From USA Today Bestselling Author Ava Miles of the #1 National Bestseller NORA ROBERTS LAND comes a heartwarming and suspenseful novel of love, second chances, family, and mystery about a celebrity chef and a mysterious woman from his past.
Title: The Perfect Ingredient, book 7 of the Dare Valley series
Author: Ava Miles
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Women’s Fiction, New Adult
Story Setting: Dare Valley, New York City
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
The Dare Valley Series:
Book 1 Nora Roberts Land (reviewed on this blog)
Book 2 French Roast
Book 3 The Grand Opening
Book 4 The Holiday Serenade
Book 5 The Town Square
Book 6 The Park of Sunset Dreams (reviewed on blog)
Book 7 The Perfect Ingredient
Book 8 The Bridge to a Better Life ~ coming spring 2015
About the Story: Elizabeth Saunders is a woman of secrets, a rarity in small-town Dare Valley. Her life hasn’t turned out like she expected after a tragedy forced her to flee her old life and hide her identity. Now she’s unmasked, hoping to put the past behind her—until the only man who ever captured her heart reappears.
Terrance Waters may look like a sexy Alpha Navy Seal, but he’s actually a celebrity chef. His star is rising with a new primetime TV reality cooking show until his dream hits a snag. His bad-boy image needs to be cleaned up. He’s arrived in Dare Valley to show the network how squeaky clean he can be, working as the head chef at Dare Valley’s famous hotel.
When Elizabeth and Terrance meet, he wants to pick up where they left off, but Elizabeth resists. Terrance is not a man to take no for an answer. Soon the sparks are flying, hotter than ever this time. But the danger from Elizabeth’s past appears, testing their newfound love and Terrance’s dreams of becoming an even bigger star. Can their love triumph over all?
My Thoughts: This is the fourth book of Ava Miles’ I’ve read. Her books are full of all the qualities I consider a good read. I also enjoy her stories because it is so much more than a love story. She has never disappointed me with Dare Valley, its comfortable picturesque town of friendly and well-meaning people even with the going gets rough.
Her books provide many warm, fuzzy feelings when all is apparently going to end well. But then the inconceivable happens and my heart is jammed up against my throat, throwing me into despair along with the hero or heroine. Even though each of her books in the series is in Dare Valley, the characters’ situations and conflicts are uniquely their own.
These stories needn’t be read in any order, but when you pick up one of her books, you meet and learn to love two characters who play supporting roles in other books of the series. Each book I’ve read remains in my mind and my heart—they’re that well written. Ava Miles’s writing style probes my senses touching that part of my heart that wants a happy ending. Much of the time I’m reading through tears. Her stories deal with challenges that are sometimes overwhelming because of experiences in early life.
In Elizabeth’s struggle, she leans on her girlfriend, Jane. I really like the character that Ava Miles created in Elizabeth. She comes from a very rough beginning, her mother a stripper. She was able to pull herself away from such a hard beginning. With her intelligence and high IQ, she won scholarships to attend Harvard. There is where she meets her roommate, Jane. Jane has her story in another book of the series.
Elizabeth is also beautiful and loyal, but with a flaw that almost destroys her life as well as Torrance’s career and all he’s worked for. Her flaw is the fear which haunts her when men get too close to her or appear violent in any way. She had been stalked by a university student while at Harvard. She ran from everything she knew to escape him. He still haunts her dreams. Jane, for her own reasons, left with her.
In her new life, away from Harvard, she meets Terrance for the first time. Because of his violence she left him with nothing more than a note. That day she also lost a part of her heart.
When Terrance resurfaces in Dare Valley, she wanted to avoid him, but he needed answers as to why she left him. Love is never smooth. There are rocky places and misunderstandings and yes, even lies. Their emotional ties become stronger in this little town, but Elizabeth has been leading her life with so many secrets and lies she is afraid to open up to Terrance. Terrance wants total transparency between the two of them. This conflict finally comes to a head. Is Elizabeth strong enough to give all her secrets to Terrance?
I never realized how sexy a chef cook could be. Wow! Terrance had for years looked for the perfect ingredient. Although his cooking was unrivaled, he had never found it. This disconcerted him because every renowned chef has one and knows when he’s found it. Terrance cooked to tame his own demons, but was such a turn on for me. I swear I could smell the food he was preparing. His artistic approach to food preparation was fun to experience. He was a man from the school of hard knocks with a culinary certificate, smart with an inner need to cook and create in the kitchen. We get to see him grow even further in this lovely story. Terrance had a temper and used foul words more than most. Those two items were holding his career back. He was very endearing when he promised himself and followed through that for each cuss word used, he would pay a charity $100. Is Terrance strong enough to control his violent tendencies and foul language to win his perfect ingredient and continue climbing to the top in his career?
Ava Miles has promised us book 8 of this exciting and interesting series. It should be releasing sometime next spring. I highly recommend this series.
About the Author: USA Today Bestselling Author Ava Miles burst onto the contemporary romance scene after receiving Nora Roberts’ blessing for her use of Ms. Roberts’ name in her debut novel, the #1 National Bestseller Nora Roberts Land, which kicked off her small town series, Dare Valley, and brought praise from reviewers and readers alike. Ava’s books have reached the #1 spot at Barnes & Noble, ranked in Amazon’s Top 20, and been in the Top 10 at iBooks. A two-time Reward of Novel Excellence Nominee by InD’tale Magazine for Nora Roberts Land and French Toast, Ava has also released a connected series called Dare River, set outside the country music capital of Nashville. She’s fast becoming a favorite author in light contemporary romance (Tome Tender) and is known for funny, emotional stories about family and empowerment. Ava’s background is as diverse as her characters. She’s a former chef, worked as a long-time conflict expert rebuilding warzones, and now writes full-time from her own small town community.
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