Warning: Mature Content Inside!
“When famous-and infamous-country singer Rye Crenshaw saunters into the diner where she cooks, Tory Simmons is certain she’s got him pegged. He’s a bad boy who indulges himself in all things, women included. But while she couldn’t care less about country music or arrogant men, Rye makes her an offer she can’t refuse when he asks her to be his private chef on his multi-city concert tour. The job is the answer to all her prayers: it will clear out her debt and finance the fresh start she desperately needs. Rye is certain his sassy new cook is the last woman who’d ever tempt him, but spending time with the wholesome girl next door will do wonders for his damaged public image, whether she likes being forced into the spotlight or not. Her food also happens to be the best he’s ever eaten, both comforting and seductive.
But spending time with Tory on the road shows him a new side to her-one that’s as impossible to resist as her food. And when an emergency in his family whisks him home, he does the one thing he’s never risked: he lets a woman into his heart… Soon the emotions Rye faked for the tabloids become all too real, but will the country heaven he’s found in Tory’s arms survive in the real world?”
With adult fiction, especially contemporary romance, if the first book by the author hooks me in, I tend to go overboard and get all the books by the author and I love it when these books are in series, especially if it is connected. It makes me feel as if I have met a family and become an integral part of it. Very few authors can do that, Ava Miles being one of them!
Ava Miles broke through with her first book ‘NORA ROBERTS LAND’ (review of which I will definitely post later!), first in the Dare Valley Series and just took away my heart! This book, is about Rye Crenshaw, whom we meet in The Grand Opening (Dare Valley #3), a bad boy country singer and his attempt to outrun his past (Spoiler: It doesn’t work out too well!) but can be read as a standalone.
The story begins with a Rye attending a benefit for Underprivileged Children just before the start of Cross Country Tour, wherein an unfortunate reminder from his past leads him to a situation that gets captured on the camera. The bad paparazzi, of course leads to a negative effect on his tour and leads him to a low down time in a diner wherein he meets Tori. Tori, is a chef and a doctoral student of anthropology, in a deep debt. His amazing cooking leads Rye to offer Tori a job as his on tour cook, with an ulterior motive of course (Would it be a romance novel, if there wasn’t?)
Rye was adorably arrogant (Oh Hero, Thy Name is Irony!) and absolutely a mash up of defense mechanisms out there. He trusts no one. He hides behind a southern charm to keep anyone from getting too close. He has a painful past that he let define his whole life and suppressed a pain so deep that it is any wonder that he is able to function normally (although, his behaviour isn’t exactly textbook normal).
Tori is the anti-theses of Rye, the playboy singer (so you can see why he thought he wouldn’t be attracted to her, yet was anyway!). She is kind, loyal and empathetic to other’s emotions. On top of it, she is the most brilliant cook! So under her influence, Rye flourishes. He becomes a better person, a better human being. So it wasn’t a surprise, that when the time came for him to confront his past, he took her with him.
She becomes his anchor, his support and the one he starts to depend on when everything goes kaput. I love the way their relationship progresses and the way they grow with each other. Rye’s inability to trust made the relationship go through a ringer and I respected Tori, for standing up for herself and moving on (well, at least trying to, because that’s all that matters!).
The array of secondary characters in the book were pretty darn amazing as well. Some made you love them, some made you want to punch them (hint hint: Rye’s Mother!). And Rye’s niece and nephew just broke my heart and yet mended it with their smiles and happiness. Perfection indeed!
The ending became cheesy, but not the cheesy that is nauseating, but cheesy that leaves a pretty little glow of warmth inside your chest and makes you wish, to find that kind of cheesy for yourself ❤
But the absolutely best part of the book? The perfect recipes that Ms Miles has added to the book after almost every chapter. They actually made me want to go into the kitchen to try making them all (and to those who know how much I absolutely abhor cooking, understand the miracle that this is :P).
I can’t wait to read the next book in this series, the continuing story involving Rye’s Sister and His Best Friend (I’ll let you find out their own back stories, when you read this book 😉
Rating and Recommendation:
This is an adult romance novel, and thus has Mature Content, there I recommend it to 18+ year olds.
And if you love a beautiful character development, whose struggles seem real to you as if you your own with a little angst thrown in, this book is perfect for you.