Monday, October 24, 2011

Prep Work by PD Singer

Prep Work by PD Singer
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: Contemporary, M/M
Length: 52 pages

Celebrity chef Jude Marshall's ditched his camera crew for the first time in a month—he's been eating his way through local cuisines on several continents for his television show. No spider-on-a-stick this trip, thank God. Jude's exhausted; all he wants on his London layover is a pint of beer and some comfort food. Stumbling into a gastro-pub, Jude instead finds haute cuisine; his grumbles bring him face to face with chef—and fan—Tommy Bell.

When Jude steps into the kitchen to autograph Tommy's copy of his cookbook, he finds himself lending a hand, and discovers it's possible to tenderize a hardened heart.

Jude Marshall is a prickly guy and his past is littered with the wreckage he's caused by not having a "brain to mouth filter." When he meets chef Tommy Bell in PD Singer's Prep Work, he's on the brink of creating another disaster.

Walking into the Good Man pub messes with Jude's expectations—he's not prepared for either the quality of the food or the attraction of the chef. Tommy Bell knows who Jude is on a public level, he's seen the show and has the cookbook, but he's willing to find out who Jude the man is. That's an experiment that risks flopping before they've known each other a whole day, because Jude can't keep his foot out of his mouth.

Jude's pretty self-aware, he knows he can come across as a jerk and uses it professionally, but when he wants to make a better impression, it's hard, he doesn't know how. He does get a second chance, and Tommy knows that he jumped to some conclusions too, and ought to give that second chance. Tommy's sweet and funny – he gets Jude to laugh, and that opens the way for Jude to show his more private self.

The production crew has to be reckoned with – Marcy and Sam give the impression of being Jude's tight little dysfunctional family, and you can see some jealousy of Tommy for wanting a piece of their Jude. They're emphatic personalities, even with such little page time.

Everyone in this story has to consider the difference between public Jude and private Jude; a misunderstanding with Tommy that Jude spends a lot of effort to correct happens because Tommy forgets there's a difference. Sam and Marcy have to be reminded forcibly that there is a private Jude at all, and Jude needs to find the balance between the two.

The story ends with all kinds of possibilities for Jude and Tommy. That leaves me wanting to know what happens next for this couple, and if Jude will decide he likes jellied eel. 5 marbles


  1. I really enjoyed Jude's snarky attitude. It's easy to love a "good" protagonist, a lot harder to love someone with so many flaws. But P.D. Singer really had me rooting for Jude's HEA, even when I wanted to shake him a time or two. Tommy was so perfect for him, and the ending is definitely an "awwww..." moment.

  2. Jude was kind of a refreshing counterpoint to protags who are just nice. And yeah, aw....


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