When Nikki lands an assistant job at her idol’s restaurant, she’s sure her next big break is around the corner. After a rocky start, she befriends Paul, the handsome executive chef. Although he graduated from culinary school, and Nikki’s a self-taught cook, the two begin bonding in the kitchen. But Nikki’s new boss, Holly Hanson, turns out to be anything but admirable. She’ll stoop to anything to save her restaurant, and Nikki and Paul both pay the price. Can they win against the scheming of a celebrity chef? Maybe, with some creative thinking…and a dash of love.
Source: Netgalley My Rating: 4/5 stars
Nikki is not a trained, professional chef, but she is an outstanding cook with a creative streak a mile wide. Her foods are crafty, creative, tasty, and oh so satisfying. She’s been gainfully employed in other people’s kitchens for years, but her dream is her own restaurant with complete creative control over the menu. With any luck, Nikki’s new job will be yet another step toward her dream.
Working for Holly Hanson is a dream come true and Nikki can’t believe her luck! Holly’s food empire is a thing of beauty, a wonder to behold. She owns a successful, top-notch restaurant, her cookbooks line the bookstore shelves, and she is a celebrity. Trouble is, over the years, Holly’s menus have become bland and boring, her actual kitchen output is noticeably decreased in quality, her restaurant isn’t doing all that well financially, and she’s generally a terrible human being. Though Nikki only knows about a few of these things, she isn’t deterred and is determined to make the best of her situation.
Thankfully, Nikki’s situation includes approval to cook in the state of the art kitchen after closing and interacting with Paul, the delectable and uber-talented executive chef. Like Nikki, Paul is trying to make the best of his situation and that includes cranking out Holly’s tired recipes night after night and having no creative freedom of his own. Nikki’s presence makes the job bearable and, once he discovers her clever, creative, and completely enticing food, the situation becomes exciting. Paul is bowled over by Nikki and wants to see her succeed professionally; Paul also wants her to succeed personally, with him. Trouble is, both Nikki and Paul work for a scheming tyrant whose machinations will have devastating consequences beyond their wildest imaginings.
The Bottom Line: I was looking for a super-sweet, little bit of drama read and A Dash of Love absolutely fit the bill! From page one, I liked Nikki, her attitude, and her determination to see her dreams come true. Though she faces some awful, soul-crushing moments, Nikki doesn’t let it defeat her. She’s plucky, not afraid to stand up for herself, and with Paul by her side, willing to take risks. Paul is the perfect balance for Nikki, and once she helps him work through his family issues, he’s also the perfect man. The only thing I found lacking in the book was a proper ending for Holly Hanson. My evil twin really likes to see the big bads get what’s coming to them. My eviler twin likes to have what’s coming to them all spelled out and that didn’t happen here which left me somewhat dissatisfied. But, only somewhat 😊 There’s nothing ground-breaking or profound here, but there is a solid, sweet, heartwarming, guaranteed HEA read between the covers. A Dash of Love is a quickly read book that makes for an excellent rainy-day distraction.