Delicious, by Julie Cohen

>> Tuesday, October 13, 2009

TITLE: Delicious (published in the US as MacAllister's Baby)
AUTHOR: Julie Cohen

COPYRIGHT: 2006
PAGES: 216
PUBLISHER: Mills & Boon Modern

SETTING: Contemporary England
TYPE: Category romance
SERIES: No

REASON FOR READING: I've enjoyed other books by this author

Can she take the heat...?

What on earth is Angus MacAllister doing at her school? He's way too gorgeous, arrogant and famous!

Teacher Elisabeth Read isn't prepared for the cookery class to be given some star treatment by celebrity chef Angus. She's even less prepared for the delicious attraction that instantly flares between them! The usually cautious Elisabeth is soon feeling hot, bothered, and definitely out of control, as Angus uses all his persuasive powers to tease and tempt her into his bed!

But Angus is unaware that Elisabeth is still coming to terms with a painful past, when she was left pregnant and alone...

All it takes is one small moment of recklessness...and Elisabeth will be forced to make the toughest decision of her life...
Famous chef Angus MacAllister would like to be even more famous, and his publicist has suggested tutoring children from a disadvantaged background who have entered a cooking competition. Teacher Elisabeth has been assigned to work with Angus and make sure the children's interests and privacy are protected.

For Angus the project is soon about much more than publicity, and he becomes emotionally involved... both with the children and with the teacher.

This was a fun and sexy, with a to-die-for hero, and a heroine who started a bit joyless but improved as the book went on.

I quite liked that at the beginning Angus wasn't particularly enthusiastic about his project at the school, and saw it only as a promotional opportunity. Not that Cohen portrayed him as being manipulative in that... he was still a good person from the start, he just wasn't immediately all into the project. Cohen showed him getting gradually more and more into it and really enjoying helping the kids, and it was a believable process.

His attraction to Elisabeth wasn't as gradual, but it was even better for that. I love how he was so absolutely and completely turned on by Elisabeth, and that it was clearly not just about the way she looked. He was turned on by the whole of her... the way she moved, the way she acted, even her primness. Lovely guy. There's a point where Elisabeth thinks: "He wasn't just sexy. He was funny, and playful and intelligent, and, in a strange way, vulnerable." Absolutely, and that was what made me love him all the more. For all his cool, he's a little bit dorky and vulnerable, and that really made the character for me.

As much as I liked seeing Angus completely lose his cool over Elisabeth, I just had a bit of trouble seeing what he was getting so hot and bothered about at the beginning. That's because for much of the book Elisabeth comes across as sour and judgemental. We get hints that there's a reason for this, but it turns out to be something that to my eyes, didn't completely justify her initial attitude (though it did justify a certain reaction of her near the end). And anyway, for a long time, all we know is that she's had an unconventional upbringing, with parents who didn't give her as much structure and stability as she would have needed, although they loved her very much. That hardly seems a reason to be as annoying as she was at times. Angus' background was a lot more traumatic, and yet he hadn't let that affect him! I think the book would have worked even better if we readers had been given the whole information about Elisabeth's past a lot earlier.

The other somewhat disappointing element was the food. Given this is a book with a chef character, centering on a cooking competition and with a title like Delicious, I was looking forward when I started to some quasi-erotic food descriptions, but the book was quite low-key in that area. They do eat some food that is described as delicious, but I never really got a proper sense of just how sensuously delicious that food was. Most of the time it's not even described. Eh, well, it would probably have made me hungry, anyway.

MY GRADE: A B.

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