My Rating: 4 stars
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Age Category: Adult
Type of romance: FF
Two fierce women who like to show off in the bedroom square off in the boardroom in this steamy holiday sapphic romance from Layla Reyne.
Annaliese Rosin is fifty-six and starting over. New city, new job, new scene she’d like to explore with the stunning redhead from her flight home. She just needs to finish one last year-end deal. Should be easy, except her sexy seatmate ends up being the attorney across the table.
Carrington Clarke started over once already. At forty-three, she can’t afford to risk her job, her friends, or her heart, not even for the bossy older woman who understands exactly what she needs in the bedroom—to be watched by others. At least not until their deal closes.
While working side by side, the two women share meals and fears, hopes and dreams, and a chaotic, chef-filled Hanukkah that redefines family. The simmering attraction between them builds as they grow closer, until a last-minute change threatens their deal—and the trust they need to launch their romance outside the boardroom.
Over a Barrel is the third standalone novella in the Table for Two LGBTQIA+ foodie romance series. It features an age-gap romance between two mature women who connect over food, whiskey, and shared desires, with a generous sprinkling of New Orleans holiday cheer.
I received a free copy from the author directly and through Netgalley and voluntarily reviewed it.
Over a Barrel is the third story in the table for Two series and I like this series so far with great romances and a focus on food. I do recommend reading this series in order and read Table for Two if possible as there are lot of cameo’s from characters of previous books. Over A Barrel is Al’s story, we met her already in the previous book as she’s Ezra’s ex and they are still good friends and family. I liked reading more about her and how she found romance with CC.
I thought the romance between Al and CC was well written. I like Layla Reyne’s writing style and easily got into the book. Al and CC have an instant attraction and while they sort of act on it when they first meet, it doesn’t go further than that when they realize they are on opposing sides of a deal. They both agree to not start anything until after the deal and I liked how this gave them time to get to know each other and build up some trust between them.
I liked both Al and CC, they each had their own personality, connections and troubles. CC has been hurt in the past and has to deal with that. While Al has this huge family and is still close to her ex which she knows can be a lot for some. Then their is the trust they need to build so they can have the romantic and sexual relationship they both want. I liked their banter and flirting and how it build up till the end. I thought the steamy scene was well written as well as fresh compared to what I usually read and I liked that. It fit the characters well and I liked how there are glimpses of their dynamic and preferences already before they actually reach the steamy part at the end.
Two things I struggled a bit with in this book was the huge cast of side characters and the legal details of the deal. Both of these caused me moments where I felt a bit lost and overwhelmed as I felt that I didn’t know or remember everything to fully enjoy those scenes. There are a lots of side characters in this book, most cameo’s from previous books, but I didn’t easily remember al the details of who was who and how they relate to each other as it has been a while since I read some of those. So there was a lot of trying to remember who everyone was and their connections. This just costs more effort than I wanted as there are just a lot of side characters and quite the complicated web of connections between them.
Then there is the deal CC and Al work on, I felt like the author had enough knowledge about this process, but I don’t. Which caused me to feel like I was missing what exactly was going on with the deal and the complications. I sort of had the gist, but felt like I lacked the in depth understanding. It just caused me to enjoy the plot surrounding the deal less.
I want to end on a high note. Another thing I enjoy about this series is the focus on food. It’s fun to read about the dishes they eat and there’s quite a bit of drinks they drink as well. And CC’s sister is a pastry chef so there are some delicious sounding pastries to read about too. This book also has a bit of a holiday vibe, spanning most of late November and most of December and included mentions of all the celebrations in that time span. Which gave this book a bit of a festive holiday vibe as well.
To summarize: I enjoy this series and happily read this latest installment. This book follows Al and CC, they have an instant attraction when they first meet, but decide to wait to start anything as they realize they are on opposing sides of a deal. I liked reading about Al and CC, the way their romance developed was well done with lots of banter and flirting leading up to more only once the deal is finished. The steamy scenes felt fresh and fit the characters, which I liked. I did struggle a bit with two things, first the huge cast of side characters which made it hard to remember who was who and how they all relate. Those scenes could be a bit confusing and overwhelming at times. And secondly the legal details of the deal, I felt like the author knew enough about it to write it well, but I didn’t. So those scenes left me feeling a bit lost as I couldn’t fully follow everything that happened. I like how this series focuses on food, there are some delicious sounding pastries especially in this one. This book also had some festive holiday vibe as it spans from late November to most of December. I can definitely recommend this series if you like queer romances and food.