Image consultant Blake Matthews is facing his toughest PR challenge yet: salvage the image of celebrity chef Kirin Hart. Once he does, he’ll be able to acquire LA’s most successful PR firm. But Kirin’s no easy fix. She’s stubborn about changing her comfortable homemaker image, and is being sued for sexual harassment by a junior staffer. She needs a PR lifeline fast. Only problem is Blake wants more than to make her over….
Kirin doesn’t need a makeover–her fans love her as she is. But she could lose everything if the sex scandal and reputation that has followed doesn’t get quashed right away. Kirin agrees to let model-perfect Blake work his magic for two weeks, but things get complicated when she can’t deny the way her body flares to life whenever he’s near.
I was tickled when I heard that Entangled was having a tour for their July releases and they had the new Indulgence covers. New pretties! Then the higher thinking part of my brain kicked in and I read the synopsis for Dishing Up Desire and I was really snagged – it didn’t sound like anything I’d ever read before, so I was in.
Following public accusations of sexual harassment from a younger male employee, celebrity chef Kirin Hart’s reputation and business have taken a beating. In a last-ditch effort to salvage her brand, her board of directors has hired a P.R. firm to fix Kirin’s image problem. Image consultant Blake Matthews isn’t the first one to take on the job, but he plans on being the one to succeed – if he can get Kirin’s problem solved, the owners of the P.R. firm will sell to him.
Blake has no idea what he’s in for until he meets Kirin – it’s not so much that she’s not redeemable but she’s infuriatingly stubborn and has no interest in changing her image. She and her late husband spent years building up the warm, homey Hart brand and Blake is going to have to drag her kicking and screaming into anything else. Kirin was a bundle of insecurities and temper with side helpings of mule and hot mama. She made me laugh when she got up in Blake’s face about something and then I’d be a little teary with her when she rediscovered how beautiful she was. Blake was obnoxious in a totally oblivious way – he was late for everything just because he had other things to do, he was used to things being done his way because they always had been and he knew best about image because he’d been in the business for so long, so Kirin should just shut up and let him go about things. There was never any malice or thoughtlessness about it, it was just Blake. I loved how he thought about Kirin and honestly, how the author wrote about Blake’s appreciation for Kirin’s body. She wasn’t reduced to body parts or him drooling all over the place. He thought she was beautiful, that her body type was lovely and when it was combined with her – it revved him up. *swoon*
I think the thing I loved most about Dishing Up Desire was that while there was fantastic chemistry between Kirin and Blake, it wasn’t the story. When they met, there wasn’t insta-love or even all-consuming insta-lust. There was a sort of, “Hmm, he/she’s attractive, that’s nice. Well, hello story, let’s get you going first.” There was attraction that built, but the story was key and it was really refreshing and interesting. This is going to make me sound as shallow as a puddle, but I run like the wind away from any book where the heroine is older than the hero. I didn’t know Blake was going to be younger than Kirin by five years and – I can’t believe I’m going to say this, and it may be the only time so someone better copy, paste and save it for posterity – I liked that he was. I think it was because he viewed his looks as a skill that he’d honed rather than a gift he’d been given that I never saw him as a hot guy that should only be with a model. When they did get physical, it felt like it was because the time was right. Blake had his secrets, but I still could believe a relationship might happen between them.
As if you couldn’t tell, I really enjoyed Dishing Up Desire. I loved Blake and Kirin’s delicious chemistry and fun dialogue and the maturity of the storyline and writing really appealed to me. I don’t think I’ll ever really love older woman/younger man romances – even if the heroine is only older by a year and even if they guy is David Gandy-esque – but this one worked. I wished there had been more cooking or at least a whipped cream and chocolate scene, but I closed the book with a smile anyway.
Barbara is giving away an ebook copy of Contract for Marriage. All you need to do to enter is leave a comment today – open to my international peeps. I’ll draw the winner tomorrow morning, so good luck!
Contract for Marriage
By Barbara DeLeo
Publisher: Entangled: Indulgence
Publication Date: September 15, 2012
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Pregnant and alone after her ex-lover’s death, magazine editor Ruby Fleming’s not about to give up her home to the man who broke her heart—until she discovers her mother left half of the estate to somebody else, and she realizes she’s trapped.
Property tycoon Christo Mantazis wants the one thing his riches can’t buy—the villa where his mother has lived and worked as housekeeper for forty years. That it’s the same house he was banished from after being caught making love to the owner’s irresistible daughter stirs up old memories, and now he wants her more than ever.