Tag Archives: Kate Meader

Review: Playing with Fire by Kate Meader

Mary’s Review of Playing with Fire (Hot In Chicago Series Book 3) by Kate Meader
Contemporary Romance released by Pocket Books September 29, 2015

As the only female firefighter at Engine Co. 6, Alexandra Dempsey gets it from all sides: the male coworkers who think she can’t do the job, the wives and girlfriends who see her as a threat to their firefighter men, and her overprotective foster brothers who want to shelter their baby sister at all costs. So when she single-handedly saves the life of Eli Cooper, Chicago’s devastatingly handsome mayor, she assumes the respect she’s longed for will finally come her way. But it seems Mr. Mayor has other ideas…

Eli Cooper’s mayoral ratings are plummeting, his chances at reelection dead in the water. When a sexy, curvaceous firefighter gives him the kiss of life, she does more than bring him back to the land of the living—she also breathes vitality into his campaign. Riding the wave of their feel-good story might prop up Eli’s flagging political fortunes, but the sizzling attraction between them can go nowhere; he’s her boss, and there are rules that must be obeyed. But you know what they say about rules: they’re made to be broken…

Enemies-to-lover’s is a trope I can never get enough of. It’s also one that’s difficult to pull off well. This book (sadly) has been languishing in my TBR pile for months and months. Had I known how good it was, I would have read it much sooner!

Alexandra – called Alex by everyone except Eli – is one tough lady. She’s smart, loyal to a fault, mouthy and quick tempered. Not from lack of trying, she’s also having terrible luck in the dating department. All the frogs she’s had dinner with can’t manage to make it past the first date. To make matters worse, the one man she finds irresistible is the same one she can’t stand. When her past mistakes come back to haunt her, she’ll have to make a deal with the devil.

Eli is arrogant, domineering and has a decidedly backwards view of the world. He believes women shouldn’t be firefighters (probably also cops, Marines, etc. You get the picture). He’s a former Marine himself, a POW, and the current mayor of Chicago. With the re-election too close to call, he’s in desperate need of a ratings boost. Too bad it comes in the package of a fiery red-headed, female firefighter.

These two were perfect together. From the first chapter I was hooked and couldn’t get enough. Everything Eli gave, Alex turned it right back. The banter was fantastic, the chemistry electric. It was clear from the first page, the two of them were sniping at each other but under all that antagonism was real attraction. The pacing was well done and there was constant movement forward. As their walls started breaking down, and feelings became real, both of them didn’t shy away from addressing their different points of view.

My only complaint is with the final conflict. It felt a bit over-the-top. Alex reacted in a way I found immature and, while she apologized, she wasn’t the one groveling. Eli’s choices to get Alex back were more than what should have been required. In the end, I didn’t feel Alex grew in the way she should have but Eli did.

Overall, I enjoyed this book and will definitely pick up another by this author. And this time,  I won’t let it linger on my TBR for very long!

Grade: B

You can read an excerpt here and buy a copy here.

Teaser Tuesday Exclusive Excerpt: Feel the Heat by Kate Meader

Hi friends! Today we have the fabulous Kate Meader visiting with us! And it’s a foodie romance! If you know anything about me, you might know I’m something of a foodie. In fact, I got a little distracted last night – discussing bacon jam. O_o I’m not sold – but hey. What’s life without new things. And speaking of new – and exclusive excerpt of Kate’s new book!

Thanks so much to Limecello for letting me share an exclusive excerpt from my foodie romance, Feel the Heat. This is the first in my Chicago-set Hot in the Kitchen series about an Italian restaurant-owning family and the sizzling, sexy chefs who love them.

If you can’t stand the heat . . .
Photographer Lili DeLuca spends all her time managing her family’s Italian restaurant, instead of following her dream of getting an MFA. When famous British chef Jack Kilroy unexpectedly challenges her father to a cook-off, Lili decides she’s tired of playing it safe and vows to seduce the tempting Brit. But once a video of her and Jack kissing goes viral and her luscious butt starts trending on Twitter, Lili fears she’s cooked up a recipe for disaster . . .

