Undercover Cook
by Jeannie Watt
(Harl. Super #1755, $5.50, PG) ISBN 978-0373-71755-2
****
Here is a very engaging tale in a series about brothers and sisters who basically raised themselves and now share responsibilities in a catering business. This is the story of Eden Tremont, the middle sister. Eden is a great cook and loves the freedom of the catering business. Her sister and she share the responsibilities for cooking and booking. On the side, she cooks for two families, dropping meals that can be frozen and eaten later. One family, the Ballards, own a resort not far from Reno and brother Justin often works there in his “spare time.” As a pastry chef and cake baker extraordinaire, that time is usually limited to three days a week, unless, like now, he is filling in for someone who is off. Their lives are nice, but Eden often wonders if there is a guy she can trust and love. Her ex, who at times still comes back to try to entice her back, is of the opinion that it shouldn’t matter if he has variety in women, as long as Eden is his number one. Of course, Eden disagrees and henceforth, wants a man who will be honest from the start.

Nick Duncan is a detective currently trying to pin down the bad guys in a drug and money laundering case. His confidential informant gave information about the resort where Justin works and then has come up missing. The trail leads to the Tremonts and their nice little catering business as the place where the money is laundered. There is no real evidence, so Nick gets into it with his lieutenant and ends up on 30 days suspension. When he finds out that the assisted living place where his grandfather is living will be going to the Tremont’s for cooking lessons, Nick manages to convince his grandfather that he needs to go too, to learn how to cook of course.

But really he wants to infiltrate and try to steal the info off the computers, so his finance man can look at it. Yup, not strictly by the book, but if they get the info, then they can backtrack to get the evidence legally. Luckily there isn’t any evidence to find, but it does lead them in the right direction to find the connection.

Of course, true love pops in and Nick and Eden are extremely attracted to the other. Now Nick has to figure out how much to tell Eden without giving away his game and losing her for lying. The story is a bit convoluted and the results are pretty predictable. But the author has given us believable characters who shine together and the supporting cast is both supportive and well written. This is the difference maker.

Eden and Nick are good together and their chemistry is hot. I loved Nick’s grandfather and his cronies who offer both sage advice and a dash of humor. Justin is an interesting guy and it looks like he is all set up for his story next. Take a chance on Undercover Cook and I think you will be pleasantly surprised.

--Shirley Lyons


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