In this warmhearted and charming debut from Tif Marcelo, a food truck chef and her long lost Army love clash when they cross paths in San Francisco.
Camille Marino has got a full plate. As the sole guardian of her eighteen-year-old sister and the head chef and owner of a food truck, she’s used to life being a juggling act. With food to cook, social media accounts to manage, and a little sister to look after, she doesn’t have time for much else.
That is, until Drew Bautista walks back into her life.
Drew is Camille’s former high school crush and he returns to San Francisco to repair his relationship with his father before he ships out for deployment. By helping his father renovate his failing Filipino restaurant, he hopes to win back his respect. But when sparks fly between Drew and Camille—his father’s major competition and sworn enemy—Drew is conflicted. Should he join his father in the war against her food truck? Or surrender to the woman who’s given him a second chance at love?
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wonderfully rich second chance romance with a foodie theme
4.5 stars – Rounded
A wonderfully rich second chance romance with a foodie theme, Tif Marcelo brings us the story of Camille and Drew, some years after their first romance soured. Having had a restaurant that was on the edge of being the next big thing, refusing to serve one rowdy but well-known favorite sport hero left Camille with few options and a need to leave. Picking up her life with a busy and well-regarded food truck, she’s managing her work and her younger sister that she cares for, and little room is left for other things. But a chance encounter with her high school ex, back in town to help with his father’s Filipino restaurant: the two come face to face for the first time in ages. As direct competition to Drew’s family restaurant, there are choices: work on his relationship with family and shun and battle Camille and her truck, or take a chance at love with Camille once again.
I was so pleasantly surprised with this debut: Marcelo obviously knows her characters well, and she’s added scenery, smells and food to enliven and deepen the story’s impact. With both Camille and Andrew having a wonderful sense of family loyalty, determination and a never-say-die attitude toward achieving their dreams, they are perfectly suited, even as I felt that Camille would have known that the restaurant she is parking in front of (and taking business from) was also the family business of her newly reacquainted love interest.
Their early story is provided in flashback, and when you combine those sweet and innocent moments with the actual sparks that flash between them now, the cuteness overload on this one was high. While not without a few repeat issues and one thread that just got old quickly, the story was engaging, adorable and clever: clever enough that I’m curious to see what the next in the series will bring.
I received an eArc copy of the title from the publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.