Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
Lewis Mandineau is at the lowest point of his life. His parents were killed by a drunk lorry driver, a crash that left his beloved sister, Rachel, with brain damage and the functional age of a child. Worse still, in the months after while Lewis was trying to cope with his loss and tend to his sister, his boyfriend at the time betrayed and stole from his family’s historic restaurant, Laurels. Now, the unthinkable has happened. Laurels, the restaurant that had been in his family for generations had to be sold to Trelawney Enterprises, an American corporation, to repay the debts incurred by his ex lover and restore the Mandineau name.
Enter Devon Trelawney III of Trelawney Enterprises. Sent by his father 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 ready to arrive, assess and leave with the recommendation that Laurels be sold. But nothing has prepared Devon for the impact that Lewis, Rachel, and Laurels itself will have on him and his future.
While Lewis and Devon are adjusting to each others presence, their attraction, and the possibility of more to come, other restaurants in the area are set aflame. As the heat increases between a grief stricken chef and a hard nosed businessman with a plan, will the obstacles around them crumble or mount higher than ever before?
Heat by Chris Quinton and RJ Scott grabbed at my heartstrings right from the beginning of their story and never let go. From the moment we meet Lewis and his sister, Rachel, their situation and love for each other pulls the readers into their lives and heartbreaking present. Lewis is an especially appealing and romantic figure. A chef, surrounded by long term, almost family, employees, Lewis is a man under attack from all directions. The pain and loss of his parents, the betrayal of a man he loved and trusted, his sister’s brain damage and now total care, now Lewis must deal with the devastating loss of Laurels, a family owned restaurant that has been theirs for hundreds of years. That Scott and Quinton make the character of Lewis such a believably honorable, gentle soul makes his situation all the more heartrending to all around him and the readers as well.
At the same time we meet Lewis, we are also introduced to the confused, damaged 19 year old sister, Rachel. And your heart is broken all over again. The debilitating impact of the crash upon Rachel turns her into a child, one that loves Jelly Babies along with her brother. Again, Scott and Quinton have done with research with Rachel, so that her behavior that wavers along with the emotional atmosphere at the restaurant is in line with realistic profile of someone with the same type of brain damage this character has incurred. I adored her. You will too. Plus I think I have found a new candy addiction as well.
A harder nut to crack, per se, is the character of Devon Trelawney. His first appearance puts everyone on guard, from the Mandineaus to the readers. The authors make his personal growth and change in outlook such a strong element of this story that when the “real” Devon Trelawney emerges he takes our breathe away with his warmth and caring. That switch allows us the embrace his relationship with Lewis, Rachel, and beyond. This romance aspect of Heat is charming and oh so hot! Trust me, the heat is not restricted just to the kitchen here (but yes, that kitchen is a very sexy place too), but all over Laurels and the intense attraction that flares up between these not too dissimilar men.
I finished the story and then made sure I had it right. Heat is but the first in a new series entitled Salisbury Stories from RJ Scott and Chris Quinton. If this book is any indication, then Heat and the Salisbury Stories will be on everyones “must have, must read” list for the year and beyond. But don’t take my word for it. Pick up Heat (Salisbury Stories #1) today and begin your introduction to these captivating characters, their restaurant, and a romance to cheer for. Its a definite recommended read here at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words and a sumptuous banquet for all lovers of romance and hot men.
Cover art by Meredith Russell. Russell delivers a wonderful cover, complete with charming location.
Sales Links: Love Lane Books All Romance eBooks amazon Heat (Salisbury Stories#1)
book, 205 pages
Published October 24th 2014 by Love Lane Books Limited (first published October 23rd 2014)
seriesSalisbury Stories #1