Review: Turn up the Heat (Second Chances #1) by Serena Bell

July 17, 2015 Review 2

Review: Turn up the Heat  (Second Chances #1) by Serena Bell

Aspiring chef Lily McKee noticed Kincaid Graves the first time he walked into the dingy diner where she waits tables. With his ice-blue eyes and primal tattoos, his presence puts Lily on edge—and reminds her of all the unfulfilled longings she isn’t pursuing while she’s stuck in this dead-end job. Without a doubt, the man is dangerous to her long-term plans of leaving town and hiring on at a real kitchen—and yet, she hungers for him, if even for just a taste.

Kincaid didn’t come back to his coastal Oregon hometown looking for a good time or a good meal. The ex-con has a score to settle, old wrongs to set right. But Lily, equal parts innocence and insight, brings out an impulsive side of him he thought he’d left behind in the past. And it only takes one intense moment of weakness between them to make him consider the possibility of an entirely new future—and the promise of passion beyond either of their wildest dreams.

Title: Turn up the Heat
Author: Serena Bell
Other books by this author that we've reviewed: Getting Inside
Series: Second Chances #1
Other books in this series that we've reviewed: Say Something
Published by LoveSwept
Source: Publisher
Published: July 14th 2015
Genres: BDSM, Erotic Contemporary Romance, Erotic Romance, Romance
Pages: 217 pages
See the title at Goodreads
Purchase your copy: Amazon
Visit the Author's Website

Stars: three-stars
Flames: four-flames
Serena Bell

After getting out of prison, Kincaid has to go to Oregon and situate his grandma’s estate. He also needs to deal with the issue that landed him in prison to begin with. He is struggling adjusting to his freedom, but it remains clear he is out for revenge. What he doesn’t expect is meeting Lily.

Lily is an aspiring chef living with her sister after a bad breakup with her ex. He didn’t like her tastes in the bedroom and pulled her job and apartment from her because of it. She is waiting tables at a diner to get back on her feet. She has hopes of returning to Chicago and getting back to work as a chef for a good restaurant. One day while working, Caid stops in the diner. Their chemistry is off the charts! Neither are looking for a relationship, but just a little scratching the itch.

I enjoyed this book. I liked both characters and I liked the initial set-up. Unfortunately,there were a few things that kept it from being a spectacular read for me. I usually like this type of book-predictable or not-but there was just too much inner dialog to keep track of. I like having some, because it gives us background as to why they react the way they do, but it was a little much and it ended up distracting me. I would’ve rather seen the characters have a few getting-to-know you conversations between the two. The sex scenes were sizzling, however, and I loved them. Both seemed to bring out the best in the other. I didn’t like how the author kept harping on that what they liked and did, especially Lily, was forbidden. People like what they like and if its consensual, then no harm done. The plot did move along and there were some rather funny moments. Overall, it was an easy read and the writing was good.



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Turn up the heatAuthor Info

USA Today bestselling author Serena Bell writes stories about how sex messes with your head, why smart people sometimes do stupid things, and how love can make it all better. She wrote her first steamy romance before she was old enough to understand what all the words meant and has been perfecting the art of hiding pages and screens from curious eyes ever since—a skill that’s particularly useful now that she’s the mother of two school-aged children.

Author Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | GoodReads


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CLAIMED by Stacey Kennedy

MY OBSESSION by Cassie Ryan

DEEP AUTUMN HEAT by Elisabeth Barrett

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Excerpts (Please choose ONLY one)

Excerpt 1

“Tonights special is turkey dinner,” Lily told her table.

The turkey dinner was safe enough: sliced deli turkey, a small scoop of powdered mashed potatoes, canned cranberries, and gravy made from cream of chicken soup, all served on white bread. Nothing much to go wrong there, if nothing to celebrate, either.

