Taste the Heat (Entangled Bliss) [NOOK Book]

Overview

Taste the Heat by Rachel Harris



One sexy fire captain. One Cajun chef. One combustible kitchen…



When chef Colby Robicheaux returned home to New Orleans to save her family restaurant, the last ...

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Taste the Heat (Entangled Bliss)

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Overview

Taste the Heat by Rachel Harris



One sexy fire captain. One Cajun chef. One combustible kitchen…



When chef Colby Robicheaux returned home to New Orleans to save her family restaurant, the last person she expected to reconnect with was her brother's best friend and her childhood crush. As tempting as a sugar-coated beignet, Jason is one dish she can't afford to taste. Colby can't wait to leave the place where her distrust of love and commitment originated and go back to Vegas.


Fire captain Jason Landry isn't looking for love, either. Disillusioned by his past, he knows he should be focusing on finding the perfect mother for his daughter. But when he first sees Colby, all grown up and gorgeous, he can't help but be drawn to her. And when she suggests a no-strings-attached fling, Jason can't say no.


As their relationship grows more intense, Colby finds that Jason isn't as easy to leave behind as she thought. Could turning up the heat on something real be worth the possibility of getting burned?

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781622660940
  • Publisher: Entangled Publishing, LLC
  • Publication date: 7/8/2013
  • Series: Love and Games
  • Sold by: Macmillan
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 220
  • Sales rank: 17,434
  • File size: 2 MB

Meet the Author

Rachel Harris grew up in New Orleans, where she watched soap operas with her grandmother and stayed up late sneak reading her mama's favorite romance novels. Now a Cajun cowgirl living in Houston, she is still addicted to romance and staying up late reading her favorite romances, only now, she can do so openly. She firmly believes life's problems can be solved with a hot, powdered-sugar-coated beignet or a thick slice of king cake, and that screaming at strangers for cheap, plastic beads is acceptable behavior in certain situations.

When not typing furiously or flipping pages in an enthralling romance, she homeschools her two beautiful girls and watches reality television with her amazing husband. Taste The Heat is her adult romance debut. She's the author of My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century and A Tale Of Two Centuries.

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Read an Excerpt

Taste the Heat

A Love and Games Novel


By Rachel Harris, Stacy Abrams

Entangled Publishing, LLC

Copyright © 2013 Rachel Harris
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-62266-094-0


CHAPTER 1

When the bright red and white Taste the Heat banner fluttered in an abrupt and unseasonable gust of wind, then collapsed onto her head in an undignified heap, Colby Robicheaux figured it had to be an omen. Of what, she didn't really know. But considering the subject matter of both the banner and the multi-colored sign she had tripped over on her way up from the parking lot, she had a hunch it was a cosmic premonition of something.

"Lady Irony, you have a wicked, wicked sense of humor," she muttered, plucking the banner for the St. Tammany Parish Firefighters' Cajun Cook-off from her head. She glanced back at the aforementioned sign she'd tripped over, now standing askew in its staked position in the ground. It boasted the event's connection to the world famous New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival beginning the following week.

Food, music, and heritage—the trifecta so many people born and raised near New Orleans held dear. And the very things Colby had fled from twelve years ago. Lifting her eyes into the late May sun, she squinted and said, "Well played, Big Guy. Well played."

A passing snort from an event-goer made her wince. Right. So maybe talking to herself in public wasn't the best approach for her to prove that their family restaurant, Robicheaux's, was still in capable, non-crazy hands.

Forcing a casual, sane smile onto her face, she set the offending banner on the ground near the entrance of LeBeaux State Park and willed her feet to step through the gate. They refused to budge. Families and couples strolled past on their way inside, deep in conversation, hands waving dramatically as their thick accents proclaimed dawlin' and yea, you right. Others broke out in spontaneous, carefree dance to the lively Zydeco tune carried on the wind.

A memory of a similar beat hit Colby with the power of a hurricane- force wind. Suddenly she was no longer outside the park but back in her childhood kitchen, stirring a pot of gumbo as her parents danced around the butcher-block island. Her father twirled her mother in a multi-step move, and Mom's infectious laughter echoed off the oak cabinets.

Not now, please not now.

Coming home was always a tug and pull—warm memories warring with apprehension. Since she left her Las Vegas restaurant three weeks ago, Colby had yet to venture anywhere outside their small suburban town of Magnolia Springs, population 1,100. She hadn't even seen anyone beyond the restaurant staff and her siblings. In hindsight, taking a few baby steps would've been a much smarter move.

Colby gave herself a mental shake and firmly placed the ghosts of her past in the locked trunk of her memory. Back where they belonged. She straightened her shoulders, smoothed her clammy hands along the sides of her crisp linen pants, and told herself she could do this. She owned this.

She took a deep breath, then another for good measure, and lifted her head and marched herself through the wooded arch. Immediately, the sights, sounds, and smells of her childhood engulfed her. A large stage dominated one half of the open field with the promised Zydeco band. A woman in a brightly checkered dress sawed an accordion in and out, and a young man in crawfish-patterned suspenders sat near the edge playing a washboard. To the side, a mile-long line stretched before a photo booth with an old pirogue, crab net, and fake alligator set in front of a backdrop of the swamp. And surrounding her, encompassing the rest of the large field in a wide semi-circle, were countless booths filled with fragrant food, each representing a different St. Tammany parish firehouse.

Reading the menus posted beside the closest ones, it appeared as though they all sold jambalaya and gumbo by the Styrofoam bowlful, along with each fire station's own unique Taste the Heat twist, such as fiery fried jalapeno peppers, habanero nachos, and at least a dozen different forms of chili, each declaring their own to be the parish's absolute best.

The punch of spicy cayenne and fried okra assaulted Colby's senses, and the fresh onslaught was simply too much. She clamped her stinging eyes shut. She couldn't tell if the turbulent sensations rolling through her stomach were from anxiety, regret, or extreme nausea—but there was a very good chance she was about to be sick.

