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If You Can't Take the Heat

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Whitney Bartolina gets what she wants. At just thirty-four, she’s worked her way up from mailroom coordinator to casting director at a major Los Angeles television network and had a string of steamy flings, most recently with movie star Nolan Rivera. But when two of the contestants she casts on a new reality cooking show turn out to be as talented in the bedroom as they ar Whitney Bartolina gets what she wants. At just thirty-four, she’s worked her way up from mailroom coordinator to casting director at a major Los Angeles television network and had a string of steamy flings, most recently with movie star Nolan Rivera. But when two of the contestants she casts on a new reality cooking show turn out to be as talented in the bedroom as they are in the kitchen, Whitney may have finally bitten off more than she can chew. Conducting auditions across the country and looking for a bit of fun after Nolan, Whitney finds it in Chicago with Charlie Hutchins, a deliciously handsome British rugby-player-turned-chef whose spicy Szechuan beef is only the start of his sizzle. Then, in Montana, close encounters with sexy but mild-mannered cowboy and restaurateur Wes Rancourt leave her mouth watering for more. Back in LA for filming, Whitney soon finds herself caught in a love square with Charlie, Wes, and Nolan, who’s stopping at nothing to win her back. Will she jeopardize her career by mixing business with pleasure, or can she turn up the heat without getting burned?


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Whitney Bartolina gets what she wants. At just thirty-four, she’s worked her way up from mailroom coordinator to casting director at a major Los Angeles television network and had a string of steamy flings, most recently with movie star Nolan Rivera. But when two of the contestants she casts on a new reality cooking show turn out to be as talented in the bedroom as they ar Whitney Bartolina gets what she wants. At just thirty-four, she’s worked her way up from mailroom coordinator to casting director at a major Los Angeles television network and had a string of steamy flings, most recently with movie star Nolan Rivera. But when two of the contestants she casts on a new reality cooking show turn out to be as talented in the bedroom as they are in the kitchen, Whitney may have finally bitten off more than she can chew. Conducting auditions across the country and looking for a bit of fun after Nolan, Whitney finds it in Chicago with Charlie Hutchins, a deliciously handsome British rugby-player-turned-chef whose spicy Szechuan beef is only the start of his sizzle. Then, in Montana, close encounters with sexy but mild-mannered cowboy and restaurateur Wes Rancourt leave her mouth watering for more. Back in LA for filming, Whitney soon finds herself caught in a love square with Charlie, Wes, and Nolan, who’s stopping at nothing to win her back. Will she jeopardize her career by mixing business with pleasure, or can she turn up the heat without getting burned?

30 review for If You Can't Take the Heat

  1. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer Kyle

    4.25 STARS Melissa Brown delivered an enjoyable, sexy, entertaining story that even this non-cooking show fan appreciated. The heroine is a casting director who travels to ten cities in a month looking for the perfect contestants for the network’s new show, The Great American Cook-Off. The grand prize is their own television show on the network. The story is well written and I just loved the heroine and her three choices for her forever hero. Whitney Bartolina, is a strong, relatable heroine who h 4.25 STARS Melissa Brown delivered an enjoyable, sexy, entertaining story that even this non-cooking show fan appreciated. The heroine is a casting director who travels to ten cities in a month looking for the perfect contestants for the network’s new show, The Great American Cook-Off. The grand prize is their own television show on the network. The story is well written and I just loved the heroine and her three choices for her forever hero. Whitney Bartolina, is a strong, relatable heroine who handles all her relationships in this book with tack. She has been in an on again off again relationship with actor, Nolan Rivera. During her travels she meets the British former Rugby star turned chef, Charlie Hutchins and sexy cowboy restaurateur, Wes Rancourt. ”Two hot guys wanna nail you and your movie star ex won’t leave you alone. Boo hoo.” I loved how the author has Whitney juggle her relationships. Once a decision to be exclusive is reached she quickly cuts off the remaining two men, not without drama on their end of course. I personally have never dated more than one guy at a time and it seems to take a great level of maturity and honesty. All men were hot and well written however the one that wins her heart and mine in the end was the perfect choice! ”Adventures taken together, not apart.” **ARC provided by Netgalley in exchange for an honest review**

  2. 4 out of 5

    S.M. West

    3.5 STARS I enjoyed this one. It was fun, light and sexy and very different from the only other book I've read from this author, which I really enjoyed. My main issue and this is just me and nothing to do with the book was the heroine's harem of men. Okay, I exaggerate, there were three men. I just started to get whiplash with all the different love interests. There's no cheating as she's open about not being exclusive but it does get icky as these kinds of things can. In the end, I was glad with 3.5 STARS I enjoyed this one. It was fun, light and sexy and very different from the only other book I've read from this author, which I really enjoyed. My main issue and this is just me and nothing to do with the book was the heroine's harem of men. Okay, I exaggerate, there were three men. I just started to get whiplash with all the different love interests. There's no cheating as she's open about not being exclusive but it does get icky as these kinds of things can. In the end, I was glad with who she choose, I'd swooned for him from the get go! **ARC provide via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.**

  3. 4 out of 5

    Pavlina Read more sleep less blog

    **ARC provided by Netgalley in exchange for an honest review** **ARC provided by Netgalley in exchange for an honest review**

