Published by Emma Hart on April 18th 2017
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Dirty cocktails, deadly enemies with a red-hot attraction, and one big, crazy, Greek family--what could possibly go wrong?
Hiring my brother’s best friend was not on my to-do list. Neither was he. Expanding my dirty cocktail bar into food was supposed to be easy, except finding a chef in my little town of Whiskey Key is anything but. Until Parker Hamilton comes home—bringing his Michelin starred chef’s hat with him. He has no work. I need someone like him in my new kitchen.There’s just one problem: I hate his cocky, filthy-mouthed, sexy-as-hell guts. Even if I might want him. Just a little…
Working for my best friend’s sister? Not on my to-do list. She’s another story. Whiskey Key was supposed to be a relaxing vacation, except I haven’t reached the heights I have by lying in a hammock drinking cocktails. So when Raven Archer is desperate for a chef, I offer up my skills. I’m bored. She needs what I can give her. Except there’s a problem: I’ve always hated her. Her and her big, blue eyes, sassy mouth, and killer curves. If only I didn’t want her.
After the boatload of stories that churn out angsty pages of a woman pining for her brother’s best friend, “Mixed Up” bulldozes its way in and quite boldly goes where few authors have gone before. What is the brother’s best mate is in fact, an enemy of sorts and has been for years? What if, the dislike really isn’t a veiled attempt at annoying the girl or boy you secretly like? What if the dislike is real, up until the point where close quarters makes both parties re-evaluate what they know of each other?
This much describes the relationship between Parker and Raven, only that attraction suddenly comes into question when the former is hired to man the kitchen in her bar. Emma Hart does write their antagonism believably and does such a good job of ratcheting up the sexual tension through the insults that both Parker and Raven throw at each other.
The book is by and large, a light, near angst-free enjoyable read, though I felt we were more in Raven’s head than Parker’s. There’s so much focus on her crazy Greek family, the infamous Greek temper and the stereotypical embarrassing relatives that it sidelined Parker as well: I never quite found out why he left or lost his job in New York (other than the fact that he’s got 3 Michelin stars), or why he’d returned for the summer, despite Hart detailing the change in his own feelings for Raven as much as she did for the latter.
Thankfully, Hart keeps Raven and Parker mostly behaving as adults that they are – a descent into juvenile dialogue and behaviour would have killed the story for me – and I could definitely appreciate how the big brother business wasn’t blown out of proportion and I was in fact, pleasantly surprised by it. The HFN ending is also sort of understandable, considering how Parker and Raven were still finding their feet together, though I thought an epilogue further down the road would have been perfect.