Oh, please God, don't let me puke in public.

She could just hear the news report now. Big city chef returns home and tosses her cookies at local heroes' feet. Full report at ten.

She bet that would get customers filling their tables.

"Colby Robicheaux?"

At the soft inquiry, Colby's eyes snapped open. "Ah, yes?"

The older woman standing in front of her nodded, causing her thick bob of salt-and-pepper hair to swing around her shoulders. "Thought so," she said, offering her hand in greeting. "I'm Mary Lemoine, co-organizer of today's event."

"Oh, yes. Pleased to meet you, Ms. Lemoine." She took the woman's cool hand in her own, grateful for the diversion from the emotional roller coaster, and discreetly compared her pressed linen suit with Mary's dark jeans and event T-shirt combo. She was starting to get the impression she was a tad overdressed. "Was it my Yankee attire that gave me away?"

Mary laughed, a free and open sound that instantly put her at ease. "Not at all. When your brother said you'd be stepping in as judge, I looked you up on the Internet," she confided. "Quite the impressive resume you have there. But I'd have recognized you even if I hadn't seen your picture on that fancy restaurant website of yours. You're just the spitting image of your daddy, aren't ya?"

A vision of a man beaming with pride as she created recipes beside him, while other girls her age were off playing with Barbies, flashed in her mind. It used to be that hearing people say that very thing delighted Colby like nothing else.

But those days came to an abrupt end twelve years ago.

"Here, let me show you to the judge's table." Mary gave her a sympathetic smile and motioned toward the open field, and Colby fell in step beside her. As they walked, she willed away the hurt and anger roiling inside. She knew Mary meant well, but she probably assumed Colby was upset over her father's recent passing and had no idea the real reason Colby was upset. No one did, not even her own siblings. And Colby intended to keep it that way.

As they cut a path through the sizable turnout, Mary filled her in on the details of the new venture. Colby had to admit she was impressed. All the proceeds from today's ticket and food sales went toward the St. Tammany Parish Adopt-a-Family program, an initiative co-sponsored by the local fire stations that helped people in need of clothing and basic necessities.

To help raise the needed money, event organizers had pulled out all the stops. A slew of bands were scheduled to entertain the crowd. There was face painting, a bounce house, a huge inflatable slide, and what appeared to be a wildly popular Dunk-a-Fireman booth. But the true highlight of the day, the reason she was there, was the Taste the Heat cook-off featuring three of the area's self-declared best culinary captains.

Colby listened to Mary go on about all the wonderful things the firefighters were doing for the local community, and found herself looking forward to the dishes the captains had created. Not so much tasting them, but rewarding them for their efforts. Moreover, she was thrilled to discover the painful thoughts of her past diminishing as the minutes ticked by.

Hell, she even caught herself nodding her head in time with the band's familiar beat.

Maybe today wouldn't suck so badly after all. And if today went well, then maybe everything would go well. Maybe it would be sooner, rather than later, that she'd get the family restaurant running smoothly, her siblings on solid footing, and herself back to her own life in Vegas.

With the table in view, Mary left to attend to a last-minute microphone issue and Colby made her way solo across the uneven ground. Watching her step, and not the path ahead of her, she was jolted when a preteen ball of hair plowed into her.

"Whoa, you okay there?" she asked, grasping the girl by the shoulders to steady them both.

"Yeah." The young girl flipped her blond ponytail, revealing an adorable face and bright smile. "Sorry about that. We're playing Kiss and Catch," she explained, eyes leaving Colby's to focus on the crowd around them. "Well, the girls are playing Kiss and Catch. The boys are just running."

Colby laughed aloud. Some things never changed. When she was a preteen, the kissing variation of tag was more popular with the girls, too. A wide smile broke across her face as she remembered chasing her brother's best friend Jason across this very park during a particular crawfish festival. And the one time he let her catch him.

The young girl spied and then took off toward a young boy with marked intensity, tossing a smile over her shoulder. Taking her seat behind the judge's table, Colby watched the next generation of crushes, her smile growing wistful at the boy's halfhearted attempts at escape. Perhaps for the young girl, her crush wouldn't be as unrequited as Colby's had been.


* * *

Good food and even better people. Those were only two of the reasons Captain Jason Landry loved living in New Orleans, but they happened to be his favorite. And on days like today when the hellish humidity wasn't killing you, the beer was flowing and plentiful, and the sound of music and laughter surrounded him, he couldn't think of any place else he'd rather live.

"Now see, that's a woman for you."

He screwed the cap back on his half-empty water bottle and shook his head with a grin. So far, in just the few short hours they'd been at Taste the Heat today, his fellow captain Gavin Morris had made similar comments about at least a dozen different women—although he had to admit, the man did have impeccable taste.

Once upon a time, Jason had been right in the thick of it with him. Carving his way through the dating scene and leaving a trail of satisfied women in his wake. But those days were long gone. Lately, any free time he had that wasn't spent working at the station or teaching classes at the gym he owned was filled with reading books about prepubescent hormones, shaving legs, and PMS. Not that he was complaining. Not really. He loved Emma, and he wouldn't trade the experience of raising his daughter for anything in the world. But being a single dad didn't exactly leave a lot of time for enjoying beautiful women.

And that was a damn shame.

On stage, the band ended their set and Mary Lemoine grabbed the microphone to announce that the cook-off would begin in a few short minutes. Good thing, too, because the warming trays they'd set up to keep their dishes hot weren't doing that great of a job.

"Yeah, she's super fine," Gavin said, still eyeing the woman in question.

The hungry crowd surged toward their end of the open field and Jason leaned forward to give his prize-winning crawfish étouffée a stir. "Oh yeah? And what's so special about this one?"

Gavin elbowed him in the side. "Why don't you take a look for yourself."

