Lia Mantovani has poured every ounce of her heart into her restaurant, and it seems Chicago is giving her the success she’s always dreamed of. But while spending her life in the kitchen may make her happy, it doesn’t give her much opportunity for dating. Not that she’s all that interested in relationships since the last one nearly made her forget who she is. Determined never to become entirely dependent on a man again, she’s caught off guard by the instant chemistry she feels with the son of one of her mother’s bridge club friends. But surely she can have a little fun without derailing her career, right?
Adam Kelly isn’t expecting his mother to play matchmaker, but he’s not all that surprised when she does. He just doesn’t expect to be so immediately intrigued by the clearly talented woman at the stove in his mother’s kitchen. But he’s even more surprised when he discovers that his next big business deal depends on evicting the lovely chef and her restaurant from his building. He knows better than to mix business with pleasure, but even with the glaring conflict of interest, he just can’t help himself.
While the characters are entirely likeable, it felt like some of their development was sacrificed in exchange for the chemistry and bedroom scenes. This would have been a huge issue if there had been any heavy angst or a situation where one acted abominably, but since aside from the requisite conflict, things were kept fairly light, it didn’t ruin the story. Still, two strong and fiery characters with such an intense attraction could have been so much more if we’d been given more insight into them as individuals half as much as we saw them in the bedroom.
The Sweetest Seduction is more about the seduction than the sweet, with enough sex to toe the erotica line, but the story itself is light enough that it remains a fun and surprisingly quick read. Lia, an Italian American living in Chicago is refreshingly lacks the cliched character traits one might expect, though her heritage shines through in her love of cooking and kitchen. Likewise, Adam as the incredibly successful and handsome business man could easily have been a self-involved jerk, but aside from the initial eviction revelation, he’s flirty and genuinely good, wonderfully breaking what seems to have become the standard for rich leading men.
Their love story, despite its quick development, is easily believable, I’m sure in part because they both seem so open to the possibility and willing to take the chance. Add to that the focus on their relationship, without the usual overdone and often unnecessary drama so many other authors employ, and you’ve got yourself an extremely enjoyable read that will leave you smiling and reaching for the next Kelly brother’s story.