Series: Star Harbor #1
Published by Loveswept on 9 July 2012
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
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Lexie moved to Star Harbor after she finally was able to leave her abusive ex, Frank. She changed her name from Alexandra and only used her nick-name Lexie, and started a diner in the quiet vacation town in Massachusetts. She soon got some new friends, and her diner, the LMK was successful. Her secret coco-nut cake was the one thing she had that no other restaurant or diner in the area could compete with.
I am amazed that Deep Autumn Heat is actually a debut book, it is extremely well written, it is packed with action, romance, a little sex, great food and a really great heroine. The hero isn’t so bad either 😉
Then, Sebastian Grayson, the (in)famous chef, Star Harbor born and bred, showed up to spend some time with his brothers and away from his successful and competitive life in New York. As soon as he laid eyes on Lexie, he wanted her. Lexie on the other hand had other plans, Frank has made her very wary of men, and she does not want to tangle with Sebastian. She has heard that he’s a womanizer, and his brothers seem to agree with this assessment.
Lexie had to really work to not give in to the temptation being Sebastian. He was tall, broad, dark and handsome, and they shared a passion for good cuisine. Sebastian decided to stay longer, he just had to get to know Lexie better, a lot better if he had anything to say about it. To spend more time with her, he challenged her to a cook-down for his new TV show, and she accepted, but only so the arrogant man would stay away from her restaurant. She didn’t count on Sebastian’s single-mindedness when it came to something, or rather someone, he really wanted, though.
Once they shared a kiss, Lexie was gone, but she managed not to show the stubborn chef that he had made her toes curl, and her mind take her in directions she had been able to steer clear of for three years. As their budding relationship started to grow, Lexie was being targeted by nasty notes on her back-door, trying to intimidate her to give up her famous coconut cake recipe. At first, she thought nothing of it, until she was attacked an evening, and thought it was Frank who had finally found her again.
Cole, one of Sebastian’s four brothers being the sheriff, Lexie got her statement taken, and help both from Cole and her cook, Buster. As the external plot escalated, so did the relationship between Lexie and Sebastian. I loved the way their love-scenes were written, enough details to participate, but not so much as to make the reader feel awkward or voyeuristic. Sebastian was a strong man, not used to having to work to get a woman to say yes to him, however, Lexie made him work plenty. Even though she was scarred from her relationship with Frank, she slowly but surely began to trust Sebastian, until he had to leave quite suddenly to take care of his high-scale NY restaurant again.
I loved both the two main characters and the supporting characters. The plot was intricate, but not unbelievable, and I really liked how Lexie grew from having walls up all around her to letting people in a little closer, first as friends, then also letting Sebastian become her lover. She had trouble to believe in love until very late in the book, but I got why, and it was very true to character. Sebastian started out as an arrogant man, but he soon showed that his behavior was partly because of being used to women throwing themselves at him. And once he found the one woman he fell in love with, he was in all the way, and for the long haul.
I look forward to the next book in this series, the romance is wonderful, but so is all the other sub-plots, the cooking, the friendships, and the competition made this a very quick read, and it is always great to discover a new author who is able to satisfy my hunger for both romance and suspense in one neat story.