FicCentral received a free copy of this book from Kensington Books (via NetGalley).
Series: The O'Learys #5
Publisher: Lyrical Press on January 19, 2015
Genre(s): Contemporary Romance (Adult)
Grief has brought them together again—will love open the door to their future? When it’s an O’Leary in the picture, finding out is just part of the adventure…
Carmen Delgado is left reeling when her father dies. Taking care of him has been her sole purpose for so long, she’s forgotten what it’s like to have dreams of her own. And with steady, sexy Liam O’Leary inheriting a share in her dad’s successful food truck, Carmen is suddenly free to explore her life’s possibilities. She never expected Liam to provide the kind of temptation she’s not sure she can resist…
A talented chef, Liam O’Leary has been itching to open his own restaurant for years—and the death of his mentor is a reminder that time passes too quickly. Gus’s Taco Taxi isn’t exactly what he dreamed of, but he can’t desert Gus’s daughter. Working side by side is an unexpected pleasure—and grownup Carmen is alluring in all new ways. Is love on the menu—or will old fears and insecurities drive them apart?
This book includes mature subject matter that may not be appropriate for readers under the age of 18.
When his former mentor Gus passes away, gourmet chef Liam finds himself co-owner of a food truck. It isn’t the job he’s always dreamed of, but then again, he’s not exactly happy as chef under a meddlesome restaurant owner who keeps messing up his menus.
For the last several years, Carmen’s life has revolved around taking care of her parents, and now that they’re gone, she’s not sure what to do with herself. She’s lost and grieving when Liam shows up, but when they decide to give the food truck a serious go, that respectful friendship they have begins to heat up.
I really really really like Liam. He’s a bit lost himself, having become a successful chef but always being under the owner’s thumb. Gus is the one who nurtured his love of cooking, and I really liked the way he felt compelled to show his respect when Gus passed away. He was definitely out of place, surrounded by a different culture, but that didn’t stop him from being concerned about Carmen and making sure she knew how much he loved and appreciated her father.
I felt just awful for Carmen, though. She had some serious body issues, and the way it was explained in her thoughts and her apprehension at the possibility of intimacy was just heartbreaking. I wanted to think she was overreacting, but then I’d put myself in her shoes, and I’m pretty sure I would have wanted the lights out, too. Not that her poor self-image was really reasonable, but it was certainly understandable.
Liam also impressed me with how understanding he was. Sure, he thought she had no reason to be so worried, but he was patient and sweet about it, and when he turned off the lights, I just wanted to hug him. I did get annoyed, though, at how quick he was to snap at her when he was in a foul mood and even more by how he seemed so oblivious when was making decisions without consulting her. It’s no wonder she reacted the way she did.
The undercurrent of racism bothered me, but it also rang true. I was extremely disappointed in Liam’s mom, in the way she and his sister were so immediately dismissive of Carmen just because she was Hispanic. But her family, while not so snobby about it, made their own share of comments, and I have to be honest — it reminded me of a lot of people I’ve known. I think part of it is just cultural pride, which isn’t an altogether bad thing, but it plays out in discriminatory ways, and while I didn’t like it, I’ve seen it enough from both sides to know how common it is.
Of course, in the end, it all worked out, and it was certainly worth the angsty ride. Carmen brought out a softer side of Liam, and he helped her find direction and believe in herself. It was a hard road getting there, but they made it well worth it when they finally got to where they needed to be.