Taste the Heat: A Love and Games Novel

Taste the Heat: A Love and Games Novel

by Rachel Harris

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781622660940
Publisher: Entangled Publishing, LLC
Publication date: 07/08/2013
Series: Love and Games , #1
Sold by: Macmillan
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 220
Sales rank: 57,726
File size: 2 MB

About 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.

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


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?"


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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Taste the Heat : A Love and Games Novel 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 49 reviews.
Tara25Fuller More than 1 year ago
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.
AllBookedUp More than 1 year ago
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!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
ValiaLind-Author More than 1 year ago
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.
Reading_Addiction More than 1 year ago
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! 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
CindyRayHaleAuthor More than 1 year ago
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!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The Author is a f u c k i n g B i t c h!
rvingmillers More than 1 year ago
Enjoyed this very much.  Great read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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...
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
KatsNook More than 1 year ago
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.
These-Pretty-Words More than 1 year ago
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.
srfeike More than 1 year ago
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.
LindaTownsend More than 1 year ago
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! 
JoBroCrazy More than 1 year ago
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!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
TheAutumnReview More than 1 year ago
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
Chrissy_W More than 1 year ago
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.)
HarlequinJunkie_ More than 1 year ago
In Taste the Heat by Rachel Harris, chef Colby Robicheaux has returned home to New Orleans, but only for the summer. After her father’s death the family restaurant needs a new head chef and so far nobody has been able to fill her father’s shoes. As she learned to cook by his side as a child, she knows all of his recipes and knows how to make some of the best Cajun food. But there is a reason she has not cooked Cajun food in the past years and that her Vegas restaurant is all Italian food, now she has to cook without letting the memories of the past destroy what she has made of her life. TTHJason Landry is the local fire captain and along with the neighboring fire captains and friends they are all entering a Cajun food competition. As they are preparing their dishes for the tasting contest, him and his friends all admire the women there. But none hold his attention as they do his friends, until they point him to the judge of the contest, now she is a five alarm hot woman in his standards. As the contest begins and they take a sample to Colby, she is surprised that Jason has not recognized her. He is her brother’s best friend and they basically grew up together. But instead of letting him know who she is, she enjoys the flirtation that he has begun and the looks that he only ever gave his high school sweetheart. Starting something between them will not be easy though, Jason is looking for a woman to become his wife but he only wants something superficial so his daughter Emma will have the womanly influence and guidance she needs now that she is close to being a teenager. He already loved his wife with all his heart and he does not want to get hurt ever again. And not only that, Cane, Colby’s brother, will beat him up if he finds out the thoughts he is having about his little sister. But Sherry, Colby’s young sister, and Emma have other plans in mind. Sherry wants her sister to stay and to be with family once again and Emma wants a mother and someone that will make her father happy. These two matchmakers will stop at nothing to try and bring Jason and Colby together at every possible opportunity. As Jason and Colby decide on a summer affair, soon what they thought they wanted will change to something completely different. But if they are to have true love in their lives, they must first open up and let go of the past and the pain the suffered. This is a sweet, emotional and very entertaining read. Jason is a true southern gentleman, but that doesn’t take away the fact that is one HOT fireman, something that will not get past Colby. While Colby is a sweet and very determined woman, she still judges everything by the past instead of trying to rise above it and continue living. But with the help of one handsome fireman she may just learn to forgive and move onto better things. Don’t miss Taste the Heat by Rachel Harris it is a deliciously delightful read.
LeaKrnjeta More than 1 year ago
It is no secret that I love a good romance book and this one is one of the great. I was always fascinated with New Orleans so it was a real treat to read a book placed there. Now, Jason and Colby have chemistry that I rarely have seen so well described. You could actually feel it whenever they were close together. They find each other after years. She was his best friends little sister, so he never really saw her, and he was her biggest crush. After deaths of Colbys parents and a death of Jasons wife they both need to learn to let go of past and Colby also has to learn to forgive and forget although some things she can never take back. Jasons daughter is also a great character. She is cute and funny and brings a dose of humor to the story. There were a few times a laughed out loud, Taste the heat is a perfect blend of romance, chemistry and humor. Since we meet Colbys brother Cain in this book, and he intrigued me very much, I cant wait for his book.
AshleyBodette More than 1 year ago
This wonderful novel is what I like to call a PG-13 romance. :)  Rachel Harris gives you PLENTY of information to know EXACTLY what is going on, without having to give us every sordid detail.  And I LOVED it!  Not only are things sizzlin' in these characters' love lives, but also in their kitchens.  In Taste the Heat, Rachel Harris serves up romance with an honest-to-goodness New Orleans flair.  The romance may be spicy in this novel, but so is the food!  If you've never been to New Orleans before (like me), Harris gives you a real feel for the food, music, atmosphere and culture of this place.  A place where gumbo, étouffée, and beignets reign supreme.  A place where you can dance to the blues musician playing on the street corner.  And Bourbon Street...can I PLEASE just go visit NOW?!  Harris brings the city alive, and the New Orleans culture is as much a character in the novel as the people are.  This story isn't just a sizzling romance...it is a beautiful story of the characters' lives, working through their pasts, trying to enjoy the present, and deciding where their futures lie. Colby Robicheaux ran away from home.  She may have been an adult, in college, but she was a runaway none the less...and she tried to never look back.  That is, until her father died, and her family's restaurant couldn't seem to find a new head cook to save their souls.  And since Colby just happens to be a famous chef working in Vegas, it seems like a perfect fit, right?  Well, even though most of things she ran away from 12 years ago are gone, there are a couple of things that are still there...memories, Cajun food, and the man she fell in love with when he was just a boy, Jason.  She has every intention of returning her own restaurant at the end of the summer, but will she be able to leave her family, hometown, and Jason when the time comes? Jason Landry is now a fire captain in their hometown.  He has an almost 12-year-old daughter who loves to cook, and Jason isn't too shabby in the kitchen either.  Jason's world was rocked 4 years ago when he lost his wife...and he's focused everything he has into his daughter.  He wants his daughter to have the world, and he's willing to do pretty much anything to give it to her.  But when Colby comes back into town, he starts to wonder if there are things that he himself just can't give to his daughter...at least not without some help from a female role model.