Rating: 5 stars
Buy Links: Amazon | All Romance
The more work I read by the writing team of Ari McKay, the more I like! Ginger and Gentleman certainly places this team directly on my auto-buy list. The feisty characters, the story line that is accentuated by hot sex and not the other way around, and the smart and clever dialogue really made this novel a complete joy to read and review.
Ian Pierce spent most of his life in his brother’s shadow. After the death of his mother, his father focused solely on making Ian’s brother Stephen a master culinary chef. While Ian also became a chef, it was geared more toward local cuisine and down home cooking. Many times, Ian turned to his best friend Matt for support. Little did Ian and Matt realize that both of them wanted much more than just friendship from each other.
When Ian’s brother hits it big and begins a television cooking show, he tries to reach out to Ian and asks Ian to do a guest spot. But old hurts run deep and old feuds remain intact and even though Ian’s restaurant is struggling due to a thieving former manager, Ian is reluctant to allow his brother, Stephen, access to his diner. Matt stands hopelessly by and watches Ian as he falls further and further into debt and realizes that the TV show may be the only way to save Ian’s career and restaurant. So, when Matt figures out a way to help his best friend financially without him knowing, he leaps at the idea. Now he must not only hide the fact that he is in love with Ian, but also that he has put up his own money to save the diner as well.
What made this novella work was the incredible chemistry between Ian and Matt. Ian is strong, a bit bitchy, and very much used to having things done his way. Matt, while more compliant, is by no means a pushover, but he values his friendship with Ian far too much to take the risk of telling Ian he is in love with him. So we watch these two dance around each other for a good portion of this novel and the dance is exciting, intelligently written, and pretty hot!
This story never slowed its momentum. It hooked me right from the start and author Ari McKay kept me invested in the lives of these men till the very end. I hated Stephen—even after realizing that he might not be such a bad guy after all. I rooted for Ian and his diner—wanted them to succeed and thrive. And, of course, I watched with baited breath as Matt moved small steps closer to finally telling Ian that he was in love with him.
Ginger and Gentleman was a love story wrapped up inside a doomed career that teetered on the edge of total destruction. It was compelling, fast paced, and had such sweet moments that I was sad to see it end. I highly recommend this novella by Ari McKay!