  4. 5 out of 5

    Duchess Nicole

    I couldn't connect with this heroine. She is a professional woman on the road with her company but gets drunk, sleeps with prospective clients, and gets her flirt on quite a bit. She's also a little too casually promiscuous for me. I'm not a fan of the hero or heroine sleeping with anyone during the story, and she sleeps with more than two men. Just not my kind of girl. Advance copy provided by the publisher for review. I couldn't connect with this heroine. She is a professional woman on the road with her company but gets drunk, sleeps with prospective clients, and gets her flirt on quite a bit. She's also a little too casually promiscuous for me. I'm not a fan of the hero or heroine sleeping with anyone during the story, and she sleeps with more than two men. Just not my kind of girl. Advance copy provided by the publisher for review.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Simply Love Book Reviews

    Afrodyt's review posted at Guilty Pleasures Book Reviews Hollywood casting director, Whitney Bartolina, is tasked with finding the next reality TV chef. She's confident in all aspects of her life, except with relationships. While juggling a 9-city casting tour, she's also dealing with the drama from her on again/off again relationship with her boyfriend, Nolan. After finally dumping him for the last time, she decides to follow the old adage, "the way to get over a guy is to get under a new one." Afrodyt's review posted at Guilty Pleasures Book Reviews Hollywood casting director, Whitney Bartolina, is tasked with finding the next reality TV chef. She's confident in all aspects of her life, except with relationships. While juggling a 9-city casting tour, she's also dealing with the drama from her on again/off again relationship with her boyfriend, Nolan. After finally dumping him for the last time, she decides to follow the old adage, "the way to get over a guy is to get under a new one." So she's following her libido's lead first with Charlie, a hunky Brit who's a contestant in Chicago. Not a total conflict of interest, but not the best choice of a bedmate. Then she meets Wes in Montana, a sexy restauranteur who intrigues her by not hopping directly into bed with her, but insists on getting to know her first, content to make her wait for his goodies. What's clear is that Whitney is on the rebound. She's successful in her career but has a lot to learn when it comes to following her heart and being in a loving, committed relationship. With Charlie, she gets a guy who's gregarious, fun and spontaneous. He's great in bed and doesn't take things too seriously. With Wes, she gets a man who's more mature and who may not give her what she wants when she wants it, but is very adept at giving her exactly what she needs. As someone who loves watching cooking competitions, I thoroughly enjoyed those aspects of the story. I loved that this is a fresh, contemporary storyline. The characters were interesting people, their problems were real and the solutions were believable. Melissa Brown did a fantastic job portraying the sexual dynamics of the story. It's rare that I read a heroine that has taken multiple partners in a book and be able to keep her head on straight. Each encounter felt unique and when she finally chose her leading man, you felt the difference in raw heat and passion and emotions. This story restored my confidence that there are still great contemporary romance stories to be told. Excellent read! Review copy provided for an honest review.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Nashville Book Diva

    Whitney Bartolina aka drama queen heads a cast of characters in a reality TV cooking show romp. After parting ways with her addictive man candy ex, Nolan Superstar Rivera, Whit hits the road in a nationwide talent search. Riding on this endeavor is a cash bonus that Whit intends to give to her mom. Rosa, a charming, hard-working woman, has always been there for her. Although a bit misguided in her outlook on men and understanding her daughter’s need for independence, the mother-daughter rela Whitney Bartolina aka drama queen heads a cast of characters in a reality TV cooking show romp. After parting ways with her addictive man candy ex, Nolan Superstar Rivera, Whit hits the road in a nationwide talent search. Riding on this endeavor is a cash bonus that Whit intends to give to her mom. Rosa, a charming, hard-working woman, has always been there for her. Although a bit misguided in her outlook on men and understanding her daughter’s need for independence, the mother-daughter relationship is poignantly portrayed in how a woman might both love and not aspire to repeat a parent’s mistakes. Whitney is depicted as tough. A career-minded Tinsel Town exec who takes zero guff. Yet there are parts to her personality that run counter, poke holes in her no-nonsense persona and act as the proverbial Achilles’ heel: drinking to excess and bed hopping. Not surprising that Nolan possesses the same personality flaws in excess, and those drive the heroine berserk. A reflection on how we abhor that which we find untenable within ourselves. Flanking Whitney are her sister Roslyn and Ellie, her friend, which provide a comparison of what our heroine both is and is not. Definitely, Ms. Bartolina isn’t interested in motherhood unless it is her friend’s current pregnancy—yet her blind spot of mixing business with pleasure (a complete violation of her workplace policy) is a snicker-elbow to the ribs twist on the normal romance theme. If the roles were reversed, casting a man as a power-hungry casting director, and sleeping with potential TV show candidates, well let’s just say it’s interesting when those shoes are filled by a chick. [A side note: I believe why it works here, is that Whit is a product of her own fixation. By default, a thrum of discord echoes rhythmically in her life. Add drinking to excess and from a powerful Amazonian, we’re presented with Whit in need of psyche repair: that wounded child whose perspective is torqued by fear at what she’s witnessed her mother survive when her father left, remarried, and broke ties left her emotional development in tatters. In order to mend her inner wounds, she attempts to go from candy stored in the nightstand drawer, to man candy that crosses her path. The holy trinity: Nolan, an Ex who knows how to pull her strings. CHARLIE, a sweet-talking devil who capably listens and manipulates. ~~~~AND WES~~~~~ WES is a bit older, a bit wiser, a walking-talking prototype hero, who sweeps her off her feet and some. To say he’s prone to action is an understatement of the nicest most gorgeous kind. Happy to confirm: If You Can’t Stand the Heat, isn’t what the title suggests. It isn’t about backing away from life’s challenges but taking the bull by the horns. Wresting that beast, Whitney employs every iota she possesses. Her prize isn’t just mending the scars from her past, but not letting the love her life slip through her fingers. Put to through the grind to the point of passing out, Whit triumphs. Her prize isn’t a cash bonus, but the life lesson proven: that at the end of the day if all’s fair, it is because love is the equalizer, it conquers all. An entertaining story filled with developed characters without the pretense of being complex. Straightforward writing that make each scene jump off the page. If you’re looking for that perfect read to take on a vacay or trip, I highly recommend If You Can’t Stand the Heat. 4 Sizzling Stars NOTE TO READERS: A tad more chick-lit than romance MIGHT HELP DODGE THE SNARK. A swerve left from the traditional romance genre. This one may offend the traditionalists. But oh well. }]]

