Genre: contemporary romance / chicklit / women’s fiction
Carlene Lovelle, co-owner of Bless my Bloomers lingerie shop, found a pair of fancy red-silk panties in her husband’s briefcase, and all hell is breaking loose. She custom-made those fancy bloomers herself – and she remembers the bimbo who bought them. If her husband had a lick of sense, he’d know there are no secrets in a town like Cadillac.
Carlene’s cohorts – and their mamas – plan to exact revenge on Lenny Joe where it’ll hurt the most: break his ten-year winning streak at the prestigious Red-Hot Chili Cook-Off. Never before has a woman dared to compete. But the ladies of Bless my Bloomers are cooking up a storm ... and it seems the whole town is taking sides in the showdown.
Welcome to Cadillac, Texas, where the chili is hot, the gossip is hotter, and friends stick by each other, no matter what the challenge.
If this book had a murder mystery thrown in, it would be the perfect cozy mystery. I loved the characters, the southern setting, the humor and the story so much. So now I can only describe this as a fun chicklit book. Of course it is not fun to find out your husband is cheating on you, but everything that happened next was fun to read about.
Carlene immediately confronts her husband, who is a new car salesman, and makes a huge scene there, when she finds out that the woman who bought those red silk panties, works there, and they were having an affair for 5 months now. Of course her sleaze ball of a husband denies everything, but Bridget has already spilled the beans to Carlene.
When he keeps trying to placate her, and stop her from making a scene in front of his customers and his girlfriend, she hits him but good, and then marches on the hood of a pretty red Corvette, making nice little dents with her stiletto heels.
Carlene owns a fancy lingery shop with her two cousins, Alma Grace (who is very religious and prays about everything) and Patrice (who is a free spirit). They employ 78 year old Josie Vargas as a seamstress. Carlene is the designer, Alma Grace is excellent at selling things, and Patrice is the bookkeeper.
Their mothers are sisters and best of friends as well, and when they all find out through the gossip vines what has happened, they stand behind Carlene 100%. They want to hurt Lenny badly for hurting their girl so much. Only Alma Grace and her mother Sugar really want Carlene to forgive Lenny and go into counselling if necessary. Because a divorce is just not done! But Carlene is still furious at Lenny and has no intention at all at going back to him; she will live in the apartment above the shop for now.
And when they decide to hurt Lenny where it hurts the most, his pride, they decide to join in the Chili cook-off and dethrone him with their grandfather’s famous but lost recipe. While the girls run their shop (which has never been busier as everyone wants to know the truth and be the first one to know what happens next), the mothers start cooking the chili. And as none of them has ever cooked before (they are all rich enough to have cooks or housekeepers), this sure is not easy on them.
Lenny’s mother doesn’t want to believe anything bad about her precious boy, and even moves in with him to take care of him now his wife has left him. There sure is no love lost between Carlene and Kitty, that is for sure. And when Lenny realizes that without a wife, he is free to sleep around as much as he likes, he certainly has prospects enough. Because he is good in bed, and the female population knows it.
Then half the town gets ill with a very nasty flu, or is it chili-food poisoning?
I really enjoyed reading this book. I have a weakness for all things southern, the language, the feeling of family. There is plenty of romance in the book as well, another man has been hiding a crush on Carlene for a long time, Patrice is finally sure that she has found “the one” and even Alma Grace starts dating and moves out of her parents’ home.
I loved all the characters, the secondary characters, and the support the first ladies team got from all the other wives and mothers of the men competing year after year. That was so much fun!
Even though it is the second book in the series, you can read this perfectly as a stand alone. There are some characters feuding in this book, and perhaps that was explained in the first one, and I am sure most characters appear in both books, but I did not miss anything.
I really enjoyed this book and again I stayed up way too late to finish it.
I am glad that Carlene does not rush into another relationship, she takes her time to grieve over her lost marriage, and to get back on her feet. Perhaps that is why this is labelled women’s fiction and not romance.
© 2014 Reviews by Aurian