When Sarah Westwood’s deadbeat husband deserts her and their young son, she takes a job at her family’s restaurant, The Three Chocolatiers, working with her famous chef grandfather and her pastry chef cousin, Paisley. Determined to never fall for the wrong guy again, Sarah vows to stick to chocolate and steer clear of men, especially her delicious ice-cream supplier, Blake Harrison. But when Paisley signs her up for a dating site, Sarah is soon engaging in a sexy online flirtation with a stranger.

Blake Harrison wants nothing more than for Sarah to give him a chance, but all she’ll give him is the cold shoulder. Never one to run from a challenge, he works on becoming the kind of man Sarah can’t refuse. And since he just happens to be on the same dating site, he’s not above using a little cyber-intel to worm his way into her heart.

When Sarah’s grandfather collapses just weeks before an upscale chocolate-themed wedding that could make or break the business, the staff of The Three Chocolatiers is sent into a tailspin. With the pressure rising on personal and professional fronts, Sarah might just have to let someone sweet melt her defenses.

Title:  Love & Chocolate
Series:  —  —  —
Author:  Gail Cleare
Genre:  Contemporary Romance
Published:  September 18, 2018
Publisher:  Kobo Writing Life
My Rating:  4 stars

LOVE & CHOCOLATE is an engaging, sweet romance that will touch your heart, and perhaps fuel some anger against your least favorite ex as well.  Sarah is putting her life back together after the divorce from her worthless piece of humanity otherwise known as her ex-husband.  He’s done a number on both Sarah and their son, Devon.  In fact, she’s far better off without him but the jerk has left emotional damage behind.  The kind that refuses to trust any man ever again, and the kind that needs a very good man to overcome.  Blake could be that man — but first, Sarah has to let herself trust not only Blake but her own judgment as well.  That’s not going to be easy for Sarah is, at times, her own worst enemy by believing the lies and insecurities about herself that her ex-husband fueled.  Add in a bit of a mystery and you have an entertaining story to enjoy for an afternoon or so.

Both Blake and Sarah are portrayed with all their human frailties and mistakes.  And they do make mistakes, yet they can be overcome with a little bit of trust — and that is hardest for Sarah to do.  I enjoyed their bantering, getting to know each other in different situations and the chemistry is there between them should they act on it.  Although the steam level is medium with a burst at one point, this is really a fade to black and use your imagination level of steam.

I don’t know if more than one story was intended for these characters, but I’d certainly enjoy the story of two secondary characters who just might have been tossing off a bit of steam themselves.  I’ll have to investigate if there were any more stories around The Three Chocolatiers group of characters.  In any event,  I enjoyed this story, I had fun with the characters and that is the whole point.

*I received an e-ARC of this novel from the publisher via NetGalley. That does not change what I think of this story.  It is my choice to leave a review giving my personal opinion about this book.*

Available for the Kindle