Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Review: Just One Taste by Louisa Edwards


Bad-boy chef Wes Murphy is dreading his final-semester cooking class—Food Chemistry 101—until he meets the new substitute teacher. Dr. Rosemary Wilkins is a feast for the eyes, though her approach to food is strictly academic. So Wes decides to rattle her Bunsen burner by asking for her hands-on advice—on aphrodisiacs…


Rosemary is a little wary about working with Wes, whose casual flirtations make her hot under the collar. But once they begin testing the love-enhancing power of chocolate, oysters, and strawberries, it becomes scientifically evident that the brainy science nerd and the boyish chef have some major chemistry together—and it’s delicious…

I'll admit, I was skeptical.  I fangirly squealed Can't Stand the Heat, then felt lukewarm toward Too Hot to Handle.  How would I receive Wes, a "new" character at Market and Rosemary, a scientist not even in the restaurant business, the main characters of Just One Taste

Wes...I'll come back to him.  I may have a little girl-crush on Rosemary. How could one not, with little moments like these:

Pulling that sweater over her head and feeling the static electricity lift every stray hair until she must look like Drew Barrymore on the Firestarter posters--it was like girding her loins for battle.

Well.  Not technically.  That would be more like putting on her underwear, since the term "girding one's loins" came from the Roman era, when soldiers would pull up and secure their lower garments in order to increase maneuverability during the heat of battle.

"And now I'm babbling nerviously inside my own head," she said to Lucille, who cocked her ears curiously from her position ensconced like a queen between the pillows mounded on the hotel bed. 

Rosemary took another sip, then another, and another, while she tried to think of something to say.  "Is this small talk?  Are we doing small talk?  Because I don't excel at that."

The corners of Wes's mouth twitched.  Amusement, Rosemary thought.  Which was an improvement on the tense pitch he'd sported there ever since she came in. 

I really wanted to like Wes a little more and wish I could have, if only because I loved Rosemary so much and thought she deserved a worthy hero. 

It's like when a girlfriend has a new boyfriend she's crazy about and you want to like him too, but you don't, despite the fact that, as outward appearances go, he's a very, very nice guy and seems to adore your friend.  Then, he does something so stupid and/or irritating and/or immature, which causes your friend pain, and you swear the next time you see him, you'll kick him in the junk.  Yet, somehow your girlfriend forgives him and takes him back.  So, you know, it's awkward between you and he now, regardless of the fact that he's confessed his wrongs and made amends. 

That's how life currently stands between Wes and I. 

Regardless, I love Ms. Edwards' voice, as well as her lyrical prose -- she has such a way with the English language.  My fingers, legs, and toes are also crossed Frankie and Jess will make an appearance in a future book, so I'm sticking with her romances for the foreseeable future.

(At least until I have the urge to kick another one of her heroes in the junk.) 

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