The Red-Hot Chili Cook-Off by Carolyn Brown

CHILI
The Red-Hot Chili Cook-Off by Carolyn Brown
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Genre: Action/Adventure, Contemporary
Length: Full Length (300 pgs)
Heat Level: Sweet
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Aloe

Carlene Lovelle, co-owner of Bless My Bloomers lingerie shop, found a pair of fancy red-silk panties in her husband’s briefcase, and all hell is breaking loose. She custom-made those fancy bloomers herself—and she remembers the bimbo who bought them. If her husband had a lick of sense, he’d known there are no secrets in a town like Cadillac.

Carlene’s cohorts—and their mamas—plan to exact revenge on Lenny Joe where it’ll hurt the most: break his ten-year winning streak at the prestigious Red-Hot Chili Cook-Off. Never before has a woman dared to compete. But the ladies of Bless My Bloomers are cooking up a storm…and it seems the whole town is taking sides in the showdown.

Welcome to Cadillac, Texas, where the chili is hot, the gossip is hotter, and friends stick by each other, no matter what the challenge.

Carlene was living happily ever after. She has her own business and is doing well with it. She loves her husband and life was good. At least it was until she finds a pair of fancy-red silk panties in his briefcase and recognizes them. She made them for a client. And it appears her husband has been sleeping with the client. Carlene sees red all right, but it’s not just the panties!

Ms. Brown writes a rollicking romance story about a romance gone bad and several more going right. She takes three cousins and their mothers and combines their talents to make Lenny Joe regret stepping out on Carlene. The women are feisty, very different personalities, and they protect those they love. The husbands would be happy to help, but the women are sneakier and enjoying watching Lenny suffer.

The author got my attention when Carlene goes to confront her husband and runs into the woman who bought the red panties; she works at the same agency. As she talks about her hot weekend, she has no idea she’s fanning the flames of Carlene’s temper. When Lenny tells her to stop being silly and quit leaning against the corvette, she does. She climbs up on top of it with her heels and puts holes in the car top and hood. Can you imagine? He gets even by smashing her grandmother’s glass candlesticks, which breaks her heart.

It’s not over yet, though. There are more repercussions for Lenny, and the women are bound and determined to win the chili cook-off. Lenny has for years and they’re going to take that away from him. The fact that none of them know to cook shouldn’t matter. They just need a good recipe…

There are misadventures, food poisoning, and batches of chili everywhere before they’re through. It’s a good romp through the world of cooking and the final batch is something else. I don’t think I’ll make my chili that way. Ms. Brown added some cayenne pepper to her story and it’s a very enjoyable read. Why don’t you try it?

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