***Received ARC from publisher via NetGalley***
It pains me to give this book a measly 3 stars because I had such high hopes for it, but it was a bit of a disappointment.
Talented chef Meg Delaney hasn’t spoken to her cheating ex-fiancé, Matt Midland, for two years. Ditching him at the altar after blurting out “I can’t” instead of “I do” would sour any relationship. But now, just as Meg is finally ready to bury the hatchet, she learns closure is permanently off the menu. And the kicker? Matt’s brother, Kyle, is back in her life, stirring up feelings that are equal parts guilt and lust.
Meg was the best thing that never happened to Kyle. He couldn’t make a move on his brother’s girlfriend—even if Matt didn’t value her nearly enough. The situation is even more complicated now that Meg’s bestselling aphrodisiac cookbook has spawned a legal battle with the Midlands. Maybe he should stay away. But love, like family, plays by its own rules. And the one woman he shouldn’t want might be the only one who’s perfect for him.
Things I liked about the book:
1. It was an easy read with a good flow to the story.
2. I’ve always loved the concept of closet romance. Kyle loving Meg from afar has me cheering for Kyle and hoping that he gets the girl in the end.
3. Chemistry between Kyle and Meg is just off the charts. I wouldn’t go so far as to say that Kyle made it onto my book boyfriends list because, let’s face it, he was a bit of an idiot as well. But I have to admit, he still earns a special nook in my heart, and I can understand being so blinded by love that he’ll do just about anything to get the girl — even if it means being so selfish and manipulative.
Things about the book that were a bit off for me: (***Warning: Spoilers ahead***)
1. I couldn’t make a decision on whether or not to like Matt. With some flashbacks, I wonder why Meg even stayed in the relationship for so long. In others, he seemed like the sweetest man. By making that one mistake that ruined his relationship with Meg, I find it so hard to believe that he would just give Meg up. Sure couples have gotten divorced over petty things after spending more years together, but knowing that he was at fault for things falling apart, I found it difficult to believe that he would be so selfish as to not only bill Meg for taking the photos for her cookbook, but to have her pay for all the expenses of the wedding that never happened because he cheated on her.
2. I still don’t understand Kyle’s motives for embarrassing Meg after she presented the evidence that Matt didn’t care about associating himself with her cookbook. And it doesn’t really add up that he would come to her house after humiliating her, only to confess that he played a role in manipulating Matt into cheating on her. And this is part of the reason why Kyle doesn’t make it onto my book boyfriends list. Why continue driving a knife through the heart of the person you say you’re in love with? First, the humiliation. And then, the confession that you manipulated her ex-fiance into cheating because you wanted her for yourself? It just doesn’t make sense to me.
3. Meg was a complete doormat. Matt confessed to cheating on her but she still paid for the cost of the wedding that didn’t happen, and $10,000 for the photos that he took for her cookbook, which he offered to do for free (well, technically, according to a haphazardly scribbled note, it’s in exchange for sexual favors, but that, in and of itself, already shows how little he thinks of the project that she’s so passionate about). And just because she left him at the altar, thereby humiliating him in front of all their friends and family, doesn’t make her the bad guy. He cheated. That should’ve been the justification to end all discussions of what she owed him, but Meg kept going on and on about how she could’ve dealt with it better. And this is where I pull my hair out in frustration. No! Meg doesn’t owe him anything. He confessed the day before their wedding. He didn’t really give her much time to think about how to deal with it, did he?
Overall, the story had good bones. I still enjoyed it, despite a couple of character gripes.
Rating: 3 stars