If you can’t take the heat. . . .
But 28-year-old Layla Mitchner is not going to stay out of the kitchen. She didn’t blow most of her meager inheritance on courses at Le Cordon Bleu so some arrogant bastard who happens to think he’s the greatest chef in New York could force her to quit. Noel, the aforesaid arrogant bastard, keeps her making salads and vinaigrette while the men go on to bigger and better things. Trading dirty jokes with the Mexican underlings is one way to vent her frustration—they barely understand what she’s saying anyway. Does anyone but her notice that the new guy on the sauté station is high on coke? Of course not. Danny O’Shaughnessy is a man, so he can do no wrong—even if he is an ex-con and a complete incompetent. Layla seethes. What do you mean, her ice-cream balls aren’t tight enough? Take this scoop and shove it, bozo. A walk in the night air cools her off and reminds her why she can’t afford to quit. For one thing, she owes rent to her roommate. Her mother, a self-absorbed soap-opera actress, would help, but Layla would rather tough it out. Then Billy, her fey, gay sidekick (a great admirer of her mother’s campy histrionics), calls to invite her to a party. There, she meets Dick Davenport, a rich, self-absorbed hottie who thinks he’s all that plus a bag of blue-chip stocks. Billy points out tactfully that perhaps all Layla needs is a good lay, but she’s not sure she buys that. What about love? Finding a soulmate in Manhattan, though, is obviously impossible, and anyway, who the hell would want an underpaid, overworked, irritable female who arranges mesclun for a living? This guy Frank, a musician/promoter type, looks like a better bet than the too-perfect Dick—until Frank whips out handcuffs in a seedy motel.
Cheerfully raunchy first novel by a former chef, with some memorable moments and authentic atmosphere.