Rating: 4.5 stars
Buy Links: Amazon | All Romance
Renowned food critic Cameron Clay is on the hunt for the mysterious ice cream man he met at a fundraiser. After a wonderful private tasting and steamy romp in the back of an ice cream van, Cam made a promise to the ice cream vendor to call him. But somewhere between meeting up with his ex-boyfriend, a cab ride, and breaking up with said ex-boyfriend…again, Cam lost the vendor’s card and all he remembers is the name “Jay” and the neon green color of the ice cream van.
Jay found Cameron to be sincere in his promise to call, but after a couple days with no word, he begins to lose hope. When the call does come, it’s not what Jay expects. A strange call from Cam’s supposed assistant, Levi, to set up an interview and the actual interview in which Cameron doesn’t show up but the assistant does, leaves Jay disheartened. But worst of all is the implication from Levi that Cameron only uses people for sex when he sees fit. Mildly hurt, Jay gives up on his fantasy of Cameron Clay. He sets out even more determined to make a name for himself without the food critic’s help.
Searching the city of San Francisco for the mysterious Jay that goes by the name of Jay is akin to finding a needle in a haystack, especially when it seems that Jay has cut himself off from the rest of the ice cream world. After days of searching on foot and by phone, Cameron comes up with an idea and easily talks his boss into backing it. An artisan ice cream contest. There’s no guarantee that Jay will enter, but Cam can’t think of another way to find the mysterious ice cream man.
After all the hurt and confusion he’s suffered, Jay listens as his assistants try to talk him into entering the contest, but isn’t sure he wants to knowingly put himself in a position to be hurt and possibly humiliated again.
Brand New Flavor is the first installment in E.M. Lynley’s new Delectable series, and it truly is delectable. It’s a cute story of instant attraction between Cameron and Jay and the many obstacles that stand in their way, as well as a sweet beginning of their tempting relationship.
First of all, I have the biggest craving for ice cream now and not one artisan shop within fifty miles of me at the moment. Lynley takes the description of ice cream seriously in this story. The tangible qualities of these frozen creations make me want to find an actual shop with this actual flavor…like now.
The basis of this story is simple. Boy meets boy, boy likes boy, boy loses boy’s contact information, boy searches city for boy, then boy finally holds a competition to find boy again. It’s all rather sweet, and probably would have been a good story without all of the obstacles standing in their way, but those obstacles made the story that much more maddening and entertaining.
Cameron and Jay are both likable in different ways. Cameron, the food critic, is not only obsessed with the quality of Jay’s icy creations, but he’s also infatuated with the creator of the frosty goodness. In the beginning, Jay has no idea who Cam is, he’s simply attracted to the man who loves his ice cream. Jay has been betrayed in the past and bears a few oddities because of it – a secret formula to his creations, a super-secret kitchen where he makes said creations, business cards with no phone number, no contact number for interested buyers – it’s all a little strange, but there is a rhyme and reason behind it. Whereas Cameron is more self-assured and confident, Jay is a little more vulnerable and less trusting. But they make for a solid match once they finally come together.
The cast of secondary characters ranges from Cameron’s jealous, obsessive ex-boyfriend, Eric (aka Levi), to Jay’s assistants, Maya and Kimmy, to Cam’s boss, Elaine, even to one of Cameron’s vengeful co-workers, Dorthea. They are all well-developed and either very likable or characters you love to hate depending on their position in the main character’s lives.
My biggest complaint with this story lies with Eric. He is the main antagonist in this story, and is seemingly obsessed with Cam, but after he makes his play to ruin Cameron and Jay’s chance at a relationship, he’s not seen again in the story. His goal was to win Cameron back, but he never showed back up in Cameron’s life to try and do anything about it. So, the lack of confrontation between Eric and Cameron and Jay disappointed me. Otherwise, it was an adorable story.
Brand New Flavor is part of a series I look forward to reading more of in the future. It’s an entertaining story of instant attraction and the lengths these two will go to in order have another chance. I truly enjoyed this story and recommend it to those who like instant attraction, sweet beginnings, and jealous exes that cause unneeded conflict.
Cover: A very beautiful cover by the talented L.C. Chase that has me not only drooling over the lovely characters, but also the delicious ice cream.