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Can't Stand the Heat    by Louisa Edwards order for
Can't Stand the Heat
by Louisa Edwards
Order:  USA  Can
St. Martin's, 2009 (2009)
Paperback, e-Book

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*   Reviewed by Martina Bexte

Food critic Miranda Wake may have been a bit tipsy when she agreed to spend a month in the kitchen of New York's trendiest new restaurant, but once her head clears, she's not about to back down. The bet she made with Adam Temple, Market's sexy owner and head chef, could finally give her the platform she needs to write a book a publisher might actually accept. That the editor wants a down and dirty no-holds-barred tell all doesn't sit well, but doesn't stop Miranda from refusing the advance money. She's responsible for putting her little brother through college and if she had to dish dirt about what really goes on behind the scenes of his trendy Manhattan restaurant she'll do so.

Adam Temple has put his heart and soul into Market and he's not about to let some food critic (one who admits she can't cook) ruin his, and his hand-picked staff's reputation. He's more than looking forward to putting Ms. Wake in her place. But once he realises that the woman is not the verbal barracuda everyone claims her to be, his attitude softens. What's more, she never shies away from any of the lowly kitchen tasks that she's assigned. More points in her favour and as the weeks pass Adam realises that he's falling hard for the sexy redhead.

While Edwards' writing style is engaging enough and her knowledge of how a professional kitchen is run is incredibly thorough, her characterizations are lacking, especially that of Miranda. Her role as a 'sharp-tongued food critic' is never really fully explored and her plan to write a scathing tell all about Market is superficial. Nor does Edwards create the expected sexual tension between Miranda and Adam - their long hours together in his restaurant and then in his own kitchen (after he takes it upon himself to teach her to cook) reads more like a series of in-depth cooking lessons. A secondary plot involving Miranda's brother coming out of the closet is also clichéd and overdone. Edwards has come up with a delicious concept - hopefully the next in the series will be more focused on the main characters and their relationship.

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