Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Blurb: Recovering gambler Jim Rawlings returns to Summerville to take the biggest chance of his life--bidding at auction for the once-grand Summerville Inn. But to make the hotel a success, he needs a world class executive chef.
Chef Genie King attends the Summerville Inn auction with dreams of becoming executive chef in her own kitchen. Years ago, she worked at the Inn with Jim, but she never expected her Class of 85 heartthrob to bid at the sale also.
Together, Jim and Genie can purchase and rehab the Inn in time for their twenty-fifth high school reunion, but working together means Jim must share long-hidden secrets with the woman he still loves. Will Genie reject the man with a past? Or will she love the man he's become?
Review: I did like the intro page Praise for Sharon Buchbinder, which pretty well was a description of the main plot. "an out-of-the-frying-pan-into-the-fire adventure for Genie and Jim when they buy the Summerville Inn to renovate." Both of these great characters have their own motive for wanting the Inn. But, another character wants it also, for his nefarious gambling casino plans. Tony, the bad guy (and boy is he bad!) causes all sorts of misadventures for Genie and Jim when they pool their money and outbid him. 'The Wolf" is an appropriate nickname for this “short dark hirsute with knuckles practically dragging the ground." Can't you just envision this man or should I say "thing' because I could not find anything to like about him.
Genie and Jim are familiar with the Inn because they went to school together in the town. They are both nice, likable people in their late 30s or early 40s. Both have had problems in the past but are working to control them. They give some great compliments for Alcohol Anonymous and Weight Watchers. They almost immediately turn their business partnership into something much more personal. It was romantic, but not overly sensual. I think that is the main reason I liked this story. Ms. Buchbinder spent more time developing the plot and its action and less sex to fill pages to make a quota.
Beth and Dick are the other people in this story, she is a realtor and he is chief of police who has ties to Tony, the former Mafia hit-man from New Jersey.
All five of these characters, good, bad, and not so bad are described in action and thought. This is one of those stories in which the participants seem to come alive and step off the page. Tony in particular was so vivid that I almost wanted to reach out and slap the gum wad out of his mouth.
There are some very heart-touching moments, like the scene where the stray black mama cat and her three kittens are rescued in their floating litter pan. It is real life descriptions like this one that make me really remember the book and want to read it again.
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