Tuesday, March 10, 2015

A Taste of You by Irene Preston

Title: A Taste of You
Author: Irene Preston
My Rating: A

Genre: Contemporary Romance (m/m)
Series: Unexpected Heroes #1
Main Characters: Garrett and Carlo
Release Date: March 2015
Publisher: Fated Desires
Links to Purchase:
Sexual Intensity: hot

Story Overview:
Hell’s Kitchen has nothing on the flames Giancarlo and Garrett ignite at Restaurant Ransom...

Garrett Ransom is America’s hot chef du jour. He has a Michelin-starred restaurant in New York City, a hit reality TV show, and a new man in his bed every week. Yes, he secretly thinks his business partner, Giancarlo “Carlo” Rotolo, is hotter than a ghost pepper, but he would never jeopardize their friendship with a fling. Then Garrett overhears some juicy gossip among the crew and realizes he’ll have to break Giancarlo’s cardinal rule, no banging the staff - for Carlo’s own good, of course. Just a taste of Carlo should be plenty. Long-term relationships aren’t on Garrett’s menu.

Giancarlo’s been in love with Garrett forever. He’s sure Garrett will eventually realize they are destined to be more than business partners. But when Garrett installs his latest boyfriend as their new chef d’cuisine and announces plans to leave Carlo in New York while he opens a second restaurant on the west coast, Carlo is forced to re-evaluate his life. 

Can a high-strung British chef and a nice Italian boy from Brooklyn find the perfect fusion of fine-dining and family-style?

My Review:
I have always enjoyed food themed books, but this one was an especially good one. Carlo and Garrett have been partners forever. Carlo has the business smarts. Garrett is the talent. They have a very successful restaurant in NYC and Garrett has a very successful TV show in California. For years, they've balanced their very close friendship. What neither has ever admitted though is that they are interested in something more in their relationship. 

I love a friends to lovers trope, but this one is made so good by Garrett, because Garrett has issues. He has extreme OCD and isn't so great with interpersonal relationships. He reminded me a lot of Sheldon on Big Bang Theory, but instead of physics, he's obsessed with food...to the point that he usually can't eat out or other people's food because they don't do it "right." But Carlo has worked with Garrett a long time...he understands his idiosyncrasies  He just doesn't quite get how that translates into a relationship with the man.

Huge kudos to the author for showing Garrett's OCD so beautifully in this book. It's obvious from the start that he's particular, but I loved the way she slowly revealed just how debilitating his affliction is and how it affects every part of his life. 

Watching their relationship develop was both painful and rewarding. There were many times when I was left with a smile on my face after a scene between them. Carlo is so good for Garrett, even when neither man thinks this relationship will work out long term. Neither wants to lose either their friendship or romance, but Garrett has the worst track record with men. The difference is Carlo knows and accepts Garrett's issues. 

And of course, we have to talk food. The author did a great job showing all the many layers and contrasts in the foods...from the tiny artistic portions at the restaurant versus the huge thrown together Italian meals at Carlo's family gatherings. The food (and Garrett's issues with them) play a huge role in this book and I loved how the author used that to further the story perfectly. 

It's definitely a book I recommend, especially if you are a foodie. I am not a foodie, but I loved it all the same. I live vicariously through the foodie's in the restaurant themed stories.

I received a complimentary copy of this book in return for an honest review.

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