Lively St. Lemeston, Book 4
Heat Factor: There are 9 chapters and they have sex 7 times
Character Chemistry: They are both making sacrifices for the other, “Gift of the Magi” style.
Plot: Betsy decides to seduce her boss, because it’s time for something to happen.
Overall: This was exactly the book I needed in the moment I read it. It’s short, sexy, fun, and thoughtful.
Robert Moon owns a fancy pastry shop in a small market town in the South of England. He desperately wants to marry Betsy, the shopgirl, but refuses to do so until the shop is on more stable financial footing. When an opportunity to take a large catering job with a big payoff arises, he takes it—even though his kitchen assistant is out of town and the job is for a difficult customer—because it means that he can finally propose.
Betsy, on her end, desperately wants to marry Robert, and so has spent the past year being the perfect employee. When Robert takes the catering job, Betsy jumps at the chance to show him that she is the perfect helpmeet in all parts of the business. And also decides that she’ll take their week alone in the kitchen to seduce him.
Here’s what’s fun about this book: Betsy and Robert do two things together. They make elaborate Regency sweets (GBBO nerds, rejoice!) and they bone in the kitchen. I mean, they also have conversations and stuff, but mainly, they cook and bone.
Well, I guess they also spend a lot of time dealing with their terrible client, Mrs. Lovejoy (who has neither joy nor love in her heart), who shows up every day needing attention and reassurance and who adds another impossible thing to her already impossible order. She is truly awful and acts as a good vehicle for highlighting what Betsy and Robert need to overcome on their way to true love.
Because what makes this book really shine as something more than a sexy kitchen rumpus is the struggle facing Robert and Betsy—both material and emotional. They are working class, but not, like, comfortable working class. Rather, they occupy a precarious position, where if things turn out perfectly, comfort might follow, but if they don’t…well, the poorhouse is definitely within the realm of possibility. And because of this, they work really hard, to the point of self-abnegation. A big part of the love story for both Robert and Betsy is therefore acknowledging their own wants and needs and desires as both valid and worth pursuing.
As Betsy says to Robert: “You are allowed to want things.”
TL,DR: I really liked this book.
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