Author: Kate Meader
Genre: Contemporary Romance
My Copy: ARC via NetGalley
Add to: Goodreads
Synopsis: Although her baby boy keeps her plate full, Jules Kilroy is ready to take her love life off the back burner. Despite a bevy of eligible bachelors, it’s her best friend, Taddeo DeLuca, who's fueling her hormones with generous servings of his mouth-watering Italian sexiness. But Jules learned her lesson once before when she went in for a kiss, only to have Tad reject her. She’s vowed never to blur the lines again . . .
After a lifetime of excuses and false starts, Tad has finally opened a wine bar, a deal made even sweeter when Jules joins his staff. Lovers come and go, and he’s had his share, but friendships like theirs last forever. Still, ever since he tasted her luscious lips, he can’t stop fantasizing about what could be. Then she signs up for an online dating site—and the thought of his Jules with another man makes Tad’s blood boil. Even if he gets burned, Tad can’t stop himself from turning up the heat this time.
Kate Meader quickly became a new favorite author after reading the second book in her Hot in the Kitchen series, All Fired Up. When the opportunity came to review the third in the series, Hot and Bothered, I couldn’t pass up the chance. I wanted to see Jules get her happily ever after and oh boy did Meader deliver!
We have good character development. Jules Kilroy is a single mother who is struggling with a secret: she’s dyslexic. She’s not very confident, but she has a heart of gold. Jules wants to live her own life and one way to do it, is on her own terms. So she moves out of her brother’s house and she’s ready to start dating. Then we have Tad DeLuca, who’s one of the most eligible bachelors in Chicago with ah well a bit of reputation. He considers Jules a good friend and is horrified to find out she’s interested in going on dates. I adored Tad from the beginning and couldn’t wait to see what his dark secret was and when it’s revealed-it’s a relatable event and one you’ll just cry over. We have a few secondary characters that play a role including Lilli and Jack and the whole DeLuca clan.
Can I take a moment to talk about the attraction between these two? Wow! I’m normally a bit iffy about friends turned to lovers because I always feel as if it’s a convenience. Sort of “well there’s no one around, so why not us?” Meader didn’t make feel that way and I could see Jules and Tad together and I kept wondering why these two didn’t give it a go from the beginning. Their friendship was genuine and the transition from friends to lovers felt natural.
What I adored about Meader’s Hot and Bothered was the humor! It has a memorable opening scene that will leave you wincing and laughing at the same time. The one thing to take away from that scene is how much it sets up the story-I loved seeing Tad be there for Jules when she had no one other than her brother to turn to. Hot and Bothered really is about relationships and the people around us. It’s easy to relate to the characters and think about the issues at hand. Not only do have a heroine who has been abandoned by two men she loved, but we also have a hero who thinks he doesn’t deserve love because of what he’s done. In the end, I just really liked the character growth. Jules becomes the person I knew she was and Tad finally forgave himself.
If you’re a fan of contemporary romance, I highly recommend Kate Meader! And if you’re wondering, Hot and Bothered is a good standalone and it’s not necessary to have read the first two books to enjoy. While Meader does provide us with updates regarding Lilli and Jack and Cara and Shane, it’s not what I would consider spoilers. I’ll just warn you-all the talk about food and drink will make your mouth water!