Dishing Up Desire by Barbara DeLeo
Image consultant Blake Matthews is facing his toughest PR challenge yet: salvage the image of celebrity chef Kirin Hart, but Kirin's no easy fix?she's stubborn and needs a PR lifeline fast. Only problem is Blake finds her incredibly delicious and wants more than to make her over …
Kirin doesn't need a makeover?her fans love her as she is. She agrees to let model-perfect Blake work his magic for two weeks, but things get complicated when she can't deny the way her body flares to life whenever he's near.
About the Author
Barbara DeLeo's first book, co-written with her best friend, was a story about beauty queens in space. She was eleven, and the sole, handwritten copy was lost years ago, much to everyone's relief. It's some small miracle that she kept the faith and is now living her dream of writing sparkling contemporary romance with unforgettable characters.
After completing degrees in Psychology and English then traveling the world, Barbara married her winemaker hero and had two sets of twins.
She still loves telling stories about finding love in all the wrong places, with not a beauty queen or spaceship in sight.
Read an Excerpt
Dishing Up Desire
By Barbara DeLeo
Entangled Publishing, LLCCopyright © 2013 Barbara DeLeo
All rights reserved.
Blake Matthews stepped from the elevator into the cool basement of Hart Corporation and sucked in a lungful of air. The sweet smell of something toasted and warm assaulted his nose, filled his mouth, and confirmed that Kirin Hart, America's fallen-angel chef, was close by.
Hands slung in his pockets, he strode down the bare concrete corridor toward the enticing smells and cooking sounds, ready to meet the challenge of fixing the public image Mrs. Hart had so spectacularly annihilated.
Because she'd broken the last consultant who'd tried to tackle this mammoth assignment, he'd stepped in to minimize catastrophic fallout to the PR company he was about to buy. The board of directors had given him fourteen days to prove he had what it took to preserve the integrity of their company or they wouldn't sell to him.
He'd turn the situation around in ten.
A photograph from the file his investigator had put together reeled through his mind — the focused woman carefully disguised beneath homely outfits, pastel cardigans, and blond hair in a sweet plait. She'd certainly crafted the look of dependable domestic goddess well. Pity she'd been accused of sexually harassing a male staffer ten years her junior, thereby smashing that image, and the public's love for her, to smithereens. Confidence pumped sweetly through his veins. He'd never failed at a job this big, and didn't intend to start now, especially with the expansion of his business at stake. He'd overhaul Mrs. Hart — beige trouser suit and all — and be back home in New York in no time.
At the end of the corridor he stopped in an open doorway.
Behind a long stainless steel counter strewn with cooking paraphernalia, a woman had her back to him as she stirred something on an enormous industrial stove. He leaned a shoulder against the doorjamb, the low roar of overhead fans sucking away steam allowing him to watch her unnoticed. He made the most of the sight.
A loose blond ponytail, falling from beneath a small black hat, rested between narrow shoulders. His gaze tracked lower to where the strings of a black chef's apron fell down the back of a plain tan skirt hugging a perfectly rounded bottom. He took a step into the room but still she worked, backward and forward. Her movements were sexily hypnotic — stirring and shuffling implements, occasionally dusting a hand across the curve of her hip — oblivious to the fact he couldn't pull his eyes away.
Still unaware of him, she leaned to the back of the stove, dipped a spoon into one of the pans, and steadying a hand beneath, lifted it to her face and blew. As she opened her mouth and slowly slid the spoon between dusky lips, the secret intimacy of it caused his stomach muscles to clench, and on reflex he cleared his throat. When she spun around, the spoon clattered to the floor, her moist mouth forming a perfect O.
"Can I help you?" She reached for a cloth to clean up the liquid splattered across the counter and all down her front. "You must be lost."
He took a step into the room. "Not lost. I was looking for you. Don't stop what you're doing, I was enjoying it." He moved forward. "Blake — "
"How did you get in? This is a restricted area." Her eyes flicked to her apron and back at him, the creamy skin at her jaw tightening as she wiped away the mess.
