“Time cannot erase the love I feel for you, my friend.”
Levi has worked very hard to find a private corner of the world where his past can’t catch up to him. His life, with its fourteen-hour days working in the ranch’s kitchen, is a little humdrum, but he likes it that way. And it’s safe, because he lets no one get close.
While cutting onions one day, Cassidy sees a clip of a documentary on TV, and lo, he sees his old friend Levi, who he’s been looking for for years. The next day, he’s traveling west to Wyoming, taking a job as a chef at a guest ranch.
When Cassidy shows up in his kitchen, Levi’s world is turned upside-down.
A gay m/m cowboy romance with opposites attract, emotional scars, grumpy/sunshine, friends from childhood, and desire that simply won’t go away. A little sweet, a little steamy, with a guaranteed HEA.
4 out of 5 (very good)
THE COOK AND THE GANGSTER is the fifth book in the Farthingdale Ranch series, and this time, we have Levi's story. We find out just why Levi has always been a bit separate from the others, even when he tries to join in. We also learn about his youth, and the friendship he had with Cassidy - the one Cassidy is yearning for again. Now, I will say, this review also includes the bonus, so be prepared.
This was written with heart and soul, giving each of the characters depth and feeling. I loved catching up with the others in their cameos, although Kit played a bigger (necessary) role here than the others. The relationship between Levi and Cassidy is on from the start, simply because they already know each other, they have 'history'! Of course, that includes why Levi left so suddenly.
I had a couple of niggles with this book - nothing major and totally just me, but it wouldn't be a completely honest review if I didn't mention them. So, here we go:
"My Prince" - every time either one of them said this, I couldn't help but think of The Little Prince. I know it came from their childhood, but why so often?
Levi is one who holds onto things. He is still being careful even though he doesn't know why his mum ran from his dad all those years ago. It happened, she was scared, so he keeps on the low-down. And yet, in the midst of holding on, he accepts Cassidy's word that Uncle Mack is sorry. I would have been a bit more leery until I knew the truth for myself.
And there you go. Ninety-eight percent of this book is absolutely perfect but those two niggles just got me. Sorry, Ms North! I loved the bonus chapter and thought it finished off the story perfectly. I really hope we see more of these two as the series continues. Plus, I want to see the Tavern!
I was drawn into this sweet and sometimes steamy novel, set in beautiful surroundings and with great people. I absolutely recommend it. Another corker from Jackie North.
** same worded review will appear elsewhere **
* A copy of this book was provided to me with no requirements for a review. I voluntarily read this book, and the comments here are my honest opinion. *
Archaeolibrarian - I Dig Good Books!
Jackie North has been writing stories since grade school and spent years absorbing the mainstream romances that she found at her local grocery store. Her dream was to someday leave her corporate day job behind and travel the world. She also wanted to put her English degree to good use and write romance novels, because for years she’s had a never-ending movie of made-up love stories in her head that simply wouldn’t leave her alone.
As fate would have it, she discovered m/m romance and decided that men falling in love with other men was exactly what she wanted to write books about. In this dazzling new world, she turned her grocery-store romance ideas around and is now putting them to paper as fast as her fingers can type. She creates characters who are a bit flawed and broken, who find themselves on the edge of society, and maybe a few who are a little bit lost, but who all deserve a happily ever after. (And she makes sure they get it!)
She likes long walks on the beach, the smell of lavender and rainstorms, and enjoys sleeping in on snowy mornings. She is especially fond of pizza and beer and, when time allows, long road trips with soda fountain drinks and rock and roll music. In her heart, there is peace to be found everywhere, but since in the real world this isn’t always true, Jackie writes for love.