by Louisa Edwards

March 2010
ISBN: 978-0-312-35646-0
Reviewer Graphic Button St. Martin`s Press
Mass Market Paperback

Celebrity chef Devon Sparks is a self-made man who appreciates his fame, but not necessarily all of the encumbrances. Fresh off a round of filming his television series he would love to kick back and relax. Unfortunately he is helping out a friend instead. What was he thinking?

Sure, running the kitchen of Market, his friend Adam Temple's restaurant should be a walk in the park. The popular eatery has a strong staff who can easily continue with Adam's menu. Devon just plans on cracking the whip to keep them lively and to introduce some new flavors to the established offerings. He did not count on surly employees and less-than-stellar acceptance of his “improvements”. What else can go wrong?

Be careful what you wish for. Matters spin out of control on two fronts. First of all, his one night stand with Virginia native Lilah Jane Tunkle gets complicated. She is rooming with Market's service manager, Grant, and has taken a job bussing tables at the restaurant. So much for never laying eyes on the southern beauty again. Of course, if he were honest with himself, he really did want to see her. But he will never admit it and lives up to his reputation as an arrogant jerk. Then, out of the blue, his young son arrives on the scene. Devon is a poor father figure at best, just throwing money and gifts at the boy. When he needs to take temporary custody, Lilah offers to help.

The second in Louisa Edwards' A Recipe For Love series, On the Steamy Side is a delight from cover to cover. The staff at Market is up to their usual shenanigans, and poking Devon with a sharp stick is one of their favorite games. The celebri-chef really does need his ego pricked from time to time and they all play with knives. The spicy interaction between Lilah and Devon is just this side of spontaneous combustion and the flames won't go out.

My favorite aspect is how skillfully Ms. Edwards weaves emotional subjects throughout the novel. Devon has a load of baggage that has spilled open with his son's arrival. Lilah has her own demons to conquer, as well. The blending of these stories into the passionate romance makes On the Steamy Side much more than a sexy romance. It gives the novel depth and humanity. This series is headed for my keeper shelves.

Reviewed in February 2010 by Paula.

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