Series: Cactus Creek #1
Published by Self-Published on January 31, 2014
Genres: Contemporary Romance
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Romance has met its most unlikely match-up…
Luke Bradford is a chocolatier on a mission. After moving his chocolate shop, and newly single life, to the quirky town of Cactus Creek, Luke wants nothing more than to devote all his energy into making his business a success—by taking the romance market by storm. But his grand plans get thrown for a loop when he locks horns with the feisty beer-brewing beauty next door who calls his ‘romantic idealism’ a load of fairytale bull. Soon, driving the woman sparking nuts becomes another wickedly fun priority he simply can’t get enough of.
In his defense, she’s addictively easy to incite…and plain impossible to resist.
Beloved local brewmaster Dani Dobson is beyond riled up. It’s bad enough the new shop owner in town comes locked and loaded with both a distractingly rugged charm and sexy flashing dimples, but the whole only-in-the-movies variety of romance he’s selling—the kind her world has been crushed by before—is really doing a number on her allergy to unrealistic clichés. What’s worse, he’s created an annoyingly clever ad campaign that dubs ‘beer joints’ like hers as the “cave where romance goes to hibernate.” The nerve of that man.
Combustible chemistry or not, damn it, this means war. The stakes…very likely, her heart.
“…I’m just a guy who loves you so much that, even without the guarantee of the happily ever after, I’ll love you uncontrollably anyway.”
As a first time reader of Violet Duke’s work I would have to say that I was very impressed with this book. Love, Chocolate and Beer was nothing like I’ve ever read before and I thought the story was all around striking. It wasn’t just the beautiful romance between the main couple that caught and kept my attention but it was the overall uniqueness and inventiveness of the story.
It was unique due to the fact that there were these unmistakable gender role reversal involved. First was the fact that Luke was the chocolatier while Dani was the beer brewer. At first I was thinking maybe I misread that part, shouldn’t it be the other way around? It was a shocker for me and so unexpected.
Another thing that was quite startling is that Luke is the overtly romantic while Dani was pretty well guarded in that aspect. She was the one that had the commitment issues while Luke wanted it all from the very beginning.
I thought it was inventive with the way the author was able to describe the pairing between beer and chocolate. I found the entire process of creating luscious chocolates and flavory beer also quite interesting.
The way the couple challenged each other during their beer vs. chocolate battle was totally ingenious. What I found most remarkable was how their healthy competitiveness was able to involve and even influence the entire town (and then some). Their ideas were so innovative I couldn’t wait to read what they were going to come up with next.
I can’t begin to tell you how much I adored both Luke and Dani. There weren’t as many hot and steamy scenes as expected but that didn’t sway my opinion of them being compatible. I loved how they were equally passionate with just about everything especially their craft.
Luke was the one that demonstrated this passion more openly but towards the end Dani surprisingly was the one that transcended in that department. I thought the way their relationship developed first from a friendship was admirable. They took things slow which I think is an important building block to a lasting relationship.
The story did have a slower pace than my normal reads but that did not deter me from enjoying it ’til the very end.