Read with: Amazon Kindle
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: New York Blades, Book 7
Publisher: Berkley Sensation
Hero: Anthony Dante
Heroine: Vivi Robitaille
Date of Publication: January 2, 2008
Started On: August 30, 2010
Finished On: August 31, 2010
I have been collecting up and reading books of the theme where the hero has been previously married, but the wife is dead, and circumstances force the hero to get married again, against his better judgment. Sometimes the hero has been betrayed by his wife and has vowed never to love or feel again, other times the hero has adored his previous wife and has set her on a pedestal that is difficult to reach for anyone else. Needless to say, such instances create great stories and if the author is particularly talented you get wonderful stories like Sunset Embrace by Sandra Brown, Night in Eden by Candice Proctor etc. This book was recommended on a thread on Amazon and since I was able get an e-version of the book, I decided to give this a go since it sounded like a fun read regardless of the fact that I had never tried out any books by Deirdre Martin before.
This is the 7th book in the New York Blades series and though the New York Blades is supposedly a hockey team, there is very little hockey involved in the book. Anthony Dante is the handsome head chef and half-owner of the Dante’s restaurant that has been in the Dante family for generations. A place that had started out as a pizza parlor, Dante’s was now an upscale restaurant that served homey Italian cuisine to a wide range of clientele. Anthony was still grieving for the untimely death of his Angie who had been a cop killed during duty. A year on, Anthony still visits his wife’s grave every Sunday morning and talks to her about everything that had happened during the past week. Still stubbornly holding onto his wedding ring, Anthony is not ready to move on to greener pastures and start living again. The only thing that stirs his passion is his restaurant and the magic that he can create inside his spotless kitchen.
When stunning French chef Vivi Robitaille moves across Dante’s and starts sprucing up the place to open up a new Bistro, Anthony with the typical egoistic nature of most chefs knows that none can beat Dante’s. Vivi has no intention of competing with Dante’s or any place else. Leaving France and coming to America was supposed to be Vivi and her half sister Natalie’s chance of starting over. Vivi was tired of the fact that in France cooking was considered to be a profession for the men and Vivi wants success on her own terms and the move to America was off to a good start if she may say so. Vivi and Natalie has a strange relationship as Vivi was the daughter of the mistress of Natalie’s father. Their father had left the major share of his wealth to his legitimate daughter and Vivi had to depend on Natalie for the funds required for opening up the bistro.
When Vivi meets the handsome and brusque Anthony, Vivi knows right on that the happy neighborly feel that she had been striving for would totally be lost on the genius who resents the fact that Vivi was changing things around the neighborhood. Though Anthony’s brother and half owner of Dante’s Micheal Dante who had just retired from his career at New York Blades and was struggling to adjust to being a stay at home dad adores Vivi on sight, Anthony bristles at the mere thought that Vivi has the audacity to challenge him in his kitchen. It’s not long before the sparks between Vivi and Anthony fly, and it is with amusement that Micheal watches from the sidelines and encourages his brother to make a go for it.
Ultimately, Vivi and Anthony hit the sheets and are pretty confident of making their relationship work when remnants of the fear that resides in Anthony as a result of his wife’s death rear its ugly head. When Vivi refuses to be understanding about what happened even when Anthony professes that he loves her and that he has moved on from his dead wife, Vivi gives him the stupid reason of it not being the right time for her to start a relationship with problems brewing up between Natalie and herself regarding the finances required for the bistro. I felt like giving Vivi a swift kick for hurting Anthony like that! Still feel like it!!
In the end, Vivi and Natalie manage to work out their differences, find a solution for the financial havoc that Natalie created and successfully open up the bistro. Towards the end, it is Natalie who convinces Vivi to go for the man she loves and is miserable without, when Natalie was dead set against Vivi’s relationship with Anthony in the beginning. I found it a bit unbelievable when Natalie who has a pretty strong personality and fights for everything she wants and believes in just gave up on Anthony and then needed a nudge from her sister to finally find the courage to embrace true love and acknowledge the fact that it wasn’t Anthony who hadn’t been ready to let go of Angie but herself.
Ms. Martin has created a wonderful set of characters with the Dante family and it was wonderful and engaging to read their interactions. It was especially endearing to read about how Anthony had to step in between his brother Micheal and his son little Anthony who actually wanted to cook rather than play hockey as his father wanted him to. Though I did not like how Vivi acted out, this book was still a pretty good read.