About the Book
Title: The Secret Ingredient
Author: KD Fisher
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Imprint: Carina Press (Carina Adores)
On Sale: October 27, 2020
Format: Trade Paperback (ebook and audio also available)
Price: $14.99 U.S.
Book Description: Two amazing chefs. Two very different restaurants. One undeniable love.
For single mom Adah Campbell, the executive chef job at a posh restaurant in tiny North Port, Maine is a dream come true—and the perfect opportunity to start over, far away from a home that’s never felt entirely hers. But fitting in has never been easy, and between a new town, a new boss, and the unexpectedly attractive owner of a rival café, things get off to a rocky start.
Never did free-spirited Beth Summers think she’d still be in North Port. Travel the world gathering delicious recipes and finding friends and lovers? Absolutely. Step in to run her family’s small-town café? Not so much. However, once Beth commits to something, that’s it. Soon, The Yellow House is the hottest spot in town, but Beth’s out of energy—and out of ideas for moving forward.
Until Adah Campbell walks into her life, and moving forward suddenly includes making room for a whole new family.
Adah and her son have just relocated from Chicago to Maine so she be the head chef for a restaurant group’s newest venture. She doesn’t know a single soul in the entire state, but she’s looking forward to the fresh start after working her butt off for over a decade.
Beth has always lived in Maine, and she transformed her parents’ café into a culinary sensation.
Adah and Beth cross paths via the restaurant scene, and while their first encounter was not as disastrous as when Lizzie met Darcy, it is not much better. But there’s a spark, and curiosity gets the better of them, and they begin to date.
This book was so sweet. Even though both women are chefs, their personalities are completely different. Adah is used to being independent because she’s been on her own for her entire adult life and she doesn’t like to ask for help, even when she needs it. As talented as she is, she’s still at the mercy of the restaurant owner, who doesn’t always read the room—or listen to Adah—when determining dining trends.
On the other hand, Beth is a bit more relaxed. She may have taken over her parents’ restaurant, but its success is due entirely to her hard work (and that of her employees).
Adah and Beth have such wonderful chemistry. It’s clear they care for each other, but love isn’t always easy. One of my favorite scenes was definitely when Beth took Adah swimming at a little beach a little hike away from the crowded tourist spots.
The secondary characters added such lovely layers to the narrative. It’s hard to pick a favorite, but if I had to, it would be Adah’s friend Jay, who moves to Maine after a breakup. I hope they get their own book next!
I would absolutely recommend The Secret Ingredient. This makes the second romance I’ve read this year set in Maine, and frankly, I want more! I loved the combination of “rival” restauranteurs with a small town. I am looking forward to reading more from Fisher in the future.
I received a copy of this book from Carina Press/NetGalley
The door clattered open and Andrew walked in, a stormy expression eclipsing my brother’s normal goofy half smile. “Beth. Some people outside to see you.”
Since The Yellow House had been awarded Best New Restaurant in the Northeast by the Martin Williams Foundation, a prestigious culinary organization I’d never heard of prior to receiving the letter in the mail, we’d been bombarded with reporters, bloggers, and more diners than we could possibly keep up with. Usually, though, they didn’t show up a full four hours before we opened for the day.
Peeking through the window at the small gravel parking lot, I spotted a gleaming black Mercedes and three people sitting at one of the picnic tables in the garden. I wiped my hands on my apron and patted my hair, hoping that my curls hadn’t dried in a frizzy mess. Dressing in the dark, I’d hardly had a moment to make sure my socks matched before dashing out of the house. A few too many times these visitors were enthusiastic with the photos and
I appeared in Instagram posts and blog entries looking like a wild and unruly thing.
“Good morning!” I called as I bounded down the stairs. The morning air brushed cool against my clammy skin. Before the fire settled down, the kitchen tended to get unbearably hot. The sunlight had gathered itself into soft rays that glistened off the dew in the vegetable and herb patches. A monarch butterfly fluttered across my path and I paused, letting it take its time. Medusa, the barn-cat-turned-restaurant-mascot, snoozed on one of the picnic tables, blissfully oblivious of the visitors.
At the sound of my voice all three of them stood: a tall, slim man in a beautifully tailored suit, a shorter man with a ruddy, irritable face, and another person with their back to me. She turned. Immediately my cheeks heated, and an awkward laugh bubbled up from my throat.
She was like something plucked from my adolescent queer fantasies. Bad boy and tough woman rolled into one. She wore dark jeans, a thick leather belt, and a white T-shirt with the sleeves cuffed a few times up to reveal sinewy biceps. Her dark blond hair was pushed back from her flawless, angular face in a messy not-quite-pompadour. Straight eyebrows a few shades darker than her hair. A long, delicate nose. Lips that probably would have been ample were they not pressed together in a tense frown.
“How can I help you folks?” I bit back the comment that we didn’t open until eleven and offered a sweet smile instead.
The woman stepped forward without missing a beat, extending her hand. I closed the gap between us, shivering as her long fingers brushed my palm. Her skin was warm and a little work-rough. A heavy quiet settled over me as we shook hands. I had the strange thought that I could have held her hand all day. Up close I realized her narrow, wary eyes were a soft shade of green. They widened for a fraction of a second before she stepped back, shoving her hands into her pockets.
“I’m Adah Campbell, the new executive chef at Bella Vista. This is Sean Jacobs, our GM, and Riccardo Visconti, the head of our restaurant group.” Beneath the formal veneer of her words, her voice thrummed with life. Her accent wasn’t quite Southern, more country than anything else. It was the sound of humid thunderstorms and steaming biscuits slathered in home-churned butter. I never wanted her to stop talking.
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About The Author
KD Fisher is a queer New England-based writer of authentic, heartfelt LGBTQ+ narratives. KD grew up all over the United States, bouncing from North Carolina to Hawaii to Illinois, and finally settling in Maine where they spend far too much time at the beach.
When KD isn’t writing they can usually be found hiking with their overly enthusiastic dog, obsessing over plants, or cooking elaborate meals. KD loves classic country, perfectly ripe tomatoes, and falling asleep in the sun.
Connect with KD Fisher
Carina Adores is home to highly romantic contemporary love stories featuring beloved romance tropes, where LGBTQ+ characters find their happily-ever-afters.
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