Prepare to turn up the heat with the final book in the sizzling “Rising Star Chef” trilogy from romance author Louisa Edwards.Henry Beck thought he’d already faced the toughest kitchen challenge of his life. After all, what could top sweating it out as a Navy cook on a submarine? But when he learns his competition for the title of Rising Star Chef is the sweet hippie girl he married…and left…ten years ago, the heat is on.
Now Beck and Skye Gladwell are going head to head in the finals…and sparking up old flames every time they touch. But Skye wants more than a win over the man who abandoned her when she needed him most—she wants a divorce! Then her sexy almost-ex makes a deliciously dangerous proposition. He’ll give in to her demands, but if his team wins the RSC, he has a demand of his own…one last taste of the only woman he ever loved.
*Blurb from Goodreads*
I was not ready for the Rising Star Chef series to be over, but also so incredibly excited to find out more about the reclusive Beck!
Beck’s long estranged wife is the one he is going head-to-head with in the finals of the Rising Star Chef challenge. The two make a bet: if Beck’s team win, he gets one last night with Skye before giving her a divorce, and if Skye’s team wins she gets a divorce right off. The more time they spend together, the more they realize they still have feelings for each other. But sometimes feelings are not enough.
Skye needs more from Beck than he has ever been able to give her, and the fact that he hides so much of himself is enough to drive her crazy, despite the fact that she is still head-over-heels in love with him. But unless he opens up to her a little more, Skye just doesn’t see how they can move forward.
*hangs head* I have to admit that I might have skipped the second book in this series because the heroine didn’t appeal to me after reading the first book. So there were a few parts in the beginning of this story that I felt a little lost having missed out on a few key moments between Beck and Skye. However, once the story got going, it was easier to follow along. I also will probably go back and read the second book, because the heroine did seem to be more likeable in this book.
I was so anxious to find out more about Beck! He has been this enigma since the first book. He was sexy and dependable and mysterious and quiet and never really willing to let anyone into his life, but as his back story came out, I found myself falling deeper and deeper in love with the guy. He was tortured from a horrific event in his past and just when he got his life to a point where he was happy and settled, he has to join the Navy to provide for his growing family. Once Skye goes through a heartbreaking event, she asks him to stay away, and he does for ten long years.
There were times I wanted to smack both Beck and Skye for staying away from each other for long, especially since it was obvious they still had feelings for each other. On the other hand, I could understand why they separated. They were both so young, and Skye didn’t seem to know how to handle her loss. When she asked Beck to stay away, he honored her wishes, even though he didn’t always want to.
I have to admit that the end of the book, when Beck really opened up to Skye and cooked the five course meal story of his life, I was in tears. Although his big gesture wasn’t a typical one, it was beautifully written and so incredible to read. I loved that he not only opened up to Skye, but that he also went outside of his comfort zone to cook a meal that explained the story of his life, that talked about what his happy memories and the sad ones. It was wonderful. Absolutely wonderful.
All in all I was so happy with the conclusion of the Rising Star Chef series. I loved getting to know Beck and Skye, and watch as they dealt with all the buried emotions of their past and came together to build a future. I wish that Edwards would someday write a novel or novella around her gay characters as well, because I think they add so much to the story. I can’t wait to find out what Edwards has in store for us next!
I give Hot Under Pressure a B+