The Secret Ingredient

The Secret Ingredient

by Nancy Naigle


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Love is like a perfect recipe…
You never want to lose it.

Years ago, Kelly McIntyre and Andrew York were engaged and dreaming of opening a restaurant together. Then he chose an opportunity to study in Paris over the small-town life they’d planned, and their romance came to a bittersweet end.

But Kelly’s doing fine. She’s not only the owner of a potbellied pig named Gray, but also of her own bakery. Business is good—so good that she’s invited to compete in a Valentine’s Day bake-off. As she prepares for the contest, she tries not to get distracted by Andrew’s visit to town.

When Andrew sees Kelly, it stirs up his old feelings. Little does he know that soon, in New York, he’ll compete against her in the bake-off…and they’ll both realize how much their past is a part of them still.

This irresistible romance includes a free Hallmark original recipe for Honey Almond Cake with Berries and Mascarpone Crème Fraiche.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781947892378
Publisher: Hallmark Publishing
Publication date: 02/12/2019
Pages: 320
Sales rank: 134,351
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

USA Todaybestselling author Nancy Naigle whips up small-town love stories with a whole lot of heart. She began her popular contemporary romance series Adams Grove while juggling a successful career in finance and life on a seventy-six-acre goat farm. Along with the Adams Grove series, she is also the author of the Boot Creek Novels, G Team Mysteries, and several standalone novels, including Christmas Joy, a heartwarming holiday story coming to the Hallmark Channel this fall as part of their holiday programming. Now happily retired from a career in the financial industry, she devotes her time to writing, horseback riding, and enjoying the occasional spa day. A Virginia girl at heart, Nancy now calls North Carolina home.

