All Fired Up by Kate Meader
Rating: 4 stars
Publisher: Forever (November 5, 2013)
Synopsis: Her sweetest mistake . . .
Cool as a Chicago winter, private events planner Cara DeLuca is a model of self-control . . . until she meets the one temptation she can’t resist: Shane Doyle. The sexy, Irish pastry chef is too hot, too sure, too young, and after a crazy night in Vegas—her new husband. While at first Cara wants nothing more than a way out of her sham marriage to Shane, she soon finds that beneath his farm boy demeanor lies a man who can match her drive, both in and out of the bedroom. How can the wrong guy feel so deliciously right?
. . . Tastes so, so good
Shane has carefully structured his career and life around one goal: connecting with the family that doesn’t know he exists. Marrying a woman with more issues than a magazine stand wasn’t part of the plan, but melting Cara’s icy exterior is so worth the detour. Now as the annulment date nears and long-buried secrets are revealed, Shane will have to fight for the one thing guaranteeing the perfect life he craves . . . the current Mrs. Shane Doyle.
Review: After reading Feel the Heat, I was curious to see what drove Cara to be how she was. She wasn’t unlikeable, but she was a bit hard to figure out, so reading her story intrigued me.
Cara is a perfectionist. Troubled by many issues, she struggles to make it day to day while still maintaining her ‘cool as a cucumber’ façade. She hides all her problems well. Until she meets Shane and his Irish charming ways unravel her darkest secrets.
Shane is no stranger to secrets. His childhood was not ideal and the secret he harbors affects many people. He hides behind his charming personality and his ‘devil may care’ grin, but when it comes to Cara, he can’t help but want to let all his secrets out.
Together, they embark on a friendship packed-full with sexual tension and share a secret that neither one of them wants to confront.
Once again, Kate Meader delivers an awesome story. Cara and Shane are two troubled characters that hide behind well-established walls and only let people see what they want them to see. In reality, they are both fighting their demons night and day and letting their past dictate how they go about their future.
I liked Cara in the previous book, but I came to admire the hell out of her in this one. All throughout the book the author made sure to make her growth as an individual a constant exploration of her inner feelings about herself and what was developing between her and Shane. She was strong and independent, but wanted so very much to belong, love and be loved. She hesitated with Shane, thinking herself unworthy of such a nice man when in reality she was the perfect match for him.
On the other hand, Shane went all out on his pursue of Cara. Instantly attracted to her, he used every trick on his book to make her his, until the moment he came to realize she meant more to him that the usual women he used to go after. She awakened feelings in him that he thought long-forgotten and made him wish for things that he thought he could never have. He accepted her faults and through that acceptance he realized he needed to let his past go in order to have a future with her. He was adorably charming, sexy as all get out and sweet as can be. I loved him!
Although All Fired Up is the second book in the Hot in the Kitchen series it can certainly be read as a stand alone, however I would suggest you pick up Feel the Heat. There you’ll get to meet Lila and Jack, Cara’s sister and brother-in-law, who appear in this story. Plus you’ll get to meet the other characters that make this ‘family’ a great one.
All in all, a sweet yet highly sensual and romantic read with intriguing characters, sizzling chemistry and a journey of self-acceptance in the hopes of a new beginning. I can’t wait for the next book in the series.
“We need to talk.”
She opened her mouth. Closed it immediately. Surely, she wasn’t going to protest a civil conversation about their situation? The situation.
“I Googled it.” She moved behind her desk, sat in one of those fancy ergonomic chairs and flipped open her laptop. It had a pink cover that matched her sweats and the post-it note on his door this morning, the one that had told him to move his damn bike out of her damn space before she took a damn baseball bat to it. Except it wasn’t that nice.
“We can get an annulment. Just fill out a form and it can be done and dusted in about three weeks.” She sounded pleased with herself, downright smug in fact. That frosted him a bit.
He stood and moved to her side of the desk, leaning against the edge. “So not a divorce, then?”
“We can get an annulment because we didn’t…well, it wouldn’t have mattered if we did.” She hesitated, and he could see the gears going round as she rethought her position.
“What if we did?” he asked, tamping down on the glee in his voice.
“What if we did what?”
“What if we did sleep together? What if we had sex?”
The way he said it could be construed as past sex or the promise of it. The promise of can’t-walk-for-a-week good times between a man and a woman. “That wouldn’t make a difference?”
“But we didn’t.” Her brow creased in puzzlement and horror descended to her mouth. “But we didn’t,” she repeated, less sure now.
He couldn’t keep it up but every inch of him—every hardening inch—wished it was true. “Nah, we didn’t.”
“Shane!” She socked him in the side, and broke into that laugh that he’d fallen in love with the minute she’d graced him with it in the third bar of the crawl. It had taken him that long to get it but it had been worth every bad joke, every cheesy pun, every flash of the dimple Aunt Jo said would be a woman’s downfall. The old girl had neglected to mention it would be his downfall as well.
The laughter faded, and she turned serious again. “It wouldn’t matter if we had… well, you know. People make these mistakes all the time, so they have procedures in place.”
“Procedures to clean up idiotic mistakes?”
There was that crease between her brows again. She didn’t like that she’d made a mistake and lost control of a situation. That was so not Cara.
“Right.” But her expression didn’t match the word’s surety. “I’ll take care of the papers, then?” she prompted with a couple of quick nods. The swallow in her throat was so pronounced it made the slender column of her neck expand. It made him feel like prodding her some more. See how far he could take it.
“What if I don’t sign?”
She shot up out of her seat, her lemon fall of hair swishing vehemently behind her head. He got a whiff of herbal shampoo and sunshine. “Why would you do that?”
“Just tell me what would happen, LT.”
The nickname slipped from his lips without thinking as if his brain had been waiting for her to get into a sexy hissy fit. That night he had abbreviated Lemon Tart for expediency’s sake and found that it suited her bossy, military-style hauteur. Lemon Tart, the Lieutenant, LT.
She wasn’t so haughty or self-possessed now. Her hands flailed, at complete odds with cool Cara. The more riled she got, the more his attraction to her burned.
“Well, if one party doesn’t sign, it’ll still happen. It just takes longer. Six to eight weeks.”
If one party doesn’t sign. So cold. So clinical. He nodded, thinking about how he wanted to phrase the next sentence. The silence drew heavily between them and he worked it for a few seconds because shit, he was starting to enjoy himself now.
“Paddy, you’re not seriously thinking of not signing those papers. I mean, what would be gained from that?”
“A marriage, Cara. The marriage you wanted.” He hauled a deep breath because he had a feeling he was going to need it. “After all, this was your brilliant idea.”
About the Author: Kate Meader writes contemporary romance that serves up delicious food, sexy heroes, and heroines with a dash of sass. Originally from Ireland, she now makes her home in Chicago, a city made for food, romance, and laughter—and where she met her own sexy hero. When not writing about men who cook and the women who drool over them, she works in an academic library. Visit her website at http://katemeader.com and follow her on Twitter @kittymeader.