I received this book for free from Author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Country Heaven by Ava Miles
Series: Dare River #1
Published by Aspendawn Books on February 9, 2014
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Amazon | Goodreads
If you like the hit TV series, Nashville…
A down-on-her luck cook uses food’s magical properties to tame a beastly country singer after he hires her under false pretenses to restore his image.
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?
Have you ever had one of those books where you don’t want to put it down but you also don’t want it to end? That’s they way this story was for me.
Rye Crenshaw, famous country music singer, was the darling bad boy to his fans until a huge misunderstanding put him on the wrong side of media attention. He’s on tour, floundering and happens by a recommended local diner in Kansas where Tory Simmons was the cook. She’s struggling to make ends meet following the death of her grandfather so when Rye offers her a job as his personal chef for the remainder of the tour (for an amount she can’t refuse), she signs on.
Rye’s got a bit of a reputation as a ladies man and Tory wants no part of that action. He’s fine with that because she’s a great cook and he loves to eat. It’s when he has to go home and deal with his estranged family that things really get interesting. Tory sees a different side of the singer, a man of depth and substance. As she becomes protectful of him and he of her, their attraction to each other deepens.
What I loved about the story
Everything. The characters, including the secondary players, were interesting, layered and always true to their design. I really liked Rye and Tory and was rooting for them to stay apart until it started making sense for them to be drawn to one another. Wouldn’t you know the story transitioned their relationship just when it felt right! I don’t like “players” and Tory had less tolerance than me. She was never swept away by his fame or charm, having her own goals, smarts and independence. I liked her a lot and appreciated how she made him step up. I came to adore him, especially when he rose to the occasion when his family needed him. The story was compelling (can’t give you details) as his family defines dysfunction.
And another thing!
There are song lyrics and recipes as companions to each chapter, not inserted gratuitously but meshing seamlessly with the storyline. I loved them and plan to try out some of those dishes. If I hadn’t been so carried away by the story I might have stopped to try them out. The lyrics were exceptional and they helped paint Rye as a true musician.
The bottom line
Can you tell I loved this story? The romance, family dynamics and friendships all work. Rye and Tory are delightful as individual characters and as a couple. She demands more from him and is always respectful of herself. Rye is a better man because of her and he wasn’t that bad. I laughed, cried, got angry, swooned…experienced a full range of emotions. I am dying to read the next book because I gobbled up this winner!
I also love to talk about books. There’s nothing more exciting than to finish a great story and cover it A to Z with other people, exploring different perspectives and points of view. So, if you see something on my shelf you’d like to talk about, send me a message and we’ll talk!
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