Today we are joined by Irene Preston to share with us a little about her new release, A Taste of You. Congratulations on the release, Irene, and thanks for joining us! One of our Two Men team had the opportunity to read the book and loved it, so I’m sure it will be a huge hit.
A Taste of You by Irene Preston
Coming March 10, 2015 from Fated Desires
Contemporary LGBT romance (m/m)
Hell’s Kitchen has nothing on the flames Giancarlo and Garrett ignite at Restaurant Ransom…
Garrett Ransom is America’s hot chef du jour. He has a Michelin-starred restaurant in New York City, a hit reality TV show, and a new man in his bed every week. Yes, he secretly thinks his business partner, Giancarlo “Carlo” Rotolo, is hotter than a ghost pepper, but he would never jeopardize their friendship with a fling. Then Garrett overhears some juicy gossip among the crew and realizes he’ll have to break Giancarlo’s cardinal rule, no banging the staff – for Carlo’s own good, of course. Just a taste of Carlo should be plenty. Long-term relationships aren’t on Garrett’s menu.
Giancarlo’s been in love with Garrett forever. He’s sure Garrett will eventually realize they are destined to be more than business partners. But when Garrett installs his latest boyfriend as their new chef d’cuisine and announces plans to leave Carlo in New York while he opens a second restaurant on the west coast, Carlo is forced to re-evaluate his life.
Can a high-strung British chef and a nice Italian boy from Brooklyn find the perfect fusion of fine-dining and family-style?
Fine dining or family style? If you had your choice, would you want Garrett or Carlo to cook you dinner?
I asked this question at a pre-release event I did for my publisher a few months ago. I thought it would be a fun conversation starter and I expected to get votes for both my guys – Garrett’s arty, special-night-out, haute cuisine and Carlo’s more relaxed Italian home cooking.
And I was right – if by right you mean 90% of the votes went to Carlo. That was probably the moment I started panicking a little about Garrett.
I’m amazingly clueless sometimes about what story I’ve actually written, but even I knew the two types of cuisine were metaphors for my two main characters. Carlo was easy – who doesn’t like Italian? Garrett is more complex, but as far as the food went, I still thought there would be a significant number of people who would opt-in for the celebrity chef cooking them dinner.
I love a night out at a posh restaurant. I love the service, the slow progression of each course, the artful presentations that are sometimes almost too pretty to eat. I love trying new things.
But, you know, it is not always a comfortable enjoyment. I probably spiffed up a little for the occasion in nice clothes and shoes (which I will ditch the moment I get back home). Enjoying a meal with a special person can be a romantic, intimate experience – but not too intimate when you are in public. High-end food can even be intimidating. You eat it, how? Is that cute little glass a shooter? Or a dipping sauce? (Remind me to tell you about Bones and the antelope shooters, sometime!)
So, yes, a certain number of people (sometimes me included) are going to dispense with all that and have Carlo make pasta on the stove at home.
And food-wise, that isn’t a problem. But food is a metaphor, remember? And the high-end stuff is Garrett. Before I got half –way through writing A Taste of You, I knew I would lose some readers over Garrett. He’s demanding and quirky and self-absorbed and difficult. Like his food, he is frequently not a comfortable ingredient. In fact, maybe he’s just too much trouble.
I thought a million times while writing this book that I should “fix” Garrett a little. But I’ve never had much control of my characters, and the more I thought I should change him, the less I could do so. Carlo and I love Garrett exactly the way he is.
I love cooking at home. I love casual dining and food trucks and the meatloaf my mom made. I also love snobby, arty, high-end food. The variety only makes me appreciate the unique aspects of each meal more.
I hope you push your personal food boundaries every now and then. I hope you try a new recipe at home, the funky food truck, or that high-end restaurant with the great reviews that just opened across town.
I hope you’ll give Garrett a chance. I know he won’t everyone’s favorite dish, but I hope he will be a memorable experience. I’m okay if a few of you don’t love him.
