***Thank you to Harlequin/Graydon House Books and NetGalley for the ARC with the understanding that any review provided will be my honest opinion of the book.***
Twentysomething Allie Simon is used to playing by the rules—until Chicago’s most sought-after, up-and-coming culinary genius, Benji Zane, walks into her world and pulls her into his. The only thing more renowned than Benji’s mouthwatering masterpieces and equally luscious good looks? His struggle with addiction and his reckless tendency to live life on the edge, no matter the havoc he wreaks along the way. But loving someone means supporting him no matter what, or so Allie tells herself. That’s why, when Benji’s offered the chance to light up foodie hot spot Randolph Street with a high-profile new restaurant, Allie takes the ultimate risk and invests her life savings in his dream.
Then one day Benji disappears, relapsing to a place where Allie can’t reach him. Left with nothing but a massive withdrawal slip and a restaurant that absolutely must open in a matter of weeks, Allie finds herself thrust into a world of luxury and greed, cutthroat business and sensory delight. Lost in the mess of it all, she can either crumble completely or fight like hell for the life she wants and the love she deserves.
With razor-sharp wit and searing insight, Emily Belden serves up a deliciously dishy look behind the kitchen doors of a hot foodie town, perfect for fans of Sweetbitter and The Devil Wears Prada.
Allie Simon is a social media director who values hard work, friends, and family. She's worked hard to save money and get her career established in Chicago at the ripe old age of 25 she's managed to put $31,000 in her savings. She then finds hot, up and coming chef Benji Zane while monitoring her company's social media feeds. A few flirty messages later and she ends up on a date with him that leads to a hot hookup. It all starts so casually that Allie finds herself ignoring the many stories that surface about Benji's drug habit. This all changes one night after a particularly bad time for Benji. He goes on a cocaine bender and the next thing Allie knows, Benji has announced to the whole world that Allie is his girlfriend and then shows up at her apartment announcing that he is going to quit using cold turkey and moves in with her. Flash forward a few months later and Benji has been offered the deal of a lifetime. There is a big time investor looking to open a restaurant with Benji as the chef. The only catch is he needs to come up with 10% of the cost to become a partner.
This story had me feeling very frustrated with Allie as the main character. She is indeed a "hot mess" and I found her sort of hard to relate to. The way that she almost seems like she has no control over her own life drove me insane but I also have never been in a situation with someone like Benji. I did enjoy the book overall. I really liked watching Allie can her confidence back and end up taking charge and embracing the changes in her life due to her relationship with Benji. I really, really liked the fact that Allie, her new chef, and her partner become a trio of independent, successful business women. I would give this 3 out of 5 stars.