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If you can’t take the heat…
James Lassiter has had a crush on fellow culinary student Ethan Martin for three years, but has never had the guts to make a move. Putting himself out there is hard, especially when under the thumb–and wallet–of his overbearing parents. Now that bad boy chef Ethan–who is always vying with Jamie for best in class–is struggling with the pastry course, Jamie suddenly has a reason to reach out.
Ethan doesn’t mean to be an ass–okay, so mostly he does–but even though he’s secretly hot for Jamie, he sure as hell doesn’t want help with pastry. Ever since his dad walked out, Ethan has been the one to hold things together and he’s done fine on his own. Except that he can’t get his cake to rise.
Jamie could be the answer to what Ethan’s been missing his whole life–someone to depend on. But with the two competing for the same scholarship, things suddenly get too hot to handle. And if Jamie finds the strength to go for what he wants, he isn’t about to settle for what he needs.
I need to put this out there first … if you want a story that ends in conclusion, better wait until book 2. Because this one didn’t even have a Happy-For-Now ending in my opinion. It ended with a “to-be-continued” scene. Since I didn’t know beforehand that the book would be part of a series and their story would probably be concluded in book 2, I was slightly annoyed. It influenced my reading experience, which resulted in my rating as well. What can I say, I felt slightly duped too. Cliffhangers are evil!
Anyway, let’s get back to the story itself. The story had a good premise – and if you are a food lover, you might enjoy the setting of a culinary school and how these characters are involved in competition to get a cooking scholarship. The story is written from both the young men’s perspective. We get Ethan, the bad boy, who is a star in cooking (because he can do whatever he wants with the ingredients) but not so much in baking (because he needs to follow rules!). While Jamie is the Golden Boy, coming from a conservative family who also has a restaurant business. Jamie is not out when the story starts, even if he has been crushing on Ethan.
I admit that as the story went, I ended up having more sympathy towards Jamie. His family was controlling – the kind of rich family who thought that the rest of the working class people were beneath them. His father couldn’t understand why Jamie wanted to be in culinary school when he could easily get a job in the family’s restaurant. Not to mention that they were homophobic and Jamie faced an ultimatum when they found out about his sexuality. So when Jamie defied his parents’ wishes, held his head up high and determined to be successful on his own two feet, I was very, VERY proud of him. Jamie definitely showed the best progress in this story.
Ethan, on the other hand, was slightly more unlikable. I thought he was rather quick to judge and temperamental and could act like a total jackass. I thought maybe because Ethan was rather insecure, what with the difference in their economic level and all, plus he first thought that Jamie was straight and it frustrated the hell out of him because he was secretly hot for the Golden Boy. Still, I was annoyed with his attitude several times – I wish I could go inside my Kindle page and slap him in the head. He did redeem himself in the end though. But yeah, compared to Jamie, I liked him less.
So bottom line, it was a nice set-up story, but since the ending wasn’t a closure, I could only give this a 3-stars rating at the moment. It will be interesting to see how the two develop over the years since book 2 seems to be set-up eight years later.