by: Melissa Cutler
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: October 6, 2016
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press via NetGalley
Welcome to Dulcet, Texas, home of the legendary Briscoe Ranch Resort, where one man will discover that revenge is a dish best served sizzling hot…
Ambitious and talented, chef Emily Ford has the chops to make it in the cutthroat culinary world—which is why she refuses to accept her demotion at the hands of Knox Briscoe, the new CEO of Briscoe Ranch Resort. He has grand plans that include bringing in a celebrity chef to helm an exciting new restaurant at the resort, but Emily has plans of her own—to do whatever it takes to change his mind…
Knox Briscoe made his millions in the high-risk game of buying and flipping businesses. Cut out of the Briscoe fortune by an old feud that left his family in ruins, Knox grew up dreaming of revenge. Out-maneuvering his uncle for control of the resort is merely the first step in his plan—a plan that doesn’t include the brazen and beautiful Emily Ford. Drawn into her passion, Knox’s world is turned on its axis, and it isn’t long before he’s faced with the biggest risk of all—with his career, with his heart…and with the woman who has captivated him, body and soul.
Hi Melissa. Welcome back to Read Your Writes Book Reviews. What can readers expect from One More Taste?
Readers can expect my signature combination of a book full of both humor and emotional resonance…with one seriously spicy romance woven throughout it.
Describe One More Taste in one sentence.
When a brazen chef tries to prove her chops to her sexy new boss, they heat up a lot more than the kitchen.
Which of your characters would you most & least like to invite to dinner, from which book and why?
The characters from this series that I’d most like to invite to dinner are all those hot, sexy cowboy heroes (surprise, surprise!). Decker, Micah, Knox, and (from upcoming books) Paul and Gentry. Mmm….sexy cowboy heroes at my dinner table…now there’s a dream come true!
The character from the series that I’d least like to have over for dinner, and which readers of the series would probably agree with me, is Ty Briscoe, the villain of the first three stories.
June Briscoe aka Granny June is one of my favorite characters. She's appeared in all the One and Only Texas books. How did you come up with her and her amazing personality (sneakiness, quirks and all)?
She’s one of my favorite characters in the series, too. When I wrote her character’s first ever scene, in scene one of THE MISTLETOE EFFECT, she seemed like an old, strict Italian mafia grandma with old world superstitions at first, which probably would have been fine, but I then wrote a draft that lightened her up and turned her into the scene’s comic relief…and I instantly fell in love with her! Hence, the Granny June we all know and love was born.
Out of all of the secondary characters within the One and Only Texas series, do you have one or two favorites so far? If so, who are they and why?
What a fun question. I tend to write books that have huge casts of characters, so there are lots of secondary characters to choose from. My current favorite is from next year’s release, ONE WILD NIGHT, and it’s the heroine’s grandmother, Mama Lita, who clashes with Granny June at every turn because, while Granny June is the consummate matchmaker of the series, Mama Lita is a wild spirit who doesn’t believe a woman needs a man in her life.
What do you think most characterizes your writing?
What most characterizes my writing is a combination of humor and emotion weight. I’m really interested in real issues and the struggles that everyday people face in their lives, not just romantically, but with family and friends and their careers. My heroines tend to be quirky, smart, career-focused women and my heroes tend to be blue collar workers. In that way, Knox Briscoe, the hero of ONE MORE TASTE, is unusual. I rarely write about wealthy men because they don’t tend to hold my interest, but what I love about Knox is how he rose to wealth from blue collar roots, which makes his relationship to his wealth and his family really complicated in the best, juiciest possible way for an author to explore.
If you had a superpower, what would it be?
I can’t decide between these two: 1) controlling the weather, or 2) having the power to heal people with a touch. Either one would make the world a better place in significant ways.
What literary character is most like you?
Depends on the day. You know how it goes—some days you’re George, while other days you’re Lenny. Captain Ahab pops up every so often. And Jack Reacher, sometimes. And then there are those days that we all have when we’re Frankenstein’s monster. Mostly, I aspire to be Olivia, the pig from the children’s picture book. Oh, if we could all be more like Olivia.
Emily pushed a loaded food cart behind the resort’s main reception desk, then through the maze of cubicles and offices tucked away from the guests’ view. She nodded to Ty Briscoe’s secretary, then let herself into his corner office.
Knox’s fierce intensity beat like waves of power through the air in the room. Emily froze near the door, stunned to find herself suddenly, uncharacteristically, intimidated.
Knox rose slowly, buttoning his suit jacket as he loomed over Emily. “Are you asking to be fired, Ms. Ford? Because I was hoping the chef I hire for the new restaurant would see the value in keeping on some of the resort’s restaurant workers as line cooks.”
