Taste For Temptation
by Phyllis Bourne, contemporary (2012)
Kimani, $6.25, ISBN 978-0-373-86283-2


People, be careful. Taste For Temptation may not be the most original title ever, but this story is absolutely pornographic in how devastatingly effective it is in delivering the sweetest romantic fantasy ever. You will understand what I mean once I get into the synopsis.

Brandi Collins had recently been left standing at the altar. More humiliatingly, her fiancé left her high and dry to marry a stripper that he met at his bachelor party. The thing is, this man would be the best man at her sister's upcoming wedding, and Brandi decides that showing up at the wedding looking gorgeous and svelte would be the ultimate revenge she can inflict on that man. First, she has to survive the workout boot camp she has signed up for.

Alas, her new neighbor, Adam Ellison, is preparing for the upcoming International Chocolate Pastry Competition by vigorously preparing chocolate desserts at home every single evening. Poor Brandi is assaulted by aromatic fragrance of what promises to be the very taste of heaven itself. When she decides to knock on the door next door to see whether they can come to some kind of middle ground, he tempts her with a bite - or two, or three - that she simply can't resist.

Adam doesn't mind that Brandi is big-boned - to him, she's curvy in all the right places. He wants her, he pursues her, and he seduces her with both his hot body and delicious desserts. But how will Brandi react if she learns that he's actually the heir to a multimillion dollar corporate empire?

Now, if I were Brandi and I was wooed by this hot gentleman who says all the right things and makes the best desserts in the world, and he is actually turned on by how all those excess carbohydrates end up in my hips, and he reveals that he has millions of dollars in his own right and stands to inherit much, much more, you bet I'd marry that man right away even if he looks like he'd been hit by the bus a few times. Brandi, on the other hand, gets a frown on her face when she learns of his secret. Fortunately, that particular conflict doesn't last long, but it does make me wonder about Brandi's intelligence.

Still, I like Brandi. Her insecurities feel very real, and I like how she tries to do things instead of just moping in self-pity. Her mother is one of those very negative women who can't stop finding fault with the people around them, and she comes off as, again, a character that feels real instead of some stereotypical nasty mother. It's also a pleasant surprise how Adam comes off as a pretty well-developed character instead of a trophy husband existing solely to validate the existence of the fat chick who had her feelings hurt. His reasons for not telling Brandi who he really is may not be original - he wants to be seen and loved for who he is, not what he is - but it fits with his character.

Brandi and Adam have a sweet and tender romance with plenty of build-up and sexual tension, and some of their tender moments are practically chocolate pornography. Seriously, people, if you're on diet, read this book at your own risk. There are chocolates everywhere, chocolates that are so good to eat, and chances are, you may just find yourself going through three packs of giant-sized M&Ms by the time you reach the last page.

At any rate, this one is very obviously a tale tailored to a delicious fantasy of many women out there, but to Ms Bourne's credit, she wraps the fantasy in a sweet and delightful romance that has both humorous and heartfelt moments that work. This book is almost good enough to eat, so don't say I didn't warn you.

Rating: 88


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