A gorgeous California chef and an equally gorgeous New York fireman marinate in their hormones as murder stalks The Cooking Channel.
Burning curtains in a borrowed apartment lead to the cute meeting between talented chef-turned-set-supervisor Gretchen Darrow and Air Force-vet-turned-fireman Rick Pellucci in Winters’s latest romance (after Just Peachy, 2005). Burned by an unhappy affair with a personal trainer at the lush California resort where she whipped up delicious lo-cal for the demanding rich, Gretchen has fled to New York and a new life working in cable television on something awfully like the real-life Food Network, where celebrated TV cooks and their enablers vie to become the next Emeril, Mario or Martha. When scented candles left lit by Gretchen’s spacey actress cousin Dana ignite the drapery, it’s big, hunky Rick who douses the flames. Sparks fly immediately between the two, but the flames of their lust are quickly doused by misunderstanding. By incredible coincidence, Rick is the brother of Romeo Ramero (aka Brett Pellucci), The Cooking Channel’s leading culinary stud. Gretchen’s dessert-diva boss Susanna has ordered Gretchen to secure her a guest spot on Romeo’s primetime show, leading Rick to think that Gretchen has the hots for his shorter, oilier brother, who has appealed to Rick to find out who’s been sending Brett death threats. The misunderstandings begin to clear up only after a bitchy agent is poisoned at a big party in Brett’s lavish ski-chalet. Gretchen and Rick begin to explore each other’s magnificent anatomies in stolen moments in elevators and pickup trucks, never quite getting it completely on thanks to roommates who barge in and elevator doors that inconveniently open. Just when Gretchen thinks she’s solved the murder, she discovers How Wrong She Can Be.
The sex is hot, but the plot barely simmers.