hoped for a bit more spark, though I felt the more I read, the better it became.