Title: Home Skillet (Culinary Kings #1)
Author: Cate Ashwood, Sandra Damien
Publisher: Kydala Publishing, Inc.
Publication Date: May 31, 2018
Genre: MM Romance, Contemporary
Length: 196 Pages
Rating: 3 – 3.5 Stars
Sometimes the only way to move forward… is to go back.
I don’t know what’s more shocking—the sudden end to my marriage, or the fact that I’d married a woman at all. But now I’m broke and homeless, kicked out of my Upper West Side apartment while my ex-wife walks away with everything we’ve ever worked for.
So what’s an executive chef stripped of his dignity gonna do?
Go back to Jersey with his tail between his legs, that’s what.
I can’t say that spending a decade pining after my best friend was the best use of my time. While I’d pretty much become an expert at the whole unrequited love thing, I’d resigned myself to the fact that Jimmy and I were never gonna happen. But when Jimmy turned up on my doorstep in his hour of need, I jumped at the chance to offer him my bed—er, couch. I mean, what are friends for, right?
Now that he’s released from the shackles of matrimony, I can’t wait to show him exactly what he’s been missing out on all these years.
What I didn’t anticipate was him showing me that maybe I’d been missing out too.
♦ Personal Thought ♦
I kept reminding myself throughout reading that the majority of the book was set in late 90s. So as current as the situation might feel, on queer issue people were not as open and tolerable as now (not that there aren’t bigot IRL nowadays still, but that’s another topic!). So in a way, Jamie’s reluctant to come out – while grated on my nerves – were understandable. But boy did I feel for Ben; after all those years, after the heartbreak, to still carry a torch for your best friend and kept mum about it…
The story narrated alternately from Ben and Jamie’s POV clued in on the turmoil both men went through. As understanding as I was trying over Jamie’s predicament, his obliviousness really annoyed me. As a friend – a “best” friend even – he failed spectacularly. Not that Ben didn’t have his own shortcomings, such as his lack of self confidence in his own ability, but as friend and colleague he’s a decent guy. Heck, way beyond!
I’m still not sure whether this series would follow Ben and Jamie’s journey each step of the way or taking on different pair of characters on each installment. However, as the first entry in a new series, “Home Skillet” left many potential to take on. It’s essentially a new beginning for childhood friend Ben and Jamie; revealing the changing in their relationship and the men’s character’s development. It was a bit raunchy to my liking and I was torn between dislike and respect for Jamie’s ex (and supposedly his other best friend) but then again, in hindsight, the story wouldn’t have happened without her complicity from the start.
So in a nutshell, this book was bit exhausting for me to read – having to witness (and endure) grief after grief the the characters’ did; but it’s also a sweet and rewarding second chance between two former best mates. Rather a nice introduction to Sandra Damien’s writing though “Home Skillet” being a collaboration with Cate Ashwood and me liking the later’s style might go a long way for this book to work for me. Bring on the next installment!!
Copy of this book is kindly given by the author in exchange for an honest review.
Purchase link: Amazon