Jason re-covered the pot and glanced in the direction his friend lifted his chin toward. It took a moment for the crowd to settle and his view of Gavin's future conquest to clear, but when it did, only two words came to mind. "Hot damn."

Gavin chuckled under his breath. "My thoughts exactly." He rested his hip against the table and said, "And I've got just what she's looking for."

Jason chuckled. "She's way out of your league."

Looking back at the brunette stunner, Jason admitted she was out of his league, too. The woman was five-alarm gorgeous. Her long dark hair hung loose around her shoulders, and her pouty lips were lifted in a contemplative smile. She bit the edge of a polished fingernail, lost in thought, and the effect was like a punch to his gut.

When was the last time he'd had such a visceral reaction to the simple sight of a woman? His fingers actually itched with the desire to wrap her hair around his palm. He bit his lip, wondering if her mouth tasted half as good as it looked.

He'd definitely been out of the scene too long.

Jason cleared his throat. "She's sitting in the judge's seat."

"And your point is?"

"My point is that if she's turned on by food, then you're shit out of luck." Pulling his attention away from the hot judge, he shot his friend a smirk. "Because my dish is gonna kick your ass."

Gavin scoffed. "In your dreams, fire boy." He pointed at the pot before him. "It so happens that my crab bisque is known for melting the panties off women." Then he grinned and gave the judge's table a pointed look. "But today, I'll settle for it working its magic on one in particular."

Jason's eyes snapped back to the brunette. That was all the prompting his imagination needed to fire up a vision of the kind of panties the woman had on—silk black thong, if he had to guess—and all the creative ways he'd like to remove them. With his teeth.

Yep, definitely been too long.

"Captains, are you ready?"

Mary's animated inquiry burst through the portable microphone, knocking the image out of his head. He quickly shifted his attention to the crowd, skin hot, knowing his eleven-year-old daughter was somewhere watching. A familiar whistle came from the far edge of the crowd and Jason followed the sound, smiling when he found Emma. Blond hair up in its trademark ponytail, legs folded like a pretzel in his black and gold lawn chair, she held a handmade sign declaring Étouffée ROCKS ... and So Does My Dad. Laughing, he sent her a thumbs up.

"Our three brave captains, willing to let their culinary prowess speak for itself, come from all over St. Tammany parish," Mary told the crowd. "Captain Eric Dufrene has brought his Cajun Shrimp and Grits all the way from Mandeville."

"I'm amazed I didn't get lost," Eric joked, referring to the ten-mile drive from his station to the park. Eric accepted an apron from her hands and slipped it over his head.

"And Captain Gavin Morris has brought us Crab Bisque from Covington," Mary continued, handing Gavin a black apron. Par for the course, his friend hammed it up for the crowd, flexing his muscles and smack talking as he tied it around his waist.

Jason cracked his knuckles. During all of this, the beautiful judge's eyes had followed Mary down the row. She'd offered Eric a warm smile, and laughed when Gavin bowed his head in mock-adoration. He was next. And as juvenile as it was to admit, Jason was eager for that same attention. Would she smile at him? Lower her lashes? Run her tongue along those lips?

Mary grabbed a third apron and walked toward him. The brunette glanced at her phone. Jason ground his teeth.

"And finally, our last contestant from right here in Magnolia Springs."

At that, the woman's head snapped up. Her gaze locked on him for the first time and her eyes widened as if in recognition. Her lips parted.

"But don't worry, folks," Mary continued. "There are no favorites here today. Everyone enters this contest on equal footing, including Captain Jason Landry and his Crawfish Étouffée."

Emma let out another sharp whistle, and Mary thrust out the apron. As Jason took the garment from her fingers, his mind churned.

They couldn't have met before. He might not have lived like a monk in the years since his wife died, but he was sure he'd remember a woman like her. He rubbed his chin, trying to recall if Mary had mentioned the judge's name when he agreed to participate, and drew a blank. Things were crazy at the station and he was dealing with Emma's newfound obsession with boys. But why hadn't he thought to ask Mary who the judge would be?

"Here's how this is gonna work." Mary nodded at a group of volunteers waiting to the side, and they came forward. "Each of our captains made enough of his dishes for everyone to have a sample, along with the tasting plate for the judge. Our volunteers will hand you a small cup of each dish and a comment card. After you've tried them all, please rank them in order of preference. Don't worry; your vote will be completely anonymous. We will tally the results and, with the judge's selection for Best Bite, the captain with the most votes will be announced the People's Choice. Make sense?"


(Continues...)

Excerpted from Taste the Heat by Rachel Harris, Stacy Abrams. Copyright © 2013 Rachel Harris. Excerpted by permission of Entangled Publishing, LLC.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 47 )
Rating Distribution

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(26)

4 Star

(19)

3 Star

(1)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 47 Customer Reviews
  • Posted July 8, 2013

    I absolutely adored every page of this book! With a story that i

    I absolutely adored every page of this book! With a story that is sweet and sizzling, Rachel Harris blew me away with this one. Colby was an awesome character that I rooted for and felt for the whole way. And Jason? Can we say HOT! Loved this guy! He was the perfect combination of sexy and sweet. Heartfelt, sexy, and humorous, TASTE THE HEAT is a must read for fans of contemporary romance.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted July 8, 2013

    Rachel Harris does it again with her newest release, Taste the H

    Rachel Harris does it again with her newest release, Taste the Heat! Wow! What can I say? The storyline is spicy and guaranteed to make your heart soar and swoon. Colby returns to her hometown of New Orleans to save the family restaurant and reconnects with childhood crush, Jason who is perfection in words! Let me just say, hot fireman, super sweet father and wait for it, he can cook! This is that story that we all long for! Meatier than a beach read but perfectly fine to enjoy on your vacation! Both come with baggage and a past and this story sets it up perfectly! Match, set, game! Go get a copy and prepare to fall in love!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 9, 2013

    All the flavor of a well-layered preparation plus the right amou

    All the flavor of a well-layered preparation plus the right amount of spice makes Taste the Heat the perfect summer read. What I like most about Taste the Heat is the author's carefully crafted introduction and development of her characters. Who they are and what they care about is well established before the romance truly begins.