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The Secret Ingredient 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 16 reviews.
gaele More than 1 year ago
Andrew and Kelly were high school sweethearts, rarely separate as they worked together at the Main Street Café, created and tested recipes, and had planned on opening their own restaurant. Deeply in love and looking forward to their wedding in a year or so, the two have only one real ‘obstacle’ in their lives; Andrew’s relationship with his father. But, when his aunt, living in Paris, offers him a fully-paid six month apprenticeship under a top pastry chef, Kelly doesn’t tell him not to go – she wants his success as much as he does. But, she never thought that he’d not return at the end of the six months. Fast forward some seven years and Kelly has made a name for herself in the small North Carolina town – she owns the house on which the tree that carries her and Andrew’s initials are entwined, a pet teacup pig named Gray and has bought and refitted the old ribbon factory as a bakery – running two shifts to fill her online orders for baked treats worldwide. Self-taught but for the facetimed sharing done with Andrew as he learned new techniques in France, she’s managed to make a real going concern of her bakery, and a passing musician’s recommendation on twitter didn’t hurt. But Andrew has just arrived home for a fly-through visit on his way to somewhere else, and she wants nothing more than to avoid him until he leaves. Not that she’s still hurt by his actions so many years ago (No – Really – she’s not) but that she has found her own path and doesn’t want to be distracted. (Really – that’s her loudest voice speaking) For his part, Andrew never thought that he had missed anything when he chose to stay in Paris and work with world-renown chefs. And then he saw Kelly again at a sneakily arranged Welcome Home party his mother and sister arranged – and until she will talk with him and they resume their familiar banter – nothing matters as much. But Kelly is more than reluctatnt – until he catches her in a weak moment and the two work to create a groom’s cake that she was struggling with the concept. A bit of new ‘technique’, the return of their ebb and flow in the kitchen and a groom’s cake to turn heads, and the two have tentatively mended fences, at least for the length of his stay. But an opportunity to compete in her most favorite ever baking competition arrives in a huge hush-hush package brings Kelly the opportunity of a lifetime – with many firsts. Her first time out of the small North Carolina town, her first flight, her first time away from her parents in her life…. All sorts of firsts. And of course, this being a solid second chance story with a couple that is destined to be together – Andrew is also in the competition. But the two are separated, shuttled back and forth, and under contract to not disclose the reason they are in New York City….until a chance turn down the street puts Kelly and her handler in the sight of Andrew and his – and the two use Andrew’s connections in the restaurant industry to score a table for four in a top hot eatery with special chef’s treatment. Oh all is good and Andrew and Kelly are quietly repairing old hurts and starting to see possibilities – or he is….. Yes, this was sweet and fairly predictable with plenty of delight for imagination with the cakes described and Kelly’s unique use of ingredient combinations. Sure these two are fated to be tougher – but it will take Andrew’s making a real effort to prove to Kelly that he’s in this for the long haul – and that his leaving for so long w
cc27 More than 1 year ago
Kelly and Andrew are the ideal young couple, working together, sharing a mutual love of recipe creation and cooking. Kelly loves creating scrumptious desserts, while Andrew prefers savories. They're also engaged. When Andrew's aunt offers to pay for a course at an exclusive pastry school in France, he feels that he can't refuse. He leaves, with many promises to return, but we all know what happens. Left alone, Kelly starts her own bakery, reinvests her profits, and creates new jobs for her community. Suddenly, without notice, Andrew returns to visit his parents. Will Kelly forgive and forget, or will she give Andrew a taste of his own medicine? This title is a light, entertaining read. In the interest of full disclosure, I received a free digital copy of this title to review from Net Galley. #TheSecretIngredient#NetGalley
lelesurfer More than 1 year ago
There is a little mystery and really great cakes "The Secret Ingredient" is a romance novel by USA Today best-selling author Nancy Naigle, published by Hallmark Publishing. Seven years ago Kelly McIntyre and Andrew York were living in Bailey's Fork, North Carolina. They were engaged when Andrew got the chance to study in Paris for a half year. Their plan was to open a restaurant when he returns. Now Kelly is still alone and runs her own cake store and famous company. She meets Andrew when he visits town and discovers that her feelings have not died but her mind is on her top-secret preparations for a Valentine's Day bake-off competition in New York. Surprisingly they are both competitors - Kelly being completely self-taught and Andrew having studied and worked in Paris. But there are some questions: Who will be the winner - or will there be more than one? And why does Kelly's pet pig Gray need another name? Until now I have read very few novels by Nancy Naigle, but I finished this wholesome and clean novel in two days. It contains also some mysteries and plenty of food descriptions. With its loveable and believable characters it can be highly recommended. The complimentary copy of this book was provided by the publisher through NetGalley free of charge. I was under no obligation to offer a positive review. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own. #TheSecretIngredient #NetGalley
MugsyMae More than 1 year ago
The Secret Ingredient is a wonderful small town romance with the added bonus of a Valentine's Day televised bake off competition of four professional bakers. I love to watch that type of show on TV so it added an additional element of fun for me. It was interesting to get a behind the scenes view (whether or not it's that way in reality.) A sweet, easy read that made me smile. My new favorite from Nancy Naigle!
GratefulGrandma More than 1 year ago
