Author: Mary Calmes
Series: Tales of the Curious Cookbook
Released: April 29th 2015
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Length: 102 pages
Boone Walton has tried hard to create some distance between himself and his past. He's invested in his new life, his New Orleans art gallery, and his friendship with Scott Wren. Things finally seem to be settling down to normal, and Boone couldn’t be happier.Chef Scott Wren wants much more than normal with Boone. He wants to raise things to the next level, but Boone is terrified—and not because of the ghost in Scott’s apartment or Scott’s relatives. No, Boone's past is about to pay him a visit, and the only thing that can get between Boone, Scott, and a hinky recipe for chocolate mousse found in a curious cookbook is the river of pain Boone had to swim across to get to this side of The Big Easy. There’s a secret behind the ingredients, though—one that might reveal the trust and love that have been missing from Boone’s life.
It’s clear by now that Mary Calmes sprinkles crack cocaine between the lines of her books. I’ve read countless M/M books by now, but none were as addictive and utterly captivating as hers. There’s just something about her over-the-top romances, her insanely possessive couples with eyes only for each other, that makes you want to reread her books until your brain rots or you drop dead from exhaustion.
To make matters even more strange, I rarely give her books more than 3 stars, but I’ve been known to sit by my laptop, impatiently waiting the stroke of midnight just so I could download her latest release. I don’t think I’ve ever been more addicted to an author and more embarrassed by it at the same time.
Lately, Calmes has been very fond of the friends-to-lovers trope, and she’s been using it well. This story is no exception. Two best friends, Boone and Scott, have been dancing around each other for several years. It’s obvious that they can’t find love with anyone but each other, but neither one of them dares to take the plunge. Boone has a painful past, linked to the Japanese mafia, and Scott has the worst luck in love as he always falls for the wrong people.
Mary Calmes always tells her story from a single perspective, in first person. This time, we see the events through Boone’s eyes. The romance is pretty light-hearted, but Boone’s past is there to make the story just a bit harder to handle. The thing about Boone’s past was that it’s more than a little over the top, which isn’t at all unusual for Calmes. One particular event made me especially uncomfortable because it changed how I saw the main character. Other than that, the story was typical Calmes, albeit one of her least memorable.
Generally speaking, Calmes may use and reuse the same tropes over and over again, but she does it extraordinarily well. Being addicted to her work is the best and worst feeling in the world. If I don't get my fix regularly, I frantically hide behind closed doors to reread her novellas and her full length novels. Of course, I would never admit to such a thing publicly. This must be my evil twin typing.
Just Desserts is one of five stories in Dreamspinner’s Tales of the Curious Cookbook anthology. The other stories were written by Amy Lane, Marie Sexton, Amber Kell and RJ Scott. Having read them all, I can tell you that Amy Lane’s story is the only one (besides this, of course) that’s actually worth reading.