I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.French Roast by Ava Miles
Series: Dare Valley #2
Published by CreateSpace on August 9, 2013
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Small-town biz wiz Jill Hale has been in love with her childhood best friend Brian McConnell for as long as she can remember. A falling out led to years of estrangement, but when Brian returns to Dare Valley after trying to make it big as a chef in New York City, Jill’s determined to make amends. She’s convinced that starting a restaurant together will be the perfect win-win situation, allowing her and Brian to work together and play together. After a series of missteps sliced and diced Brian’s career in the Big Apple, he came home to regroup and find himself. He’s convinced that reestablishing his connection with Jill, the girl who got away, will put his life back on track. And when she approaches him with her plan for going into business together, he’s certain it’s the one way he can have it all—his dream job and his dream girl. Jill and Brian are falling for each other all over again when Brian’s ex sashays into town, intent on sabotaging their reunion. Add in a mysterious investor who’s determined to get Jill on board with his project, and the bond between the couple is tested to the limit. Will their second chance at love implode, or will they find their own recipe for a happy ending?
The set up
Jill Hale and Brian McConnell have been best friends since they were eight years old. At some point, Jill realized that her feelings went beyond friendship and imagined they’d spend the rest of their lives together. But when he decided to go to culinary school in New York without telling her until moments after graduation, he broke her heart and crushed her trust, separating them for the next eight years. Now he’s returned to Dare Valley wanting to make amends and Jill’s not having any of it.
There was more than Brian’s breach of trust that destroyed his friendship with Jill but it was the icing on the cake after having rejected the notion of their relationship becoming more than best buddies. He misses what they had and wants desperately to get it back. He’s also not being forthright about his reasons for leaving New York and when a “friend” shows up unexpectedly, Jill’s not sure she can trust him enough to commit her heart and career to Brian.
What I loved
Jill seemed a little on the immature side in the first book so I wasn’t sure if I’d enjoy her story as much as her sister’s. However, she had more moxie and toughness than I gave her credit for and I became a fan quickly. Jill’s business savvy set her apart from her peers, having started her own coffee shop when she was barely out of school and managed it exceptionally. She’s a loyal friend and rather fearless in dealing with everybody. She was just as passionate in her relationship with Brian, even as he repeatedly tested her trust in him.
Brian was deliciously flawed, so well meaning but boneheaded in the choices he made over and over again. His feelings for Jill were never really in question but his fear of losing her created obstacles time and again. As much as I wanted to scream at him for some of the decisions he made, I also couldn’t help falling for the guy. And he had some serious skills in the kitchen! Do NOT read this book if you’re hungry as he’s pretty detailed about some of his French concoctions. He’s one of the sexiest chefs I can recall and was incredibly romantic.
The bottom line
This was the hottest, steamiest romance made even more delectable because of their friendship (and Brian’s culinary talents). Brian and Jill liked and knew each other so well that you just wanted it to work. Their business and personal issues were adeptly woven into the story, providing a level of realism I found extraordinary. There are some really tough moments that will try you emotionally, but I love a good cry. There’s also a secondary storyline that sets up the next book so very well and I’m dying to start it. I love this series and am glad I’ve got the next two books in the pipeline.
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