4.5 Stars, 5 Stars if they make this into a movie. Author Nancy Naigle has blended delightful characters, a charming town, a few surprises and some great cooking to create an entertaining and delicious story. Kelly McIntyre is a hometown girl from Bailey’s Fork, North Carolina who loves to bake. Her boyfriend Alex York was the cook and between the two of them they created some delicious dishes. Their dream is to get married and open their own restaurant. Their future seems set, until Alex is offered an opportunity to study under a famous, master chef in Paris. Kelly waits for Alex to come home for seven years, but he never returns. When the story begins Kelly is in Bailey’s Fork and has opened The Cake Factory. Her creative use of flavors has made her famous. She has her own house and loves her pet pig, GRAY (which stands for Good Riddance Alex York.) Alex, still living in Paris, gets an invitation to a baking competition in New York City, so he flies in from Paris a few days early and decides to visit his hometown. He wants to mend some fences with his family. It is a small town, so of course he runs into Kelly and their feelings are still there, yet buried a bit. Kelly insists things are over, but as they run into each other on several occasions, sparks ignite. Is there a chance for them to get back together? The first part of the book is a bit slow, with them getting to know about each other and their lives, but the second part takes off. This book is wonderful. You will meet characters that become your friends and a town that would be fun to visit. I enjoyed getting to know both Kelly's and Alex's families. I liked how some of the family relationships were mended in a very believable way. The romance is light, sweet and I found it easily believed. As I said at the beginning of my review, this would make a wonderful Hallmark movie. (unless it already is). I loved the recipe at the back of the book for the starring dish, Triple Layer Honey Almond Cake with Berries and Mascarpone Crème Fraiche. Not sure if I will try to make it (I am not much of a cake baker) but it sure sounds delicious. I highly recommend this culinary romance. The publisher generously provided me with a copy of this book upon request. The rating, ideas and opinions shared are my own.
KaylaWilliams More than 1 year ago
The Secret Ingredient was a great book to kickstart my reading in 2019! This is the perfect addition to the Hallmark Publishing collection and it's the perfect read for Valentine's Day. This book features relatable characters, a charming small town, a few surprises, and desserts that will have your mouth watering. What's not to love? Treat yourself to something wonderful, without all the calories, by picking up this book!
blonde_betty More than 1 year ago
Nancy Naigle is one of my favorite small town romance writers. She creates these wonderful communities that you really wish were real so you could go visit. Her latest, The Secret Ingredient is no exception. This novel read like the movie it is going to be. I can’t wait to see the pinks and greys and blacks jump off the screen. Kelly and Andrew are destined to be one of my favorite Hallmark couples. Though there weren’t any obvious secondary characters in need of an HEA, I hope Naigle takes us back to Bailey’s Fork soon. I voluntarily reviewed an ARC of this novel.
JChris More than 1 year ago
Nancy Naigle has another winning combination in this book. She has created wonderful characters that I cared about immediately. The town setting and the businesses enter the story and go straight to your heart and you fall in love. The plot is very believable and I fell into the story and enjoyed the journey so much. A couple so much in love with each other and cooking/baking, have their lives planed out until a situation changes all that. They meet up again years later and the sparks are still there. Unfortunately the hurt is still there also. This is a romance story, so yes, it has a very happy ending. The entire time I was reading, there was a Hallmark movie of this book playing in my mind. I hope that Hallmark will make a movie from this story. I recently discovered Nancy Naigle's book and have read a few now. I love her writing style and look forward to reading more of her books in the future. Thank you to Hallmark Publishing and for allowing me to read the ARC of this book. I totally enjoyed Nancy Naigle's new book!
TracyFritts1974 More than 1 year ago
A sweet hearwarming second chance romance story. I really loved these story and the characters Andrew and Kelly. It was a wonderful well written story and a page turner. I couldn't put these story down. I received a complimentary ARC from Hallmark Publishing via NetGalley. All opinions are of my own.
TracyFritts1974 More than 1 year ago
A sweet hearwarming second chance romance story. I really loved these story and the characters Andrew and Kelly. It was a wonderful well written story and a page turner. I couldn't put these story down. I received a complimentary ARC from Hallmark Publishing via NetGalley. All opinions are of my own.
Rita0285 More than 1 year ago
This is a lovely story. Nancy writes so well you just become one with the book. I felt like I was right there with Andrew and Kelly. They were engaged and had so many plans for the future when Andrew was offered a chance in a life time. They meet again yrs. later and end up competing against each other in a baking contest. This is a wonderful romance story.
sbart84 More than 1 year ago
A heartwarming second chance romance that will delight all.Andrew and Kelly had their lives planned out, both being chefs until Andrew got a chance to go to culinary school in Paris. Fast forward seven years, Andrew has finally returned home for a visit. Kelly has opened her own bakery, which has flourished. Upon Andrew's return home he is realizing what's missing in his life, his one true love Kelly. Unbeknownst to each other they are competing in a Valentine's Day bake off. This is book that I could not put down, makes you warm all over. Loved Kelly and Andrew, so perfect for each other. The secondary character of Gray, Kelly's potbellied pig. His name was just perfect!! If you have a sweet tooth this will be the perfect read for you, it made me hungry!! I believe this would be the perfect Hallmark movie!! I highly recommend.
momof3boysj More than 1 year ago
