Favorite Quote: “How can anyone turn down cake? Can I eat the cake and not see you? You can eat the cake while I eat you. Shit. Shit.”
Foster kid preservers, makes friends to die for, falls in love and does it all by standing on their own two feet. Sweet troupe. I’m into it. I’ve also been on a restaurateur-foodie fiction bender, so Make Me Beg checked all the boxes for me. The heroine, MacKenzie, has had a rough go of it. Neglected in foster care, she goes it alone and finds a mentor and deep kinship with local bar owner. When her guardian angel dies, she never forgets his encouragement and makes a promise to herself to follow in his footsteps and own her own place one day. Working in a ski town tourist trap bar that is going under, the golden opportunity presents itself when she is offered the opportunity to become co-owner of her very own bar.
Her business partner is none other than executive chef and resident unapologetic playboy, Conner. Conner is all things on a stick with culinary skills delectable enough to melt your taste buds. Mack and Conner are polar opposites and have a very adversarial frenemy-ship.
“I’m serious,”she said. “Every time I turn around you’re going home with someone else. From the cheap seats, it looks like after one night with you, nobody wants to come back for more. Kinda starts to make a girl wonder.”
Having kept one another at bay for years, one snarky comment at a time, it is not surprise that Mack and Conner go from compulsive bickering to bar boning in no time. Their connection is intense, however, Mack is no wide-eyed ingenue and fights her attraction to the love-em-and leave em heart breaker, having long ago decided she would never be used and discarded ever again. I wish I liked Mack more than I did. Most of the pieces were there. She was independent, ambitious and clever. She was also petulant and bugged me to no end the way she wanted to bulldoze and behave like a sole proprietor when she should have been working with Conner as a partner. Despite her deep-seated reasons and emotional drive that I can sympathize for-it drove me crazy that she was so hell-bent on naming the new restaurant after herself. Hello, honey this isn’t just the Mack show.
Conner is almost an anti-hero. Ultimately he was the manwhore-with-the-heart-of-gold, but, most of his journey consisted of his devil-may-care attitude gone wild. There is back story that includes a vulnerability in relation to his father which fit his characterization and I wish a little more time had been spent exploring that avenue since is was one of the only times he was actually humanized and I could take Conner seriously. The other time I could take Conner (very) seriously is when he got down to business. It became very clear, very fast that Conner didn’t dick around when it came to his food, and he certainly didn’t pull any punches where his cock is concerned.
“On your knees,”he commanded. Oh fuck that was hot. Was she allowed to find that hot? Could she be independent, wear shut-the-fuck-up boots behind the bar, and still be slayed by such a command? Apparently it didn’t matter what her brain thought on the subject, because her body was responding…
Make Me Beg is a sexy little jaunt, a quick read and was pleasant enough to keep my attention. Just enough push and pull to keep things interesting. Compounding their uncertain romance, they are the fiercest of rivals when it comes to their planned restaurant. Mack wants to keep things small towny and accessible vs Conner’s desire to bring more of an upscale, fine-r dining option to the small ski town. I really enjoyed and respected how Conner was far more inclined to collaborate with Mack, while she was more steadfast in her own need to do things her way. Not her finest moments and it jaded me toward her when I saw how ready she was to do everything herself. More than once (or thrice) she came across as a total brat, which made me feel bad since I knew she had a tough childhood which fueled her motivations.
My favorite part of this book was the obvious love and respect for fine and creative culinary yum-yum! The food and drink descriptions were phenomenal and enhanced every scene they were featured in. I particularly enjoyed how Conner included his cuisine in a sexy taste test that left he and Mack satiated to say the least. All in all, Make Me Beg is a cute little drama. It went off the rails a bit here and there, however, overall, a fun read I’d recommend without pause.