If the Food Network is porn for food junkies, then Louisa Edwards books are undoubtedly their erotica. Some Like It Hot is book 2 in her Rising Star Chef series, which deals with a prestigious cooking competition which the chefs of Lunden's Tavern hope will put them back on the map.
As the second phase of the competition rolls in, Danny the pastry chef is prepared to craft the tastiest of desserts for his team. Eva Jansen, the woman responsible for running the competition, is an undeniable distraction--she's beautiful, and she makes no secret of wanting to get into Danny's pants.
My favorite aspect of this, and the first book, is the descriptions of the food. It's, like, real food, fancy food, delicious food. Stuff I'm not fussy enough to even try to make at home. Though the idea of a cake made out of crepes had me quite tempted.
Danny is an appealing hero. He's the glue that holds his family and his team together in many ways--he soothes, calms, smooths over, and doesn't permit bull shit. Early on in the story, he calls Eva out for making a plane full of people wait on her (because she's rich and important and all). From that point on, I really appreciated his very subtle penchant for fixing things.
Eva was more difficult to embrace. She's smart, motivated, and people pleasing. She's sexually aggressive, which remains a somewhat novel quality for contemporary heroines. However, her primary (non-romantic) motivation within the story is to get the Rising Star Chef competition on TV on a major network, and she's infuriatingly blinded by that goal in all to many cases. Her eventual change of heart came after I had already decided I disliked her, at least mildly, and said change did not sway me much.
I'm sure it's a quirk of my own personal tastes that I happen to be more interested in the relationship between Kane and Claire. Kane is a rockstar, and comparatively young, and on the judging panel because he's a famous foodie. Claire in middle aged, and the editor of a well respected food magazine. Such an odd couple, and yet they share a surprising amount of chemistry.
The plot is passably engaging, the secondary characters are all likable, and other than an unappealing heroine I can think of no pressing flaws. Overall, I recommend the Rising Star Chef books to contemporary romance fans, especially if they like the idea of vicariously experiencing excellent food. 3.5 stars.