Get into the bedroom
Jack Kilroy’s celebrity has left him feeling used and used up. While Lili’s oh-so-sexy moans when she tastes his delicious creations turn him on, he’s even more aroused by how unimpressed this beautiful, funny woman is with his fame. He knows they could be amazing together, if she could only see past his bitch fork-wielding fan base. Now, as he’s about to start a new prime time TV cooking show, can Jack convince Lili to realize her own ambitions – and turn up the heat in his kitchen?

***

Now to the excerpt! Lili has just saved Jack from a gaggle of ravenous DeLuca women and the two are getting to know each other in the cozy confines of Chicago’s smallest Irish bar.

Teaser from Feel the Heat by Kate Meader

She laughed, a low throaty chuckle that blossomed into something full and husky and left him scrounging for air. Her mouth was lush and he had to take breaks to stop himself from staring at her. From staring at her mouth and imagining what he’d like to do to it.

On one of his air-grasping sorties away from her mouth, he spied Laurent with a dangerously stacked blonde near the jukebox. So much for love Italian style. Not far off stood that Maximo-Mario guy, glaring in Jack’s direction. Earlier, while he and Laurent waited for the staff to arrive, this loser had tried to lease him a building for Jack’s new restaurant, the one he already had half built in Chicago’s West Loop.

“What’s the deal with him?” he asked, nodding in the loser’s direction.

Lili’s eyes sparkled, and Jack speculated that she might be buzzed.

“Marco? He’s my father’s business partner.”

“My condolences,” Jack muttered.

“And I used to date him.”

A mouthful of beer went down the wrong way. “Jesus, my sincerest condolences.”

Marco was speaking animatedly on his cell, though it had all the hallmarks of a one-sided conversation. He probably had the opening bars of Beethoven’s Fifth as his ringtone and answered his phone with Yello. Tosspot.

Lili smiled thinly. “He’s not so bad. He’s actually quite sweet.”

Oh no, he wasn’t. Jack knew Marco’s type. With his pinkie ring, his manicure, and his shark eyes, he was the embodiment of a flash geezer. As if that wasn’t enough for Jack to hate him on sight, he sported the one thing no man over the age of twenty-one should ever leave the house with—a ponytail. That Lili had found him date-worthy, and maybe more, unsettled him.

“He can be…” Her voice hummed so low he had to lean in to hear her. Standard bar trick. “He just needs a little support.”

“And that was your job? The great woman behind the little man?” What would it be like to have a woman like this at his back? Pretty damn nice, he was willing to bet. To come home and talk to her, to listen to that beautiful laugh, then bury his tension in her softness.

To come home and talk to her? That whack to the head must have knocked a few screws loose. How else to explain the leap from unbridled animal attraction to choosing china patterns and cozying up on the couch to Law and Order reruns?

For a while now, he’d been hovering on the edge of ready, but every potential relationship was fraught with suspicion about the other party’s motives. After Ashley’s tell-all to the tabloids—and it didn’t matter that most of it was a bald-face lie—he was more careful now. More circumspect. He needed to keep that train of thought on the track and not get derailed with fantasies of waking up with Lili’s soft body curled into his…Jesus.

Her mouth quirked like she could read his thoughts. “Doesn’t every man need a great woman, or a great man, behind him?”

“What about the great woman? Doesn’t she have her own needs?”

“All of us great women have needs.” She wrapped her lips around the opening of her longneck beer and he stifled that groan he’d been fighting all fucking night. His dick twitched in commiseration.

Just to complete the circle of torture, he grabbed his beer from the bar and snuck a stealthy glance into the shadowy valley of her cleavage. White cotton bra, none too exciting, but those breasts…yes. They plumped up over the edges like succulent, golden peaches. His lips skimmed close to her ear, and he paused to breathe in her hair’s scent as if he could store it for another day. Rosemary and mint.

