"A spell binding tale of two lost, battered people finally "getting" it together."
Reviewed by Kay Quintin
Posted May 28, 2012
Chef for hire and aspiring writer, Jolie Gardener meets and
greets her new employer in the kitchen in his birthday suit!
Totally awesome in his nakedness and admiring his six-pack
abs and very delectable other parts, he appears totally at
ease in his own skin. Jolie's arriving a week earlier than
expected from Domestic Gods & Goddesses has Todd Best, a
famous landscape artist and recent widower caught off guard.
After his wife's death 2 years ago Todd packed up and left
his business to his brother, lost the inspiration to paint
Unbeknownst to Jolie and Todd, they receive interference
from the Archangel Rachael since he has sent Jonathan Griff
to get his charges together, thus finally earning him his
wings. He never seems to "get it right" though, so this time
he is determined! Jolie, growing up in less than acceptable
foster homes has learned to hide her disappointments and
pain and move forth with determination and vigor. The upbeat
and somewhat talkative chef ultimately wraps Todd around her
little finger while at the same time he leaves her with
quivering thighs. Jolie's little "naughty girl" persona
peeps her head up occasionally leaving her hot and naughty.
Rounding a corner and smacking into an older gentleman
(Jonathan) begins her dream of the "happily-ever- after".
Ensconcing himself as a lost little white kitten which Jolie
names Boots, unusual little things happen to hurry the
process along, sometimes with an adverse reaction. Needing
his privacy, Todd will not tolerate anyone gaining their own
notoriety from stories or news of his personal life. Shortly
after drawn into using Jolie as his model and realizing he
is beginning to love again and finding inspiration in
portrait painting, the book Jolie is writing, fashioned
after her life with Todd, is discovered (again because of
the kitten) he is crushed. Just when love and super mind
blowing sex is a reality for both, this ends the affair. To
think Jolie would use him for her own gain causes him again
to withdraw from life. Being coerced into finishing Jolie's
portraits to sell as a fundraiser for homeless children and
reading the published book which Jolie DID NOT PUBLISH,
(again our little kitten?) he regrets his irrational
behavior sending her in hiding. All attempts at locating
Jolie have failed. The two of them always had the knack to
"get" each other but now how will he ever have that again.
I loved, loved BEAUTY AND THE BEST! Such a fulfillment of
the emotional and physical dreams of a woman who has fought
to make her a better life than what she has been dealt with.
Desiring above all, Jolie wants her own family filled with
love. BEAUTY AND THE BEST is a cute quirky tale full of
Jolie's little "naughty girl" mind conversations that make
this story amusing and keeps the reader chuckling all the
way through. Full of love, emotion and help from "Boots",
you will fall in love with BEAUTY AND THE BEST. This is just
the beginning of Judi Fennell's "Once-Upon-A-Time" series
and definitely a series I will complete. She is a fantastic
author with the ability to keep you laughing and crying at
the same time while glued to every word.
Can she cook up a recipe for love?
personal chef by day, aspiring romance writer by night,
likes to talk and does it a lot. She has to because if she
stops, all the pain, disillusionment, and abandonment of
her AWOL mother, question-mark father, and foster-care
childhood will rise up like a chocolate soufflé on
steroids, sweeping away the fragile infrastructure of her
life.But she's fine. Really. She is.
Or so she
Todd Best isn't fine. He knows it. And doesn't
After his wife died—the woman who believed in him
when he was a struggling artist—he put painting aside,
moved from their home, and lost himself in the minutiae of
Alone. Private. The way he likes it.
last thing he needs is some chatty cook seeping into the
perfectly bland canvas of his life.
Or so he thinks.
when Jonathan, a guardian-angel-in-training, turns himself
into a kitten to help these two lonely souls find a happily
ever after together, it ought to be a piece of cake.
so he thinks…
ExcerptThere’s a naked man in my kitchen.
The thought registered
just as the terse, “Who the hell are you?” had Jolie
Gardener spinning around faster than a figure skater on
He had the nerve to ask this? He of the broad
shoulders, six-pack abs, and other, nice, um, parts...
Really. A naked man. In her kitchen.
technically, she was in a naked man’s kitchen. Even more
technically, she was in a naked Todd Best’s kitchen—and
there wasn’t one hint of self-consciousness or
embarrassment on his part.
Of course with that body,
there shouldn’t be. The guy should flaunt his nudity for
the world to see. Which, at present, consisted of one
single, solitary person: Jolie Gardener, aspiring writer
and personal chef extraordinaire.
“Well?” His hands
slammed to his hips.
“You’re naked,” she squeaked, which,
really, was the only way to state that kind of
“I’m what?” Mr. Six-Pack Abs glanced
Jolie tried not to—so unsuccessfully it was
“Shit,” he muttered. “I am. I, uh, fell asleep
As butter sizzled in the new super-slick
omelet pan on the top-of-the-line range, Jolie’s gaze
alternated between some rock-hard abs and a scruffy eight
a.m. shadow while her fingers danced along the speckled
granite countertop in search of a napkin, placemat, oven
Mercifully, they scooped up a thick
dishtowel that, in her world, would constitute a very
plush, very luxurious hand towel from The Ritz or The Four
Seasons, but which, here, apparently, was used to soak up
water from designer flatware. She dangled it in the
direction of Mr. Au Naturel. “Here.”
He placed an empty
bottle of Jim Beam on the island countertop with a clink,
then took the towel with a grunt. “So, who are you, what
are you doing in my kitchen, and would you mind turning
She turned. “I’m the new girl the agency sent
“Hell. There better be some aspirin left,” he
muttered beside her, his bare (of course) feet making no
sound on the limestone floor.
She peeked over at him.
His eyebrow soared skyward.
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