    Main character Colby is relatable and perfectly flawed, charming in her own right, and someone who I wanted the best for from the opening scene. I especially appreciate the very honest, true-to-life conflicts surrounding the relationship between the two main characters. The steamy scenes were also well done - just enough heat to make me need to fan my collar and grab a glass of wine.

    I also enjoyed Harris's well-depicted New Orleans setting. I could tell she had a deep appreciation for the city, and a true understanding of its heart. I think the true strength of this story is the authenticity Harris brings to every aspect. Even when I was mad at Cobly (it only happened once)I could still see why she reacted the way that she did.

    If you want a feel-good story with characters you wish you could hang out with on a Saturday night, this is it. I was sad to reach the end and let them go.

    I received a free eARC in exchange for an honest review.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 8, 2013

    This book was all kinds of fun. Colby returns home to help save

    This book was all kinds of fun. Colby returns home to help save her family's restaurant. She expected the memories, the heartache, the heat of the kitchen. What she didn't expect was Jason, her brother's best friend and the boy of her childhood dreams. Colby has a plan for her life, and love has no place in it.
    Jason has seen his own share of heartache. The only love in his life is his daughter. Until Colby walks back into his life. The two have all kinds of delicious chemistry and both have a lot of growing to do.
    Here's the thing about this book, it's fabulous. The story line is sweet, the characters are real. I loved Colby and Jason together. From the beginning, those two had some serious adorableness going on. Colby hasn't the best luck with men, her life hasn't been the greatest. But coming home was something she needed to do. I loved seeing Colby grow as a character, learning how to trust others and herself.
    Now, Jason. Oh goodness gracious Jason. That is one smoking hot fireman. Yum. He hasn't had the easiest life ever, and I kind of just want to hug him to pieces. He has the biggest heart. You see if with his daughter, you see if with Colby, you see it with his big hero tendencies. I love that. He really does make your heart go pitter patter :)
    This was a sweet story of two people finding each other again and learning how to love and trust. If you love a good love story, this one is for you.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 8, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Because of my own High School crush story, I was thrilled to get

    Because of my own High School crush story, I was thrilled to get an ARC of Taste the Heat, by Rachel Harris. As soon as I read the blurb about Jason being Colby’s High School crush, I knew I’d fall in love with the story instantly. I mean, who doesn’t want a happy ending like I have? I believe in non-spoiler reviews so if you’re looking for how things turn out in this book, boogey right along, because this book is too good to give away any secrets.

    Colby, scarred by her past, escapes from Louisiana to study and live her dream as a big-time chef. What Miss Now Big City Vegas girl didn’t expect when she agreed to help her brother revamp their family restaurant in LA for the summer, were old High School crush feelings to fire back up. And we’re talking in a spicy vengeance. Her spunky sister says go for it. But Colby knows nothing can happen. She’s only here for the summer. 

    Jason, Mr Crush Himself and now fire chief of Colby’s hometown, didn’t have any expectations of falling in love again. He was perfectly happy with raising his daughter by himself. After all, he had responsibilities as fire chief and his own gym to handle. He didn’t have time to date. That would take more time away from Emma than she deserved. No, he didn’t have plans to fall, but oh how he did when he saw Colby again. But this was wrong. It couldn’t happen. Not with his best friend’s sister! Cane was Emma’s Godfather for goodness sake. This was all wrong.

    Taste the Heat is a story about self-restoration as well as romance. Colby and Jason must both face their past in order to embrace their future. Can they afford a summer together without hope for the future? And what about Emma? She’s so young and impressionable. She would be looking for more for her dad. What happens when the summer is over and her dream of a complete family is shattered with Colby’s desire to return to Vegas? Is it all worth the risk?

    Grab you something sweet and spicy and jump into this amazing book! 

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 8, 2013

      

      

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 6, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    I picked this book up late one night thinking I'd check it out.

    I picked this book up late one night thinking I'd check it out. I had no idea what it was about other than a romance about cooking in Louisiana, but I'm a HUGE Rachel Harris fan so I knew it would be good. I just didn't realize it would be THIS good. Next thing I know I'm absolutely sucked in. I was completely addicted to the idea of Colby's childhood crush checking her out without realizing who she was. Now that's my kind of story! There's something about the way Rachel writes that speaks to me like my best friend is telling me a story.




    Colby is a strong, but troubled main character. I love her broken past and what an incredibly hard worker she is. I really felt her inadequacy as a potential mom. I still feel that way all the time, and I have four kids!




    I totally love Jason, what a good dad he is, and how much he loves and honors his wife who passed away. My favorite character is by far Emma, Jason's daughter. She's bright, funny, talented, bubbly, and driven. She's pretty much the perfect 12 yr old kid. It broke my heart that she had such a rough childhood.




    Watching Colby and Jason grow closer was an absolute delight! I highly recommend Taste the Heat to anyone who enjoys a good romance and I'll will most definitely be reading the next books in the series. Well done, Rachel Harris! You rock my world!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 8, 2013

    ¿Taste the Heat¿ by Rachel Harris is one of the best adult ficti

    “Taste the Heat” by Rachel Harris is one of the best adult fiction novels that I’ve read in awhile. I personally read a lot more young adult books because I am usually disappointed with the adult fiction novels but this one definitely rose above par. “Taste the Heat” is about a chef name Colby, who comes home to help save her family restaurant after her father has passed away. Colby ends up falling for her very first crush, Jason, again several years later. Colby not only learns to deal with her past and her fears, but she learns to love again. Jason is still getting over the loss of his wife, even though it has been several years, he has avoided the dating pool until Colby comes back into town. Jason finds out if he can really love someone else again.




