Title: Hot and Bothered (Hot in the Kitchen #3)
Author: Kate Meader
Publishing Date: January 27, 2015 (Print)
Genre: Romance, Contemporary
Buy Links: Amazon | B & N | BAM | iBooks | Indiebound
A Fire They Can’t Put Out . . .
Although her baby boy keeps her plate full, Jules Kilroy is ready to take her love life off the back burner. Despite a bevy of eligible bachelors, it’s her best friend, Taddeo DeLuca, who is fueling her hormones with a generous serving of his mouth-watering Italian sexiness. But Jules learned her lesson once before when she went in for a kiss, only to have Tad reject her. She’s vowed never to blur the lines again . . .
After a lifetime of excuses and false starts, Tad has finally opened a wine bar, a deal made even sweeter when Jules joins his staff. Lovers come and go, and he’s had his share, but friendships like theirs last forever. Still, ever since he tasted her luscious lips, he can’t stop fantasizing about what could be. Then she joins an online dating site-and the thought of his Jules with another man makes Tad’s blood boil. Even if he gets burned, Tad can’t stop himself from turning up the heat this time.
Hi Kate! Thank you so much for dropping by Girl meets Books. I’m so excited for you for the print release of Hot and Bothered and you already know how I feel (*very, very good*) about this book.
Thanks, Camille. Your support means a lot to me!
When you started your Hot in the Kitchen series, did you know that Jules and Tad should be together or did their relationship evolve as you wrote the series?
By the end of Book 1, I suspected those two would be together and I was already planting the seeds for their friendship and for friction between Tad and Jack (hero of FEEL THE HEAT, who’s Jules’ brother). I hadn’t written a friends-to-lovers story before so it made sense to do this as the third book. That way, they had time to become friends, time for Jules’ baby, Evan to become a toddler and develop a personality, and time for Jules to be at the point where she’s thinking she’d like to start dating again.
How did you go about creating a female character such as Jules? She has some pretty tough challenges in life that she has gone through and her disposition is really one the things that I admire about her. What was it like writing her character?
By the end of FEEL THE HEAT, Book 1 in the series, we know two things about Jules (spoilers for Book 1 here!): she’s pregnant and she’s dyslexic. By the end of ALL FIRED UP, Book 2, we know some more: she has a talent for cooking and she’s been living a fairly sheltered existence under her brother’s wing. I wanted to write Jules as a former bad girl who’s let her dyslexia fool her into thinking she’s not the smartest cookie. She’s used it to run from her problems and excuse some bad decision-making on her part. But now her life is back on track. She’s reconciled with her brother, Jack. She’s finally in the bosom of a family who loves her. She has friends, she adores her kid, she’s grown up so much. By the time HOT AND BOTHERED starts, she’s in a fairly good place in her life and now she wants to find a man! Part of her growth in this book is recognizing that she’s worthy of not just a good enough love, but a truly great love. She deserves to be wooed and wowed and whoaed – the question is whether Tad can step up to the plate and be the man she deserves.
Tad is just too sexy and too sweet for his own good (lol!). What are some of the things you love most about him or about writing his character? As for his particular look, did you have someone to base him on? Or if not, who would most likely play him if ever Hot and Bothered were to be made into a movie?
Aw, thanks for saying that about Tad – I’m sure he’d agree! Tad’s a bit of a playboy but when it comes to Jules he’s one hundred percent devoted to her as a friend. Which is really his problem. He thinks he can never be good enough because he made a bad decision years ago and it’s framed every decision ever since. Because the DeLucas are about family first and foremost, I knew that Tad’s wound would be related to his family. The death of his parents was so heartbreaking for him. I don’t usually write with people in mind for my characters but I think Joe Mangianello would make a nice Taddeo *wink*.
I love friends-to-lovers stories and one of the things I appreciated the most in Jules and Tad’s story is that their friendship was the real thing, if that makes any sense. Their friendship was a really solid foundation for a relationship, even if it would be completely of a platonic one. How was it writing this particular trope? And do you have favorite books that deal also with this set-up?
I was a virgin to writing the F-to-L trope and I only wonder what took me so long! The conflict is so delicious. The stakes are so high. The possibility of losing your best friend is JUST TOO RISKY. Friends know each other so well – all the faults and foibles, and are prepared to call the other one out when they start falling back into their usual patterns. The F-to-L romance often involves years of UNREQUITED LONGING, which means the sex scenes are filled with high levels of pent-up frustration and crazy levels of emotion. There might even be fear that the sex could be terrible. Oh noes! Everyone else thinks they should be together and usually acts in a very smug manner around the potential couple. Hilarity often ensues. Personally, I love the gradual dawning that occurs in the friends-to-lovers romance, where two people realize this person they can rely on through thick and thin, through good times and bad, is also the only person they want to wake up with and the last person they want to see at night. That “oh, it was always you!” moment gets me every time.
As for other books that do this well, one of favorites is Lauren Layne’s Just One Night. I did want to slap Sam every now and again, but that’s usually a good sign that I’m super invested in the characters. Lauren writes such smart, funny people. I love her!
I know that you have a new series coming out and I’m beyond excited for that one too. But will Hot and Bothered be the very last we’ll see all the Hot in the Kitchen series characters? Or is there a chance for a novella or spin-off somewhere down the road?
Well, I don’t have any plans to write another Hot in the Kitchen book. I’d thought about writing a book for Laurent, my cheeky man-whore French chef from FEEL THE HEAT, but other books took precedence. Maybe I’ll write a novella to catch us up, something like A DeLuca Family Christmas. Anything could happen!
Now, this is just random stuff for entertainment (^__^). Can you share with us the first word or phrases that come to mind with these words?
