Reviewed by Nikyta
Title: In the Fire
Authors: Eileen Griffin and Nikka Michaels
Series: In the Kitchen #2
Heroes: Ethan Martin/James “Jamie” Lassiter
Genre: M/M Contemporary
Length: 93,000 words
Publisher: Carina Press
Release Date: November 3, 2014
Available at: Carina Press, Amazon and Barnes & Noble
Add it to your shelf: Goodreads
Blurb: Because the way to a man’s heart…
Eight years ago, the world was their oyster. Until, that is, competing chefs Ethan Martin and James Lassiter’s hot and heavy relationship fizzled after Jamie left for an internship in Paris. Even though Jamie’s career has taken off since his return to the States, with his own television show and a lot of fame, his feelings for Ethan have never quite gone away.
Ethan’s culinary career has developed more slowly, but he’s almost saved enough to buy the restaurant where he works and re-open it as his dream spot, Bistro 30. If only he could get the sexy chef who loved him and left him out of his mind.
But when someone starts sabotaging the restaurant and a fire threatens to take away everything Ethan holds dear, his only option is to rely on Jamie for help. Back in close quarters, the two men will have to find a way to work through their past if they hope to save the restaurant and their future.
It’s been eight long years since Jamie left for Paris. Eight years since Ethan last saw him and just about eight years since they went their separate ways. They’ve both made a life for themselves as chefs: Jamie as a very famous cookbook author and TV star and Ethan as an executive chef of a popular restaurant. When Ethan must fly to New York to receive an award, the last thing either of them expected was to see each other but when they do, the sparks fly in not just lust but anger. When they return to their lives again, Ethan goes back to a kitchen in chaos while Jamie’s at the end of his rope with not just Ethan but being famous too. Determined to change things, he takes matters into his own hands and flies to Seattle to either fix things with Ethan or put them to rest. Can these two sort through the past and finally find a future together? Or will they let old feelings rule them now, as it did then? And when someone starts sabotaging the restaurant, can they figure out who it is before someone gets hurt?
In this book, Jamie and Ethan are vastly different characters. They’ve grown and matured in the eight years that have passed since In the Raw ended. Now, Jamie is exhausted and unhappy. Constantly going home to an empty apartment and feeling very lonely. He might be famous but he’s not doing a job he loves anymore. Ethan is the total opposite in that he loves his job but he’s working towards buying the restaurant he’s worked at for almost a decade. Jamie is still the charming, sweet man while Ethan has mellowed out and is no longer surly or a hothead all the time. YES, he still has his moments but now he’s more understanding and can work with others. He’s compassionate when it’s necessary and really does have a big heart.
As a couple, I still love them together. Their feelings are so raw and intense that they’ll go from angry and bitter one moment to exchanging lustful glances the next. They’ve loved each other for years and their time apart hasn’t lessened that love so when they finally come to a head and accept each other and what they have, I just found it very beautiful and sweet. I love that Ethan is so different with Jamie than he is with most everyone else. Jamie always sees a side of Ethan that not many others do, even when Ethan is extremely mad at him.
This story has two major aspects to it. The first, and main aspect, is the history and possible future of Ethan and Jamie as a couple. Their willingness and determination to figure out what really happened all those years ago, why they broke up and how that’s affected them since then. Not to mention them trying to figure out if they can be together again and get over the past. The second aspect is smaller and deals with Ethan’s restaurant: failing inspections, having issues left and right that cause the restaurant to close and discovering WHY all that is happening. So, the story has a secondary conflict that fuels everything else that plays a role in how and where Ethan ends up with his career.
My only real issue with this one is that it was a tad too long to the point that it started to drag towards the end. Beyond that, I wanted to actually see the events that took place between the last chapter and the epilogue. Two very significant things happen (IMO) that I would have loved to actually experience or at least see the start of instead of being told about it happening during the year gap.
In the end, I really enjoyed this one. I loved the feelings that were still very prominent between Jamie and Ethan, even eight years later. Mixed with the hurt, anger, yearning between them made for some intriguing situations throughout the book. As with the previous one, I liked the authors’ voice; as a duo, they write very well together, which makes Jamie and Ethan’s ‘voices’ very distinct. I’m looking forward to what they have coming out next, especially who the next book in the In the Kitchen series will be about 😉
Overall Impression: I really liked it!
*I received a copy of this book from the publisher in return for a fair and honest review.*