by Elaine Fox

March 2005
ISBN: 0-06-074059-0
Reviewer Graphic Button Avon Books
Mass Market Paperback

Roxanne Rayeaux has left her days as a swimsuit model behind and wants to take her savings to open a French bistro style restaurant. She buys Charters Fish House, which had its day in the sun, but now seems on a downward spiral. She plans to remodel and bring in a renowned chef and a snooty, but respected maitre d'. Roxanne meets with the current staff and gives them a chance to stay on or leave. Longtime bartender, Steve Serrano, is not thrilled with all the changes but agrees to stay on.

Roxanne and Steve are attracted to each other, but are rightfully afraid of a personal relationship, which could jeopardize their work relationship. They are thrown together not only in their mutual desire to make the restaurant succeed, but also by scary break-ins and a missing treasure which have them working as sleuths to help the police.

Roxanne and Steve work well as heroine and hero in showing love can overcome many obstacles. Roxanne has to work to overcome her notion that a man who has been "stuck" as a bartender for many years may have too many issues. She also seems to want to hide her past, which she sees as an obstacle to being taken as a serious professional, despite her training as a pastry chef and a childhood spent in her parents' restaurant. Steve has to overcome Roxanne's strong, highly opinionated personality and see the woman underneath who still wants love and acceptance.

A charming touch, that ties in with the title, is the drink or dessert special at the start of each chapter. There are enough to keep the reader in yummy treats for a long time. The behind the scenes workings of a restaurant seem well researched and lend depth and authenticity to the plot. Verbal sparring adds wit and humor to this entertaining novel.

Special of the Day is bound to be another hit for Ms. Fox. If you have never read her novels before, you will want to check out her back list. They are "must reads" for all fans of contemporary romance.

Reviewed in February 2005 by Roberta.

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