"Through the door." He tried a grin but she dropped her gaze.
"But I have security."
The chilly reception wasn't surprising. Angela Jenkins, the original consultant on this job, had described Kirin Hart as defensive and suspicious — and that was before Kirin had told her that she didn't need their services anymore. "Might want to check on that security." He stepped around a stack of cardboard cartons. "I told your doorman who I was and he let me come straight down."
Finally, sparking caramel eyes focused on him and she stopped still. "What can I do for you?"
He pulled up an industrial looking stool and sat. "If you're not going to continue cooking, best turn the stoves off. This could take a while."
She laid both hands on the counter and hooked him with a "give me orders if you dare" look as her chest rose then fell. "The expansion might've fallen through but I still need these new stoves." The mask was edged with hard-assed determination and was even more of a turn on than watching her cook. Her tongue peeped out and she moistened her lips. "I'll downsize the chillers, though, so you can take the large one in the next room. It was the last you sent."
She began to remove the apron and her body was revealed. A cream blouse in soft fabric skimmed her breasts and sat lightly across a gently rounded stomach. It had a V-neck but must have had two dozen tiny pearl buttons all down the front and reminded him of a particularly uptight Sunday school teacher he'd once had.
At her throat, a thin gold chain lay against her milky skin with the letter K in a flourishing script. "We won't be needing the new office furniture you delivered last month either. You can take that back." She waved a delicate hand and thin gold bracelets tinkled on her wrist. "I'm sorry but I don't have time to discuss this right now." She turned back to the stove. "Make an appointment with my P.A. and she'll coordinate with you. I'm sure you'll find your way out."
He raised an eyebrow, intrigued by her ball-breaking attitude and the fact they'd had an entire conversation without him saying a word.
If he was a supplier of cooking equipment, or a repo man, he'd be throwing out some pretty choice expletives right now in response to an attitude like that. Lucky for her, he had a few more manners than she was displaying. No wonder she was such a PR disaster. He shrugged out of his suit jacket and finding nowhere to put it on the crowded counter, laid it across his knee. "I've come to discuss your contract with Dent and Douglas."
Her shoulders straightened. "My contract with Dent and Douglas is finished. I explained to Angela Jenkins that it wasn't working out." She turned and began to play with the strings of the apron. "If there are things to sign, my lawyer will take care of it."
She leaned closer and the K slipped beneath the fabric to a part of her he couldn't see.
He swallowed then refocused. Given her significant business troubles, the fight she still had left inside was admirable, and surprisingly sexy. "I'm Angela's replacement."
Her cinnamon eyes darted from the apron to his face. "May I see your card?"
Shit. His stomach clenched. He was going to have enough trouble making her come around if she thought he worked for Dent and Douglas. If she knew he was D and D's new buyer and that they wouldn't sell until he'd fixed her, she'd be the one in the driver's seat, and no way was that happening. His real identity could be saved for later. "I left my last card with your guy upstairs. Call him."
She turned as if looking for her phone then seemed to think better of it. "In case you haven't quite gotten the message, I've changed my mind. I don't want an image consultant anymore. Thanks for your time, I'm sorry it was wasted."
Good. She believed him. But he wasn't going anywhere. "No consultant? Why?"
There was that tongue again, slipping between her lips, and he found his eyes being constantly pulled there. "Because I need to get myself out of this mess." A flare of pain blossomed in her eyes.
So, there was a heart beating behind that tough shell. "And how do you intend to do that on your own? From what I understand, your brand's looking about as attractive as a high-speed train wreck right now. And you're the one who's still standing on the accelerator. Seems to me like you need a lot of professional help. Fast."
She pulled the hat from her head and tiny blond hairs stood up at different angles. The pain was still in her eyes and her face softened. "By working hard, cooking well, things I've done since the start of my career. No amount of PR speak and fancy outfits is going to do that for me."