    I really enjoyed “Taste the Heat.” This book had just the right amount of heat and romance to make you swoon but not be too overpowering to feel like you are intruding. Getting to know the vulnerable sides of the characters was a very unique experience. There is plenty of family drama to keep you occupied and personal problems that the characters have to face. You are quickly drawn in with the wonderful mouth watering Cajun cuisine that is introduced throughout the book of the wonderful culture of New Orleans. Let’s just say that I wouldn’t mind traveling to New Orleans to try some of these dishes; goodness they can make your mouth water.




    Colby moves away to New York to go to culinary school and then she moves to Las Vegas to open up her own Italian restaurant. No one knows why Colby uprooted herself from New Orleans and moved away, they just know that she left and didn’t look back. When Colby returns, she has to face the reasons of why she left in the first place. Harris creates a character that readers can relate too because she isn’t perfect, she is perfectly flawed like everyone else.




    Then there is Jason who lost his wife when his daughter Emma was 8 years old and now Emma is turning 13. Jason has to deal with the trials of fatherhood on his own. On top of dealing with a new 13 year old daughter, Jason is trying to figure out if he wants to get back into the dating life and how that would affect Emma. When Colby comes back to town, Jason finds that he is immediately attracted to her but he isn’t sure if this is just a fling or something that will last. With the help of Emma trying to play matchmaker, Jason and Colby are through together on a few family dates and then everything takes its course from there. 




    Rachel Harris definitely knows romance. I felt like “Taste the Heat” had just the right amount of Romance without being too steamy yet it was still completely swoon worthy. Harris brings her readers a lovely romantic tale that can help anyone escape everyday life for a few hours. “Taste the Heat” will definitely hook you write away. The characters are amazing and are in real life situations. I love how Rachel Harris can take a simple idea and create an entire book out of it that readers can fall in love with. There is absolutely nothing in this book that could be considered crass or crude which I think is great. Nowadays you can’t find a whole lot of honest sweet romance books; everything is full of crass and crude comments and scenes. I really appreciate the fun romance novel that Harris has provided to the readers. The two main characters go back and forth between being together and apart trying to decide on how deep they really want to get involved with each other. “Taste the Heat” will definitely provide an abundance of emotions for the readers.




    My personal favorite character is Emma. Yeah I know, I read a romance novel and I chose the child as my favorite character. I couldn’t help it. She is adorable and I love how she was trying to play matchmaker for her father. So cute. Emma looks up to Colby because Emma would like to be a chef one day just like Colby. It was a lot of fun reading about how these two women interacted. The way Colby helped out when Emma had her first period; she stepped right in to help make Emma more comfortable with the situation. You have to admire a woman who would automatically step in to help a young girl feel more comfortable with the changes going on. 




    Harris has created the perfect book if you are looking to make a change from reading young adult fiction to adult fiction. Of course there are some steamy parts but nothing like the vast of novels that are out there. This is one of the cleanest romantic novels that I have read. Rachel Harris creates the perfect plot and story line for her characters that provide the reader to get to know them on a more personal level. I like how the conflicts and trials these characters go through are down to earth everyday issues that “real” people can relate too. When I read Harris’ first novel “My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century,” I knew that she would become one of my favorite authors. This woman can write. She has so much potential that I am glad that she is putting it to good use. It isn’t very often that you find an author that is writing really good wholesome books for both teens and adults. Harris has done a great crossover between the two. 

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 8, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    This was such a fun and clever story, redolent with the flavors

    This was such a fun and clever story, redolent with the flavors that mean New Orleans to many, and realistic characters to enjoy. Colby is back in her hometown, filling in as head chef in the family restaurant after several years away from home, family and traditions. Her upscale restaurant in Las Vegas specializes in Italian, not Cajun cuisine: and she hasn’t been able to bring herself to cook any of the food she grew up with. 




    Jason is a firefighter, single father of Emma, his near 12 year old daughter, and widower. While it takes him time to realize that his best friend’s sister is all grown up and back in town: Colby’s brother Cane holds nothing back in warning him off his sister. 




    With clever dialog that runs the gamut from funny to flirty, and a completely adorable scene with father and daughter in the feminine hygiene aisle of the store, Jason will steal your heart. Other family members and characters come forward to either provide advice or tease: the one constant is the deep emotional connections and loyalty the characters have for one another. While the story ultimately becomes a ride with Jason and Colby as they overcome their fears and doubts for their own happy ever after: each character has a unique and special relationship with them, and a deep sense of loyalty and caring for them. 




    The story is one of the better crafted ‘clueless perfect match’ stories that I have ever read. Jason and Colby were made for one another and he is the perfect one to help her heal. This story had me laughing and in tears, while admiring the family and sense of belonging that Colby fought so desperately against when she first arrived. The first in a series by Rachel Harris – I can’t wait to see Cane and Sherry’s stories. 




    I received an eArc from the Entangled for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility. 

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 8, 2013

    Now that the initial giggly, big cheesy grin phase is over- I ca

    Now that the initial giggly, big cheesy grin phase is over- I can finally write my review! I think I might have even squealed out loud a few times in this book. I am a new member of Rachel's Flirt Squad (Wooo!) and when I saw that she had a form to sign up to read this one early- I couldn't resist! I loved reading Rachel's teasers for all of her novels, so I already knew I liked her writing style. If you are looking for a good, sweet romance- this is definitely the book to pick up.


    I've never been to New Orleans, but let me tell you- Rachel does an incredible job with the setting of this novel. I felt like she described Magnolia Springs perfectly and I could visualize the small town feel that it gave off. When I can actually picture my surroundings, I know the author has done a great job of pulling me in.


