Thursday, November 1, 2012

Elisabeth Barrett's Romance: Deep Autumn Heat

Book 2 of the new cache of local authors is Deep Autumn Heat, by Elisabeth Barrett.  This is similar to Joan Swan’s Fever in several ways:

  1. Both books have covers that show an extremely handsome man with no shirt on and with six-pack abs.
  2. Both books have titles that match the covers.
  3. Both books are romances with strong, independent women and he-man men.
  4. Both books have a number of sex scenes that are fairly graphic but not worthy of erotic romance.

In Deep Autumn Heat, Sebastian Grayson (nickname “Seb”), is a famous New York chef who is growing in popularity and who is an equally notorious womanizer.  He is about to have his own cooking show on TV and is looking for a site (maybe Boston) for a 2nd restaurant.  He comes from a small town, Star Harbor, in Cape Cod and visits once a year to hang out with his brothers.  2 of them (the sheriff and a federal agent) live in Star Harbor, and the 4th brother, Seb’s twin, is in San Francisco.  

Lexie Meyers owns Star Harbor’s diner.  She is a fiercely independent woman who escaped from an abusive relationship in Berkeley, CA (right next door to Albany, CA, where I grew up – I knew that you would all want to know that) and came across country to start a new life.  So, you can imagine that she is just a tad distrustful of men.  And, now, along comes a man who exudes trouble.  Since he considers himself God’s gift to women, he doesn’t know how to handle a woman who doesn’t fling herself at him.  Never mind that she is not pursuing him (oh, the shock of it all), she even seems to be resisting his attempts to woo (I know, a word from the ‘50’s) her. 

This seems like a typical romance, right?  Wrong!  There are 2 sub-plots centered on Lexie.  One of them involves the guy she left behind (or did she?) on the West Coast.  And the other revolves around a series of threatening notes that Lexie has been receiving at the diner (there’s a 3rd one, regarding drugs, that gets a small, but significant, part).  She thinks it’s a rival from a neighboring town who wants Lexie’s world- (ok, local-) famous recipe for her coconut cake.  That’s obviously a bit too simplistic.  Both of these storylines ring true and add a little balance to the burgeoning (you have to admit that “burgeoning” is a cool word) romance/heat between Seb and Lexie.

I enjoyed this a lot.  I thought it was well-written and definitely held my interest throughout.  Most importantly, I really cared about the characters – not only the 2 main ones but also the numerous best-supporting bit players.  I already have her 2nd one, Blaze of Winter (Elisabeth was kind enough to give me both of them – signed! – at the authors’ event) and will be reading that one as soon as can get to it.  Again, here’s another local author worth reading.

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