He picked up some sort of metal cooking utensil and turned the handle. "I'd suggest it wasn't your cooking or your work ethic that got you into this mess so it's not likely they'll get you out. Your brother did the right thing hiring the best PR firm in town to turn your fortunes around. You'll never put this right on your own. From what I understand, if you don't act soon you're going to have a parade of removal men banging down your door. And they might not be as gentlemanly as me."
She'd rolled the apron into a ball and threw it to the side. "Flynn has a good heart but he has no clue about this industry." She rubbed her forehead. "Your colleague, Angela, started telling me what I should wear, how I should speak, who I should be associating with." Her eyes flashed as she spoke.
"All good advice which I hear you refused to take."
She laid a hand at her throat, her slim fingers stroking the pale skin that looked as silky as the fabric covering the rest of her top half. "What did you say your name was?"
"Matthews." He threw her his 'trust-me' smile. "Blake Matthews."
"Well, thanks, Blake Matthews but I don't require the services of Dent and Douglas anymore. I'm happy to handle this on my own." She picked up a towel and turned back toward the stove. "If you don't mind, I have a party to cater and you're holding me up." She knelt to look in an oven then pulled open the door.
"What's the party?"
She leaned in and put a skewer into the cake. When she drew it back he noticed her long, dark lashes as she surveyed the end. "It's for the daughter of a friend."
"Sweet Sixteen? Or twenty-first? You must be glad for the work. I've heard that the catering side of Hart Corp. has taken a big hit." He turned the handle on the cooking thing and a blade inside nearly sliced his finger off.
She shut the oven door hard and turned, skewer pointing toward him, cheeks flushed. "It's Maura's fourth birthday, and unless you want to lose a thumb, I suggest you put that down. There's a reason we don't let the public down here."
The public? Prickles rose on his neck for a second and then he reminded himself how much he enjoyed the challenge of getting people like Kirin Hart on his side. Two could play at her game.
He nodded slowly and placed the cutting thing gently on the counter. "How long have you been catering birthday parties for pre-schoolers? And is that sort of work going to stop your business imploding? Can't imagine there's a whole lot of profit in Jell-O molds and Twinkie cakes, or whatever kids eat at parties these days."
She sighed. "My business is none of your business, Mr. Matthews."
"Ah, but that's where you're wrong." He met the challenging spark in her stare and smiled slowly. He'd come from New York to buy Dent and Douglas — the jewel in his crown of image consultancies and PR firms — and suddenly they'd put a halt to the sale. The Kirin Hart debacle — and the resulting media circus — was destroying the reputation LA's most famous PR company had worked fifty years to develop. They wanted proof that Blake had the capacity to maintain the integrity of their name. And they wouldn't sell until he'd proven he could fix Kirin Hart and her image.
He put his palms flat on the cool counter top. "I don't do failure, Mrs. Hart, and right now Dent and Douglas has a contracted client whose image hasn't been changed, whose fortunes haven't been turned around as they assured her they would be. Where I come from, we call that a dud rap. I don't do dud raps. In fact, I've never been involved in one, and don't intend to start now."
Kirin tucked a stray piece of hair behind her ear. "Angela spent her whole time suggesting I didn't know how to dress or do my hair. I'm a chef not a catwalk model, Mr. Matthews. Surely the decision about whether to carry on a contract is up to the client," she said, voice tight.
"That might be the case if that client wasn't the biggest image disaster in American history. The whole world and his PR machine know D and D took you on. Their reputation will be worth nothing if we don't see the contract through."
She took a moment before answering. "And why are you so interested in me? Are you the bad cop, the guy who tries to muscle in and rough up the client when she's not toeing the line?"
He adjusted himself on the stool, hooked by her candor and the way her breasts rose in defiance. He hadn't counted on her spitfire responses, or his responses to them. He'd dealt with a lot of people in his career, but no one had captured his fascination as quickly as Kirin Hart. This was a woman who believed in herself and her image so much she was prepared to fight to the death for it. Trouble was, the media was nailing the lid on her career's coffin hour-by-hour and unless something drastic happened, she'd have nothing left. And his plan to add the crowning company in his coast-to-coast empire would be finished.