If the diner had been hers, turkey dinner would have been fresh-roasted turkey, homemade gravy, a warm, freshly buttered biscuit, apple-and-bacon stuffing, local cranberry preserves, and a heap of hot, creamy garlic mashed potatoes. Her mouth watered at the thought. Her hands felt itchy with her desire to overhaul Markos’s dads Thanksgiving feast. And pretty much everything else about the diner, too—it was a shame that a diner in a seaside town hadnt nodded at a beach theme, or at least gone after a sunshiny feel. Markos’s diner was cozy at night, but cavelike and stifling when the sun was up.

But the diner wasnt hers, and she had to keep her eyes on the prize. If she kept saving at her current rate, shed have enough money to move back to Chicago, where most of her culinary school friends now lived. Shed get a job in a real restaurant, actually cooking. And eventually, someday, shed have the know-how and the name recognition to start her own place. It would happen, despite her mistakes.

“And the meatloaf?”

“If you liked the meatloaf, youll love our spaghetti and meatballs tonight.” There were only so many

ways to warn people away from a meal without turning them off a restaurant completely, and Lily was mastering all of them.

“I want that,” said the freckled, redheaded children simultaneously.

“Two turkey dinners and two spaghetti and meatballs,” the mom said, smiling at Lily.

“Easy enough! Thanks, guys!”

Lily turned toward the counter, a wood and stone monstrosity built to look like a hunting lodges fireplace, just in time to see the diners front door open. She had only a general impression of the figure pushing through it, but that was enough.

Him. Her mystery man.

Her body woke up. Pulse, breath, that surge of adrenaline in her veins. Maybe, if she were willing to admit it, other body parts were taking notice, too.

A strange push-pull. Half of her wished hed find some other place to hang out, while the other half constantly monitored that back booth, noting his absence or celebrating his presence. When he wasnt there, she wished he were, and when he was, she wished hed leave and take the distraction with him. So she could just do this job, do it well, and get on with things.

But she couldnt deny that he cut through the twitchy boredom of waiting tables, like a wire through wet clay.

She forced herself to focus on the tasks at hand, hanging the order for the kitchen and delivering the drinks for Booth 12, though she knew from past experience that she couldnt pretend he wasnt there. Even when she couldnt see him, she registered him—how much space he took up in the diner, how he moved through the restaurant to his seat, his walk as assured as a swagger but so much more self-contained. Unhurried. Unapologetic.

His expression was grim—no smile for the hostess, only his cool pale-blue eyes absorbing everything, wary and watchful. In his jaw, she saw the knot of muscle that told her he never let his guard down.

At first shed guessed he was a cop, maybe, or ex-army. He had that look.

He sat, as always, in the corner, his back angled so there were two walls behind him. He drew the blind—another habit of his—even though the sun was weak. He almost always sat alone, though once hed had dinner with a man Lily knew, a grizzled, bearded grandfatherly man who was one of her brother-in-laws fishing friends. That was a small town for you—if you didnt know someone, you at least knew someone who knew him.

Shed been trying not to let herself wonder about him, about what it would be like to be with him, whether he could—and would—give her what she wanted and needed, because she was supposed to have shut down that whole line of thinking. But it wasnt working so well. Her mind kept going there, even as she delivered the drinks to Booth 12 and took their orders. They made it easy for her—turkey dinners and burgers all around.

When she had a moment to peek again, he was drinking coffee, which was all he ever drank, and reading an impressively large book. And still, his thickly corded arms, the span of his shoulders, dwarfed the book and, somehow, the whole booth. Her gaze slipped over the tattoos that peeked out of the neck of his T-shirt. Black and flesh, geometric, triangles and diamonds—almost tribal-looking. His arms were tattooed, too—shed seen enough to know that one arm was densely and elaborately drawn with evergreen forest.

He glanced up and caught her eye, quickly looked away.

Her heart pounded, as it always did when she caught him looking. A little thrill of speculation chased its tail in the pit of her gut.

I bet he’d be rough . . .

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