TANGLED UP IN TINSEL – Candis Terry
A Perfect 10
A Sunshine Creek Vineyard Novel , Book 3
Sunshine Creek Vineyard - Present Day California
Gabriella Montani might be the daughter of a famous Food Network chef with a string of restaurants, but that relationship ended years ago. Now she is a personal chef for a man who won the nation's largest lottery two years ago; a man who thinks peanut butter and jelly on crackers or microwave popcorn are gourmet treats. She has heard there is a new restaurant being opened at the Sunshine Creek Winery, and she is determined to get a job there. She might not have any formal training, but her grandmother in Italy taught her everything she knows, and she can be a famous chef if just given the chance.
Parker Kincade is living a crazy life right now. Last year his parents died, and they soon found his father had been taking money from the winery and it was in trouble. The last straw was an illegitimate sister they never knew anything about until she tracked the family down several weeks after their parents had died. Between his food truck, trying to renovate and turn an old barn into a restaurant, and host his brother Jordan's wedding reception just weeks away, Parker is harried and living close to the end of his nerves. It takes all his time to run his food truck and deal with four other brothers and a sister in addition to another sister, all of them dealing with the aftereffects of his father's cheating over twenty years before.
Gabriella suggests she fix a dinner for Parker as a sort of audition, even though it will be about two months before his restaurant is even open. After the dinner and discovering a mutual attraction, they agree to one night together and that's all. But after Gabriella quits her job, she tries to help Parker in any way she can to ease all the things going on in his life. Soon that “one night and that's all” has been broken and Gabriella gradually is making a place for herself in his family and his soon-to-be restaurant. But has Gabriella made a mistake by not mentioning who her father is, and leaving Parker in the dark about her family roots?
Candis Terry has pulled out all the bells and whistles for this exceptional story about families and trust. Parker and his brothers and sisters are dealing with the first holidays without their parents, but also about the upheaval in their lives due to his father's affair, and his taking money from the family winery. Parker is so busy he figures he has no time for a relationship with anyone, even if Gabriella soon becomes almost necessary to him. Gabriella has never mentioned her family to Parker other than her parents are divorced because of her father's affair. From the first day she meets Parker she can feel that he is a reliable and trustworthy man, one who treats women with respect; something she has looked for all her life. The delicate back and forth between Parker and Gabriella is a thing of beauty as written by Ms. Terry, truly an emotional relationship of humor and affection.
Secondary characters are all the brothers and sisters of Parker and his Aunt Pippy, the only person who has all the secrets of what happened to the children's parents' marriage all those years ago. Lili, the unexpected sister, and eighteen-year-old Nicole will have a particularly difficult time accepting the way their father treated them all their lives, making it difficult to form family ties.
TANGLED UP IN TINSEL is an outstanding story this month and rightly deserves my Perfect 10. Humor, love, lust, friendship and family dysfunction are balanced delicately and make up a terrific whole. Previous stories in the Sunshine Creek series are A BETTER MAN (April 2016) and PERFECT FOR YOU (February 2017). Perhaps their new sister, Lili, will be the next member of the family to find love. There are several yummy looking recipes at the back of the story, but really more than three ingredients are too many for me to bother with, but the Ultimate Mac and Cheese might be worth the effort. You'll love and maybe tear up a time or two before Parker and Gabriella can accept that they are made for each other.