I am happy to be part of the blog tour for the book The Secret Ingredient by K D Fisher on book launch day and thank NetGalley for an advance review copy of the book to read and review.
Title: The Secret Ingredient
Author: KD Fisher
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Imprint: Carina Press (Carina Adores)
On Sale: October 27, 2020
Format: Paperback (ebook and audio also available)
The Secret Ingredient by K D Fisher – Book blurb
For single mom Adah Campbell, the executive chef job at a posh restaurant in tiny North Port, Maine is a dream come true—and the perfect opportunity to start over, far away from a home that’s never felt entirely hers. But fitting in has never been easy, and between a new town, a new boss, and the unexpectedly attractive owner of a rival café, things get off to a rocky start.
Never did free-spirited Beth Summers think she’d still be in North Port. Travel the world gathering delicious recipes and finding friends and lovers? Absolutely. Step in to run her family’s small-town café? Not so much. However, once Beth commits to something, that’s it. Soon, The Yellow House is the hottest spot in town, but Beth’s out of energy—and out of ideas for moving forward.
Until Adah Campbell walks into her life, and moving forward suddenly includes making room for a whole new family.
The Secret Ingredient – My review
Two amazing chefs. Two very different restaurants. One undeniable love.
This delightful LGBTQ love story is set in coastal Maine and features two wonderful, strong and talented women who are completely different from each other and yet, are irrevocably attracted to each other from the moment they meet.
While Adah Campbell, single mother, has just moved to Maine with her son to take up a new job as chef at a high-end restaurant, Beth Summers runs her own award-winning restaurant in the town. Adah is taciturn, focused and organized and has time for little else other than work and her son, while Beth, also busy, is easy-going and goes with the flow.
Although the women are instantly attracted to each other when they meet, Adah assumes that Beth has had an easy life while she herself had to struggle at every stage to get where she is. As the women get to know each other slowly, things change. Beth gets Adah to open up about her life eventually and true love wins.
As the story of their lives weaves forward, supported by their charming friends, we see a beautiful love story evolving. Plenty of food descriptions to keep the reader drooling throughout the book. I loved Adah’s supportive landlady who takes Adah and her son under her wing, and her best friend Jay.
Beth’s support system is pretty great too, with her best friend Nina and her charming team and her quirky parents.
The book is in first-person narrative, alternating between Adah and Beth. Besides the delicious food, the descriptions of Maine are great and so is the characterization of all the people we meet in the book.
It is a simple story and was an easy post-lunch afternoon read for me. The book has some graphic love scenes. I enjoyed the flow of the story and felt that it finished much too soon, probably because I liked the characters so much. And oh, loved the food metaphors!
Full points to the author for a very nicely written LGBTQ romance.
Here’s an excerpt from The Secret Ingredient
The door clattered open and Andrew walked in, a stormy expression eclipsing my brother’s normal goofy half smile. “Beth. Some people outside to see you.”
Since The Yellow House had been awarded Best New Restaurant in the Northeast by the Martin Williams Foundation, a prestigious culinary organization I’d never heard of prior to receiving the letter in the mail, we’d been bombarded with reporters, bloggers, and more diners than we could possibly keep up with. Usually, though, they didn’t show up a full four hours before we opened for the day.
Peeking through the window at the small gravel parking lot, I spotted a gleaming black Mercedes and three people sitting at one of the picnic tables in the garden. I wiped my hands on my apron and patted my hair, hoping that my curls hadn’t dried in a frizzy mess. Dressing in the dark, I’d hardly had a moment to make sure my socks matched before dashing out of the house. A few too many times these visitors were enthusiastic with the photos and
I appeared in Instagram posts and blog entries looking like a wild and unruly thing.
“Good morning!” I called as I bounded down the stairs. The morning air brushed cool against my clammy skin. Before the fire settled down, the kitchen tended to get unbearably hot. The sunlight had gathered itself into soft rays that glistened off the dew in the vegetable and herb patches. A monarch butterfly fluttered across my path and I paused, letting it take its time. Medusa, the barn-cat-turned-restaurant-mascot, snoozed on one of the picnic tables, blissfully oblivious of the visitors.
At the sound of my voice all three of them stood: a tall, slim man in a beautifully tailored suit, a shorter man with a ruddy, irritable face, and another person with their back to me. She turned. Immediately my cheeks heated, and an awkward laugh bubbled up from my throat.
She was like something plucked from my adolescent queer fantasies. Bad boy and tough woman rolled into one. She wore dark jeans, a thick leather belt, and a white T-shirt with the sleeves cuffed a few times up to reveal sinewy biceps. Her dark blond hair was pushed back from her flawless, angular face in a messy not-quite-pompadour. Straight eyebrows a few shades darker than her hair. A long, delicate nose. Lips that probably would have been ample were they not pressed together in a tense frown.
“How can I help you folks?” I bit back the comment that we didn’t open until eleven and offered a sweet smile instead.
The woman stepped forward without missing a beat, extending her hand. I closed the gap between us, shivering as her long fingers brushed my palm. Her skin was warm and a little work-rough. A heavy quiet settled over me as we shook hands. I had the strange thought that I could have held her hand all day. Up close I realized her narrow, wary eyes were a soft shade of green. They widened for a fraction of a second before she stepped back, shoving her hands into her pockets.
“I’m Adah Campbell, the new executive chef at Bella Vista. This is Sean Jacobs, our GM, and Riccardo Visconti, the head of our restaurant group.” Beneath the formal veneer of her words, her voice thrummed with life. Her accent wasn’t quite Southern, more country than anything else. It was the sound of humid thunderstorms and steaming biscuits slathered in home-churned butter. I never wanted her to stop talking.
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KD Fisher is a queer New England-based writer of authentic, heartfelt LGBTQ+ narratives. KD grew up all over the United States, bouncing from North Carolina to Hawaii to Illinois, and finally settling in Maine where they spend far too much time at the beach.
When KD isn’t writing they can usually be found hiking with their overly enthusiastic dog, obsessing over plants, or cooking elaborate meals. KD loves classic country, perfectly ripe tomatoes, and falling asleep in the sun.
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