Title: Dinner at Jack’s
Series: Romance With Recipes 03
Author: Rick R. Reed
Length: Novel (220pgs)
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (3rd October 2016)
Heat Level: Nil
Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥ 4 Hearts
Blurb: Personal chef Beau St. Clair, recently divorced from his cheating husband, returns to the small Ohio River town where he grew up to lick his wounds. Jack Rogers lives with his mother, Maisie, in that same small town, angry at and frightened of the world. Jack has a gap in his memory that hides something he dares not face, and he’s probably suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.
Maisie, seeking relief from her housebound and often surly son, hires Beau to cook for Jack, hoping the change might help bring Jack, once a handsome and vibrant attorney, back to his former self. But can a new face and comfort food compensate for the terror lurking in Jack’s past?
Slowly the two men begin a dance of revelation and healing. Food and compassion build a bridge between Beau and Jack, a bridge that might lead to love.
But will Jack’s demons allow it? His history could just as easily tear them apart as bring them together.
Review: This story is part of a series but can be read as a stand-alone.
When Beau gets divorced from his cheating husband there’s only one place he thinks of going to lick his wounds, to the small town he grew up. Not sure what to do now Beau spots an ad for a personal chef and decides to check it out, it leads him to a man he never thought he’d see again.
Maisie is desperate when she posts an ad for a chef, her son has retreated into himself and is often snarly and surly, and she hopes that good food will tempt her son but the first visit doesn’t go too well.
Jack can’t remember anything of the night that changed his life, he’s terrified to leave his room and he hates the man he’s turned into. When his mom hires a chef in a desperate attempt to get Jack to engage in life, Jack is resentful but Beau begins to chip away at Jack’s blocked memories.
This is a great story that fits in perfectly with the other Romance with Recipes books (Dinner at Home, Dinner at Fiorello’s), it’s a touching story of budding love and healing. Beau is a fantastic character who is feeling slightly wounded after his divorce, when he gets a challenge in Jack he’s determined to bring Jack back to the land of the living and to being the man he knew one magical evening many years before.
Jack is suffering, he’s scared to live, there’s something lurking in his memories that has him terrified and has taken him from being a man who embraces life to one who shuns it. Jack isn’t a very nice character when we first meet him, in fact he’s downright nasty but as we learn what he has been through we understand that it’s a coping mechanism so he doesn’t have to re-join the world. When he meets Beau his behaviour doesn’t chase the man away and Jack soon learns that maybe that’s a good thing.
The story is really well written and the storyline is great, it’s a story that surprised me as I figured that the story would be straight forward and the blurb covered everything, and yes that’s true but there’s a little bit more that had my breath catching and a twinge of sadness struck me for what was lost by an act of hatred and bigotry. Rick R. Reed writes in such a way that even the expected comes as a surprise and he can tease feelings from you that you don’t expect.
While there is a touch of romance developing between Jack and Beau there is a lot of healing and facing the past before we get to that point, so don’t expect a lovefest because there’s a lot of ground to cover especially for Jack. On a side note Jack’s mother Maisie and Beau’s father Niles are great characters and it was so sweet to see their little romance play out as well.
I recommend this to those who love stories that have a little meat to them, characters who know sorrow and pain, men who have suffered but who begin to heal and bloom, and a romance that is just beginning.