    I LOVE the characters. Colby, a big time chef in Vegas, returns home to help her brother and sister out at their family restaurant. Colby hasn't been back home in years because of some things that happened in the past. I instantly liked that Colby was able to push aside her personal demons to help out her siblings. It just shows you that no matter how painful her memories are, she would drop everything to help them out. And I think that shows a lot of character. Colby used to be a dreamer- she believed in fairy tale endings and everlasting love. After being burned by love and being betrayed by the one person she never thought would hurt her, she has sworn off the whole idea of it. Ever since she was younger Colby has harbored a secret crush on Jason Landry, her older brother's best friend. Upon her return to Magnolia Springs, Jason does not immediately recognize her, but finds himself completely attracted to this woman. Upon later discovering who she is, he knows he should back off and stay away, yet he can't.


    Sigh. Jason. He is completely dreamy. Yes, I said dreamy. I have said it once and I'll say it again- Good guys always win for me. And Jason is a GOOD guy. He is an amazing father to his daughter, he is loyal to his friends and family, and is a responsible adult. As a single father, he has done a great job of raising his daughter Emma, but as she gets older he is finding she really needs a female figure in her life. The only problem? Jason loved his wife. He knows no one can ever replace her and he is unsure that he will ever find love again. This is partly the reason that he ends up agreeing to a no strings arrangement with Colby. Both are attracted to one another and there's definite chemistry between them. What could it hurt? However, the more time the two spend together, the more they realize that what was just supposed to be a summer fling, is turning into a whole lot more.


    Emma is Jason's 11 year old daughter and is adorable. She adores her father and for an 11 year old kid is pretty intuitive. She wants him to be happy and find love again and Emma just so happens to bond with Colby. Colby says she could not be a surrogate mother, yet her nurturing tendencies are so natural for her. She can't say no to Emma when she invites her to family events and makes Colby feel like a part of the family. Emma playing matchmaker is TOO cute.


    I really liked Cane and Sherry, Colby's brother and sister too. Sherry is a fun character- she's that nosy little sister who loves to be up in your business, but really has a good heart and wants what's best for her sister. Cane is your overprotective big brother. He comes across as a bit of a tough guy, but once you hear about him and Emma, (who is his goddaughter) he's a big old teddy bear! I cannot wait to read his story next! Cane makes it very clear to Jason that he does not want his sister hurt and best friend or not- he will come after him if he does. :D (I always wanted a big brother for that reason!)


    Taste The Heat is a beautiful love story about two people who aren't looking for love at all- but realize their feelings for each other are anything but casual. Add in the small town feel of Magnolia Springs, a little Cajun cooking, and a whole lot of steam- you've got yourself an awesome summer read!


    Oh. Once you finish the book, this will be you: :) :) :) :) <3 <3 <3 <3 <3

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 8, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Okay, so this review is probably going to consist of a lot of fa

    Okay, so this review is probably going to consist of a lot of fangirling and spazziness!! If I didn't already love Rachel Harris before, I definitely would now. She is a one-click author for me. This book was awesome with a side of hot sauce!! I loved the family aspect, the self discovery and forgiveness, and the romance of course. This was so much more than a sweet and spicy romance though. I loved getting to know the characters, discover things about their pasts, and see them move toward their future. I didn't feel like I was reading a book, it was more like being in it and experiencing it along with all of them. I can say that this was a book that I truly got lost in!

    Colby was the type of female character I love. She is strong and driven, and knows what she wants out of life. She has determination, and has made a name for herself. She is in no way held back in life, except by her own emotions, and inability to let go of the past. No, not let go, accept and move on. That is the one thing that has a negative impact on her mind. Due to her past, she steers clear of men and relationships. A fling? Sure, why not. That is, unless it's with super hottie fireman, Jason, who also happens to be her long time childhood crush. She thinks they can keep it casual and then she will go back to the life she has created for herself over the past 12 years. She realizes that it's not that easy. It's not just Jason though. His daughter Emma has secured a place in her heart and Colby can't help but want to do what's best for everyone. She has her moments of weakness, and her insecurities get the best of her, but I loved her! She was the type of woman who even not in her situation, you can relate to her.

    Jason was super swoon worthy!! Oh, my this man!! Not only is he a sexy fireman, he can cook, and he is a fantastic dad. What can I say, I'm a sucker for a man who's little girl has him wrapped around her finger. His daughter is everything to him. In fact, she is so important that even though the last thing he wanted was marriage again, he would do it to have a steady female presence in her life. He doesn't think he could ever love again, but he is willing to do what he needs for Emma's happiness. That is until Colby comes back into the picture. He sees how broken she is being home and wants to help heal her from the past. He starts to fall for her, and he knows that Emma is falling for her too. He sets forth on a plan to try to win her over and convince her to stay! The things he does for her are so thoughtful and romantic that I was a puddle of goo! Jason is the icing on the cake!! Oh, man! I'm loving trying to put in these food references. I'm not good at it lol!!

    Romance, romance!! This romance is gradual and real. It also stems from a long time friendship, so even if it seems a bit quick, it makes sense. Colby and Jason grew up together and have known each other forever. Colby had a crush on Jason for years and years. They are comfortable around each other which makes it easy to build a meaningful relationship. They are both trying to avoid it for their own reasons, but they are so right for each other. Not just for each other, but for Emma and their families too. Jason's parents have been concerned for Emma and Jason too and it's a relief for them to see them both happy. There was so much more to this romance than just two people falling in love.

    I loved everything about this book. It was a contemporary with depth. It wasn't just a fluff romance with the typical drama. So many times in books we get the guy chasing the single mom, so it was nice to have a change. I liked that they both had there lives pretty much in order, but the other was the missing ingredient they didn't realize they needed. Full of charm, wonderful characters, and a great focus on family, this was one delicious read!! I can't wait for the next book in the series which will be Cane's! I'm sure I will devour that one too!!


    *An advanced copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive any compensation.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 13, 2015

    Enjoyed this very much.  Great read.

    Enjoyed this very much.  Great read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 28, 2014

    Adorable!!

