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New Release Review: Seducing the Playboy by Amanda Usen (A Hot Nights novel)

Out today!

A sexy category romance from Entangled’s Brazen imprint…

The best desserts are worth the wait…

Pastry chef Jenna Cooper crushed hard on playboy chef Roman Gallagher when her older brother brought him home to share their family Christmas six years ago. Now she’s old enough to do something about it, and she won’t take no for an answer—for anything.

Out of the frying pan into the fire…

Roman has one hard and fast rule—don’t sleep where you eat. But he can’t say no to Jenna’s plea for him to help her save her family business. Soon she’s working for him, and their scorching chemistry melts Roman’s resistance.

If you can’t stand the heat…

Jenna knows Roman has reservations about enjoying the heat between them, but she’s got a plan. She’s going to keep this sexy man so satisfied in—and out—of the kitchen, he won’t regret a thing. But Roman has his own ideas. He wants more than a few hot nights, and he’s going to teach Jenna a lesson about playing with fire.


Older-brother’s-best-friend. I love this troupe. (Again I ask, WHY, parental figures, did you give me a younger brother? Talk about poor planning…though of course, Bro-man, if you’re reading this, I absolutely love you to bits. Totally. And not just for my absolutely adorable niece and nephew either) Amanda Usen has a lot of fun with it here, and 97% of the book is done really well. All of the cooking and restaurant talk made me want to either cook something yummy or eat something delicious–being in a hotel with no food on hand for most of that time, neither one happened, sadly. (Probably for the best, since bathing suit and short season might actually be here. Finally. Knock on wood.) I’m definitely going to have to check out the first book in this series (Into the Fire)–that was a given before I was even halfway through this one.

Both Jenna and Roman have something to prove as the novel begins. Jenna Cooper, the baby of her family, is determined to single-handedly save her family’s restaurant–and quickly, before her parents sell it to the highest offer. She heads off to California–and her longtime crush Roman Gallagher–to do whatever she can to enlist his help. Roman, who has long fought his attraction to his best friend’s little sister, needs to make his latest project a success as well so that his mother can finally retire and hand the reins of her restaurant empire over to him. So far he’s having no luck figuring out the magic formula, and he’s about given up on ever getting his mother’s approval on this project or on his life in general. But there’s one rule she’s always taught him that he’s going to stick to–don’t sleep where you eat.

Even though sticking to that maxim just might be the death of him, with Jenna Cooper in his kitchen…

You can absolutely tell that Amanda Usen has a background in professional food preparation. All the kitchen and restaurant talk was yummy and added authenticity, without getting you bogged down in too much unnecessary detail.  The relationships here were great too. Jenna and Roman’s had just the right amount of steam with a dash of angst; both of their relationships with the secondary characters in Roman’s kitchen were fabulous as well. I especially loved Max, Roman’s sous-chef. We don’t see quite as much of Jenna’s best friends or family in this novel, but there’s definitely a lot of potential in their characters. (Lila, one of Jenna’s “culinary school soul sisters” is the heroine of book one in the series.)

The buildup between Roman and Jenna was well done, and worth the wait. The croquembouches sounded absolutely to die for. (Again, stuck in a hotel with no. yummy. snacks. Sigh.) Roman’s restaurant at the beach had me pining for our upcoming Ocean City, MD vacation.

And did I mention the older-brother’s-best-friend troupe? Yes? 😉

My only complaint is the ending–it felt totally rushed. The rest of the book built nicely on the foundations started in the first chapter, but the last bit made me feel as if I were suddenly on Cedar Point’s Top Thrill Dragster–you’ve just barley gotten strapped in when bam! you’re done in about 17 seconds. (Okay, slight hyperbole there, but trust me–it went quickly at the end.) I wanted them to get to the HEA as much as the next person, but I would have liked them to do so at a less frenzied pace. Still, it wasn’t enough to negate the enjoyment I had with the rest of the book–it was just a bit of a letdown.

Overall, I quite enjoyed this one and have already added book one to my TBR. I’m definitely interested in seeing where Amanda Usen is going with this series.

Rating: 3 1/2 stars / B

I received a complimentary copy from the author in exchange for an honest review.

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