Series: Recipe for Romance
Author: Ari McKay
Length: Collection, 4 Novellas (455 pages)
Publisher: Ari McKay (28 June 2019)
Heat Level: Moderate
Heart Rating: 💖💖💖💖💖 4 1/2 Hearts (Combined)
Blurb: Four couples, four different stories — and one spicy Recipe for Romance from author Ari McKay!
Welcome to Montgomery House, Charleston’s finest restaurant. When you walk in the front doors of the stately former mansion, you’ll be surrounded by true Southern charm. Owner Rhys Montgomery will personally welcome you, while the tantalizing scents of Executive Chef Stephen Pierce’s latest culinary masterpiece linger in the air. Enjoy a walk in the gardens or an elegant meal in the dining room, as you watch the love stories play out around you…
Bay Leaves and Bachelors — Clay Turner’s heart was broken by a wealthy man who said he was boring. When rich, outgoing restaurateur Rhys Montgomery sets his sights on the quiet academic, drawn in by Clay’s intelligence and sex appeal, he finds he has an uphill battle to win Clay’s trust. Can Rhys burrow his way into Clay’s heart, or will Clay’s insecurity become a wall between them that not even true love can break down?
Fennel and Forgiveness — Seven years ago, Max Boyd broke Darius Cooper’s heart. Darius wanted a commitment, and Max wanted to focus on his career in Georgia’s television industry. Their ten year difference in age and experience tore them apart, but fate throws them back together when Max arrives at the Montgomery House, where Darius now works. Will Southern Wedding Belles bring them a second chance for love or is Darius’s trust too shattered for Max to heal?
Ginger and Gentlemen — Ian Pierce has lived in his older brother Stephen’s shadow his entire life, always feeling second best. His best friend, Matt Davis, is the only person he trusts to be on his side. Despite being in dire financial straits, Ian wants to refuse Stephen’s request to film an episode of Mouth of the South at Ian’s restaurant, but the bonus money offered in the contract is too much to resist. He accepts without knowing the hefty bonus comes from Matt, not the production company. Will Ian feel betrayed by the one person he trusts above all others when he finds out, or will Matt’s desire to help Ian succeed even at his own financial risk take them from friends to lovers at last?
Cinnamon and Seduction — Chef Stephen Pierce has talent and a determination to succeed that is matched only by his fierce temper and prickly personality. Yet his long-suffering personal assistant, Robert Logan, has carried a torch for Stephen since the day they met. Everyone around Montgomery House knows Robert is in love with Stephen — everyone, that is, except Stephen himself. Can Rhys, Clay, Darius, Max, Ian, and Matt find a way to make Stephen see that Robert is the perfect man for him, or will even Robert’s legendary talent for matchmaking fail to win him the man he loves?
Review: Recipe for Romance is a collection of the novellas that make up Ari McKay’s self-published series, Recipe for Romance. Set in the world of Montgomery House, Charlestown’s finest restaurant, which is run by some of the strongest, and maybe temperamental, men in the business. This is a successful establishment that owner Rhys prides for being authentic from the building to the food.
Overall, this is a thoroughly enjoyable series filled with passionate and relatable characters, who have their hearts on their sleeves and have great chemistry with their significant others. Since this is a collection of four stories, I’m going to do a brief review of each.
Bay Leaves and Bachelors
Heart Rating: 💖💖💖💖💖 5 Hearts
Bay Leaves and Bachelors is the story of Clay Turner and Rhys Montgomery. Clay is a quiet and reserved man for the most part, he is passionate about history, though. He is a respected historian in Charlestown and is impressed with what he sees when he goes to historic Montgomery House. Rhys Montgomery, the owner and is just as concerned about fine food as he is about keeping the heart of the historic building. The sparks between the men are instant but Rhys has to work hard to show Clay that he isn’t just a spoiled rich guy who is just going to use him.
Clay has a lot of walls built up around his heart but there is so much about Rhys to love. I found it so easy to relate to both characters, in the world of old money they are totally relatable guys.
Fennel and Forgiveness
Heart Rating: 💖💖💖💖💖 4.5 Hearts
Fennel and Forgiveness is a story about second chances. Some years ago, Max Boyd broke up with Darius Cooper. Cooper saw his happily ever after with Max, but Max wasn’t ready and instead wanted to focus on his career in the TV industry. But life has a funny way of throwing people together and after seven years they are pulled together when Max’s job on a reality TV show brings him back to Charlestown and Montgomery House, where Darius works.
These guys have a lot of chemistry and they have a lot going on between them. I was instantly pulled into their story as I hoped that they got the second chance that they deserved.
Ginger and Gentlemen
Heart Rating: 💖💖💖💖 4 Hearts
In Ginger and Gentlemen we meet the brother of one of the characters I’ve become most intrigued by, Stephen the head chef of Montgomery House and Ian Pierce his brother. Ian has been compared to Stephen his whole life and he resents everything about Stephen. Matt Davis, Ian’s best friend, has always been by Ian’s side and has helped him in his own business. However, unlike his big brother Ian is struggling and he needs to put aside his pride when his brother Stephen wants to film an episode of his new TV show at Ian’s place. Add onto that Matt has a bit of a knight in shining armour thing going on, he will do anything to help Ian and make him happy.
It’s not surprising that things begin to change between them. It’s a relationship that works really well, though I found Ian a little annoying and hard-headed at times, he learnt to let go.
Cinnamon and Seduction
Heart Rating: 💖💖💖💖💖 5 Hearts
Cinnamon and Seduction is the story of Chef Stephen Pierce and his personal assistant Robert Logan. This has been the story that I’ve seen coming and was waiting for when I got about halfway through the first story in this series. Stephen, who has the reputation of being a hard-nosed head chef, hasn’t really had time for romance and hasn’t noticed that Robert, the man he depends on for so much in his life, is actually falling in love with him. Everyone at Montgomery House has a soft spot for Robert, after all the guy is a hopeless romantic who had a hand in the romances of his friends in the first three books of this series. The trick is showing Stephen, who has now taken off as a celebrity chef and has always taken pride in his work, that Robert is so much more to him than a personal assistant.
I was not disappointed by Stephen’s and Robert’s story and it was a wonderful way to end the story. Both characters are quite complex, having been present throughout the series. This is by far my most favourite book in the series.