  7. 4 out of 5

    Lilly Charysma

    [I have received a free digital copy in exchange for an honest review] Story is about Whitney Bartolina, a successful casting director struggling to achieve the same comfort she has professionally in her personal life. She is offered a job to select the contestants for a future cooking reality show which could bring her a huge bonus. As this involves traveling, she does not get the support of her boyfriend Nolan and decide to break up. During her trips from town to town, she meets Charlie and Wes [I have received a free digital copy in exchange for an honest review] Story is about Whitney Bartolina, a successful casting director struggling to achieve the same comfort she has professionally in her personal life. She is offered a job to select the contestants for a future cooking reality show which could bring her a huge bonus. As this involves traveling, she does not get the support of her boyfriend Nolan and decide to break up. During her trips from town to town, she meets Charlie and Wes, two very different men who want to win her interest, but for different purposes. Whitney will soon have to choose between the ex-boyfriend determined to get her back, a funny guy who makes her laugh and a mature man who states his intentions clearly. Also, her reputation at work is in stake. I do believe that the three different male characters represent different types of life options that Whitney has. Nolan could represent a life she already knows – she expects him not to know which is her favorite color or even cheat on her, but somehow he still brings her comfort. He will constantly try to impress her with gifts or public displays of affection and at a certain moment she even considers forgiving him. Charlie is the guy who can offer her distraction from all problems, jokes from time to time and as well can be fun intimately. So he can satisfy the immature part of her life. On the opposite end we find Wes – he expresses his desires loud and clear, no misunderstandings or misleading. He’s had his fair share of lies and betrayal and looks for a serious relationship. Whitney Bartolina has a career which would make anyone jealous. She’s worked really hard to win the respect in the Hollywood production studios and she is very committed to obtaining further promotions. Still, when on the road to search for contestants, she becomes romantically involved with two of them. This is one of the contradictions I could not figure out: she says she wants success badly, but easily falls for one of the potential chefs just for the fun of it. This is definitely not very professional and for sure was not worth the risk. Throughout the book we are mostly presented with her point of view. Charlie and Wes have little to no pages dedicated to their thoughts. While on one or two occasions we get to see in their minds, Nolan is forgotten somehow. I still don’t know whether his intentions were sincere or not. Also, out of the three men, after some time is very easy to pick the favorite. So her choice should have been obvious even early in the book. As a conclusion, I do believe this is an interesting book, about balance in life, about reaching the desired level professionally and personally. I appreciated how the author shaped the male characters and how natural was Whitney’s behavior in most of the cases.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Allison ❤️Will Never Conquer Her TBR❤️

    DNF at 20% I'm just not feeling this book. I'm suspicious it's the third person POV (which is not a fave) but I'm also feeling zero connection between any of the characters. I'll just cut my losses and move on... Advanced copy received by Montlake Publishing via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. DNF at 20% I'm just not feeling this book. I'm suspicious it's the third person POV (which is not a fave) but I'm also feeling zero connection between any of the characters. I'll just cut my losses and move on... Advanced copy received by Montlake Publishing via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Amanda

    Not gonna lie triangles and in this case squares are not my normal thing, but this one was written so well that I truly loved Whitney's story. She was a strong confident woman that was career driven, focused and went after what she wants. All of these things and the way everything unfolded kept me reading late into the night. I had to see how it all ended and I was not disappointed. Highly recommend picking this one up and getting a little taste of this hot cooking show. Not gonna lie triangles and in this case squares are not my normal thing, but this one was written so well that I truly loved Whitney's story. She was a strong confident woman that was career driven, focused and went after what she wants. All of these things and the way everything unfolded kept me reading late into the night. I had to see how it all ended and I was not disappointed. Highly recommend picking this one up and getting a little taste of this hot cooking show.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Pam Nelson

    Just wasn't for me 3 chapters in and I just couldn't do it. Sorry :( Maybe I will try again another time. Just wasn't for me 3 chapters in and I just couldn't do it. Sorry :( Maybe I will try again another time.

