It’s a long way from Seattle to Otter Bite, Alaska. But if one woman can survive the trip-and the locals-she just might find what her heart has been searching for.
Her mango chutney is exquisite; her blueberry sauce is to die for. But right now, Chef de Cuisine Daisy Moon is a woman without a kitchen-and without a fiancé. Unceremoniously dumped from her place of business and her relationship, Daisy sells her belongings, plus a few of her ex’s, and packs her bags. Maybe smashing all the china in her former restaurant was a bad move. Stripped of her Golden Spoon for “un-chef-like” conduct, she is now blacklisted all over Seattle. Her sole job offer is from Wild Man Lodge…in Otter Bite, Alaska.
Too bad Daisy can’t even get out of Dodge without incident. By the time she boards a ship for Alaska, she’s got a trail of new troubles behind her, and suddenly Otter Bite is sounding pretty good. But the vessel turns into her own personal Titanic when a series of close encounters confirms her terrible taste in men-including one very good looking bad luck charm named Max Kendall. She vows to dedicate the rest of her days to chowders and brulée. Yet even Alaska isn’t far enough away to shake the memories of the sexy shipmate who rocked her cabin-and her world. Thank goodness she’s done with surprises-but they may not be done with her…
The start of this story was strong. I liked how Daisy and Max met and the crazy circumstances of their first almost-but-not date. Daisy very quickly got on my nerves and Max gave me the creeps at times. They both had some redeeming qualities about them that I hoped would be expanded on as the story progressed. Sadly that never really happened. Daisy was quick to dismiss all personal responsibility for pretty much everything throughout the story. Yes, she did have a few things happen to her that were out of her control. However she still needed to own up to her choices and the path it put her on. Even through the end, she never really thought she did much of anything wrong. Max was a self centered playboy and it was creepy and gross for a while. He developed more the further you get in the story and I wound up liking him marginally by the end of the book. One of my biggest issues with the story was the non stop games these two played with each other. The sneaking, backstabbing, trying to outsmart and outdo each other was over the top. It was hard to get invested in them as a couple when all they did was try to tear the other down for the majority of the book. Sure, they both kept saying they were attracted to the other. But I didn’t feel any of the emotions in the book or the love they professed to each other. It felt wooden and fake. I liked Max’s purpose behind Wild Man Lodge. However it was totally overshadowed and got tainted. Max could have used what was really going on to show his side and how he wasn’t as bad as Daisy thought. Instead he wanted to let Daisy prove how horrible she is by jumping to a logical conclusion based on limited evidence given. The ending is kind of cute in how they come together again. However, it was a bit over the top and gushy when I couldn’t see them truly feeling and acting that way towards each other. Some of the side characters had potential and I truly enjoyed them and got engaged in their parts of the story.
His laugh was immediate. Daisy realized how ridiculous her allegation was. Max Kendall’s particular brand of woman didn’t need lies to motivate her into his bed. His women were fun and adventurous and, unlike Daisy, didn’t have impossible expectations.
“I thought we were talking about you,” he said with a dying chuckle. “But if you think you’re helping the enemy…” With his good leg bearing the brunt of his weight, he rose from the bed. Grabbing the handles on his duffle bag, he slowly stepped toward the bathroom.
“If the lights were dim and the music soft and the wine expensive.”
Max turned at the door. “And?”
“I don’t believe for one second that you, Daisy, would be undermined by lights, music, and wine.”
“And… if I thought you were…special.”
“And what makes a man special?”
Daisy hesitated at the fork in her road. She could give Max an honest answer or… “Well, for one thing, he’s very forgiving–”
His eyes crinkled as his grin returned.
“–And he would never use all the hot water just to prove some ridiculous point.”
“I guess I’m not the only one who has trouble giving a straight answer. See you when the water runs cold.” The bathroom door clicked shut.
“And he makes me smile,” Daisy murmured, smiling.
Golden Heart nominee Maggie McConnell spent her childhood overseas as the daughter of US diplomats. Attending college in Illinois, she earned a BA in Art and an MBA while working at the local humane shelter. At 26, she packed her dog and cat into a Ford truck and drove the Alcan Highway to Alaska, where she spent 23 years exploring The Last Frontier in a single-engine Cessna. A vegan and animal rights advocate, Maggie provides a sanctuary on her Arizona ranch for all creatures great and small, but her immediate family includes dog Molly, cat Sara, horses Quinn and Teena, and an ever-growing dynasty of chipmunks. Every year, like the Gray Whale, Maggie returns to Alaska.
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