“What kind of needs do you have, Lili?” he whispered.

“Oh, a guy with all his own teeth who’s good at foot rubs and can give earth-shattering orgasms. Nothing special.”

Ask a stupid question… Drawing back, he responded to her salvo with his most penetrating gaze. She held it for a moment, but then a shiver of doubt crossed her face. Ducking her head, she took a long draught of her beer.

That little exchange told him two things.

It had been far too long since he’d had sex.

And he was officially in trouble.

The silence drew between them like a piñata poised to be hacked down, and he hesitated, knowing he was sending her mixed signals. When you devour a woman with every look, it’s understandable she might have certain expectations. He wanted her, but he also wanted something he couldn’t put a label on. Not yet.

Several thudding heartbeats later, she slid off the stool and pressed her body against his, her soft breasts teasing his ribs and prompting every nerve to revolt. With her hand flat on his chest, she tilted her face up and gave him the full benefit of those baby blues.

“Okay, I’m out,” she said.

“You’re what?”

“I’m out.” Drawing back, she crossed her arms, which plumped up her cleavage to hazmat levels. “Jack, I’m not one for playing games.”

“Neither am I.”

She cocked a generous hip, projecting the don’t-fuck-with-me thing perfectly. “Have you or have you not been staring the bejesus out of me since I brained you with that frying pan?”

“Well, yes—”

“And wouldn’t any girl in my position interpret that as an indication of your interest?”

“I suppose so, but—”

“So you’re all hat, no cattle. Or maybe we got our signals crossed.”

“I thought we were having a nice chat,” he said, sounding like a little old biddy in a tea shop. A nice chat?

She’d already checked out of their nice chat and was now surveying the crowd.

“Is Laurent still here?” she asked, her gaze taking inventory of the bar.

“Yes, he is but—” His heart stuttered. “Are you taking the piss?”

She fanned her waist with both hands. “Take a good look, Kilroy.”

He took.

“I owe it all to spaghetti.”

“Good line.”

“Sophia Loren,” she said, then added, “She’s an Italian actress,” in case he’d been living under a rock for the last thirty years, he supposed. She gave a wobbly, likely tipsy, pirouette, delivering a taste of all the angles. It was a very, very pleasant view.

“You had your chance, but you blew it. I think your sexy French minion will be more than willing to tap this.” She turned and it took every iota of his strength not to reach out and stroke her very tappable arse. Cup it and squeeze it. Slap it so she cried out in surprise.

“Au revoir,” she said with a racy smile over her shoulder, taking another step away from him and his raging hard-on. Then two more steps and she was out of his immediate orbit on her way toward the jukebox and…shit. Laurent.

That had not just happened.

***

BIO: Kate writes contemporary romance that serves up delicious food, to-die-for heroes, and heroines with a dash of sass. Originally from Ireland, she cut her romance reader teeth on Catherine Cookson and Jilly Cooper novels, with some Mills & Boons thrown in for variety. Give her tales about brooding mill owners, oversexed equestrians, and men who can rock an apron, and she’s there. She has a bachelor’s in law (useless), a master’s in history (not as useless), and another master’s in library and information science (yay, using). When not writing about men who cook and the women who drool over them, she works in an academic library. Her stories are set in her adopted home town of Chicago, a city made for food, romance, and laughter – and where she met her own sexy hero.

Feel the Heat foodie swag giveaway: I’ll be giving away a Feel the Heat swag bundle of heart-shaped measuring spoons, a pizza cutter, and a “grate love” cheese grater, along with some fun extras, to one commenter. Just tell me: has your significant other ever tried to seduce you with food—and did it end well?

[P.S. You can also enter the additional giveaway Kate has on her site. But she was awesome enough to offer ALBTALBS an exclusive prize pack! <3]