Joel returns to his Neighborhood Shindig food truck after nearly a year’s absence spent dealing with a chronic disease. He expects to find his on again/off again lover, Steve, holding down the fort and life to resume as usual. Joel’s first clue that things are not quite right is when a stranger opens his apartment door and informs him his belongings are stuffed in a closet and they now hold the lease to what was once his and Steve’s place. But Joel’s worst fears are realized when he opens the gutted food truck and sees empty space where there had once been a thriving business. With nowhere to go, little revenue to his name, and all of his belongings stuffed into his car, Joel realizes he is pretty much screwed and has no idea what he’s going to do about it.
After a night spent on the floor of his food truck and a good morning welcome by the police, Joel is thrilled when Isaiah Morrell, the son of the owner of Shindig food, rescues him. Later, son and father offer Joel a room and some much needed help to begin fresh. Joel isn’t just grateful, he’s also smitten, but Isaiah is only in town to help his father get back on his feet after his heart attack, so any hope of a relationship beyond a short-term fling is out of the question…or is it?
Melting for You begins a new series by A.M. Arthur that I am guessing will feature the various members of the food truck community introduced in this story. The whole idea of a dedicated space just for food trucks to hawk their menus was quite clever. I liked the idea that each truck represented a different type of food with none overlapping and so it was really plausible that they could all support each other—something Joel really needed considering he’d essentially been robbed by his former partner.
Golly my heart bled for poor Joel. A.M. Arthur does such an excellent job at crafting characters who get under your skin and tug at your emotions. Still recovering from a devastating illness, Joel comes back to an empty future and a broken relationship. I just wanted to wrap the guy up in a hug as I watched the hits keep coming at him. Here is where the community of foodies really came into play as they all rallied around him as he tried to start again—especially Isaiah. I do wish there had been more time devoted to Isaiah’s back story and his relationship with his dad. What we got barely skimmed the surface and I think had the author taken a bit more time to unpack their past, the reconciliation they had would have had a greater impact on the story.
However, while this novel is fairly short, it still went far enough to establish both Joel and Isaiah and their newfound relationship. I grant you this was definitely an insta-love trope, but still the story managed to show us how they worked through their growing emotional attachment to each other and gave just enough of a glimpse at the hidden emotions both men were developing toward the other.
Melting for You is a promising start to what I hope will be a sweet, low-angst series about a unique community of characters. This first book is a great, easy read—a nice way to start my summer reading.