Oh, this man. Emily visualized the way his perfect suit would look covered in mushroom reduction, sweet potato puree, and bits of roasted pheasant. In the end, she decided against the childish act, more out of respect for Ty than any sense of dignity or self-preservation.
Ty jabbed his spoon in the air at Knox. “You watch your tone with her. Emily’s too valuable an asset at this resort to work as a line cook.”
Spoken like the father figure he was to her. Emily’s heart warmed for the man who’d taken a huge risk in hiring her right out of chef school, homeless and without a penny to her name. Of course, she didn’t reveal any of that. She carefully schooled her features, refusing to splay open her chest and give Knox Briscoe one single glimpse of her heart. His careless response to her peaches was proof enough of his lack of a soul.
The gleam in Knox’s eyes turned cool and calculating as he turned his focus to Ty. “I wouldn’t have expected that from you, Ty. Sleeping with the special event chef. Interesting. And against my business policy.”
Emily’s self-control snapped. She pushed up from her chair, ready to get in Knox Briscoe’s face and give him a piece of her mind. She slammed her hands onto the table for emphasis, but instead of hitting the table, her right hand caught the rim of the soup bowl. As though in slow motion, the bowl launched itself at Knox. Emily lunged for it, but she was too late. Bright orange soup splashed all over the front of his suit.
Mortified, she stood over him and watched glops of peach and brûlée topping ooze like lava into the creases of his waistband and belt.
For his part, Knox didn’t rise or curse at her—as Ty was doing, she noticed out of the corner of her eye—nor did he attempt to clean himself off. He kept his cucumber- cool gaze locked on hers, a slight smirk curved on his lips. “Did I hit too close to home on that observation, Ms. Ford?”
Holy shit. She’d spilled soup all over her new boss. There was no way she was getting the restaurant now. She’d be lucky to keep her job. What she refused to give up was the last shreds of her dignity. Nobody insulted her by insinuating that she’d slept her way to the top and got away with it, not even the intimidating Knox Briscoe.
She rose to her full height. “I may not know what your father did to get disowned by the Briscoes, but it’s no wonder you’re trying to deflect some of that shame you inherited from him onto the people of this resort. Even after all these years, it still stings, doesn’t it? Whatever he did to get shunned? The shame of it all?”
A shadow crossed Knox’s face. Good. She’d meant for that to hurt.
A hand closed around Emily’s arm and tugged her away. Ty pushed between her and Knox, scolding her, apologizing to Knox. When did the giant she’d long revered as a force of nature turn into a spineless, apologetic noodle? She would’ve never expected her idol to fall from grace in the blink of an eye.
Emily glared past Ty, to Knox. “It makes sense, now, this whole alpha power vibe you’ve got going on. You know what they say about men who seem like they’re overcompensating for something.”
The shadow vanished from Knox’s eyes and the shark- like calculation returned. “That they have big feet? Or am I mixing my old wives’ tales?”
“Emily, please. Leave us,” Ty said. “You’re embarrassing yourself and insulting me.”
That pulled her up short. She was way beyond damage control when it came to her own embarrassment, but she did care about insulting Ty. She might not trust Ty to know what he was doing, not after this crippling deal with the devil himself, but she still respected Ty enough to honor his plea. With a nod, she walked with stiff, proud steps to the door.
“Ms. Ford, the suspense is killing me. What do they say about men who seem like they’re overcompensating?” Knox said, sounding amused.
Gritting her teeth, she paused with one foot out the door and tossed a look over her shoulder, startling all over again at Knox’s aura of cool perfection. The cut of his jaw, the fullness of his lips, eyes that were as cruel as they were wise. How had she ever thought she could win over a man like that with peaches and pheasant? Whatever family shame Knox was overcompensating for, it wasn’t going to save Emily or her beloved resort. Knox Briscoe was beyond redemption, her career was over before it had even gotten off the ground, and life was never going to be the same again.
“Haven’t you heard?” she said. “The thing about men who seem like they’re overcompensating for something, is that they always are.”
CREDIT: From ONE MORE TASTE by Melissa Cutler. Copyright © 2016 by the author and reprinted by permission of St. Martin's Paperbacks.
Purchase One More Taste from:
One and Only Texas Series:
(Clicking on the book covers to be taken to Amazon for more information or to purchase.)
The Mistletoe Effect ~ Review
One Hot Summer ~ Review
One More Taste ~ Review
Melissa Cutler knows she has the best job in the world writing sexy contemporary romances and romantic suspense. She was struck at an early age by an unrelenting travel bug and is probably planning her next vacation as you read this. When she's not globetrotting, she's enjoying Southern California's flip-flop wearing weather and wrangling two rambunctious kids.
Places to find Melissa Cutler: