Review: Dinner for One by Meg Harding

Bastien isn’t used to bad reviews. His French restaurant is the toast of the town, and when a well-known critic insults it, he’s left off-kilter. Luckily for him he’s found a distraction. He’s just met an attractive writer at his niece’s school bake sale. He’s into food, into Bastien and the touch of kink they share, and there’s a chemistry between them that might make the perfect recipe.

James isn’t expecting to meet a good-looking French chef at a bake sale, but he’s not going to let the chance slide. It comes as a surprise when the chef turns out to be the owner of a place he knows—and has reviewed—and it puts James in a sticky situation. So he might have to omit some pertinent information to make it work… at least for now.

Let me just start with three incredible words-Ginger French Chef.

French chef who's a little bit kinky is what drew me to this one; the ginger was a bonus. Bastien wrapped me around his little finger almost immediately. He's a nervous baker. He blushes adorably and often much to James' delight. He fastidious without being fussy. He's almost as sweet as his confections. Almost.

Bastien is executive chef and owner of L'amour Dans La Ville, a quaint French restaurant with a wait list a mile long. Naturally this garners the attention of the New York Times food critic Harper Carlisle. He gives a mediocre review which to any chef is the equivalent of being slapped in the face with ensuing ire. Were it not for a chance meeting at their niece and nephews school bake sale they might never have met. The only problem is James goes by his first name so Bastien has no idea who he is, but James does.

James grapples with whether or not to pursue his crush and return to L'amour Dans La Ville ultimately deciding anyone who can make religieuses a religious experience had to have had an off night. Plus, cute ginger who blushes. So second chance it is and it made James' toes curl it was so good.

To say they have chemistry would be an understatement. They click. There is a synergy between them that translates to the page. Harding painstakingly builds this relationship from the ground up. They date and pay attention to each others likes and dislikes. They talk and have comfortable silences. She shows their connection, how attracted they are to one another and she paid attention to the details. Those details that I tend to forget I love so much until an author puts them into words like how when you're really into someone you want to be close to them, touch them, feed each other, spend time with them not necessarily doing anything exciting or adventurous, but watching Friends or cooking.

And they are hot as fire.

He doesn't think he's ever come so hard in his entire life. He might be crying a little.

"I want to make you come again, and then I want to fuck you while you're oversensitive and begging for it."

I think I just swallowed my tongue. That was just the tip of the iceberg, my friends. As their relationship progresses they start dabbling in the kinky shenanigans. I wouldn't characterize James as a dom, but the way he takes care of Bastien turned my innards to goo. Bastien is his priority. It says something about a person that's willing to push the envelope and put their needs aside to please their partner. 

Needless to say I completely invested in them and was just as heartbroken when the conflict happened. Harding again showed how devastated both of them were, how they didn't really know what to do with themselves now that their routine was disrupted and how their sadness affected those around them. 

I was amused by the secondary characters before but they really shined during the conflict. James has a huge family and they all pitch in to help him formulate a plan to win back Bastien while Bastien's sister and staff encourage him to at least hear James out. 

James gives it his all. He puts thought, sweat and an ungodly amount of money  into wooing him back. Bastien doesn't make it easy on him and that makes their reunion that much sweeter. Harding made me believe they missed each other.

I didn't want to let them go and I don't think Harding did either because the epilogue is a little extended which is why I'm deducting half a heart. I enjoyed it but it slowed the pace down significantly. 

Nevertheless, I loved this book and did from the beginning. I actually had another review to write while reading this and was fussy about it because it was keeping me away from James and Bastien. I commend Harding on making ordinary events remarkably entertaining to read about. Dinner for One is a great comfort read that I know I'll read again.

Recommend to fans of contemporary romance, gingers, cooking and those who like a little kink in their romance.

An ARC was provided in exchange for an honest review.

Find out more on Goodreads & Dreamspinner Press.

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