Dinner at Home

Rick R. Reed
Dinner at Home
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Release Date
May 2014

It only takes a few days for Ollie D'Angelo to lose his boyfriend, his job, and his home. Instead of mourning what he doesn't have, Ollie celebrates what he does: the freedom to pursue his real passion—cooking. He begins Dinner at Home, a home-catering business, and it takes off.

Late one night, Ollie catches Hank Mellinger, a streetwise hood down on his luck, about to rob his car. Ollie soon discovers that appearances aren't necessarily what they seem. Hank isn't a criminal caught red-handed, but a hungry young man trying to make a life for himself and the four-year-old niece he's trying desperately to take care of.

Instead of calling the cops, Ollie offers Hank a job and a way to pull himself up by his bootstraps. Together, they discover they can really cook... and that their shared passion for food just might lead to a passion for each other.

Book Review by Pat Henshaw (author,reviewer)
Jul 02, 2014   [ OFFICIAL REVIEW ]
230 people found the following review helpful
Readers should be ready to grab their pots and pans and be ready to cook while savoring Rick R. Reed's latest gay romance.

Talk about a bad day. At breakfast, Seattle ad executive Ollie D'Angelo finds his boyfriend has had another lover for six months and now wants Ollie to move out, then when he gets to work, he finds his position has been eliminated.

A perpetually upbeat person and cook at heart, Ollie rallies to decide this is his chance of a lifetime to do something he's always wanted. With his savings, he starts Dinner at Home, a catering service for people who are too busy to cook dinner at night.

As he's unpacking after delivering a meal one evening, down-and-out Hank Mellinger sees Ollie's open car and enters it, bent on stealing something. When the bigger Ollie catches Hank and finds out the man needs money for rent and food for himself and his niece, instead of turning him over to the police, Ollie takes Hank and his niece home with him.

A former crack addict, Hank is now clean and trying desperately to stay that way. His twin sister is in prison on the East Coast and his mother refuses to take responsibility for four-year-old Addison, a swearing, too-old-for-her-age little girl.

Hank has reluctantly accepted the fact that he's the only one standing between her and foster care, so slowly he's bonded with her. But having a child means having daycare for her while he tries to find a job and lodging after leaving a homeless shelter.

Kind-hearted Ollie takes in both Hank and Addison, deciding that Hank's sous chef experience will be a win-win situation for them: Ollie will get the cooking help he needs for his new business and Hank will get room, board, and a salary.

Ollie's a wonderfully generous character, the kind of big guy with the heart of gold who's usually taken advantage of in most novels. He exudes the warm-hearted family ethos of his Italian ancestry and is the man people love and flock to wherever he is.

Hank is a little harder to love, given he's suspicious of life even though he freely admits that most of his problems were of his own making. However, he's also the kind of person who knows that only he can change himself, and he's willing to put in the work to do so. After giving up so much time to crack, he's determined not to go back to his old self, but grits his teeth and forges ahead into his clean life, no matter how difficult it is.

The chemistry between the two of them is beautiful as they work together to get the business going while taking care of Addison and turning themselves into a family.

While the soft, gentle DINNER AT HOME is a complete reversal from Reed's more gritty books such as Raining Men, it definitely shows how versatile he is as a writer. That he loves cooking so much as to include wonderful recipes with homey preparation advice was quite a revelation.
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