    Book 1 of 3 is a sweet romance... Not hot steamy sex scenes but truly a well written romance that will leave you smiling... A very realistic story line with wonderful characters that are beautifully developed... And, after you finish this one please read Seven Day Fiance and Accidentally Married on Purpose... Excellent books that will leave you believing in Happy Ever After... Loved all three...

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  • Posted June 22, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    A great love story! (This book was read as part of the Hometown

    A great love story!

    (This book was read as part of the Hometown Love: A Bliss Bundle)

    Hometown Love is a great set from 3 talented authors. The set is made up of the first book in each of the author’s series, so this is a great way of discovering and falling in love with new characters! Each story was about discovering a place to call home and a second chance of love. 

    Taste the Heat by Rachel Harris – 5 Stars
    Who has ever had a crush on your brother’s best friend? With Taste the Heat you can live out that fantasy! Colby returns home to help her families restaurant but her plan gets complicated when she runs into her childhood crush (and her brother’s best friend) Jason Landry. From the beginning of the story you feel the sizzling chemistry between Colby and Jason. This is a great romance story that was funny and heartwarming. Rachel Harris is a great writer that blends steamy romance plus the feel of family unity. With all the hardships that Colby and Jason have had to overcome they had the loving support of their family and friends. So Taste of Heat isn’t just a story about two people. It is the beginning of a great series with characters I can’t wait to get to know more of.

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  • Posted November 20, 2013

    Another wonderful Rachel Harris story! I need to put Rachel Har

    Another wonderful Rachel Harris story!

    I need to put Rachel Harris in my pocket. Something about the words she writes and the characters she creates just grabs my heart and leaves me breathless. She’s done it before with the second book in her Love and Games series, Seven Day Fiance, and she just did it again with Taste the Heat. (And yes, I read them out of order.)

    Let’s start this conversation off with Colby. Back in her hometown after spending years avoiding it, she’s emotionally broken. The infidelity of her ex-boyfriend and her father have left her closed off from even the option of ever falling in love. I could understand her – that anger, that bitterness and fear that refuse to let you move forward in your own life. I got her…and I adored her.

    And of course Rachel dreamed up another ridiculously swoony man to help Colby see that love is not something to be feared. Jason is everything you could want – sweet, charming, good-lord-sexy…but he comes with the baggage of being a widower and single father. I love love love books with sweet daddy moments. There is nothing in this world hotter than a man who lets himself be completely enthralled by his children, and Jason’s relationship with his daughter Emma is such a wonderful example of that. I loved their interactions, their teasing and affection. I could have read an entire book about nothing but their daily life and been happy.

    But of course Taste the Heat is so much more than just those daddy-daughter moments.

    The romance between Jason and Colby is a beautiful slow burn. This is a story of rebirth and renewal, a birch rune in words and scenes. There are moments of awkwardness and stuttering starts, but once one of them decides their chemistry needs to be supported and built upon, the love growing between them shines pure and true.

    Five stars for the beautiful words by Rachel Harris. Once again she has rocked my romance-loving heart and given me a story I will read over and over. I want more from this series…period.

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  • Posted November 2, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    What would you do if you had the chance at a no strings attached

    What would you do if you had the chance at a no strings attached fling with your childhood crush?

    In Taste the Heat we meet Colby and Jason. Colby is your classic heartbroken female who has had it with men, specifically cheating men. She realizes her heart won't be able handle another disappointment, so she decides just not to fall in love again…ever. Easy, right? Colby is a lot of fun as a female lead. She is independent with a successful career that she loves, she has great family support, and she is not afraid to go after what she wants - and that would be, of course, Jason. Jason is everything every girl dreams of. You totally cannot blame Colby for her childhood-turned-adulthood crush. I have a huge crush on him myself! Jason is the perfect guy…sweet, smart, fun, independent, caring, sexy as hell, and brave (a fireman whoot whoot!). But all that aside, here's what really made me (and Colby) fall for him…rather than the typical bad boy love-um-and-leave-um type of sexiness, Jason oozes his own brand of sexy called fatherhood. Raising his daughter on his own brings out a whole other side to him that you just cannot ignore.

    Rachel Harris has quickly made it to the top of my favorite authors list. Her easy writing style and quirky, fun characters makes for a super fun (and super sexy!) story. I read the second book in this series before this first one, so I knew how this was going to end, but believe me when I say that didn't make the story any less fun. I'm looking forward to book three in this scorching series.

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  • Posted September 27, 2013

    HOT Cajun Men!!!!!  LOVE, LOVE, LOVE IT!                        

    HOT Cajun Men!!!!!  LOVE, LOVE, LOVE IT!                                                                                                                                                 I discovered Rachel when I read her awesome YA Tale of Two Centuries. Taste of Heat is her debut adult novel ...another winner!




    Colby Robicheaux had grown up cooking Cajun at her father's knee. She left home years ago and started her own restaurant in Las Vegas earning fame as a renowned chef. Now her father has passed and the family restaurant at home being run by her siblings needs her cajun chef's expertise to get it back on track.




    Upon her return, when she was introduced as the celebrity chef to judge a Magnolia Spring's cook-off contest, she can't believe her childhood crush is one of the entrants.




    Jason Landry is Magnolia Spring's Fire Dept Chief and he's got one of the three entries in the contest. He has no idea who that pretty judge is... but she's igniting feelings that he hasn't felt in years.




    The book's setting is in Magnolia Springs, a small town outside of New Orleans. LOVED the location... I related to and fell in love with the characters, Colby, Jason, Cane, etc. and can hardly wait to read more about each of them! So excited for the next books in this series! 




    I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys contemporary romances. AND IF you love Cajun cooking... or New Orleans, you'll be in 7th heaven! 5 STARS! 