"I'm no bad cop, and I'm not interested in you, Mrs. Hart, I'm interested in your image. They're two entirely different things. When you begin to understand that, we might start getting somewhere."
For a second something passed across her face, almost as if she'd been hurt by what he'd said but then she stood straighter. "I've told you, I'm not interested. I'll pay the contract break fee and be done with it. And please don't call me Mrs. Hart."
"You'll renege on the contract and just wait for everything to go up in a smoke of debts? All the things you've worked so hard and so long for?"
The skewer clanged as she dropped it on the counter top. "People have been taking from me since my husband died, Mr. Matthews." Her lip trembled before she cleared her throat. "In fact, since well before that and right up to the present day. I'm used to it, but I'm not going to let you do it, too."
This wasn't hurt, it was cold-blooded anger and he knew where it was coming from. "You mean Trent Bray."
Blood drained from her face and her eyes glistened. "You know about that?"
He crossed his arms. "Female CEOs being sued for the sexual harassment of their younger male employees aren't that common, Kirin. You want Bray to win? For everything you worked for before he came along to be worth nothing?"
"He's already won," she murmured and looked up at him. Her shoulders had slumped and the defeated look on her face stirred something deep inside. For the shortest second, her cultivated control was replaced with soft vulnerability, and the contrast was mesmerizing. She lifted her chin and whispered, "Hell, no."
"Then let me help you."
She picked up a knife and stabbed it through a piece of butter. "I've been relying on people for too long. It's time I took charge."
He swallowed, his heart throwing in an extra beat for her vulnerability. "I'm the best there is at turning around public images, Kirin. Come back on board and I'll have journalists phoning you for interviews, invitations to talk shows and A-list parties. I can have your image back on track, brighter than you ever thought possible, in no time."
She reached behind her for a small copper pot and put the butter in. "And what makes you so sure you can achieve this magic? Is a superhero outfit lurking under that smart suit?" Her first real smile flitted across her face and it dazzled. "A pair of underpants over the tights beneath? I don't need rescuing by you or anyone else, Mr. Matthews."
He didn't usually have to spell out his experience. Most people he dealt with had been on a waiting list for his services for months and knew every last detail. "I've been in the image industry for fourteen years. I started work at sixteen as an international model and quickly learned that the way you portray yourself can make, or cost you, millions. The image the public currently has of you, if I may be so blunt, is a seductress who's betrayed her roots. They bought that original, homely image of you hook, line, and sinker and now they feel cheated. Turning your situation around isn't going to be easy, and you certainly won't achieve it alone."
She was quiet for a moment then shook her head. "Thanks for your interest but I'm going to do this on my own. Now, if you don't mind, I have a hundred cupcakes to frost."
Blake reached into his pocket, pulled out his smart phone and pressed a button before sliding it across the counter to her. "How's this 'doing it on your own' working out for you?"
She looked down at the picture on the screen and a flush swept up her neck. "Not one of my finest moments."
Excerpted from Dishing Up Desire by Barbara DeLeo. Copyright © 2013 Barbara DeLeo. 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.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Dishing Up Desire had me on the edge of my seat! If you like reading about a spontaneous romance, this is the book for you. The author did an amazing job with her first book! Loved it!
