Book Reviews

Heat (Salisbury Stories 1) by RJ Scott and Chris Quinton at Love Lane Books

Genre Gay / Contemporary / Romance / Mystery/Suspense/Thriller
Reviewed by Serena Yates on 16-June-2016

Book Blurb

Serving up passion, family, love and hate, with a side order of arson.

Lewis has lost nearly everything, and now it seems that Devon is here to take the last thing he has left - working in his beloved restaurant, Laurels. But when an arsonist threatens everything Lewis loves, he realizes sometimes everyone has their ghosts, and he discovers an unexpected ally who is prepared to risk everything for him.

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Set in the small cathedral city of Salisbury, Master Chef Lewis Mandineau no longer owns the Laurels, the restaurant that had been in his family for generations. Betrayed and robbed by an ex-lover, he's had to sell to Carnegie Enterprises, an American corporation. That isn't all Lewis has to contend with. Rachel, his beloved younger sister has been left severely hurt by the car crash that killed their parents, and taking care of her has to be his priority.

Enter Devon Trelawney III, sent to assess the viability of the restaurant and its staff. Devon knows all about family tradition. But he also knows sentiment has no place in business matters, and the Laurels' potential is swamped by the debts it has accrued. Devon is a hardheaded businessman, first and foremost, but Lewis and Rachel test his resolve in different ways. Soon Devon is forced to admit that what seems like an impossible love can sometimes become something very real.


Book Review

Salisbury, just northwest of Southampton, is smack-dab in the middle of the English countryside, the only city in Wiltshire, and has been around since Neolithic times (think Stonehenge). It is also the charming setting for ‘Heat’, a character-driven story about two men who start out pretty much despising each other, but both end up realizing there is much to admire, even love, in the man they had first thought unworthy of even common courtesy. There is a lot of initial conflict between Lewis Mandineau, a British master chef and heir to centuries-old restaurant Laurels, and Devon Trelawney III, an American businessman sent to assess the viability of the restaurant and its staff after his father’s company bought Laurels and all the debt attached to it. With this sort of a set-up, ‘Heat’ was bound to be exciting, and RJ Scott and Chris Quinton certainly managed to serve up a deliciously intense, action-packed, and suspenseful novel.

Lewis knows about loss. His parents died in a car accident six years ago that left his sister, Rachel with brain damage, and his ex defrauded Lewis’s restaurant for hundreds of thousands of pounds, with the result that Lewis had to sell his house to at least keep it running. But it wasn’t enough, so an American Hotel and restaurant chain bought them lock, stock, and barrel, and are now sending over one of their managers to evaluate the situation. Lewis has held it together so far, but Devon rubs him the wrong way from the second they set eyes on each other. Devon is rude, inconsiderate, and he scares Rachel to the point of tears. Lewis is a patient guy, but harming his sister is a no-go. I admired Lewis for the tenacity with which he holds on, the strength he shows in the face of continued adversity, and the sheer stubbornness that finally makes Devon realize there is more to the situation than he first suspected.

Devon is a hard-nosed, calculating, cold businessman when he arrives. He has tension headaches that border migraine-level, but he ignores them because he is too young to have health issues and he has a job to do. His decisions are based on facts and numbers; human emotions and considerations have no place in his world. Devon has some experience in the hospitality industry, so he decides all kinds of changes are in order barely five minutes after he has entered the restaurant – and is surprised when his orders are met with resistance. He is not used to people standing up to him, and he has no idea what to do – other than to push harder. Of course this doesn’t work and Devon is forced to reconsider. His slow “defrosting” and discovery of his own human side took a while, but that was awesome to watch. He ends up realizing there is more to this business than the spreadsheets he’s been staring at, and from that moment on he becomes a formidable ally for Lewis.

With everything else that is going on, and with an arsonist specializing in burning down restaurants on the prowl in the city, there is much more to this novel than the slow-burning hatred-that-turns-into-a-romance between Lewis and Devon. The wonderful secondary characters, especially Rachel, Gran-Em, the elderly neighbor who takes care of her, Lewis’s best friend and sous chef, Daniel, and Devon’s father, also deserve a mention. And the history behind the restaurant as well as the details about the building itself added great atmosphere to the goings-on. Oh, and the food descriptions made me salivate!

If you like enemies-to-lovers stories in a modern-day setting, if you want to see how two men who are on opposite sides of a restaurant-rescue operation begin to see eye-to-eye, and if you’re looking for a read full of passion, dedication, stubbornness, and suspense, then you will probably like this novel as much as I do. I, for one, can’t wait for the sequel to be released on July 1!





DISCLAIMER: Books reviewed on this site were usually provided at no cost by the publisher or author. This book has been provided by Love Lane Books for the purpose of a review.

Additional Information

Format ebook
Length Novel, 209 pages/44300 words
Heat Level
Publication Date 24-October-2014
Price $3.99 ebook
Buy Link