With her debut novel, Thien-Kim Lam serves up a sexy second-chance romance about exes with unfinished business. When working together reignites their passion, will these former flames sizzle or get burned all over again?
Trixie Nguyen is determined to make her sex toy business a success, proving to her traditional Vietnamese parents that she can succeed in a nontraditional career. She's made a fresh start in Washington DC, and her first pop-up event is going well—until she runs into the ex who dumped her. With a Post-it note.
The last person Andre Walker expected to see in his soul food restaurant was the woman he left behind in New Orleans. Their chemistry is still scorching, but he's desperately trying to save his family restaurant from gentrifying developers. The solution? Partnering with his ex to turn Mama Hazel’s into a vibrator pop-up shop for hungry and horny clients.
Thanks to their steamy truce, both businesses start to sizzle and their red-hot desire soon reignites deeper feelings. But when Trixie receives an incredible career opportunity, will pride ruin their second chance at happiness?
Lam's choppy debut follows ex-lovers as they rediscover their blazing chemistry years after a messy breakup. Trixie Nguyen moves from New Orleans to Washington, D.C., for a fresh start as a sex toy sales rep after a fight with her parents over her nontraditional career goals. While coordinating a pop-up shop in Mama Hazel's, a soul food restaurant, she runs into Andre Walker, the ex who walked out on her two years ago with little explanation. Andre is shell-shocked to find a furious Trixie in the restaurant he owns with his sister. Though their reunion is tense, Trixie's event proves a successful way to bring in customers, so Andre offers her the chance to continue selling her products at Mama Hazel's, which has been struggling to stay afloat amid neighborhood gentrification. As their fiery passion reignites, Lam does a good job conjuring a sense of effortless intimacy between them. Less successful are the subplots about Trixie's work and family life, which feel forced and tangential. While the emphasis on Trixie's struggles to merge her Vietnamese and American identities is well handled, the impact her parents disapproval has on her life goes frustratingly underexplored. These hiccups make for a bumpy ride, but readers looking for sultry romance with a diverse cast will still find plenty to enjoy.