Reviewed by PizzyGirl
TITLE: Striking Sparks
SERIES: Dreamspun Desires
AUTHOR: Ari McKay
NARRATOR: Rusty Topsfield
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
LENGTH: 5 hours, 10 minutes
RELEASE DATE: January 27, 2017
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.
I thought this story was cute. It was super predictable, but it fit perfectly into the Dreamspun Desires line. Rusty Topsfield’s narration captured that small town feel without catapulting into stupid redneck territory. His voices didn’t always reflect the way the authors described the characters, but overall his reading was fun and enhanced my listening experience.
Jake and Beau were awesomely small town and so utterly stuck in their own heads that I wanted to smack them quite frequently. Each could acknowledge that maybe they behaved inappropriately in the past, but also refuse to acknowledge that maybe their understanding of that same behavior was also inappropriate. But then, hey, we have all been young and emotional so I can totally understand and chuckle at the situation.
And I think that is why I liked this story so much. It wasn’t that it was a fabulous tale, it was predictable as I said. It didn’t have a huge plot and the plot that was there really didn’t impact the romance at all. The cooking show was superficial at best and the authors didn’t really do much with the competition other than use it as an excuse for these men to hash things out. The whole premise was over the top yet low angst and slow paced, but I love that the men’s reactions felt real.
Even with the story not being super deep or dramatic, I was hooked from the very beginning because I just KNEW these men would figure it out and be happy together forever! I was in the mood for something with a HEA but without all the drama and heartache. This one fit that perfectly and I will listen to this one again when I need something easy on the heartstrings.