4 Temperature Rising Stars! A successful, stubborn woman coupled with a devastatingly handsome man telling her to change everything about her, what could possibly go wrong with that combo? ¿ Barbara DeLeo’s Dishing Up Desire was hilarious as well as emotional. And I enjoyed it from beginning to end. The stakes run high for Chef star, Kirin Hart when she is sued by one of her younger staff members. Her image is going down the drain and she is trying everything to just stay sane and keep her business from going under. This would be the moment that Blake Matthews saunters in to take control and tell her how to fix everything. Not only does she not listen because she is uncomfortable with everything being thrown at her, she doesn’t know if she can trust him. Blake Matthews is the sexy-as-sin PR rep trying to prove himself to the company that Kirin is under contract with. If Blake is successful in turning around Kirin’s image in two weeks, they will sell him their company and he will have acquired the largest PR Empire in the nation. Just as things start to come together, things begin to boil over, causing chaos and pain for all those involved. Blake and Kirin must decide what is more important to them; their careers or their love. I admire everything that Kirin has gone through in her life and still comes out standing, no matter how much her stubbornness got on my nerves and I just wanted her to give in to Blake. As much as Blake seems to be aloof and uncaring to what others think of him, he is vulnerable to those he cares the most about, leaving him truly insecure. Kirin pulls at this side of him in a way he never thought possible. Their relationship is always on a see-saw of epic proportions that left me unable to put the book down. (I received an ARC for my review and this is my honest-to-goodness, straight from the heart review!)
Kirin is a domestic doyenne in distress, after a harassment claim has derailed her career; she is in desperate need of the services that Blake can provide. His PR firm is the perfect solution for Kirin’s needs, and fits Blake’s personality well. Through much banter, a mysterious past and an obvious chemistry between the two this story is the perfect beach read. The future of Blake’s company, and his success, revolves around reworking the often recalcitrant Kirin’s image, a holdover from the image designed and directed by her late husband. Through the story we get to slowly understand Kirin and her rediscovery of herself. After starting off as a rather difficult character to empathize with, her growth and development in this short novel provide the reader with someone to cheer on. Blake is an interesting character with a strongly developed sense of woman’s fashion and presentation for the best effect. Cleverly portrayed, his awareness is just a hair’s breadth from being overly camp: a tribute to the writing that keeps him very much a man’s man with confidence to embrace his more feminine abilities. As the characters battle and banter, their chemistry is very apparent, and the kitchen /bedroom antics are quite steamy and satisfying for all. Removing Kirin’s widow’s weeds was a job that he obviously delighted in, sometimes literally. This was such a cleverly written and presented story that it flew by, perfect for a quick read. I received an ARC copy from Entangled for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.
I just loved this book. I read it through in one sitting. How refreshing to have characters who read as real people. I loved Kirin a woman unsure of who she really is has taken a bad hit with a sex scandal. Thank you Ms. DeLeo for not having a perfect heroine! All Kirin wants is to be known for her cooking. Enter Blake, sexy image consultant who thinks Kirin needs to be true to herself and update her image. With reluctance and through wonderful dialogue we see Kirin resist Blake as she’s slowly falling for the younger but oh so sexy Blake. Did I mention that Blake is hot? He’s smoking hot. He hasn't told Kirin he needs to turn her image around so he can buy the PR company. Both Kirin and Blake had different goals but the author did a great job of weaving everything together. Through the story we see their falling for each other and it was done in a believable way that by the end of the book I was desperate to see them together but wasn't sure if they would. The sex scenes are steamy and hit all the right notes. The HEA moment made this reader sigh and wipe a tear. I highly recommend this book. A must summer read. I look forward to reading more from Ms. DeLeo.
