Title: In The Distance
Series/Universe: In The Kitchen #3
Author: Eileen Griffin & Nikka Michaels
Publisher: Carina Press< Publication date: June 15th 2015
Page Count: 257 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 Distance
Tyler Mitchell has worked hard to rebuild his life after his family kicked him out. A culinary student and sous chef who spends his spare time volunteering with kids, he’s happy enough even though he has no time to consider a relationship.
Trevor Pratt is finally getting over losing the one person he wanted to spend the rest of his life with, but it’s taken screwing every cute guy in Manhattan to get there. He’s vowed to repair the friendship he broke along the way, but that’s hard to do when his friend’s new employee catches his eye. Despite being warned to stay away from Tyler, Trevor turns on the charm.
Romance is a terrible idea. Trevor is ten years older and a relentless playboy. Tyler is still unsure of his place in the world. Neither of them is ready for life-changing love, but as things heat up, their chemistry in the bedroom might just take that decision out of their hands.
The first two books of the In The Kitchen series, In The Raw and In The Fire, followed bad boy chef Ethan and “Golden Boy” chef Jamie on their journey to a hard-won Happily Ever After. In The Distance, the third book in the series, has Ethan and Jamie stepping back into secondary character roles, giving center stage to the developing relationship between Jamie’s best friend Trevor, a New York-based Entertainment Manger/Trust-Fund Baby/playboy, and Tyler, a young culinary student and sous chef at Ethan and Jamie’s restaurant in Seattle who dedicates all his free time to volunteer work and giving back to the community.
I wasn’t sure I was going to like this book – Trevor wasn’t exactly my favorite character after the role he played in Ethan and Jamie’s break-up and separation, but he grew on me. He’s not really a bad guy, just someone born with privilege, who’s used to getting everything he wants except the person he wants the most. He couldn’t get Jamie to fall in love with him and he’s so scared that he won’t be able to get Tyler to love him either.
Tyler has never known the kind of privilege that Trevor takes for granted. Thrown out by his religious parents for being gay, Tyler was living on the streets when Ethan found him scrounging for food behind the restaurant he worked at. Ethan and Jamie have both taken him under their wings as a kind of an honorary little brother, giving him a job as sous chef at their restaurant and helping him out with culinary school. The two chefs are very protective of Tyler and when Trevor starts to show interest they both warn him away. But Tyler isn’t a kid anymore, and there’s a connection between him and Trevor that’s too strong to ignore.
I really enjoyed the love story between Trevor and Tyler. The two men are so different – in age, experience, social standing – they even live on opposite sides of the country. But they make it work. It’s not easy, they’re two very busy guys and miscommunications keep tripping them up, but what they have is worth it and they both know it. Even though I know it was awful of me, some part of me appreciated the karma of Trevor trying so hard to hold on to a long distance relationship after the way his meddling broke up Ethan and Jamie when they were struggling with their own long distance relationship. (I also really enjoyed the glimpses of Ethan and Jamie as co-chefs at their own restaurant and living a happily married life together)
I recommend this book to lovers of a good, ansty romance – In The Distance doesn’t have the focus on food that the first two books had, but it does have the same kind of opposites-attract, angsty romance and compelling story-telling that makes it hard to put down. While In The Distance can be read as a standalone, I really recommend reading the other two books of the In The Kitchen series for a more complete picture (and also because Ethan and Jamie’s love story is really worth reading).
Throughout In The Distance Tyler is pretty passionate about giving back to the community and helping people, particularly homeless youths like he had once been, through outreach and teaching. Purple Door Coffee in Denver, Colorado has a similar mission. The non-profit employs teens and young adults who have been homeless and want to leave homelessness behind, providing not only employment and job training, but also lessons in budgeting and bank accounts and help finding a place to live. Because I always love coffee for a cause, I’m recommending Purple Door Coffee Royalty Blend – a nice, smooth coffee roasted specially for Purple Door Coffee by Corvus Coffee Roasters.