06 December 2014

Heat by R.J. Scott and Chris Quinton

 Serving up passion, family, love and hate, with a side order of arson.

Lewis has lost nearly everything, and now it seems that Devon is here to take the last thing he has left working in his beloved restaurant, Laurels. But when an arsonist threatens everything Lewis loves, he realises sometimes everyone has their ghosts, and he discovers an unexpected ally who is prepared to risk everything for him.

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Set in the small cathedral city of Salisbury, Master Chef Lewis Mandineau no longer owns the Laurels, the restaurant that had been in his family for generations. Betrayed and robbed by an ex-lover, he's had to sell to Trelawney Enterprises, an American corporation. That isn't all Lewis has to contend with. Rachel, his beloved younger sister has been left severely hurt by the car crash that killed their parents, and taking care of her has to be his priority.

Enter Devon Trelawney III, sent to assess the viability of the restaurant and its staff. Devon knows all about family tradition. But he also knows sentiment has no place in business matters, and the Laurels' potential is swamped by the debts it has accrued. Devon is a hardheaded businessman, first and foremost, but Lewis and Rachel test his resolve in different ways. Soon Devon is forced to admit that what seems like an impossible love can sometimes become something very real.
This story was so much better than I was expecting, 5 rainbows.
This story has two main characters but a host of supporting cast so you feel like you are a part of the extend family.  Lewis Mandineau and his family have owned the restaurant Laurels for generations. But a trifecta of bad events in his life has made him sell to an American company. Trelawney Enterprises bought it and sent Devon Trelawney to assess whether it is the best interest to keep it open and pay off the debt one of the issues in Lewis’s past has created or sell, lock, stock and barrel. As we get into the story we find out over the past couple of years, Lewis parents were killed in an automobile accident that left his teenage sister with mental and developmental issues. While Lewis was dealing with that his ex-lover was scamming the restaurant, suppliers and anyone else of hundreds of thousands of pounds.  A court trail later, lover is in jail, restaurant is sold and Lewis, Rachel, Charlie and the other staff members of Laurels are picking up the pieces and meeting an arrogant, self important American.
Where to start, first: if you’ve not read these authors’ which sadly I had not?! These are British Authors, and they use real British words! Like lorry. I was fine, growing up in England; it was a slice of home. But I can see where people not use it can get confused. However I applaud them for sticking to the Queens English and not Americanizing it! I loved how they brought the history of the building, the family into the story and left out most of the cooking, I’m not a fan of chef, cook books. I enjoyed the internal struggle not just Lewis but Devon went through before we get the HEA. I enjoyed that they brought Rachel to the front of the story, and had us fall in love with Devon even when he’s being a jerk just because we can feel the connection he made with Rachel. I will be looking up the backlists of both these authors!
Heat is the story of two men, Lewis and Devon, who have been through a tremendous amount of pain – one through loss, the other through self-inflicted overworking and not feeling. But added to it are Lewis’ sister Rachel who may be an adult, but has the mental acuity of a child, a restaurant which is literally wood waiting to burn, annoyed employees, and tons of mentions of an old boyfriend who is the cause for the current meeting of Devon and Lewis.
Sound like it could be a book you could sink your teeth into? Yeah – unfortunately, as much as I wanted to love this book, like was about as close as I could get. The story never reached out and grabbed me. For one thing, I spotted the main plot point very quickly and could see how it would play out and who was behind it. Admittedly the why kind of made it sad, but there were never any big ‘ahh’ moments. Lewis and Devon went from being adversaries to lovers in the blink of an eye. In some stories that works. In this one it felt as though they were just tossed together too quickly.
The sex scenes (all two of them) were euphemistic to the point of not being there –which sometimes works and sometimes should be “just fade to black already”. Devon’s abrupt change of mind from selling the old restaurant to wanting to build it up to make it a success felt contrived. One moment, he wanted to just level the damned place and build a hotel and the next he desired to invest in the restaurant. All for his love for Lewis. As romantic as that is, there wasn’t enough preparation to make me understand how he changed so fast.  Did we want him to change? Yes! Of course we did, but I never felt connected with him as a character.
In fact, I wasn’t connected in any way with any of the characters. Quite honestly, I would have been more upset if they’d burnt down Laurels (the restaurant) than if Stan had actually succeeded in his jaded plan. I would have liked to become intimately connected to our two heroes. Instead, I still don’t know them. Lewis is a chef, Devon a CEO. Otherwise? I really don’t know anything about them – except the fact they fell in love and got engaged in a matter of 3 weeks. I don’t know their personality quirks, their senses of humor, or the way they truly look at the world.
I felt let down by Heat – it never lit me up. It was more like the heat you feel from the sun in the dead of winter. Of course, in that case, the title would have been Lukewarm and that wouldn’t have worked.


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