  11. 5 out of 5

    William

    i don't read romance for a reason this book confirmed it. At least she didn't go back to the jerky guy. i don't read romance for a reason this book confirmed it. At least she didn't go back to the jerky guy.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Melissa Mendoza

    Title:If You Can’t Take the Heat Author: Melissa Brown Series: Publisher: Montlake Romance Release Date: February 16, 2016 Genre(s): Contemporary Romance Page Count: 300 Heat Level: 5 flames out of 5 Rating: 5 stars out of 5 Blurb: Whitney Bartolina gets what she wants. At just thirty-four, she’s worked her way up from mailroom coordinator to casting director at a major Los Angeles television network and had a string of steamy flings, most recently with movie star Nolan Rivera. But when two of the cont Title:If You Can’t Take the Heat Author: Melissa Brown Series: Publisher: Montlake Romance Release Date: February 16, 2016 Genre(s): Contemporary Romance Page Count: 300 Heat Level: 5 flames out of 5 Rating: 5 stars out of 5 Blurb: Whitney Bartolina gets what she wants. At just thirty-four, she’s worked her way up from mailroom coordinator to casting director at a major Los Angeles television network and had a string of steamy flings, most recently with movie star Nolan Rivera. But when two of the contestants she casts on a new reality cooking show turn out to be as talented in the bedroom as they are in the kitchen, Whitney may have finally bitten off more than she can chew. Conducting auditions across the country and looking for a bit of fun after Nolan, Whitney finds it in Chicago with Charlie Hutchins, a deliciously handsome British rugby-player-turned-chef whose spicy Szechuan beef is only the start of his sizzle. Then, in Montana, close encounters with sexy but mild-mannered cowboy and restaurateur Wes Rancourt leave her mouth watering for more. Back in LA for filming, Whitney soon finds herself caught in a love square with Charlie, Wes, and Nolan, who’s stopping at nothing to win her back. Will she jeopardize her career by mixing business with pleasure, or can she turn up the heat without getting burned? “I swear, if this man passes up a [email protected] job for a piece of cheesecake, I’m gonna lose it.” 5 delicious stars! Sexy and passionate!! Such a cute and sexy book! I was hooked from page one! We meet Whitney who’s a casting director for a reality cooking show. So while she’s conducting interviews across the country she meets Charlie in Chicago, who’s a handsome British chef and she’s super sexy, of course he throws the passion out there!! Next in Montana she meets cowboy Wes who definitely keeps her on her toes. Once back home in LA, she’s back under the radar of her LA fling, Nolan, who wants her back. Now caught in a love square, she has to make a choice…..so who does she choose? I am in love with this book!! The characters are so much fun and so sexy!! Each encounter that Whitney comes across is steamier than the next!!! **Received a copy in exchange for an honest review. Read and reviewed by Melissa**

  13. 5 out of 5

    litljen

    If You Can't Take the Heat is an enjoyable and fun read. Whitney is a casting director for a network cooking show and she must find the next great American cook. She travels across the country searching for contestants and along the way meets Charlie, a confident and sexy Brit in Chicago and Wes, a cowboy from Montana. She gets involved with both, enjoying steamy, carefree hookups prior to both coming to L.A. to film the show. Add in Whitney's ex-boyfriend Nolan, a Hollywood star who is trying a If You Can't Take the Heat is an enjoyable and fun read. Whitney is a casting director for a network cooking show and she must find the next great American cook. She travels across the country searching for contestants and along the way meets Charlie, a confident and sexy Brit in Chicago and Wes, a cowboy from Montana. She gets involved with both, enjoying steamy, carefree hookups prior to both coming to L.A. to film the show. Add in Whitney's ex-boyfriend Nolan, a Hollywood star who is trying anything and everything he can to win her back and you have the makings of an interesting love "square". What Whitney didn't expect was to fall for the charismatic and genuine cowboy. When she breaks things off with Charlie, things get messy and he sets out to make things difficult for Wes. After all of the bumps along the way, there is a great, HEA ending that will leave you smiling. Brown's story is well developed and hooks the reader from the start. The characters are interesting and easy to relate to. If you Can't Take the Heat is definitely one that should be on your TBR list!

  14. 5 out of 5

    Catherine Hayward

    I was given this book in exchange for an honest review Whitney is a casting director in LA but although she lives in LA and loves her job, her home life sucks. Nolan , her on again / off again boyfriend can't seem to take no for an answer and Whitney can't stay away from him but monogamy aren't in Nolans vocabulary and Whitney has had enough. When the network send her all over the country to find chefs and cooks to take part in a cookery contest, it's her get out clause to put the much needed dis I was given this book in exchange for an honest review Whitney is a casting director in LA but although she lives in LA and loves her job, her home life sucks. Nolan , her on again / off again boyfriend can't seem to take no for an answer and Whitney can't stay away from him but monogamy aren't in Nolans vocabulary and Whitney has had enough. When the network send her all over the country to find chefs and cooks to take part in a cookery contest, it's her get out clause to put the much needed distance between the two of them. Whitney meets two completely different men and the heat not just in the kitchen really hots up. Sparks fly people have ulterior motives and someone is going just too far to succeed. This is a quick past , lively enjoyable read with hot men and a girl who just can't make her mind up about what she really wants. Can a girl really get a happy ever after?! Sexy and full of humour, this is a good read

