Tangled Up in Tinsel
By Candis Terry
Release Date: September 26, 2017
Reviewed by Janga
Parker Kincade, the black sheep of his family for too many years, is doing his best to see that Sunshine and Vine, the restaurant that he is opening at the family vineyard is ready in time for the December wedding of his brother Jordan and Lucy Diamond (A Better Man), but renovating the barn his grandfather built as a restaurant site is no easy task—especially when he is still operating his food truck in Portland. Parker is determined not to let his family down, and Jordan’s groomzilla antics just add to the pressure. As if that were not enough, the Kincade siblings are still dealing with the recent death of their parents, the discovery of the vineyard’s precarious finances, and integrating half-sister Lili into the family. When Gabriella Montani shows up looking for a job, Parker knows that the sexy chef is one complication he does not need.
Gabriella is the daughter of celebrity chef Giovanni Altobelli. Estranged from her father since he and her mother divorced when Gabi was eighteen, she uses her mother’s maiden name. Gabi is driven by the need to prove her father wrong in his belief that she can never become a chef worthy of sharing his name. Knowing that she and Parker share the same philosophy about food, she sees a job at his restaurant as a way out of her stultifying job as personal chef to a lottery winner who views peanut butter and jelly as fine dining and as a way to establish herself as a chef independent of her father. When she offers to audition for the job by preparing a meal for Parker, she does not expect the potent attraction that flares between them or the passionate night that follows.
Parker and Gabi are focused on their careers, and neither is looking for a committed relationship. They agree on “One good night. A good time. Then tomorrow it’s back to business.” It turns out not to be that easy to keep their hands off each other and their hearts uninvolved. Just as they are on the verge of finding happiness they never sought, the secret of Gabi’s identity is revealed, and Parker, scarred from his parents’ deceit, rejects her. Parker and Gabi must learn to trust each other fully if they are to find their HEA.
Candis Terry once again displays her superb storytelling skills as she takes her readers to the Sunshine Creek Vineyard for the third time in Tangled Up in Tinsel. The central romance in this novel is an appealing combination of sizzle and sweetness. It is arguably the most sensual book in the series. Family drama adds conflict and interest. Parker wins hearts whether he is the sexy chef, the sensitive brother, or the lover, playful and intense by turn. Gabi has the strength to meet him as his equal in the restaurant and in their private life. They are both relatable characters, likable in part because their mistakes derive understandably from who they are. Parker’s declaration of love is a heart-melting, unforgettable moment.
The Kincades are all present, arguing, teasing, and supporting one another. Aunt Pippy is finally pushed into giving the siblings the details of their parents’ marriage, ending a thread that has run through three books. Gabi adds drama when she confronts her egomaniacal father, and her relationship with her Italian grandmother gives a needed softness to her story. These family contexts add depth to the story and to the characterization of the protagonists. Fans of the series will be pleased to be present for Jordan and Lucy’s wedding. The Christmas setting gives the book an extra sparkle, and Terry gives her readers the gift of some recipes, a fitting end to this foodie novel. I’m eager to try Nonni’s Ricotta Cheese Cookies with Lemon Icing myself.
If you like small-town romance that centers around the lives of a large, lively, loving family, I suggest you include this one among your Christmas reads this year. Counting half-sister Lili, there are four Kincades remaining. I hope Terry gives readers stories for them all. I haven’t been able to find out what is next, but I am most eager for the story of single-father Ryan, the eldest Kincade.