Miller Sykes loves everything about being a chef. It’s who he is, he’s great at it, and he has made a name for himself in the industry. Yet, it’s all coming apart as Miller has been diagnosed with cancer and the treatment, if it even works, could cost him the ability to taste. Miller does not want to live that way and instead of seeking treatment, he goes on a short tour to enjoy his favorite meals one last time. However, Miller needs someone to finance the trip and no one can know that he’s sick.
Dr. Clancy Rhodes took the fast track to becoming a doctor. At 30, he’s positioned to join his father’s plastic surgery practice, but Clancy regrets stepping aside from oncology as that is where he wants to make a difference. When Clancy finds himself with the opportunity to travel with a top chef on the culinary adventure of lifetime, Clancy can’t wait. And, when he sees Miller, well, traveling with a handsome companion looks good too.
The men are definitely attracted to each other as they tour the country indulging in the most decadent of meals, but Miller can’t hope for anymore as he’s running out of time. When Miller’s health flares up, the doctor in Clancy knows what’s wrong, and even though the battle will not be easy, he’s desperate to change Miller’s mind on treatment so they can walk into the future together.
This book has a heavier tone as it deals with Miller being given a grave diagnosis and thinking that not seeking treatment is what is best for him. He’s a chef, he needs his taste buds, and a life without that doesn’t seem like a life worth living to him. His thoughts about being a chef are illustrated with:
He didn’t go a day, a meal, a snack without analyzing flavors, without losing himself in thought over it, without thinking of new ways to work with it. It wasn’t just what he did for a living; it was who he was.
The men are put together through a series of circumstances and Miller tries to keep his condition secret. But medical issues don’t always stay hidden and Clancy is an intuitive doctor.
If you like reading about restaurants throughout the USA, the travels the men take will entice you as they hit a range of known restaurants. While there are great food descriptions, there is a balance to the story and no one area overwhelms the rest. Also, Miller’s condition is spoken of more indirectly and the story is more focused on convincing him to have treatment and there is not a lot of on page time showing Miller being sick.
The romance and relationship storyline is slow to develop. Miller has been told he will not survive long without treatment and although he knows Clancy is someone special, he can’t allow it to become more. The entire story takes place in about ten days, with the exception of an epilogue set a few years in the future that pulls more warmth into the story.
There are a few secondary characters present, most notably Miller’s ex-wife who is a close friend. All the pieces of their story didn’t fit as well into this book for me and I would have preferred a better balance of time devoted to Miller and Clancy as a couple.
I liked the idea of this book given Miller’s culinary background and the travel described. The overall tone is subdued given the subject and it’s a quieter story of finding your place, committing to what you want, and finding more than one thing to live for.