(That last sentence was a massive lie – of course I want you to love him just as much as Carlo and I do.)
Here’s a just a taste of Carlo and Garrett to whet your appetite.
Carlo stared down at his plate. “You made me a meatball sub?”
“Not exactly made.” Garrett sat across from him. “I got it from that little shit-hole window in Brooklyn.”
“Joe’s? In Brooklyn? You went to Brooklyn?” He glared across the table at Garrett, suddenly afraid of what the innocuous-looking sub might mean. “Am I dying?”
“Of course I didn’t go. Why would I do that? I got it delivered. Your nephew bilked me out of a fortune to bring it up here.”
“From Joe’s? In Brooklyn?”
“Why not? It’s your favorite, isn’t it?
Maybe, but it certainly wasn’t Garrett’s. Garrett was as likely to order a meatball sub from a hole-in-the wall place in Brooklyn as a hot dog from a street vendor. Carlo looked across the table at Garrett’s plate, which contained the same ingredients in a radically altered form. Thin slices of meatballs fanned across the plate framed by a smear of sauce. The bread had been sliced and toasted into thin crostini. Garrett had added his own tapenade. It looked delicious, but….
“That’s ridiculous.” Carlo pointed at the arty little plate. “Why can’t you just eat a damn sub like a normal person?”
“I’m not normal. Normal is boring. And you’re not dying. Eat your sub. It took me half an hour to make them understand how to pack everything so the bread wouldn’t get soggy, and now it’s going to be cold and soggy before you take the first bite.”
Carlo could have told him that it wouldn’t matter if the bread got soggy. Therein lay the beauty of a Joe’s meatball sub. You could leave half of it in the fridge overnight, and it would still be just as drool-inducing the next morning, soggy bread or no. And you could eat it standing in front of the fridge in your shorts. It didn’t require plating.
But, whatever the reason, Garrett had made a special effort. He had not only gotten the very thing that Carlo would want for lunch, he had assembled it with his own hands, and, ah, Carlo’s eyes rolled back and he thought he might have moaned. Maybe he was going to have to revisit his stance on the bread and the cold sub. Whatever Garrett had done while assembling and warming it….
Or maybe it just tasted better because Garrett had made it special for him. A thing Garrett would never make for himself. Yeah, Carlo was that pathetic because that could be it. He took another bite and let all the flavors have a party in his mouth. He followed it up with a sip of the wine, which got kinky with the sausage and red sauce and set off another explosion of flavor.
He came up for air when the sandwich had been reduced to a few drops of sauce on the plate.
Garrett’s plate was mostly untouched.
“What? You went to all that trouble slicing and dicing, and you’re not going to eat it?”
Garrett took a fussy bite of the meat. “The meatball is actually pretty good. Maybe a tad salty.”
“Fine. I give up. I don’t know what you have against regular food.”
“I could make a better one.”
“No. Don’t. Please, just don’t even.” Because he was sure Garrett could make a better one. Except the meatball would probably be the size of a pea. He would serve it in a spoon or some shit and call it an amuse bouche. It would be delicious. Real meatball subs everywhere would curl up and die of shame. He loved Garrett, god help him, and Garrett was a freaking genius in the kitchen, but he drove Carlo up a wall sometime with his quirks. Turning every damn thing he ate into a work of art was the best and worst of them.
Well. Not the worst. The worst was the never-ending string of men. Until Matt.
Hungry for more?
Click here to check out the review by Lily. She gave the book 4.5 stars.
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About the author
Irene Preston has to write romances-after all, she’s living one! As a starving college student, she met her dream man who whisked her away on a romantic honeymoon across Europe. Today they live in the beautiful hill country outside of Austin, Texas where Dream Man is still working hard to make sure she never has to take off her rose-colored glasses.
Irene loves to socialize. Stop by and say hello at any of her sites!