Dishing Up Desire is another wonderful addition to the Entangled Publishing Indulgence line. I love these shorter novels, they really seem to fit in my summer so far and provide me with wonderful stories to get lost in for a couple of hours. Character Development: Kirin and Blake, two very interesting characters with somewhat mysterious pasts. Both have a drive in the present to make something of themselves. Kirin really just wants to get her life and career back on track. Blake has something to prove by changing public opinion of Kirin and then he will have the company of his dreams. But along the way of course there is romance. But first I enjoyed getting to know Kirin and Blake. Kirin was a little hard to like at first, but as I got to know her through the book, I really began to enjoy her and see a little bit of the everyday woman in her. Blake is flat out hot and a good man when you really dig into who he is. I liked him, liked how he falls for Kirin and like how he grows in the book. Both characters have growth and are well-developed for a short book. Also the romance is not instantaneous if that is one of the things that bothers you about a shorter book. The attraction is there, but the romance develops a little slower. Plot: The plot is built around Kirin and Blake, first in the restoration of her image and second in their romance. It's a fast read and kept me engaged through the entire book. I wanted to turn each page and see how the plot would unfold and how Kirin and Blake would develop. Final Thoughts: If you are looking for a short read to jump-start your reading and satisfy your taste for romance, then Dishing Up Desire is just the book for you. With interesting characters and a different plot, it was one of the books that has started me back on a reading binge. These Indulgence titles are just the right pace and length for these busy summer days! My Rating: 4.5/5.0
I was really pleasantly surprised by this book. I'm a fan of the Entangled brand including the Indulgence lines. I know I'm not going to get a bad book when I read them, but this book really surprised me in a good way. The book starts out in the male perspective of Blake, the image consultant hell bent on purchasing an L.A. PR firm to add to his empire. He's been told his purchase hinges on whether or not he can fix a Martha Stewart type celebrity chef/homemaker's image. The person needing an image fix is Kirin. She's stuck in an image created by her late husband and feels that any type of change is a betrayal to him and their fans. She's tired of being guided by the men in her life and wants to handle the problem on her own. What I found so surprising was the inner workings of the characters. It was almost as though there was a role reversal. Kirin had the image mentality of the typical male in these novels, and Blake the female. Blake was in no way feminine but his knowledge and beliefs were more in tune with what the typical female would have. It made the book less predictable. He also seemed to acknowledge his feelings first. It was nice to not know what they were going to do next. Because of that I would totally recommend it. The only thing I would have liked more of was the Trent situation. He disappeared off the planet so quickly and I would have liked more info/action considering how much it was referenced. **I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Sweet contemporary romance Celebrity chef Kirin Hart needs an image makeover. Her life has been in turmoil since her husband and ½ of the cooking team died and recently she was sued for sexual harassment by a younger male employee. Image consultant Blake Matthews takes one look at her and knows that this may be his toughest challenge to date. Change is hard but not changing could cost them everything. Kirin Hart started out poor, married young and is a little naïve when it comes to the image machine of celebrity. Blake Matthews is a former model who has been a part of the machine since his teens and has hardened his heart to protect it or the machine will suck it out of you. I don’t think he was anymore prepared for Kirin than she was for him. This book starts out a little slow but picks up speed and you are exhilarated by the end. Copy provided by the publisher for a fair and honest review.
Barbara DeLeo definitely is Dishing Up Desire. The first few chapters started off a little slow, but as soon as Kirin and Blake really start to interact, their relate-ability in their emotional story makes Dishing Up Desire a quick but good read.
Dishing Up Desire by Barbara DeLeo had me on the edge of my seat. After the first few chapters I found myself unable to put it down. I was captivated by the characters how both Kirin and Blake grew throughout the story. The book definitely kept emotions high and attention fixed. It is a great read for anyone that likes a love story with a little twist.
