A brew of Kitchen Voo Doo, Match Making Wizardry, with a pinch of Disharmonious Joint Custody which create an impressive Romantic concoction filled with Humor, Conflict, and Steam! Be prepared to get hungry when you read this novel. Each chapter of “Just Say Yes” is prefaced with a “quote” from the Kitchen Witch about a commonly found fruit, spice, vegetable and what emotion it could elicit when consumed. If you are a “foodie” “Just Say Yes” is right up your alley!
Jade is a single mother of a precocious (in the most awesome way possible) pre-teen girl, and she works from home as a computer programmer. They have a kitchen that is seldom used as a result of … it’s frightening. They also don’t cook that much anyway but the kitchen has some serious hair-raising issues. Conveniently, Jade’s daughter, Evie, met a woman at the Farmers’ Market the previous week. Opal owns a restaurant in town that serves some funky dishes and interestingly packaged foodstuffs. Jade’s suspicions are confirmed when Opal says there is someone she wants Jade to meet, Yet, in no way was Jade expecting the “Greek god” sitting at a booth he had obviously claimed as his own. Max happens to be a contractor that does good work with kitchens, ask his Yia Yia (grandmother). Max initially is not interested in taking on any work right now but as he keeps talking to Jade his mind is changing more and more. Jade also had no intention of remodeling her kitchen at this time but maybe it was the chocolate-cherry-blueberry bark which, one eats when “romance needs a little push, a little vote of confidence. For those days there is chocolate-cherry-blueberry bark. The blueberries will calm your nerves, the cherries will amp up you seductive wiles, and the chocolate means you’ve scored already. – Witch in the Kitchen. Bark Is Better with Bite”. Suddenly Jade who hasn’t so much as winked at a man in years is getting her flirt on and even more the gorgeous contractor is teasing and charming right back!
Before long Max and Jade have an appointment to negotiate the kitchen re-do on “neutral territory”, Opal’s restaurant, there they discover their mutual love and reverence for Sci-Fi and Comic Book trivia. Nevertheless, Jade is quite guarded, her ex did quite the number on her, she trusted him and he broke her heart and she may never be able to trust anyone again. Especially after Jade discovers curiously effusive Angie’s List reviews. She suspects he may be a contractor that goes the “extra” mile for his female clients, which raises red flags all over her already skeptical mind. This is one of the issues that continues to stymie Max and Jade’s relationship from moving forward.
And yet, there is no denying there is a forceful attraction between Max and Jade that she cannot evade. Opal has invited Evie, Jade, Max, and a guest of his choosing to her experimental “dinner parties”. These dinner parties bring together exceptional people to try fascinating dishes, engage in captivating conversation, and perhaps distill relationships. The party guests at these functions are colorful to say the least and the functions themselves are quite literally entertaining.
Most of the secondary characters in “Just Say Yes” are marvelous. Evie is magnificent, she’s a drama kid, a scheming little matchmaker, and just darn funny. Yia Yia is outrageous, I kept expecting her to hop on a motorcycle and head off to her next adventure on her own! Opal is wise and wonderful. Elena the nosy next door neighbor and friend is a hoot and a half!
The ex is a douchey, presumptuous man who has an insufferable and entitled fiancée. Bride-zilla’s pushy and audacious expectations from Evie, as well as Jade, are insufferable and show how emotionally crippled Jade really is because Jade can’t say “No” to them. Despite her deepening feelings of love for Max she, at the same time, cannot unequivocally say “Yes” to him.
All of this leads to an extremely tense conflict between Jade, her ex-husband, Max, and Evie that is handled extremely well and adds so much to “Just Say Yes”.
Max is a fantastic Hero, he’s strong yet patient and understanding. Jade as a Heroine is more difficult to pin down. She works for this novel because she’s a single mother and has to analyze her decisions not only for herself but what is in the best interest of her child. However, I think there are a lot of moments that she could have pulled up her big girl panties and just talked out her fears with Max. Also it really annoyed me how much she allowed herself to be walked all over by her husband and his fiancée. What they were asking of her, to me, would have made her seem humiliating in her daughter’s eyes. But that’s just me.
“Just Say Yes” is a great read. The sex scenes are sparkly and at the same time intense. The story is fun and poignant. The characters, primary and secondary, develop and grow. The storyline is engaging and has conflict. “Just Say Yes” brings all of the ingredients to the table and creates a satisfying and delightful experience.
I’m giving “Just Say Yes” 4 Lightning Bolts and a Gale Warning.
This novel was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.