Series: Second Chances #1
Published by Loveswept
Publication Date: July 14th, 2015
Genres: Contemporary Romance
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Disclaimer: I voluntarily reviewed a copy of this book. All opinions stated are solely mine.
For readers of Jill Shalvis and Susan Mallery, USA Today bestselling author Serena Bell teases all five senses in this poignant, tantalizing novel of fantasies long hidden . . . and finally indulged.
Aspiring chef Lily McKee noticed Kincaid Graves the first time he walked into the dingy diner where she waits tables. With his ice-blue eyes and primal tattoos, his presence puts Lily on edge—and reminds her of all the unfulfilled longings she isn’t pursuing while she’s stuck in this dead-end job. Without a doubt, the man is dangerous to her long-term plans of leaving town and hiring on at a real kitchen—and yet, she hungers for him, if even for just a taste.
Kincaid didn’t come back to his coastal Oregon hometown looking for a good time or a good meal. The ex-con has a score to settle, old wrongs to set right. But Lily, equal parts innocence and insight, brings out an impulsive side of him he thought he’d left behind in the past. And it only takes one intense moment of weakness between them to make him consider the possibility of an entirely new future—and the promise of passion beyond either of their wildest dreams.
Lily McKee loves to cook but a falling out with her boss/mentor/boyfriend led to her upping and leaving everything – her job, her dreams – behind. Now she is temporarily stuck doing a job she dislikes as she prepares to return and fulfill her dreams in Chicago but seeing Kincaid Graves every day at the diner she works at makes up for it. Kincaid makes Lily hunger for things unspoken and she knows that he could actually tempt her to throw away all her plans for a chance with him.
Kincaid Graves is back in his hometown to settle a score. After doing a stint in jail, he’s back to right an old wrong and he does not intend to allow any distractions to his plans. Lily McKee is definitely one giant distraction and just one stolen moment between them has him wondering if he could have more in his life – passion, a relationship, a future – than what he has right now.
Kincaid is a man who at the core of him is good and caring, but a mistake borne out of that goodness, a desire to protect a loved one landed him in jail and now he’s faced with a long and hopeless life as an ex-con and the stigma and challenges that come with it. I like that Ms. Bell does not gloss over the fact that Kincaid is capable of violence and in view of the violence of the crime he did time for, his sexual proclivities take on a darker tone.
Lily abandoned all her ambitions and fled to Oregon to avoid her ex’s judgement of her sexual desires but she has plans to go back and reclaim her life in Chicago. Kincaid and Lily are good for each other as their shared passion validates their dark needs but they help each other in other ways too. Lily makes Kincaid see that he is so much more than the one bad decision he made and that he can reach for his dreams. Kincaid helps Lily accept that her desires are honest and real and nothing to be ashamed of and restores that bit of her that was lost by her ex’s rejection.
I enjoyed reading TURN UP THE HEAT because Ms. Bell did not shy away from difficult issues but also because Kincaid and Lily get their happy ending and dreams really come true for them as they find all they ever wanted in that small Oregon town.
TURN UP THE HEAT is gritty and heartbreaking but is also a poignant story of redemption, with passionate interludes that are raw and primal and characters that tug at the heart strings.