Release Day Review ~ Delectable Series by EM Lynley (Books 1-6)
Title: Delectable Series
Author: EM Lynley
Release Date: February 3, 2017
Category: Anthologies, Bundles, Contemporary, Holiday
The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, and no one knows it better than the men in EM Lynley’s Delectable Series.
In Brand New Flavor, Artisan ice cream maker Jay Brown and food critic Cameron Clay have one delicious encounter that could lead to much more, if they can find each other again. Simon Ford resents the easy life of those like Austin Kelvin, owner of Kelvin Cellars in Napa Valley, in An Intoxicating Crush. But Austin’s business is going under, and when Simon’s true reasons for being at the winery come to light, Simon will have to risk everything to prove his sincerity.
When Alex Bancroft’s bakery burns down a week before Christmas and he’s pulled from the flames by Kevin Flint in Gingerbread Palace, the gingerbread house he donates to charity seems like it’s not going to happen, until Fire Station 7 comes to the rescue yet again. But can Kevin come out of the closet long enough to see what he might be missing?
In Spaghetti Western, professional chef Riley Emerson’s dreams are in tatters when he takes a job at the Rocking Z guest ranch. Colby Zane is ecstatic when the new cook turns out to be his hot one-night stand, but financial problems at the ranch may drive them apart. In 12 Courses, chef Thom Kennedy has finally regained his confidence after the theft of his recipes when ex-boyfriend Blake Warner shows up at his restaurant several days in a row. But can he trust Blake again when he seems to know more that he’s saying about the theft?
*Copy provided to Bayou Book Junkie by Dreamspinner Press for my reading pleasure in hopes of an unbiased opinion, a review was not a requirement.*
Author E.M. Lynley has combined all six of her Delectable stories into one large book. Though these stories are all part of the Delectable Series, each book is a standalone with no interaction between characters of each book. What all of these stories do have in common is cooking, food, angst and drama. The author provides recipes from each of these stories at the end of each one, so for those interested in recreating the food talked about in the book, you'll have a little bonus!
The Delectable Series starts off with the novella Brand New Flavor where food writer Cameron meets artisan ice cream maker Jericho. The men have an instant connection and sneak out of a tasting event for a quickie in a van. Jericho gives his card to Cameron but it falls out of his pocket when he's in the cab with his ex-boyfriend/maybe future boyfriend, who decides to get even when Cameron breaks up with him. Don't think that because this is a novella that it isn't full of drama, misunderstandings and evil doers. Cameron tries to find his mystery ice cream maker but is unable to and Jericho doesn't want to be found once he has an interview with Cameron's ex. But, thanks to Jericho's two employees, the men end up reconnecting and everything works out for them.
Next came An Intoxicating Crush. Austin came from a wealthy family and was living his dream of running his winery, only everything is not as perfect as it looks to outsiders. He's struggling under financial debt and doesn't seem to matter which way he turns, there's some new issue awaiting his attention. Simon is sent to Austin's winery to check out the business, as his boss may have interest in making an offer for it. Simon attends the wine event and is taken with Austin but keeps it professional, though Austin doesn't know why he's really there, Simon grew up in Napa and seems to have spent all his life hating and resenting wealthy people; it felt like every time we had Simon's POV it included his feelings on the wealthy. Simon's goal is to work hard to become part of the wealthy of Napa. When his boss decides not to purchase Austin's winery, Simon pursues a friends with benefit relationship with Austin. But, as can be expected, things don't go smoothly in any aspect for either man and they have a lot to work through to find their HEA. If you enjoy wine, you definitely will want to read this book! It was full of information regarding the entire winery business, and I think some people may find that really interesting.
In the novella Gingerbread Palace, baker Alex's business goes up in flames. When he runs back into the business to rescue the dog he's babysitting, he gets the attention of firefighter Kevin who is not happy to rescue both of them. Kevin has been ordered to work with the arson division as the go between and he resents Alex; even more so, when everyone else at the fire station thinks the man's the greatest thing ever. Alex does a lot of work for charity and was preparing to build his gingerbread palace for an upcoming event raising money for foster children, when his place burned. He's sad that he's not going to be able to create his confections for the charity event, but the firefighters come to the rescue and offer their kitchen and their assistance to get everything ready in time. Kevin is very unhappy about this, he wants Alex far away from him because he finds him too tempting and there's no way he can come out of the closet. Kevin and Alex have a secret encounter and then Kevin goes back to pretending Alex doesn't exist and treating him like crap. So much so, that he's turning his fellow firemen against him. When another fireman asks Alex out on a date, that's a shock to Kevin and he realizes that he's going to lose his chance. Only, Alex isn't willing to just believe the words, but everything changes when Kevin's injured in a fire. Both of the men work through their issues, though, honestly, I was hoping Alex would leave Kevin behind and date Bobby who seemed like a great guy. I didn't really feel like their was a HEA to this story, but it leaned towards that direction.
Next is Spaghetti Western, that starts off with Riley catching his boyfriend cheating and then feeling lost, making some poor decisions, being rescued by a cowboy who he wakes up in bed with, then has sex with and disappears before said cowboy wakes up, in order to find a job. He ends up getting a job running the kitchen at a guest ranch, that it turns out belongs to the mysterious cowboy, Colby, and his family. Colby is happy to see Riley and at first wants to keep their relationship professional but that doesn't last long as the attraction both men feel takes over. Both men struggle as a potential investor comes to the guest ranch and doesn't hide his interest in Colby, at all. There's a lot of no communication/miscommunication between the men which almost ends the relationship they have. But, Colby made me happy by being honest about his feelings and the two men are able to get their HEA. I think this may have been my favorite out of all the books in the series, though the drama with the prospective investor was a little much for my taste, it still worked out in the end!
The last story in the series is the novella 12 Courses. Chef Thom returns to San Francisco to take over the kitchen in one of the best restaurants in the city. He's nervous and has put off taking complete control due to what happened the last time he was in San Francisco but this time he has something to prove. He's put together a secret tasting menu for their Christmas special and hopes that it will have everyone talking. But he's surprised when his ex-boyfriend, Blake, also a chef, shows up in his restaurant to see him. Things did not end well between Thom and Blake before, and Thom spiraled out of control. Now that he's got it all together, he hopes that his feelings for Blake are long gone, but he knows that they're not and Blake lets him know that he's also interested. But both men face challenges in each of their kitchen that's going to cost one of them their job if he wants to prove his love to the other. This book ended with a promise that the two MC's would be together, but no HEA or even HFN.
I felt like each of these stories was their own little soap opera that I liked to skip school to watch with my grandma, but, whew, all that drama is exhausting! The author did well combining six stories around food and love without having all the stories be the same!
Rating: 4 stars