  15. 4 out of 5

    Teri Beth

    ARC provide by publisher via NetGalley DNF at 12% This may be a great story, but it wasn't the book for me. I was extremely bored and not a fan of the writing style. There was too much telling which made me feel nothing at all for the characters. ARC provide by publisher via NetGalley DNF at 12% This may be a great story, but it wasn't the book for me. I was extremely bored and not a fan of the writing style. There was too much telling which made me feel nothing at all for the characters.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Lani

    34year old, Whitney Bartolina is the casting director for one of the biggest tv production companies in LA. It's her job to travel the country to find the talent for a new, reality tv cooking show. After breaking up with her super famous, tv star boyfriend Nolan, Whitney is also ready to find some new talent to warm her bed. But things get complicated when she crosses business with pleasure, and two of the competitors catch her eye with more than just their ability to cook. Now, this author wrot 34year old, Whitney Bartolina is the casting director for one of the biggest tv production companies in LA. It's her job to travel the country to find the talent for a new, reality tv cooking show. After breaking up with her super famous, tv star boyfriend Nolan, Whitney is also ready to find some new talent to warm her bed. But things get complicated when she crosses business with pleasure, and two of the competitors catch her eye with more than just their ability to cook. Now, this author wrote an amazing book called Wife Number Seven, which was one of my favourite books of 2015. So although this book had a different feel, I was still expecting it to be amazing. I was disappointed. Whitney, her ex Nolan and contestant Charlie are the main three characters until about the 45% mark. And they're all horrible. So self centered and shallow. I couldn't find anything to like about any of them. Now normally, I would have DNF'd a book by this point, but I truly loved this authors other work so much that I pushed through. And in the end, I was mostly glad I did. Whit meets Wes about halfway through and hooray! Finally a character I could like! Whitney began evolving into a likable human in his presence. And as things heated up in the cooking show, I found myself liking this book more and more. A satisfying dramatic event, a HEA and Whitney's character growth by the end, saved this book just in the nick of time. C+. I would have liked to have rated it higher based on the last 30-40% but because of how much I disliked the beginning a C+ is the best I can do. I would still consider reading more from this author though not in this series.

  17. 5 out of 5

    tatiana

    I love the concept of the strong female heroine who takes charge of her sexuality. I feel like you repeatedly get the story of the Virginian girl and guy with the good job who sleeps around. I liked the change. However, the construction of the book left something to be desire. It starts with her as a strong character and independent crazy about a guy who has no good qualities- violent, cheating, narcissistic- and she keeps giving him a chance. I wish the author would have wrapped up that part of I love the concept of the strong female heroine who takes charge of her sexuality. I feel like you repeatedly get the story of the Virginian girl and guy with the good job who sleeps around. I liked the change. However, the construction of the book left something to be desire. It starts with her as a strong character and independent crazy about a guy who has no good qualities- violent, cheating, narcissistic- and she keeps giving him a chance. I wish the author would have wrapped up that part of the story quicker and focuses more on the main story of Wes and Whitney.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Angel Hatfield

    Whitney had started seeing Nolan who was a well known actor about two years ago. Their relationship was on and off again . She had went eight months without sleeping Whitney had then ended the relationship.with him she blames the drinks for letting him back in her bed. Whitney had discovered Nolan was still sleeping with his ex girlfriend who was also his co star -Gina- while being with her. But Nolan was stubborn and wanted Whitney back . But Nolan was Nolan and didn’t change even though he sa Whitney had started seeing Nolan who was a well known actor about two years ago. Their relationship was on and off again . She had went eight months without sleeping Whitney had then ended the relationship.with him she blames the drinks for letting him back in her bed. Whitney had discovered Nolan was still sleeping with his ex girlfriend who was also his co star -Gina- while being with her. But Nolan was stubborn and wanted Whitney back . But Nolan was Nolan and didn’t change even though he said he had and Whitney wasn’t surprised. Whitney’s best friend was Elle and she was waiting for Whitney to wake up and get Nolan out of her life for good. Whitney had been in the entertainment business for ten years, she had worked her way up from mail room coordinator to casting director for three prime time tv dramas. The head of the network was Saul and he wanted to see Whitney and she had no idea why. Saul presented Whitney the idea of a new culinary reality show. Whitney was choose to head the casting calls in ten big cities across the U, S. searching for the next outstanding chef who after winning the competition would get his/hers own cooking show. The producer was to be Chris Geldermann who was at the top and was very professional and a kind and true to his wife family man who didn’t hit on Whitney.The relationship between a producer and the casting director was very important and Whitney respected Chris. Whitney had two months to finish up her other responsibilities before going on the road for the new proposed show. The cities Whitney would be going to were Nashville, New Orleans, Austin, New York, Chicago, Baltimore, Albuquerque, San Francisco. And Billings,Montana. During Whitney's travels to find the chefs to be on the show Whitney met a former British rugby player turned chef Charlie and a cowboy who owned his own restaurant - Wes. Whitney was open about no exclusive relationships and when she chooses the one man she wants to be with she will immediately stop seeing the other two men in her life. I really liked this story but felt Whitney was fooling around a bit too much. Especially with prospective clients that isn’t very professional. Granted the men were hot And Honestly i can’t blame her but still where was the professionalism. The plat was good and so was the writing. I like the way the story was set and rooted for Whitney to find her HEA . I loved the characters and all the ins and outs Whitney goes through. I recommend. I received an ARC of this story for an honest review.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Deanna (A Novel Glimpse)

