Happy National Chocolate Custard Day! If you didn’t know that was a holiday, I bet you’re sure glad you do now, aren’t you? But indulging in chocolate custard is only half a celebration. If you truly wanna be in the spirit, you’ve really gotta immerse yourself in sweet, indulgent dining…and here are five books that are more than happy to help.
North to You by Tif Marcelo
Foodie romances are already an insta-gimme for me, but introduce a food truck? You’ve got my undivided attention. The first book of Marcelo’s Journey to the Heart series is a superswoony second-chance romance with a competitive edge, starring food truck owner (and guardian to her teen sister) Camille and her former high school crush, Drew, whose father has never quite forgiven him for going the army route instead of sticking with the Filipino family restaurant. Drew’s home to make things right before he deploys, but his father’s feud with the food truck owner parking too close to his restaurant for comfort is getting in the way, and never more so than when Drew realizes Camille and his father have become mortal enemies without either of them realizing who’s on the other end of their ire. To tell her or not to tell her? To side with the love he never saw coming or the love he came home to repair? To eat Italian food or Filipino food? So many questions, so many answers…
Taste the Heat by Rachel Harris
When you combine a chef, a fire captain, and the city of New Orleans, you know sparks are gonna be flying every which way, and this fun, fast, sweet-as-chess-pie read is full of ’em. It brings Colby Robicheaux back to New Orleans to help save her family’s Cajun restaurant, and back to Jason Landry, her brother’s best friend, who’s still grieving the loss of his wife. Neither Colby nor Jason is looking for love, but when they see each other all grown up, they can’t resist hooking up. It was never supposed to be more, but there isn’t only heat in their jobs, lives, and chemistry; there’s warmth, too.
Seared by Suleikha Snyder
Okay, “foodie” might be a stretch for this BDSM ex-stepsibling romance, given that the hero being a celebrity chef and the heroine being the daughter of one is about 90% of the food content, but it’s so freaking hot, you’ll forget to eat by the end of the first chapter anyway. Naya and Lachlan are hot hot hot when they reunite on the occasion of his contemptuous father’s funeral, ten years after they fell for each other when she was a teen and he was refusing to give in. But there’s nothing to keep them apart now that they’re both adults who know exactly what they want…until there is. Lachlan’s determined to protect Naya from the blackmail his father holds over their heads, even from beyond the grave.
Luck on the Line by Zoraida Córdova
A bad boy chef and his boss’s daughter should go together like oil and water, and that’s definitely how it started for James and Lucky in this sexy, steamy series opener, but the more time they spend together as Lucky helps her mother navigate the opening of the new restaurant at which James will be the executive chef, the more they realize their vibes are a little more peanut butter-and-jelly. They’re both stubborn, hotheaded, and determined to get their way, but luckily, that translates to something way better in the bedroom than it does in the kitchen. And yeah, they might just be able to nail this restaurant thing too.
Definitely, Maybe, Yours and Certainly, Possibly, You by Lissa Reed
I had to give a shout to not one but two books in this series, the first of which is m/m and the second of which is f/f, both wrapped around the cleverly titled Sacre Coeur bakery at which Craig’s a baker and Sarita is a decorator. Craig’s an adorable softie wrapped up in a sexy package and just trying to enjoy a drink when he meets the sullen, cynical, heartbroken Alex and wins him over with baked goods. Sure, it’s just a bit of fun—Alex is definitely not looking for coronary destruction 2.0—but they’re both down with that. Certainly no one will be falling in love here…right?
And speaking of a bit of fun, book 2 opens as Sarita and Maritza have just had a whole lot of it, which is a welcome distraction from Sarita’s stressful life. On top of being a decorator at Sacre Coeur, she’s also a grad student who doesn’t know what she’s doing next, and practically a pro at dealing with her obnoxious sister’s drama. She could use a little love in her life, but the skeletons in dancer Maritza’s closet may stop it before it starts.
Word of warning for both books? Keep pastries handy as you read. Licking wood pulp or your e-reader screen won’t be nearly as satisfying. Do I know this from experience? I’ll never tell.