Apartment – building
Chocolate Sundae – want one
Balloons – 99 red
Twitter – tweet tweet
Sharpies – highlights
This was so much fun, Kate. Thank you so much for chatting with us today.
“Tip your chin up—yeah, just like that.” Click. “Now lean forward, lemme see those puppies.”
“Lili,” came the slightly embarrassed reply. Jules.
“Come on, don’t be shy. You have an amazing figure and—oh, perfect. Hold that.” Click.
Tad’s heart thudded insanely fast. He crept a few inches forward until he had cleared the pillar with his gaze. Lili had her back to him, shielding her subject, but he got a very healthy view of shapely legs inadequately covered by something red and soft-looking.
“You know, if you ever felt comfortable enough to go bare, I’d love to photograph you.”
Jules snorted. “I can see Jack’s face now.”
His cousin laughed. “We could insist he put it up in the dining room at Sarriette. He’d be so torn between wanting to encourage my art and being totally skeeved out.”
Girly giggles ensued.
My wild days are behind me,” Jules said on the downside of a laugh. “You wouldn’t believe some of the shenanigans I got up to back in London.” He heard her breathy sigh of reminiscence and strained to hear what salacious details might follow. This London version of Jules sounded like a woman he’d like to know.
“Oh, yeah? Spill, girl.”
“Well, there was one time I jumped in a fountain and stripped down to my—”
“Hey, cuz,” Lili said to him, a sly smile quirking one corner of her mouth. “How long have you been there?”
He patted the pillar he had just been leaning against/hiding behind like they were great pals. “Just got here.”
Lili’s smile turned slyer. “Didn’t expect you.”
“Do I need an excuse to come see my favorite cousin?” It came out a touch testy.
“Not at all. I just thought you’d be busy stroking your Cabs and Pinots.”
“Only do that on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Should I leave?”
“No, we’re just finishing up.” Lili sat at her iMac and hooked up the camera with a cable.
“All right?” Jules asked, almost shyly, as though they barely knew each other and in a way it felt like he was looking at her anew. The dress she wore was one he hadn’t seen before, a cherry-red, draped affair. One of those wrap-around deals that separated her breasts and flared over her waist. Not especially sexy but…
In that dress, she looked like she should be running the PTA, then going down on her husband in the Subaru in the school parking lot. Thankfully, that was years off because Evan was just an ankle biter… unless she hooked up with some lonely widower who already had school-age kids. Damn, that was a real possibility. He bet those websites were crawling with lonely widower fathers.
He was having problems catching his breath, a hitch that extended to his cock, which suddenly needed breathing room. To be perfectly honest, if Lili wasn’t there, he would be seriously considering unwrapping that dress and exploring the finely curved gift underneath. Jules stared back, probably wondering why he was ogling her like a just-released convict who hadn’t seen a woman during his fifteen and a third in the clink.
“Hey,” he said, finally responding to her greeting of about ten minutes back. He diverted his eyes away from her breasts to a good twelve inches north. Women 101. They preferred when you looked at their faces.
“Getting your photo taken?” he mumbled in a clear case of graduating summa cum laude from theSchool of the Freaking Obvious. His IQ had just dipped a hundred points.
“Uh huh. For my profile.” She blushed, and that’s when he noticed that she was wearing a lot of eye make-up. The smoky, sexy eyes that you saw on magazine models. She had done something different with her hair, too. It was tousled, fuck-me hair.
“My glamour shot, as Lili calls it,” she said with an eye roll. Can you believe what they’re trying to make me do?
His body clenched and he willed it to relax. Her glamour shot. She may as well have painted a sign: Come All Takers, Get Your Hot Mama Here. Lord knew he was trying to stop staring at her but he couldn’t tear his eyes away from all those damn curves.
“Is something wrong?” she asked.
“No,” he snapped, and then softer, “It’s all good.”
“I’ll just get changed,” she muttered, swaying away to the cover of an ornamental screen in the corner.
He blinked to get his brain in the groove and made inane chitchat with Lili about the plans for Tony and Frankie’s wedding anniversary party. If his parents had still been here it would have also been their anniversary. The couples had married in a double wedding extravaganza thirty-five years ago. He shoved that to the back of his mind with the rest of the shit he had succeeded in burying.
He was an absolute expert at it by now.
Jules walked out from behind the screen, pulling up the zip of her sweatshirt, but not so fast that he missed the sweet swell of her breasts in something thin and stretchy. Come on!
“Could I see how it came out?” she asked Lili as she set a suit bag over a chair.
“Sure.” His cousin clickity-clicked her screen.
Tad stole another glance at Jules. He couldn’t not look at her. A pearly pink glow had washed her cheeks and she looked so damn fine, he wanted to lick every inch of her. He turned back to the screen and what he saw wasn’t much better.
She looked fucking gorgeous.
Well, she always looked gorgeous, whether she was in baggy sweats or a frayed tee that had seen better days. Even when she looked like she was falling asleep on her feet, she never failed to look amazing to him.
Now she looked amazing to the world.
I’ve read, loved, and reviewed this book a while back. You can check out my review HERE! ^_^
Kate Meader writes contemporary romance that serves up delicious food, sexy heroes, and heroines with a dash of sass. Originally from Ireland, she now makes her home in Chicago, a city made for food, romance, and laughter – and where she met her own sexy hero. When not writing about men who cook and the women who drool over them, she works in an academic library. Visit her website at http://katemeader.com and follow her on Twitter @kittymeader.
Connect with Kate Meader:
Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads
A set of Kate Meader’s Hot in the Kitchen series, including FEEL THE HEAT, ALL FIRED UP, and HOT AND BOTHERED
5 print copies of HOT AND BOTHERED by Kate Meader
Have you read any of Kate’s books? Do you enjoy reading friends-to-lovers type of books? Do you have your favorites?