    3.5 Stars I liked If You Can't Take the Heat, but I didn't love it. The story had a lot of potential, but the main character Whitney was just...I don't even know how to explain it in one word. Maybe disappointing? Whitney was supposed to be this heartbroken, career driven 34-year-old. She was moving on from her famous, self-absorbed ex, Nolan, and given the opportunity of a lifetime at work. So she sets off looking for cooking show contestants, and immediately begins jeopardizing her career to hoo 3.5 Stars I liked If You Can't Take the Heat, but I didn't love it. The story had a lot of potential, but the main character Whitney was just...I don't even know how to explain it in one word. Maybe disappointing? Whitney was supposed to be this heartbroken, career driven 34-year-old. She was moving on from her famous, self-absorbed ex, Nolan, and given the opportunity of a lifetime at work. So she sets off looking for cooking show contestants, and immediately begins jeopardizing her career to hook up with not one but two contestants? Seems pretty crazy for someone who has been given their dream job. I had a hard time buying it, especially since she's 34 and not 21. If it had been her first job, maybe. Her decisions were immature and drove me nuts. I just couldn't connect with Whitney for most of the story. The other thing that bothered me a little was how abruptly some of the chapters began. Some of them began mid-situation and it would take me a minute to figure out what was going on. It was especially hard the first few chapters, but luckily after that it smoothed out a lot. But back to the potential in If You Can't Take the Heat. I loved the love square. Even if it was a little disturbing the way Whitney was hooking up left and right, I liked what it did for the plot. As Whitney's mom said, three different love interests gave her three different paths to choose from. Plus Nolan, Charlie and Wes all had surprises up their sleeves. When things got the most complicated, they got the most interesting. Would I recommend this book to other romance readers? If you like a good love triangle (or square) and enjoy reality television, this one might be for you. **I received a copy of If You Can't Take the Heat from Amazon Publishing and Goodreads First Reads in exchange for an honest review.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Diane Plourde TDC Book Reviews

    I received an ARC through NetGalley of If You Can't Take The Heat by Melissa Brown in exchange for an honest and spoiler free review. I've read every book that Melissa as written so far which were all amazing. This is my second ARC from this wonderful skilled author. I'm so very sad to say that this book did not call to me at all. I really tried to get into it but for some odd reason I just couldn't. Authors write what comes out of their creative minds in order to keep us entertained for hours I received an ARC through NetGalley of If You Can't Take The Heat by Melissa Brown in exchange for an honest and spoiler free review. I've read every book that Melissa as written so far which were all amazing. This is my second ARC from this wonderful skilled author. I'm so very sad to say that this book did not call to me at all. I really tried to get into it but for some odd reason I just couldn't. Authors write what comes out of their creative minds in order to keep us entertained for hours on out. What I like in certain books doesn't mean the next reader will share my view and vice versa. This book is about an American Idol sort of thing called The Great American Cook-off. It's reality TV. We have Whitney who is career driven which is the main character. There are also quite a few side ones. Mostly what didn't work for me was the subject of reality TV. Whitney goes through quite a few men that she strings along. Some of side characters did not appeal to me like Nolan. These side characters played major roles in the development of the story. There are some qualities to this story, and because reading is subjective, the other readers might take a shot on this book and fully enjoy it. The other readers might make it work for them where it didn't for me. Authors work hard to gives us hours of entertainment, so I would never be unkind to the author I'm doing a review for. So it saddens me to give this story a 3 star review. This is a standalone with HEA. If the readers like this kind of subject then it's their book to enjoy. I recommend all of Melissa Browns other books. They are worth your precious time and money. Melissa is one of my favourite authors and will remain so.

  21. 5 out of 5

    LJT

    If you are a fan of reality TV, then you will really like "If You Can't Take the Heat" by Melissa Brown. This story is about the trials and tribulations of casting and producing a brand new competitive cooking show. Whitney Bartolina is the casting director, and she embarks on a nationwide search for good cooks with star potential. At the end of the show's run, the winner gets his or her very own cooking show. Whitney is an independent and talented woman, and she takes her job very seriously. She If you are a fan of reality TV, then you will really like "If You Can't Take the Heat" by Melissa Brown. This story is about the trials and tribulations of casting and producing a brand new competitive cooking show. Whitney Bartolina is the casting director, and she embarks on a nationwide search for good cooks with star potential. At the end of the show's run, the winner gets his or her very own cooking show. Whitney is an independent and talented woman, and she takes her job very seriously. She also has no qualms about dating more than one guy at the same time. Prior to meeting the man of her dreams, rancher and restaurateur Wes Rancourt, she dated a well-known actor. Before she and Wes got serious, she was also dating former British rugby star Charlie Hutchins. Wes and Charlie are both competitors on the show, which causes quite a raucous at times. Whitney has a knack for juggling men, which comes to an end when she realizes Wes is the one for her. I attribute good writing to playing havoc with my emotions, and Ms. Brown accomplishes this quite well with this book. I connected with Whitney, but I did not care for her revolving door of men. I marveled at Whitney's ability to play the politicking game and manipulate the system in her best interests. Wes's actions toward the end of the book were so childish and idiotic, I actually stopped enjoying the story. Luckily, the well-written epilogue made-up for some of it. Overall, this is an fun read, with good character development and a happily ever after that will leave a smile on your face. Complimentary copy provided by the publisher via NetGalley.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Anima