Previously engaged, when Andrew returns to his hometown and sees Kelly, the feelings are still there. Still hurt, Kelly slowly accepts his friendship, after all, he's leaving again. The heart wants more, could this be a second chance? A secret opportunity of a lifetime falls into Kelly's lap, and she's off to New York before they can talk of a future. A chance meeting in the city leads to a night of dinner. At the finale, it's revealed they are competing against each other. Serendipity. In it together, only one can win, and each has plans for the prize. Who has the secret ingredient to take it all? A sweet, second chance romance, with baked goods, a pig named Gray, and most importantly: Love! **I received an ARC from NetGalley.**
ganderson523 More than 1 year ago
The Secret Ingredient is a delightful story that is the perfect Valentine's Day read for romance, love based on friendship and reconciliation. Kelly and Andrew were high school sweethearts who shared a love for cooking and creating new recipes. Her specialty was baking while Andrew loved to cook and create dishes. He worked in the Main Street Cafe, Kelly's family's restaurant, in Bailey's Fork, North Carolina while in high school. They were in love and planned to marry June fourth, a year after graduation. But Andrew's great aunt in Paris approached with a special opportunity to study in Paris under a great pastry chef for six months. He and Kelly decided he should do it. But he impressed the chef and was offered a full ride to study in Paris. He wanted Kelly to join him and marry but she did not want to leave her home. Both were hurt but stood their ground. Seven years later, Andrew is still in Paris working for a famous chef running one of his restaurants. He returns home for a short visit with family before going to New York City. He was invited to compete in Four Square Valentine's Day Bake-Off, a baking contest with a cooking network, but cannot tell anyone so he says he is going to help with a restaurant opening in the city. Kelly has a successful bakery, The Cake Factory, that has grown into an online business selling her cakes, cupcakes and goodies across the nation and employing many of the townspeople. She has also been invited to compete in the contest but cannot tell anyone. Her friend and assistant, Sara, is the only who knows. Kelly tells her family that she is going to on a business convention to Orlando. Andrew and Kelly have some unresolved issues that caused awkwardness when they see each other again but they spend a little time together before he leaves town. There is still some spark or something between them. Without going into too much more detail, this is a sweet and lovely story of two people who enjoy their profession and have worked hard to get where they are. Will they find a way to meet in the middle? What will happen in the contest? They don't know that the other one is a contestant. And who to pull for? I couldn't decide but it is a happy ending that brought a smile and warm feeling. It is a sweet uplifting story. There is a great recipe at the end that I am hoping to try out. I received a complimentary ARC from Hallmark Publishing through NetGalley. All opinions stated are mine only.
ReadYourWrites More than 1 year ago
The Secret Ingredient by Nancy Naigle is the first Hallmark book I’ve read. I love watching the movies and I could totally picture everything playing out on the small screen. As young adults, Kelly McIntyre and Andrew York had their lives planned out. They would get married, live in their small hometown of Bailey’s Fork, North Carolina and open their own restaurant. Kelly and Andrew loved creating new recipes together. Kelly would be the baker and Andrew would be the chef. Their dream got a little side-tracked when Andrew was offered a once in a lifetime opportunity to study pastry under one of the world’s best pastry chefs in Paris. This little life detour took their lives in a whole new direction when Andrew was offered a full scholarship and asked Kelly to join him in Paris. Not wanting to leave Bailey’s Fork and abandon the dreams they once shared, Kelly breaks up with Andrew. Fast forward seven years and Andrew has finally returned home to visit his family before he embarks on an opportunity that could change his life yet again. Andrew is working for and running one of the top restaurants in Paris for his mentor, while Kelly has fulfilled her dream and opened her own successful bakery. The two reconnect and are surprised to find their attraction to each other is as strong as ever. It’s soon revealed why Andrew actually came back to the United States. He is supposed to appear on the Four Square Cooking Show, a baking competition where the identities of the contestants are kept secret from everyone, including the contestants. Not only is Andrew competing in this contest, but so is Kelly. As the two compete, you’re witness to seeing just how compatible these two really are. “If it was real love all those years ago, it’s still there.” For Andrew and Kelly, this Valentine’s Day competition will show them that love knows no time nor distance. The Secret Ingredient was like a perfectly delicious constructed cake. The characters of Kelly and Andrew were very likeable. As were the secondary characters. This was a sweet story that left nothing out. Bailey’s Fork sounded like a town I would love to visit. Of course, the culinary creations created by Kelly and Andrew made me hungry. The love these two had for each other shined through the pages. Be prepared to shed some tears. I know I did. **Received a copy of the book courtesy of the publisher and I voluntarily reviewed it.**
Terri_C More than 1 year ago
I am a sucker for novels that have a cooking as an ingredient and a sucker for second chance tropes, so The Secret Ingredient really, really worked for me. When you mix in the great characters created by Naigle, the finished product is definitely 5 Stars! Naigle has such a talent for writing novels that just flow from page to page. This sweet romance was perfect if you're looking for love and a story to keep you coming back. Kelly was a very likable, hard working woman who was a self trained baker. Andrew, her old flame and past baking partner was a guy who had a few things to learn about life and what is important, even though his professional training was far and above that of Kelly's. They are both keeping secrets, but in this case the secrets may not be all bad! Delightful! I received a copy of this book from NetGalley. All thoughts are my own.