Review: Intercepting the Chef by Rachel Goodman

May Contain Spoilers

I’m not sure what attracted me to this title.  I am not  particularly attracted to stories with chefs, but I do like professional athletes.  So I thought what the heck, I’ll give it a try.  I wasn’t completely hooked at first, but as I got to know Gwen and Logan, I really started to enjoy this story.

Gwen has worked hard perfecting the menu at her famous chef boyfriend’s restaurant.  She wants him to enjoy every success, even while he’s busy with other pursuits to enhance his brand.  When the restaurant wins a prestigious award, Gwen doesn’t receive the thanks she anticipated.  Instead, her douchebag of a boyfriend fires her, throws her onto the street, and tries to tarnish her reputation as an up and coming chef.

Gwen reluctantly takes a position as the chef of Logan’s new steakhouse, Stonestreet’s.  She isn’t thrilled with either the menu or working for Logan, her brother’s best buddy and professional QB.  Still, beggars can’t be picky, so Gwen signs onboard with the new establishment, silently gnashing her teeth at the limited, unimaginative menu.

I think I was hooked by the fourth chapter.  While I didn’t like the first person POV at first (and as a general rule, I always prefer third person POV in romances), I grew to like both Gwen and Logan as they narrated their chapters.  They are both going through a bit of a rough patch. Gwen feels stagnant in her career and knows that Stonestreet’s is only a stopping point on her overall journey, and Logan is struggling to play through injuries.  Neither has a strong support network to back them up.  Logan’s father, a Super Bowl winning quarterback in his own right, wants him to concentrate on the game only. They spend hours going over game tapes, and Logan suffers his father’s criticisms in silence.  His manager is a prick, and I would have just fired the guy.  Period.  Game over, asshole.

Gwen’s parents are divorced, and her mother has always supported Chris, her football playing twin, more than Gwen. Gwen is like her chef dad, and she’s afraid of becoming just like him.  He failed with numerous restaurant ventures, driving him and Gwen’s mother to divorce.  Now his is pressuring Gwen to open her own place, chiding her for wasting her talent.  The parental pressures both Logan and Gwen face weigh heavily on them. They don’t want to tell their respective parent to go take a hike, even though following their advice would make them both miserable.

I didn’t think there was much chemistry between Gwen and Logan at first.  Intercepting the Chef used one of my least favorite tropes – no commitment buddy sex.  This is one of the most over used tropes in romance fiction.  Gwen stuck to her guns after Logan wanted a relationship, despite the protests of everyone involved in his football career.  Gwen, just having been burned by her douche ex, doesn’t want a public relationship with Logan.  She doesn’t think her career can survive it. That being the case, she shouldn’t have gotten involved with him in the first place.  And having sex in the locker room? Not a good idea if you are trying to keep things a secret.  I liked that Logan was the one pushing for something more, and that he realized that he needed to find happiness and a sense of fulfillment off the football field. 

Overall, this was an engaging read.  I liked both characters, enjoyed the football aspects of the story, and even enjoyed Gwen’s menu planning and ingredient shopping.  This is a great choice for a fun summer read.

Grade: 3.75 stars

Review copy provided by publisher

Excerpt

I took a long pull of the Cabernet, then braced a hand against the cold marble next to her shoulder, transfixed at how her pupils dilated, swallowing the band of brown. I leaned in farther, my mouth a fraction away from her ear. “But I’ve always wanted to know, black or something unexpected?”
She jerked away, bumping her elbow on the counter and rocking the stool. “What?”

I shrugged, despite the current of energy buzzing through me. “Your bikini. Would you sport black like everything else in your closet or a shade a little more interesting?”

Gwen stood, erasing what little space there was between us. Her unwavering gaze stayed locked on mine. “The only time I don’t wear black, Wonder Bread,” she said, splaying her fingers against my chest, the heat of her palm soaking straight through my T-shirt, “is when I don’t wear anything at all.” She winked, then sidestepped out of my reach, leaving my head spinning in her wake.

First points on the scoreboard awarded to Gwen Lalonde.
But there was still a lot of time left in the game.

About the book

“Smart, sexy, and funny” (Publishers Weekly) contemporary romance writer Rachel Goodman is back with a brand new series about a quarterback trying to score in the most important game of his life—the game of love.

Gwen Lalonde is a rising star in the eyes of the elite restaurateurs of the world. But when her celebrity chef boss and now ex-boyfriend fires her, she finds herself playing a different game. Forced to flee San Francisco and return home to Denver, Gwen lands a spot as the executive chef at Stonestreet’s, a new restaurant owned by NFL golden boy and Colorado Blizzards quarterback Logan Stonestreet. When Logan starts pursuing Gwen romantically, she pulls a classic duck and weave and avoids any advances by throwing herself into reestablishing her reputation in Denver.

But Logan Stonestreet is persistent—he didn’t become one of the best football players in the league by throwing in the towel at the first rejection. Something about Logan’s unwavering determination—and amazing body—keeps Gwen around, and soon there’s more that’s sizzling than just the steak on the grill. Things are getting more serious than either side cares to admit, and when Logan suffers a severe injury in the playoffs, they’re both forced to make game-time decisions. The perfect romance for football fans and foodies alike, Intercepting the Chef is a delicious read that’ll have you hooked until the very last play.

About the book

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