IMHO, there’s no sex so mind-blowing that it’s worth having to put up with an ill-mannered child.
I’m not talking that bizarre, Peter Pan Syndrome thing, where grown men can be real lookers, hot as hell in bed, but mewling adolescents when it comes to relationships, because, frankly, there should be a Wendy syndrome for the chicks who act the same.
No, I’m thinking more along the lines of what Miss Lilah Jane Tunkle takes on after a night of glorious, out of character, mostly anonymous, up-against-the-Architectural-Digest-inspired-shower-wall carnal relations with thehandsomest, smoothest man the curvy little high-school lit teacher from Appalachia ever clapped less-than-extraordinary-looking eyes upon.
For when the down home and guileless -- yet decidedly not downtrodden -- heroine of Louisa Edwards’ exceptionally entertaining, spicy-hot romantic feast, “On the Steamy Side ,” shows up for her first day as a bussperson at a tony Big Apple eatery, she not only finds her new boss is none other than celebrity chef/restaurant mogul/Sexiest Man Alive list finalist and arrogant bastard Devon Sparks, a.k.a. the well-natured, passionate sex god she hooked up with the night before in her one-time-ever experiment in going against all the homespun, Southern rules of good behavior she learned at her quirky auntie’s knee.
Before the day’s dinner rush is over, Lilah’s been kissed, insulted, fired and hired as nanny to the rapidly-becoming-uglier-in-her-eyes-by-the-second Sparks’ little boy who shows up with the NYPD after his mom’s been tossed in rehab. Lilah can’t bear to see the boy go into foster care, nor can she believe Sparks really wants nothing to do with his son; she’s seen a side of him that doesn’t jibe with the one he lets loose 23.5/7, and her inner Pollyanna’s raring to make everything better for everybody.
Devon Sparks has long been, and continues to be, all about making things better for everybody who is Devon Sparks. Yet Lilah Jane Tunkle has been making him a little crazy in a lotta’ ways that ordinarily wouldn’t bear notice. The problem could lie in the fact he’s secretly tired of his success. Or it could have something to do with the chicken-heart-cookin’, gawd-awful-clothes-wearing arbiter of Southern-fried logic who’s got him hotter than he’s ever been – and inconceivably insecure about his appeal and value as a man.
The beauty of “On the Steamy Side” isn’t only Edwards’ sharp writing, and the gorgeous play of heat and growth of intimacy between Sparks and Lilah. The novel’s a sort of tapestry of developing relationships, some within the workplace, others the secondary love matches Edwards highlights and develops so beautifully and with such sweet, loving empathy and joy.
”On the Steamy Side” is an instant re-read, a fresh, emotions-first take on the food-infused romance and, quite simply, a stellar example of the health and vibrancy of the American contemporary romance. I’m betting it ends up on any number of Best of 2010 lists.
Do you prefer your food-inspired romances to be more about the food, or the people who are creating it? What do you love about Louisa Edwards’ romances? How do you prefer your food-inspired romances: More about the food and w/lots of recipes and food descriptions, or more about the lives/loves of people who are creating it?