When Joy Ballardís down-home cooking show Dining with Joy is picked up by a major network, Joy starts looking for a way out. After all, she canít cook. Her old producer knew this and allowed all the cooking to be done by the prep person. But she hates the idea of lying to her new producer.
When Joy is forced into a cook-off, which she normally avoids, Luke Davis, a trained chef, saves her skin, helping her to win the cook-off. Joy rewards him with a spontaneous kiss which is recorded on camera. But then Joyís producer offers Luke a spot on the show since she likes the chemistry between Joy and Luke.
Luke accepts because he is facing debts that need to be paid and wants to regain his reputation in the elite foodie world. But what will happen when Joy is exposed? Will it ruin Luke and Joy both? Or offer them both new opportunities?
Dining with Joy is the sequel to Love Starts with Elle, but it easily stands alone. Iíve read all of Ms. Hauckís books so far, but this one is easily the best one. I loved every minute of the sparks between Joy and Luke; it is the type of romance I like where the attraction is immediate and not a hate-relationship forced into love.
Luke and Joy are very well developed, as are some of the secondary characters. Some of the secondary characters are no more than talking heads though. And my biggest complaint is, there is some low country slang (or endearments?) that I donít understand which pulled me out of the story, and that some of the sentences appear to be unfinished. But I was reading an Advanced Reader Copy, so that might be fixed in the final copy. All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed this book and definitely think Dining with Joy is Ms. Hauckís best one yet. Some recipes, as well as discussion questions, and an interview are included at the end of the book.