Review: A Chef's Kiss
A CHEF'S KISS - Nina Crespo
Small Town Secrets (Book #1)
Harlequin Special Edition
BUY
Cheryl McNeil (A)
CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE
REVIEW: A CHEF’S KISS is the first book in a new series by Nina Crespo. Book #1 features Philippa Gayle, the Executive chef of the Pasture Lane Restaurant at Tillbridge. Readers will remember Philippa’s best friend Rina from the Tillbridge Stables Series. Six years ago, Philippa was in competition with Dominic Crawford for a sous chef position at an exclusive resort. The two had a fling that Philippa ended out of fear that she wasn’t good enough. In the present day, Philippa is shocked to see Dominic enter her restaurant. Dominic is now a celebrity who, unbeknownst to Philippa, is the featured chef tasked to work with her on a star-studded movie release party in the area.

Dominic’s career has taken off over the years. He is the owner of a successful restaurant, has written two cookbooks and made it to the finals of a celebrity chef cooking show. Despite his success, something has been missing for Dominic. He’s excited to work with Philippa as her equal, but more importantly, wants answers for why she ended things the way she did. Philippa is passionate about the food and laser focused on ensuring the event is successful.

As Philippa and Dominic work together, it is interesting to see how they have grown. Some of the dreams and goals they talked about when they were together have come true. They are also reminded of the deep connection they had, and continue to share. Once they are honest with themselves, feelings come rushing back. The same passion they have for creating a wonderful dish, is shared with each other.
Dominic never stopped caring about Philippa. She tries to protect her heart, but it’s too hot in the kitchen. There are plenty of kisses, and a lot more, shared between these two. There is some drama that Philippa and Dominic have to contend with; like his celebrity status being the talk of the small town and unresolved issues from the past.

Ms. Crespo pulls back the layers of these characters. It’s interesting that Philippa gives great advice to her staff, but doesn’t follow it herself. Also, as successful as Dominic is, at some point, he doesn’t realize he has lost his sense of purpose. Ms. Crespo features interesting food dishes as a side character in her stories. This is especially true in
A CHEF’S KISS. The story is rounded out with characters from the Tillbridge Stables Series and new characters as well. This is a great start to a new series and I highly recommend it.

22th February 2022 | romcol@caribsurf.com
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