Title: In The Raw
Series/Universe: In The Kitchen #1
Author: Eileen Griffin & Nikka Michaels
Publisher: Carina Press
Publication date: October 6th 2014
Page Count: 209 pages
Age Rating: Adult (explicit sexual scenes)
How I got my hot little hands on it: Received an ARC to review
Publisher’s page: In The Raw
If you can’t take the heat…
James Lassiter has had a crush on fellow culinary student Ethan Martin for three years, but has never had the guts to make a move. Putting himself out there is hard, especially when under the thumb–and wallet–of his overbearing parents. Now that bad boy chef Ethan–who is always vying with Jamie for best in class–is struggling with the pastry course, Jamie suddenly has a reason to reach out.
Ethan doesn’t mean to be an ass–okay, so mostly he does–but even though he’s secretly hot for Jamie, he sure as hell doesn’t want help with pastry. Ever since his dad walked out, Ethan has been the one to hold things together and he’s done fine on his own. Except that he can’t get his cake to rise.
Jamie could be the answer to what Ethan’s been missing his whole life–someone to depend on. But with the two competing for the same scholarship, things suddenly get too hot to handle. And if Jamie finds the strength to go for what he wants, he isn’t about to settle for what he needs.
As a fan of cooking competition shows, I knew I was going to like this book. Those who enjoy cooking or cooking shows will love the familiar cooking methods and terms that provide the flavor for this book (see what I did there? ), but they’re used and explained in such a way that even if you have no experience with these things going in, you’ll still be able to enjoy it. And I did, I really enjoyed this book, as much for the culinary school setting as for the great main characters.
Tattooed bad boy Ethan, a talented chef with a bad attitude and a filthy mouth, learned the hard way years ago never to need anyone. Now in his third year of culinary school, Ethan is failing pastry class, badly, and he’ll never be in the running for the scholarship he desperately needs if he can’t learn those necessary skills.
Enter Jamie, also competing for the scholarship. Nicknamed “Golden Boy” by Ethan, Jamie was born with a silver spoon in his mouth and grew up given everything he could want or need – except the freedom to do what he wants and love who he wants. The scholarship competition could put him on the track to achieving both, providing him a way to follow his own career path, one chosen by himself and not his parents, and giving him a reason to get closer to the standoffish Ethan by offering some private tutoring to his fellow competitor.
Despite the passion that flares between Ethan and Jamie whenever they get within three feet of each other, the path to a relationship doesn’t run smooth for these two, but both know the value of working hard for what you want no matter the obstacles, and both know what they could have together is worth it.
There are plenty of intimate scenes spicing up this romance (sorry, I can’t seem to help myself with these cooking puns!). The scenes are explicit and well-detailed, almost bogged down with details sometimes, but the result is very long, sensuous love scenes.
The cooking, the characters, the angst, the passion Ethan and Jamie share – I really liked In The Raw and I’m currently reading the next one in the series, In The Fire, and enjoying that book as well. This series is a bit angst-ridden, but I’m loving the interactions and intensity between Jamie and Ethan and I’m really rooting for them and their Happily Ever After.
Between pastry class scenes, the boys’ practice sessions, and the scholarship competition, there’s plenty of dessert making going on in In The Raw, and to be honest it made me really crave some of those yummy sounding sweets – including my favorite, chocolate éclairs. To that end, I’m recommending Schuil Coffee Co. Chocolate Éclair – reminiscent of my favorite pastry dessert, this coffee has subtle tastes of sweet creamy filling, delicate pastry, and milk chocolate.