Well, I finished Dishing Up Desire by Barbara DeLeo. Honestly, I was on the fence with this story. However, once I started to see the emotions starting to build between Kirin and Blake, I was sold. The first few chapters when Blake Matthews strolling and basically try to take control, I wasn't sure I was going to like the story. Then you have Kirin Hart who happens to be a tad bit naïve when it comes to her image. Once the story gets going you start to understand where Kirin is coming from you get a sense that she doesn't have a clue who she is. When Blake starts to realize this, he starts to help Kirin realize her true potential. Yes, emotions start to run high when one falls in love with the other. Yet, the other wants to keep the other at arm distance. I love the connection these two create as they slowly tear down walls. Overall, I found Dishing Up Desire as an emotional charge story that can cook up some steam. So, if you are looking for a quick read with a lot of emotion, you might want to give Dishing Up Desire a try. Copy provided by the publisher
Dishing Up Desire by Barbara DeLeo is a sweet, yet slightly spicy romantic read. Thirty-four year old celebrity chef and domestic goddess Kirin Hart has been living a nightmare for the past year. Her integrity and wholesomeness took a huge hit when she was wrongly sued by an employee ten years her junior for sexual harassment. Her life has become a media circus and as a result, she has become hardened and difficult to deal with. She is now in debt and her public image is in the gutter. The multimillion dollar empire that she and her late husband created, "Cooking with Hart" is in danger of crumbling. Kirin needs a complete makeover; heart, body and soul. Former model Blake Matthews is the best Public Relations and Image Consultant in the business. Everyone and everything he touches turns to gold. Once he acquires the prestigious firm of Dent and Douglas, (D&D), his conglomerate will be complete. However, Kirin Hart is their client and her unwillingness to cooperate is causing the upstanding reputation of D&D to go down the tubes. They will not sell him the company until D&D's reputation is back on track. Blake has been given two weeks to change Kirin's image and prove to D&D that he can maintain their high quality of services. Due to a tragedy in Blake's childhood, it is difficult for him to form and maintain personal relationships of any kind. Thus, he doesn't have any close friends and has never been in love. Kirin and Blake do not hit it off at first. It is difficult for Kirin to trust anyone and Blake is no exception. However, between his good-looks, sound advice and public image knowledge, he is slowly gaining her confidence. Spending so much time together naturally causes feelings to develop and cultivate. They begin to transform each other while sharing secrets, dreams and hopes. If you are looking for a quick sexy read with good story development, get this book.
What a great storyline, it's amazing what love and determination can achieve. Blake and Kirin fit perfectly. I loved this book and highly recommend this excellent book
As posted on The Smutty Kitty reviewed by KittyKelly 3 out of 5 Licks This was another one that I thought was just ok. Blake is one of the most metro sexual men I've read about and he treated Kirin pretty crappy. He just came across way to forceful and didn't seem to much kindness in him at all. Kirin may have been down and out in her career but she is a fighter. I really liked that about her. Even when she is at her lowest she won't let Blake have 100% control over her. She gives a little but remains strong throughout the process. The ending felt a bit rushed to me. I did wind up proud of Kirin in the end and Blake made steps to redeeming himself but the book remained just ok for me.
An enjoyable read. The characters are interesting. Kirin is comfortable with herself as she is. But with a little pushing, she learns new things about herself and becomes a stronger person. Blake thinks he has it all together. But he accidentally discovers the person he truly wants to me. Through it all he comes off as a jerk at times. But he is working through his own issues. Together they bring out the best in each other. The book is well-written. The characters are likable and believable. The story is good. But there wasn't anything outstanding that made me love it.
A romantic sexy journey of self-belief If you are looking for a well-written romance with characters to love, a great storyline and some nice steamy content, look no further. This ticks all the boxes. I loved both Kirin and Blake. Following a harassment claim against her, Kirin’s career is free-falling. Stubborn and defensive, she craves control, but underneath the façade is a woman who sees herself as nothing short of ordinary (I loved the fact that she doesn’t have the ‘perfect’ figure) and her true character has become that little bit lost. Enter image consultant Blake; confident, cheeky, sexy and not only does he know his way around a woman’s wardrobe, he is protective, thoughtful, insightful with his own vulnerabilities. His plan? Out with the plain widow and in with the sexy single lady. But who is really getting a makeover? Mirrors do not lie… Their stubborn banter made me smile, their vulnerabilities tugged on the heartstrings and their bedroom/kitchen antics were hot. I swooned over Blake and loved the fact that neither he or Kirin were perfect, which made them exactly that. The only thing missing for me was an epilogue; as such wonderful characters I feel they deserved one and it would have finished their story off perfectly. Nevertheless, this doesn’t detract from a book that I would recommend and will certainly read again. I received this book as an ARC from the publisher for and honest and unbiased opinion.