by Elisabeth Barrett
Book #1 in the Star Harbor series
July 9th 2012 by Random House Publishing Group
ARC from publisher via Netgalley
BUY: Amazon - B&N
In this sexy new Star Harbor romance series, featuring the too-tempting Grayson brothers, a celebrity chef turns up the heat for a local café owner—and things start to sizzle.
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.
I'm a big fan of contemporary romance and love it even more when the focus of a series is primarily on the male characters. It's just so much more fun to be getting the male perspectives and these brothers are oh, so delicious on so many levels.
The first story in this four book series is about Sebastian (Seb) Grayson, a renowned master chef who lives in New York and has come home to Star Harbor, Massachusetts for the annual get together with his brothers on the anniversary of their father's death. He and his twin brother, Theo, are the youngest of the four. They are out fishing in the early morning and take a break for coffee and breakfast at the local LM Kitchen, operated by Lexie Meyers. Seb gets one look at her and decides he's game! Lexie thinks he's pretty arrogant (and gorgeous) but isn't up for any kind of relationship these days, casual or long-term. That just makes Seb even more determined.
There were often times when I teetered on liking Seb and thinking he may be just a bit too arrogant for my tastes. However, the author does a good job of keeping him from crossing the line into obnoxious and staying within the bounds of self confidence. That made it pretty authentic given he's a well known chef about to launch a new television show and operates one of the most famous upscale restaurants in New York City. Lexie's got a great sense of humor and isn't a slouch in the kitchen either. Where Seb has the creative skills, Lexie truly knows how to manage an operation and is infamous for her coconut cake recipe. She's got game, too, which really keeps them on equal footing.
While this isn't categorized as a romantic suspense, there is a mystery here that does create a level of suspense around Lexie. Someone has issued threats to get her cake recipe and she left California to escape a really bad relationship. It adds to the story in a positive way (it was an unexpected surprise for me who loves that genre)and helps to accelerate some of the action. Lexie and Seb have good chemistry, even if her reluctance bordered on being tiresome at points. But, their romantic interludes more than compensated for her foot dragging.
There are some awkward parts of the story where there seems to be unnecessary dialogue with secondary characters that don't lead anywhere or move the storyline, the sort of talk that would be implied. Other than this, I thoroughly enjoyed the story, the romance and the characters. I'm really pleased with the start of this series as the first book always has the burden of creating the foundation at the expense of a good story. Not so much with this one as I read it in one day. I cannot wait for all of the books as each brother was appealing in his own right.
Put this one on your TBR shelf if you like this genre, want to spend some time with some really delectable guys and are up for a little suspense. I'm in for the series.