- Title: French Roast – Dare Valley series, #2
- Author: Ava Miles
- Genre: Contemporary Romance
- Published: August 2013 – CreateSpace
- Source: Joan Schulhafer Publishing & Media Consulting
Synopsis: Small-town biz wiz Jill Hale has been in love with her childhood best friend Brian McConnell for as long as she can remember. A falling out led to years of estrangement, but when Brian returns to Dare Valley after trying to make it big as a chef in New York City, Jill’s determined to make amends. She’s convinced that starting a restaurant together will be the perfect win-win situation, allowing her and Brian to work together and play together.
After a series of missteps sliced and diced Brian’s career in the Big Apple, he came home to regroup and find himself. He’s convinced that reestablishing his connection with Jill, the girl who got away, will put his life back on track. And when she approaches him with her plan for going into business together, he’s certain it’s the one way he can have it all—his dream job and his dream girl.
Jill and Brian are falling for each other all over again when Brian’s ex sashays into town, intent on sabotaging their reunion. Add in a mysterious investor who’s determined to get Jill on board with his project, and the bond between the couple is tested to the limit. Will their second chance at love implode, or will they find their own recipe for a happy ending? (publisher)
My take: French Roast is book #2 in the Dare Valley series. I haven’t read Nora Roberts Land (the first book) yet but never felt lost because Ava Miles did a good job of catching the reader up on key events and relationships from that book.
In French Roast BFFs Jill and Brian have a second chance at love and a possibility of working together. Brian is a talented chef who wants to open a restaurant in Dare Valley and Jill has the business sense to make it a success. But if Brian’s ex, a beautiful and sophisticated French chef, has anything to say about it that won’t happen. Jill has another work possibility as well. A mysterious businessman who wants to open a controversial business in the small Colorado town thinks Jill is the only person who can convince the town council to allow it. But why is he so secretive?
Brian and Jill are extremely busy but are determined to make their personal relationship work. The trouble is they seem to sabotage themselves at every turn. This frustrated me so much! They’d say one thing and then behave in a questionable way. I really didn’t know how these two would end up. They had good physical chemistry but, honestly, there were a few times I thought they needed couples therapy if their relationship was going to move forward.
I enjoyed Miles’ writing. Her engaging story and characters kept me turning the pages. It’s a contemporary romance so readers should expect some love scenes which were, at times, too detailed for my reading tastes. I liked many of the secondary characters who helped move the plot and eventually set up the third book – and I look forward to reading it!
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Having worked as an apprentice chef in a restaurant popular with celebrities, politicos, and other journalistic luminaries, and as a private chef while in graduate school, Ava had no lack of inspiration as she dealt with the foodie aspects tied to FRENCH ROAST and the restaurant central to her plot.
Born and raised in the Midwest, where her family’s newspaper is located, Ava went on to earn an undergraduate degree in writing and advanced degrees in political science and conflict management. She is a member of the Romance Writers of America and Washington Romance Writers. She is also part of an unofficial group that regularly convenes a writing retreat at Nora Roberts’ restored Inn Boonsboro in western Maryland. Having left behind the “day job,” which took her, literally, all over the world, she now writes full-time in the peace and quiet of her northern Virginia porch-swinging-friendly community. (from the author’s website)