5 out of 5 Stars
*I was provided a copy of Ready To Burn by the author in exchange for an honest review. I am not compensated for my honest opinion.*
Shaye Harland has had one dream her whole life: to be head chef of Due South, her tiny island’s only restaurant. With Bill, the owner and head chef, currently undergoing dialysis, Shaye expects to step up and run the restaurant. What she doesn’t expect is for Bill’s son, cocky Hollywood chef Del Westlake, to step in and take over.
Thirteen years ago, Del and his mother left Oban, and Del vowed never to return. When his mother goes back to help her ex-husband with his health issues and then requests Del come help out at the restaurant, he has no choice but to go back. As it turns out, there’s nothing left for him in Hollywood anyway, and he needs Due South as much as they need him in order to get his career back on track.
Shaye and Del butt heads from the moment they become reacquainted, and finding out Del will be taking over as head chef only throws more flame onto Shaye’s fire. The pair eventually finds they work well together—both in and out of the kitchen. But their dreams are taking them in different directions, so their heated affair can only be temporary. Both will need to reevaluate their dreams if they want to make room for each other.
Ready To Burn is book three in the Due South series, but like the others, it can be read as a standalone. Also like the others, you’ll enjoy it so much you’ll want to read the rest of the series. Each book incorporates the characters and storylines from the previous novels and provides enough information on the secondary characters to intrigue you to read their stories. This book is about Shaye, the youngest Harland, and her continued quest to become head chef, as well as Del, the forgotten Westlake son’s issues with his family and everything he’s gone through in the years since he left Oban.
Both main characters have a lot of growing to do in this story. Shaye has an unrealistic idea of what she’s searching for in Mr. Right, and she learns through friends and family that even though you sometimes may want to kill your significant other, what’s really important is the love you share and that you’ll still only want to share it with that person. Del has a lot of hatred for his father since he thinks his father sent him away. In reality, his father did what needed to be done for Del and his mother to be happy, giving up his own happiness in exchange for theirs. Del finds out that when it comes down to it, your family has your back even when it doesn’t seem like it. Although Del dreams of a career as a famous chef, he realizes there’s more to life than fame and fortune. He’s also surprised when his family supports him with no questions asked when they find out about his drinking problem.
As always, Ms. Alvarez starts the romance off with fireworks of a different kind. Shaye and Del butt heads immediately and frequently, but that switch is flipped at just the right moment, when the characters give in to temptation and begin to see more in each other. There’s plenty more to the story than just the hot sex though. Family drama is an ongoing theme, with both Shaye and Del struggling to find their place in their family and learning who they can depend on. I always love when there’s more to the plot than just romance, and Ready To Burn delivers in spades.
Shaye has always been the good girl in her family, and watching her characterization unfold is so amusing. She keeps a swear jar in the kitchen of Due South, and all the money collected goes to charity. Even in her head, her curses are adorably innocent. Del’s foul mouth contrasts nicely, and the two are like yin and yang, opposites fitting together perfectly.
Any contemporary romance fan who enjoys a solid plot with family drama will love Ready To Burn, along with the other books in the series. This is the third five-star review for the Due South series.
All of my reviews of Tracey Alvarez’s books can be found under the Author Spotlight tab at the top of the page.