    If you read Red Carpet Kiss you remember Whitney, perky friend of Ellie. Whitney is a serious casting director with her mind on her career while mingling and dating various men. She has no plans to settle down and makes her intentions obvious. However, she has this pesky ex, Nolan Rivera from the first book. The guy cannot take a hint. Her job takes her on the road where she meets Charlie and Wes, contestants for her new cooking show. These men, all three of men, make this wild ride a love squar If you read Red Carpet Kiss you remember Whitney, perky friend of Ellie. Whitney is a serious casting director with her mind on her career while mingling and dating various men. She has no plans to settle down and makes her intentions obvious. However, she has this pesky ex, Nolan Rivera from the first book. The guy cannot take a hint. Her job takes her on the road where she meets Charlie and Wes, contestants for her new cooking show. These men, all three of men, make this wild ride a love square. One is sexy, fun, young and British with a brother who was the star attraction of another Brown book - Unwanted Stars. Really fun to hear from Campbell and Auden. The other is a slightly older cowboy with a successful business and only has eyes for Whitney. She has quite the decision to make, however the men are very helpful with her decision. We have a lot going on with this book - strong characters, cool adventures and pop culture references (Brown is awesome at that). Be prepared to laugh out loud when Whitney has to take a last minute flight. After reading Red Carpet Kiss many fans were asking for Whitney to get her own book. Brown did a wonderful job giving an extended life to secondary character that seemed flighty and easy, I definitely enjoyed Whitney this time around. My copy was given through Netgalley for my honest review.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Kim

    Whitney is a professional casting director who is tasked with finding contestants for a cooking reality show and has to travel to different parts of the country in order to find the right people. Her boyfriend isn’t a fan and she breaks things off with him before leaving. While traveling, she meets Charlie and then Wes, and then hooks up with each one. Eventually, Whitney has to decide which man she wants to be with and which of the three (her ex, Nolan, Charlie, or Wes). Each one brings somethi Whitney is a professional casting director who is tasked with finding contestants for a cooking reality show and has to travel to different parts of the country in order to find the right people. Her boyfriend isn’t a fan and she breaks things off with him before leaving. While traveling, she meets Charlie and then Wes, and then hooks up with each one. Eventually, Whitney has to decide which man she wants to be with and which of the three (her ex, Nolan, Charlie, or Wes). Each one brings something different to the relationship and each one brings out something in Whitney that the other can’t. I found the idea of a strong, independent, professional woman hooking up with different men to be enjoyable. Normally, we see this happen the other way around and I liked that Whitney wasn’t afraid to put herself out there. I did not like that she would party and get drunk to hook up, but that’s my own issue. Each man represented a part of Whitney’s life that she wanted and could have. One was funny. One was serious. And, one was comfortable. I really enjoyed this take on the Hollywood “casting couch” and the way it ended with who Whitney picked. *copy provided for review.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Nicole Huffman ~ Author Groupies

    I love Melissa Brown as a writer and as a person. So when I saw she had a new book out, I knew I needed to read it. This was a fun read that keeps you involved and connecting with the characters. The concept of the book was different and will pull you in. Whitney is our main character and she is a casting director, and when we first meet her has a boyfriend whose ego and selfishness is out of control. She has a new project of casting a reality cooking show. Traveling the country in search of cont I love Melissa Brown as a writer and as a person. So when I saw she had a new book out, I knew I needed to read it. This was a fun read that keeps you involved and connecting with the characters. The concept of the book was different and will pull you in. Whitney is our main character and she is a casting director, and when we first meet her has a boyfriend whose ego and selfishness is out of control. She has a new project of casting a reality cooking show. Traveling the country in search of contestants is just what she needs. What she didn’t expect was to find a connection with not one but two of the contestants. I like both of the men but really fell hard for the one. This was a well written story that’s entertaining with a side of sexy. I wouldn’t call it a love triangle (which Im not a fan of) but more of a single woman exploring her options. Once she falls for one man, the other/s are not drug along. I would highly recommend this book if you are a fan of a fun romance with a heroine who is strong and isn’t afraid to experience life.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Rachel

