Savor You by Kristen Proby
Contemporary romance released by HarperCollins on April 24, 2018
In the next sizzling romance in Kristen Proby’s New York Times bestselling Fusion series, two celebrity chefs compete in a culinary competition, but resisting each other will prove to be the greater challenge.
Cooking isn’t what Mia Palazzo does, it’s who she is. Food is her passion . . . her pride . . . her true love. She’s built a stellar menu full of delicious and sexy meals for her restaurant, Seduction. Now, after being open for only a few short years, Mia’s restaurant is being featured on Best Bites TV. To say Seduction is a wild success is an understatement. All the blood, sweat, tears, and endless hours of work Mia has put into the restaurant has finally paid off.
Then Camden Sawyer, the biggest mistake of her life, walks into her kitchen . . .
Camden’s celebrity chef status is world-renowned. He’s the best there is, and the kitchen is where he’s most at home. He can’t resist the invitation to Portland for a showdown against Mia for a new television show. Mia was in his life years ago, and just like before, he’s met his match in the beautiful Italian spitfire. The way she commands the kitchen is mesmerizing, and her recipes are clever and delicious. He’s never had qualms about competition, and this is no different. He can’t wait to go head to head with Mia. But can he convince her the chemistry they share in the kitchen would be just as great in the bedroom as well?
As Mia and Camden face off, neither realizes how high the stakes are as their reputations are put on the line and their hearts are put to the ultimate test.
There were chefs and second chance romances in this book, and it was really good. Camden and Mia have history—and not the cute kind of history. They have the I-walked-out-on-you kind of history. But not many people know about it—Camden’s sister knows, and eventually Mia’s brother learns about it, but mostly, other people have no idea why Mia doesn’t want to do a TV show with this super famous celebrity chef who is appealing to the eye. I really enjoyed how Mia and Camden talked out all of their issues—not just to work out their history, but when they stepped on each other’s feelings; they respect each other professionally and they have a network of friends/family. However, it did start to drag towards the end for me.
Mia is honest—about all the gross aspects of sex and the pressure society places on women. For example, there’s a sex-while-showering scene and Mia tells Cam the reasons why that isn’t going to work for her. And Cam listens to her reasons and comes up with a work-around that preserves the sexy times but also takes Mia’s point into account. She also explains how people expect her to nice and not take up a lot of physical room. This isn’t just Mia saying it, though, we also see it happen to her. For example, Mia, Cam and her friends go out to celebrate and the waitress tells Mia that she won’t fit in the corner seat at the table. One of Mia’s parents tells her she has “birthing hips,” which I didn’t know was a phrase people still used today. And Mia’s staff get really upset when she’s (rightfully) frustrated with them for not putting in equivalent, or even minimal, amounts of effort at the restaurant. Mia has worked very hard for many years to get to where she (and her friends) is at in her career in this book, and she has no time for people who aren’t willing to work just as hard and/or don’t respect her in the workplace. In case it wasn’t clear, she’s plus-sized and not in a faux-plus-sized way, I don’t think—by which I mean the author tells us a character is curvy but the telling doesn’t match the describing. In this case, the Mia’s awareness of her body matches with the description of her body, but Cam and her friends don’t judge her for her body’s shape the way she does internally or the way the general world does externally. This was great to read.
Camden is driven, like Mia, but he manifests his driven-ness differently; he’s the I’ll-quietly-take-care-of-this-and-also-get-on-with-world-domination kind of driven, not the let-me-tell-you-loudly-why-I’m-the-most-qualified kind of driven. There’s this cute scene in the first chapters of the book where they’re shooting an episode for their TV show and Mia is too short to reach something on a shelf. Camden is cooking, but he quickly walks over and gets whatever Mia is trying to reach—and doesn’t mess up his recipe. He is also an actions, not words, kind of a guy, so when he’s working up to telling Mia that he loves her, he plans this great trip for them with things he knows will make Mia really happy. And, like I said before, he takes care of Mia. He doesn’t want Mia to change fundamentally, and goes out of his way to make sure she’s having a good time—dancing and cheesecake and comedy shows are involved.
Which is not to say that they don’t step on each other’s feelings. For one thing, Mia walked out on Camden at the beginning of the book, and for years neither of them understood each other’s motivations (Camden didn’t understand the emotional reasoning behind Mia leaving, and Mia didn’t understand the emotional reasoning of Camden not coming after her). But they talk it out, eventually. And when they step on each other’s feelings later on in the book—and it was a bad one, let me tell you—they talk it out. There was apologizing, and possibly dessert offered in penance. And last but not least, they respect each other professionally. Mia trusts Camden to cook in her kitchen, which is pretty rare, and Camden is fully aware of how much Mia loves the restaurant and how hard she’s worked to make it a success. And Mia never assumes that Camden will give up his career for her because she understands how much he’s worked for it.
I will say that this book dragged for me towards the end, but that’s because there are two big conflicts in the book, one for Mia and one for Camden, and they’re spaced relatively far apart. But it does pay off in the end. I believe this is the last book in the series, so the epilogue serves as a send-off for all of the characters introduced over the length of the series. That being said, it reads well as a stand-alone book.
If you want to see a group of good lady friends be successful and happy and still talk about the horrors of sex life, and read about cheesecake, go get this book. It has all of those things.
You can buy a copy here.