Author: Heidi Champa
Publisher: Amber Quill Press
Characters: Russ, Darren
Sub-Genre: Contemporary, Erotic Romance
As the owner of the Atomic Veggie food truck, Russ serves his popular vegetarian food all over the city. His former classmate and rival, Darren, owner of Meat Me Halfway, has never served a vegetable out of his truck, unless it was on top of one of his gourmet cheeseburgers. The two men never got along under the best of circumstances, but after spending one hot night together during culinary school, things went from bad to worse.
Now, when they’re not cooking, they’re thinking of ways to make each other miserable, with a series of ever-escalating pranks. When Darren approaches Russ in a time of need, will the two call a truce and finally give into the passion they’ve been denying for years? Or will one last prank prove to be the end of their simmering relationship?
Frenemies. That’s what this story is about. Two guys who knew each other in culinary school and got together for one night of sizzling hot sex. Now, they have food trucks of their own, one vegetable run by Russ, and one for meat-eaters run by Darren. Their opposing views of what constitutes good food has lead to an endless spiral of childish pranks that keep escalating. Their banter is constant as each tries to up the other. Until the bough breaks with a prank gone horribly awry, that is.
I readily admit I’m not into frenemies stories. It never feels real to me when two enemies get all hot and bothered, and it’s as if the slate is wiped clean. It doesn’t ring true. Nonetheless, it’s a common trope in romance stories, and here it’s hot, in every sense of the word. Darren’s continuous smirk makes you want to punch him, but he’s sort of child-like innocent in his pranks, and Russ’s animosity seems understandable, even though he’s far more forgiving than I would have been. But, as always in stories like this, there’s another side to things.
For such a short story, this one has well-developed characters. Mostly because of the delicious banter and the fact that the two men are such polar opposites in their views but so alike in personalities too. Plus, they do work well together, whether they like to admit it or not. All in all, a good story with quaint charm and hot sex.
Reviewed By: Susan
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