SWEET HEAT by Zuri Day


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Two competitors duke it out at a televised cooking contest in LA, but their hearts are soon on the line as well.

A trained chef who’s tired of working as an assistant cook and living with his parents, Marvin Carter is determined to win first place in the Food Truck Bucks challenge. Naomi Carson learned her way around the kitchen from her grandmother, but she has every intention of turning professional by topping the competition and claiming the grand prize of a food truck and $50,000. When Marvin bumps into Naomi on Day 1 of the contest, they know they are rivals but are drawn to each other’s quick comebacks and smack talk. Marvin is also attracted to the full-figured, self-confident Naomi, and they start what feels like a casual fling. Matters turn more serious when she sees how kind he is to her grandmother and his family starts to like her. Apart from the professional battle that is already an obstacle to their happy ending, Day (Sin City Vows, 2019, etc.) piles on several external conflicts, like scheming, catty women interested in Marvin, Naomi’s ex, a false accusation during the competition, and a medical scare. Despite those elements of unnecessary tension, she ably executes the central narrative of a romance unfolding amid the pressure of a high-stakes tournament and livens it up with humorous, occasionally bawdy, banter between the couple. While the story could have been told more tightly, and a moment where Naomi apologizes for having a stalker strikes a sour note, the rich portraits of the central characters and the detailed depictions of their families and larger African-American community in LA makes for enjoyable reading.

A fun, flirty third entry in the Blue-Collar Lover series.

Pub Date: June 25th, 2019
ISBN: 978-1-61773-429-8
Page count: 384pp
Publisher: Dafina/Kensington
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1st, 2019


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