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Chef Evan Stanford has climbed the New York City culinary ladder one proper rung at a time, earning himself the Rising Star James Beard award and an executive chef position at one of New York City's favored restaurants in Hell's Kitchen. But in his quest to build his reputation, he's forgotten what got him there; the lessons on food—and life—from a loving neighbor back home in Illinois.
Patrick Sullivan lives a contented life in Brooklyn cooking at Johnny's diner, keeping the memory of his grandmother and her Irish cooking alive even in the foods she never taught him to prepare. When Chef Stanford comes into his diner requesting and enjoying one of his grandmother's specialties, he's swept up by Evan's drive, his passion, forcing himself to reconsider if a contented life is a fulfilled one.
With much in common, the two men—and Evan's particularly spoiled pug Dini—begin a journey through their culinary histories falling into an easy friendship. Even with the joys of their newfound love, and the guidance and support of friends old and new, can they tap into that secret recipe of great love, great food and transcendent joy?
Evan was used to distractions in the kitchen. His job was buoyed by auditory distractions: printers clicking a constant tick-tick-tick of new orders; cooks chattering about the food, their horrible mothers-in-law and how drunk they'd gotten the night before; expeditors shouting orders and the general clang-sizzle-hiss of food prep all served not only as a droned soundtrack, but also a constant distraction. You learned to work with it, if not for it.
But this distraction—Patrick's lips moving up the curve of his neck, hot breath tickling his ear right before the damp warmth of his tongue traced the shell of it; Patrick’s arm wrapped firmly around his waist, hand dipping knuckle deep into the waistband of his lounge pants, the other covering his own hand on the sauté pan handle, "helping" him flip the asparagus over the heat—was a distraction he could not get used to.
Not that he wanted to. Not at all.
Amazing debut! Very well written with attention to detail that made everything so real. It's sweet, emotional and romantic with some steamy sexiness thrown in. I enjoyed seeing the friendship between Evan and Patrick blossom before they took their relationship to the next level. Their problems and the way the worked through them were realistic and made their HEA more enjoyable. Looking forward for more great reads from Ms. Charles.
Lynn Charles’ love of writing dates back to her childhood, but took shape as an adult, when she found herself expressing her grief in a years' worth of journaled letters to a lifelong friend who passed unexpectedly. She has been writing works of fiction in the online fan community since 2002, where thousands of readers have enjoyed her stories.
She lives in central Ohio with her husband, two adult children and a small menagerie of animals. When she’s not writing, she can be found working at her county library, riding bikes with her husband and strolling local farmer’s markets in search of ingredients for new recipes.
Chef’s Table is her debut novel.
Connect with Lynn at lynncharles.net.