Audio Review: Ari McKay – Striking Sparks (Dreamspun Desires#24)

51Posu-f-iL._SX302_BO1,204,203,200_Author: Ari McKay
Reviewer: Barb
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: Contemporary

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

Narrator: Rusty Topsfield

Summary:

The stakes are high and the heat is on.

Beau Walker, owner of the Barbecue Shack, needs the help of Jake Parnell, his one-time rival and secret crush, in a televised barbecue competition. Beau is a proud man, but the stakes are high, and smart, sexy Jake is his only hope, even if being around Jake reawakens the attraction he’s fought for years.

Jake left his hometown, determined to build a life somewhere his sexuality wouldn’t hurt his family’s restaurant business—and far away from hunky, obstinate Beau Walker. Then his twin, Josh, is killed, and Jake returns to support his brother’s wife and children. Despite his reservations, he agrees to go head-to-head against Beau on national television. Between stress and grief, as well as pride and determination, only one thing is certain—the heat between Beau and Jake extends well beyond the kitchen.

Review:

A very enjoyable, feel-good, down-home tale of two rival BBQ shack chefs deep in the heart of Texas.

When Jake’s brother dies suddenly, he rushes back to his hometown to help take care of his brother’s business, two kids, and pregnant wife. Jake knows Josh would have wanted him to come home to help keep the family on track financially, so he’s determined to give up his teaching career and run his brother’s BBQ shack. The problem is that the other popular BBQ shack in town is run by Beau Walker, Jake’s high school crush—a crush who never showed the slightest interest in Jake, and in fact, is actually the reason Jake went away to college.

And it appears their rivalry is going to remain strong when he finds out his brother and Beau had accepted a cook-off for the national Gourmet TV Network. But what he doesn’t know is that Beau is no longer the homophobic high school jock. In fact, he’s gay, he’s out, and he’s determined to rekindle the sparks he saw in Jake’s gaze when they were in school. That is, he will if he can get over his feelings of inadequacy. After all, he wasn’t brave like Jake, and he’s just stayed in his little ol’ hometown all these years.

This was such an enjoyable audiobook, in part due to Rusty Topsfield’s narration and in part due to the very well-written story of two very sexy cowboys and their very hesitant and shy approach to one another. And, let’s face it, it was also fun to be there when the heat index went up—and I don’t mean on the BBQ grills.

Those who read my reviews know I love these Dreamspun Desires stories—yes, they are based on old romance tropes—but this one is right up there among my favorites. Definitely recommended and definitely in audio format.

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