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  • Posted September 5, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    I don't read adult romances very often. (And when I say adult I'

    I don't read adult romances very often. (And when I say adult I'm not talking Fifty Shades of Grey here. There is some heat in the book but no full blown sex scenes). I've chatted with Rachel Harris via Twitter, Facebook and GoodReads. It just so happened that when I felt I was in the mood for an adult romance Rachel had this book coming out so it worked perfectly!  




    Sometimes (but rarely) I just want a light romance with no "issues" in it. Usually, however, I want some issues in it. I like characters to be flawed. Because, really, is anybody ever perfect? I find it better that way. Someone may perfect for you but the chances that they are actually perfect are very 
    slim. 




    The story-line here was great. I loved the New Orleans setting. All of the culture it had to offer. Especially the food. I am a bit of a foodie so that part really appealed to me. I loved hearing about the cuisine in New Orleans. At some parts of the book I got hungry for the food. The romance story was also great. Jason was a wonderful character and I like Colby as well. They each had personal demons they were dealing with that made it hard for them to open their hearts. But they began to and you could clearly see the attraction. My favorite line from the book was "...the heart doesn't always work on a time table." 




    Let's talk about the characters. I thought that these characters were great. I loved reading about Colby in the kitchen  New dishes she'd created and things of this nature. Jason was also great. He had his hands full, huh? It was also pretty amusing to see him get Colby flustered. I really liked Cane and Sherry as well. I liked the fact that Cane looked like a bad boy but he was the "geeky" numbers guy and a protective big brother. At one point he's described as a teddy bear. Sherry was a lot of fun. I could get her quirky personality from Rachel's writing. She took a lot of joy in watching her sister squirm. Then again, so did Cane. I really liked the family dynamic between Cane, Colby and Sherry. There are other characters that I loved but I don't want to give that much away. ;)




    I really enjoyed this book. It isn't just a light fluffy romance. It has some serious stuff going on it and I thought that was good to put in there. I also liked that the characters weren't positively perfect. They had their flaws. I'm really glad that I read this book. I really enjoyed it and definitely recommend it if you're a romance fan! Even if you aren't, give it a try! 4 stars!

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  • Posted August 10, 2013

    Taste the Heat was everything I look for in my books. It was fun

    Taste the Heat was everything I look for in my books. It was fun, flirty, and a little spicy. I loved the characters and I loved their story. I loved getting to know Colby and Jason so much, that I wasn't ready for it to be over!




    I liked Colby right away. She's simply, a likable character. Colby is a well- known chef. She has returned home after her father's death to help with the family restaurant. Her siblings are there to help too, but they definitely needed Colby there. Of course, returning home means that she's also likely to see her old crush, Jason. He's her brother's best friend and he's always been off limits. Well, things have changed and Colby isn't the same girl she used to be.




    Oh my, did I love Jason! He's charming, sweet, sexy, a great dad, and a really good guy. After losing his wife, he hasn't been in much of a hurry to find someone else. He really loved his wife, so it's been hard to move on. But, when Colby shows up, he's surprised to see that she's all grown up. I loved seeing them figure out their relationship. They both start out thinking it's just a fling, but they realize it's something worth trying for long term. I loved how he made her not only fall in love with him, but fall in love with their town again.




    I loved Colby and Jason together. I liked getting to see glimpses of what they were like when they were younger. It helped to understand the depth of her feelings for him. And even though he was in love with his wife, Jason did notice Colby when they were younger. Speaking of his wife, I appreciated the fact that Jason wasn't looking to replace his wife. He honored her memory and their past. I was happy that it wasn't glossed over. I also loved the relationship that Colby developed with his daughter, Emma. It was so sweet.




    Overall, I loved it! All of the characters were likable. I loved her sister, Sherry. I'm hoping she gets a book, but I'm also anxious for Colby's brother, Cane's book. I think I'm going to really like him! This is my first Rachel Harris book and it certainly won't be my last. I'm a fan for sure! If you're looking for a fast read that has a bit of sugar and spice, check this one out!




    Quotes:
    ~"Personally, I think of Jason as nothing more than an honorary annoying brother. But if that man ever looked at me with that level of intensity, I would take him in the back and invent a new use for the spatula."-Loc 496




    ~He tasted of cinnamon and temptation, and smelled like heaven.-Loc 1677

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  • Posted July 28, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    3.5 stars Did I enjoy this book: I did enjoy this book. The

    3.5 stars




    Did I enjoy this book: I did enjoy this book. The beginning was a bit slow for me. It really took me awhile to get into this book. In fact, I didn’t know if I would like this book or not. But I kept reading because I enjoy Ms. Harris’s writing.




    And Ms. Harris did it again…she left me with that giddy, happy, goofy grin with excited goosebumps at the end of Taste the Heat. In fact, I was finishing this book while pushing my middle child in the stroller around the neighborhood – as an aside, the kid is close to 40 lbs but he loves walks in the stroller. It was a good workout for Momma. Anyway, I’m sure the neighbors were looking at me funny because of the goofy grin on my face and the few times I laughed/gasped/squealed out loud. Thank you, Ms. Harris, for those moments.




    Taste the Heat was an easy read with just enough romance, troubled backstories, and happiness. I loved Colby and Jason’s early interaction at the cookoff. You could feel the tension between them. As they rekindle their friendship and childhood crushes, it starts to get steamy and emotional. Colby really goes through a lot emotionally while back in her home town. I loved their first overnight date. So romantic. So sweet. So sexy. There were some predictable moments. That’s okay. But I absolutely LOVED!!! the ending. I really did have happy chills and goosebumps despite the fact that I was sweating while pushing my son in the stroller. (It really was a workout! Really!!)




    All-in-all, a good read.




    Would I recommend it: I would recommend this book to anyone who likes a good romance, not quite chick lit, story. I would recommend any of Ms. Harris’s books to anyone.




    Will I read it again: I probably won’t. But I may read a few scenes every now and then. ;-)




    (I received a copy of this book for review purposes.)

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