Today I am so pleased to welcome Allison Temple to Joyfully Jay. Allison has come to talk to us about her latest release, Work-Love Balance. Please join me in giving her a big welcome!

5 Perfect First Date Restaurants in Toronto

“I want to go on a date.” The words blunder past my lips like a puppy wearing snow booties for the first time.

Nash stills. “A date.”

The part of me that felt trapped under a microscope while my father sat on the couch for the last two hours is still in self-preservation mode, and it says I should retract that last statement. I’m setting myself up for heartbreak.

And yet . . .

“Yes. A date.”

His hands go to his hips, and he tips his chin up like he’s sniffing the air. “Dinner? A movie?”

“You can take me bowling or to the drive-in. Or we can go to Hanlan’s on a weekend when you don’t have the kids.”

He raises a fine eyebrow. “You want me to take you on a date to the nude beach?”

Do I? “I mean. It’s not like I don’t already know what you look like naked. It would almost be a good way to ease into it, if you think about it.” Oh God, what am I saying? “Sort of halfway between where we’re most comfortable now, which is naked and here, and where I want to be with you.”

Nash runs his tongue along the edges of his teeth while his eyebrows do this adorable and confused bunching thing. “Which is . . . clothed and in public?”

Nash and Brady . . . well let’s just say they’re not good at feelings. Either feeling them or talking about them. And yet somehow, they manage to go on a first date.

Work-Love Balance is set in my hometown of Toronto (the second T is silent, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise). When I had to pick a location for Nash and Bardy’s first date, I knew exactly where to send them. You’ll have to read the book to find out which of these mouth-watering options was the winner, but if you’re ever in Toronto, I promise you they’re all worth the trip.

Here are 5 great places to meet someone for a first date in Toronto.

850 Degrees – Toronto has lots of great pizza places, but this one is in my hood. It’s our go-to when we need to feed visiting family, and a great casual spot to get to know someone new . . . or take your pizza to go and cuddle at home. Not sure what to try? Our favourites are the David Bolland (named after a hockey player) and the Long Branch (named after our neighbourhood)

Madrina – Spanish tapas in the city’s Distillery District. Tapas is great first date food, because it all comes on tiny plates for you to share. A fun way to keep conversation going so you don’t have to talk about the next snowstorm. Also, if you’re there in the summer, sit on the patio with a sangria the size of your head and do some people watching.

Mug Shot – Another one of my haunts. In fact, big chunks of Work-Love Balance was written there. This is basically a neighbourhood pub, but the food is good, the drinks are great, and you can chat with your new somebody, or take in the celebrity mug shots that line the walls! I’ve been witness to some truly cringeworthy first dates at Mug Shot, but not everyone can have the same bad luck, right?

Dim Sum King – I love places where you have to eat socially, and dim sum is a great way to do that. From choosing things off the carts as they roll by, to deciding whether chicken feet make the right first impression, dim sum is a great way to get to know each other. Curry squid, anyone? They’re tiny and delicious.

Favorites – I had a chance to go here last year with fellow Toronto author Hudson Lin. You can smell the grill smoke as you walk in, and the restaurant is tucked in the back, giving you lots of room to chat. Favorites is a Thai restaurant that goes beyond the standard fresh rolls and Pad Thai. Spicy, acidic, and super fresh. So good!


The customer always comes first, but IT consultant Brady Jansen loves to hate Nash O’Hara. Except the fine line between hate and attraction means sometimes Brady can’t help it when he crosses the boundary between professional and personal.

Recently divorced, workaholic Nash knows he’s hard to please. When the smart-mouthed IT consultant he depends on to keep his office running offers a no-commitment hookup, it seems like exactly what he and Brady both need to get through a busy summer at work. No one has to know about their arrangement.

But the more time they spend together, the more secrets they have to keep from the people around them—and from each other. The lies are piling up, until it’s hard to tell who’s fooling whom. If Brady and Nash want to find the balance between work and love, a little honesty will go a long way.

Work-Love Balance is a 70k contemporary MM office romance. It’s hot enough you’ll want to make sure the air conditioning is on in your cubicle, and heartfelt enough you’ll want to smack both characters before the end. HEA guaranteed.


Allison Temple has been a writer since the second grade, when she wrote a short story about a girl and her horse. Her grandmother typed it out for her and said she’s never seen so many quotation marks from a seven-year-old before. Allison took that as a challenge and has gone on to try to break her previous record in all her subsequent works.

Allison lives in Toronto with her very patient husband and the world’s neediest cat. She splits her free time between writing, community theater stage management, and traveling anywhere that has good wine. Tragically, this leaves no time to clean her house.

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