Her Secret Ingredient is a short story in Totally Bound’s What’s Her Secret? range of books. This one, penned by Lisabet Sarai, deals with cooking, and, as you’ve probably guessed from the title, secret ingredients.
Mei Lee Wong, also known as Emily, is a chef from Hong Kong who’s been invited to appear as a guest on the Tastes of Frances food channel. Naturally, she jumps at the chance. It’ll be fantastic for her career, and she’ll get to work with the world-famous founder of the network, Etienne Duvalier. As a total perfectionist and a stickler for classic French cuisine, Emily suspects Etienne will be difficult to work with, but it’ll be worth it for the sake of her culinary career.
Sure enough, he’s not impressed with the Oriental twists that Emily likes to give French dishes, and Emily’s torn between fighting her corner and bending to his will to keep him happy. Adding to the complications is the fact that the master chef is drop-dead gorgeous, and Emily’s got the serious hots for him.
Hoping to snag her man and make her life easier at the same time, Emily spikes her profiteroles with an Oriental aphrodisiac given to her by her grandma. Unfortunately, things don’t go as planned, and the show’s producer, Harry Sanborne, ends up eating the food she’s prepared for Etienne. When the aphrodisiac takes effect, they’re both surprised – but in a good way, especially as Harry is incredibly good between the sheets. However, Emily is aware that Harry isn’t as influential as Etienne, so she tries once more to get M. Duvalier exactly where she wants him. The unexpected results threaten to ruin her TV career forever—until Harry proves he’s more than just an excellent lover.
Her Secret Ingredient was a great short story. I loved the unique plot, the realistically drawn characters and the writing style, and whizzed through the book in a couple of sittings. The only downside was what felt like a slightly abrupt ending—I wanted more from this story, these characters, and would love to find out what happens next. Recommended as a quick read to erotic romance fans.