Lexie Meyers decides there’s nothing sweeter than watching Sebastian Grayson’s perfect, wicked mouth devour her coconut cake. He’s hot, he’s hungry, and he’s sizing her up like she’s the best thing on the menu. But she’s been burned in the past and flings just aren’t her thing. Too bad Sebastian can’t resist a challenge.
Worldly, famous, and notorious with the ladies, Seb had planned a weekend of fishing and relaxation with his brothers. Until Lexie, with her kissable lips and frosty “get lost” attitude, makes him want to forget his culinary empire and create some magic with her. After he fires up his charm—including challenging her to a televised cook-off to break through her resistance—it’s now hotter in the bedroom than it is in the kitchen and Lexie isn’t sure whether she’s lost her mind . . . or just her heart.
Having read more than my share of romance novels I always enjoy discovering a new to me author. When the author delivers an exceptionally great product, I’m ecstatic! Deep Autumn Heat by Elisabeth Barrett is an emotionally charged, well developed, superb story.
Sebastian Grayson (Seb) is in Star Harbor to reconnect with his brothers as they always do on the anniversary of their father’s death. Seb now resides in New York, in addition to being a well known chef, he owns his own highly acclaimed restaurant, and is getting read to launch a cooking show. He’s pretty arrogant, but deep down he’s really a kind and caring guy. At first I thought I’d have trouble liking his character but no, he really is a very likable guy.
Lexie Meyers is the chef/owner of LM Kitchen, a local eatery, is Star Harbor. She’s only been in town about 3 years but the people have welcomed and embraced her. Known especially for her sweet treats (most notably her coconut cake), Lexie is a smart businesswoman. She’s straight and to the point but she runs her business with a calm efficiency that speaks of her nature. She’s fairly private and other than her employees pretty much keeps to herself.
When Sebastian and Lexie meet the sparks immediately fly. What I love is that rather than just jumping in with both feet, these two let their attraction simmer and boil. At first Sebastian really runs hot and cold with Lexie. This is mainly due to his older brothers, who live in town, warning him not to hurt Lexie and also because he knows Lexie will be a distraction to his budding empire. On top of that, he realizes since he lives in New York that he really isn’t a good match for her. He really does try to be the good guy. Lexie is still recovering from a previous relationship that was riddled with mental and physical abuse. She really doesn’t trust Seb and she knows of his reputation both in the kitchen and beyond. It startles her that he affects her the way he does, something she hasn’t felt in a long time. She’s wary and so they dance back and forth.
On top of the romance between these two there are many outside factors that influence their budding relationship. Seb is scouting a location for another restaurant, Lexie is expanding into catering and she’s been receiving threatening notes at the back door of her diner. When Lexie is attacked, Seb’s brother, Cole, who is a policeman in town fears she’s being stalked. Lexie is forced to bring up her ex-boyfriend and her past. The book is filled with these ongoing and ever changing plots. While one might think this distracts from the romance aspect of this book, it really adds interest and it’s entertaining.
I loved that throughout this book we learned more and more about both Lexie and Sebastian. They each reveal themselves very slowly as their relationship changes and grows. In addition, the other characters in the book were well written and I enjoyed the quirky residents along with Seb’s brothers and staff. Rarely in a romance novel do you get the type of character development that Ms. Barrett managed to give us in spades.
I thoroughly enjoyed Deep Autumn Heat. I felt a real connection to the hero and heroine as well as the town of Star Harbor. I love when I feel so immersed in a story and that’s exactly how I felt reading this book. As I was preparing to review this book, I hopped on the publisher’s website and am happy that Theo’s book (Seb’s twin) is due out in September. As a series lover, this is one that is destined to become a favorite of mine. Well done Ms. Barrett!
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