Rating: 4 stars out of 5
Bradford Tolliver, Tully, is a contract lawyer who is very successful at his job. Whether he is as successful in his personal life is questionable. When his colleague, Carrie, asks for a favor he’s a little bewildered as to what it could be. I loved that he jumps to the conclusion that Carrie and her wife wanted him to father their children and loved even more that he was willing. The favor, alas, is something completely different. Let her cousin, Sage Filling (gah, that name), live with him for a while and definitely not permanently while he earns money.
Sage is a chef who had to give up his family’s restaurant, the Filling Station, and who is right now working at neighborhood Dolly’s as a cook. The food descriptions alone made this work for me. While Tully has a state of the art espresso machine, worth more than Sage’s car, he really doesn’t cook. Sage, on the other hand, is gourmet and as they spend more time living together, Sage begins leaving food for Tully. Some of the things he cooked I would have loved to try, especially the spicy eggs he leaves Tully for breakfast. “What would you call it?” Sage asked. “Heaven in a bowl.”
Sage goes home every weekend but he begins leaving food for Tully. Tully may be a cutthroat lawyer but he’s a teddy bear inside. When he orders all sorts of kitchen equipment so Sage can cook for them, he uses overnight shipping and orders the best of everything. Then feels remorseful for “showing off.” Tully remembers what it’s like to have empty pockets.
We get to know each of them as themselves before they start being a couple. This is not an instant relationship. They begin as strangers, working odd hours and sometimes not even seeing each other. It progresses to the food Sage leaves and the notes Tully leaves, then they begin to become friends before they start to be more. The problem, of course, is that there is an end date. Sage is going back home to Hair Shaker.
There is also the issue of their different social standing. Tully is very wealthy, Sage is in the city because he desperately needs money and family issues demand he return to Hair Shaker. Add in the extremely wealthy ex of Tully’s, Eddie, who wants him back and also sees to it that Tully is working for him (through the firm) and basically gets into a pis*ing contest with Sage. I thought it was funny until Tully pukes on Eddie’s shoes. Tully knows what he wants but is fighting it. “Stop it. Stop it right now, Tully commanded himself every time he swooned over Sage. He crafted a zillion airtight arguments about why falling for Sage was a sucktastic idea, even going so far as to cite precedent.” I loved it.
This is part of the Dreamspinner Dreamspun line, so it of course is a little bit fairy tale (especially the ending) but that’s what I expected and it didn’t disappoint. So cute and fluffy.
The audio is narrated by Kenneth Obi and I felt he did a good job. His voice carries inflection. I would have appreciated a little more differentiating between the various voices but Kenneth made them different enough that I had no trouble knowing who was talking.
The cover art by Bree Archer shows Tully in a suit with a city backdrop. While it is a decent enough cover, I would have preferred Sage to be on it, or even Hair Shaker, to make it a little different than the usual.
Published June 5th 2018 by Dreamspinner Press LLC (first published April 17th 2018)
Original TitleA Full Plate
Edition LanguageEnglishsettingPortland, Oregon (United States)