    I loved this one! A movie star, a cocky ex-rugby player, and a sexy cowboy, I mean seriously what is there not to love!! I first like Whitney in Red Carpet Kiss as Ellie's best friend. She is hard working and driven very much by her career. She was caught up in her entanglement with Nolan, and that continued in this story. With a healthy dose of come great food, a cooking competition and some sexy cooks, everything gets thrown up in the air. I loved Whitney's journey into finding what she really I loved this one! A movie star, a cocky ex-rugby player, and a sexy cowboy, I mean seriously what is there not to love!! I first like Whitney in Red Carpet Kiss as Ellie's best friend. She is hard working and driven very much by her career. She was caught up in her entanglement with Nolan, and that continued in this story. With a healthy dose of come great food, a cooking competition and some sexy cooks, everything gets thrown up in the air. I loved Whitney's journey into finding what she really needed and wanted. The journey is usually half the fun. There was drama along the way, most of it funny, some of the antics, were too much(but in a good way),, but in the end she found the right man for her heart and that can spice up her kitchen. Loved this one, as usual. Melissa Brown has been and will continue to be a one-click read for me. I will eagerly be waiting for her next release!

  26. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review. Whitney is a casting director and is given a job to find contestants across the country for a new cooking show. Right before she gets the job, she breaks up with her on-again / off-again narcissistic, movie star boyfriend. What I loved about Whitney was that she was real. After being in a tumultuous long-term relationship, it makes sense that Whitney would date more than one man, Wes and Charlie. Charlie was a good time that didn't take anything I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review. Whitney is a casting director and is given a job to find contestants across the country for a new cooking show. Right before she gets the job, she breaks up with her on-again / off-again narcissistic, movie star boyfriend. What I loved about Whitney was that she was real. After being in a tumultuous long-term relationship, it makes sense that Whitney would date more than one man, Wes and Charlie. Charlie was a good time that didn't take anything too seriously. Wes was the older, mature chef. I really enjoyed the cooking competition aspect to the book as well. It reminded me of so many of the shows that are on The Food Network. I could not put this book down. There was some angst, some drama, and definitely times that I was laughing out loud at the antics of Nolan. I did not read the book that came before this one but it will be added to my TBR!

  27. 5 out of 5

    Linda

    *ARC received from Montlake Romance via NetGalley* Whitney is a Hollywood casting director, searching for contestants to take part in a reality cooking competition that will mean a big bonus in her pocket if the show is successful. She ends up getting involved with two of the men while still briefly entertaining second thoughts about forgiving her cheating ex, who won't take no for an answer. This is a fairly good story but didn't really touch me emotionally. I didn't connect with Whitney, althou *ARC received from Montlake Romance via NetGalley* Whitney is a Hollywood casting director, searching for contestants to take part in a reality cooking competition that will mean a big bonus in her pocket if the show is successful. She ends up getting involved with two of the men while still briefly entertaining second thoughts about forgiving her cheating ex, who won't take no for an answer. This is a fairly good story but didn't really touch me emotionally. I didn't connect with Whitney, although I did like her determination and forthrightness. I also didn't feel any spark between her and either of the male characters. For me this book was good but not great.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Avephoenix

    I'm sorry but Whitney's story didn't do it for me. I just couldn't agree with some of the things that the main characters did, especially Whitney being a professional and mixing pleasure with business. Don't take me wrong, whatever she wanted to do with her personal life I have no problem, is just that crossing the line it just killed it for me. The characters and storyline were well written. I look forward to future books by Melissa Brown! I received a copy from the publisher via NetGalley in ex I'm sorry but Whitney's story didn't do it for me. I just couldn't agree with some of the things that the main characters did, especially Whitney being a professional and mixing pleasure with business. Don't take me wrong, whatever she wanted to do with her personal life I have no problem, is just that crossing the line it just killed it for me. The characters and storyline were well written. I look forward to future books by Melissa Brown! I received a copy from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Danielle Goodwin

    Melissa Brown's "If You Can't Take The Heat" is a standalone read. Melissa Brown is great at the details of the story...she nailed the details of crazy religious cult compounds in "Wife Number Seven" and now she has nailed cooking show culture in this one. Maybe it's just because I love watching Hell's Kitchen and Masterchef, but I loved the settings for this. There is no shortage of hot choices for Whitney. I was kinda pulling for one man the whole time...don't want to give away any spoilers, b Melissa Brown's "If You Can't Take The Heat" is a standalone read. Melissa Brown is great at the details of the story...she nailed the details of crazy religious cult compounds in "Wife Number Seven" and now she has nailed cooking show culture in this one. Maybe it's just because I love watching Hell's Kitchen and Masterchef, but I loved the settings for this. There is no shortage of hot choices for Whitney. I was kinda pulling for one man the whole time...don't want to give away any spoilers, but *yes* she does make a choice at the end.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Chloe

    I was given an ARC for an honest opinion. This is the first book I have read by Melissa Brown and it didn't disappoint. Everything about this story is great. I liked reading about Hollywood. I enjoyed the heat between Wes and Whitney. It was an interesting look into what happens behind the scenes of a reality show. I really enjoyed Whitney she was a great character. I can't wait to read more from Melissa Brown in the future. I was given an ARC for an honest opinion. This is the first book I have read by Melissa Brown and it didn't disappoint. Everything about this story is great. I liked reading about Hollywood. I enjoyed the heat between Wes and Whitney. It was an interesting look into what happens behind the scenes of a reality show. I really enjoyed Whitney she was a great character. I can't wait to read more from Melissa Brown in the future.

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