Tacos for Two
In Tacos for Two, Betsy St. Amant uses the plotline from the movie You’ve Got Mail, even including favorite lines that her hero and heroine share through their own communication on an online dating service. In the end, the way to love takes a winding path in this fun romantic comedy.
Living in Modest, Texas, where Mexican food is a staple, Rory Perez inherited Salsa Street, a food truck, from her aunt – but she doesn’t know how to cook, doesn’t wish to learn, and hasn’t made that knowledge public. While everyone in town assumes Rory is the one producing her aunt’s delicious Mexican recipes, she relies on her close friend Grady who creates the kitchen magic. Her own talents lie in the area of social media and event planning, but duty holds her tight. She also serves as guardian to her cousin Hannah who has Down’s Syndrome and lives at a special school. Right now Rory needs money to upgrade the truck and pay for her cousin’s school tuition. She hopes winning first place in the upcoming community food truck festival will put the business back in the black.
After each day of hard decisions, Rory can barely wait to talk with her online friend StrongerMan99. They met through the Love at First Chat site, and for Rory, the interaction is perfect – it’s safe and keeps the relationship distant. Because no pictures are allowed until well into the process, Rory’s resemblance to a Hollywood star does not get in the way of true communication.
Jude Strong Worthington belongs to a prominent family in town and longs to escape the family law firm and his father’s critical manner. He loves to cook and would like to get into food service, but he has no experience cooking for a crowd. He takes refuge in regular conversation with his online friend on Love at First Chat, ColorMeTurquoise, who encourages him to follow his dreams. When Modest’s mayor approaches Jude and asks him to investigate the delay in an expected Worthington donation, Jude recognizes an opportunity. He’ll take a page from his favorite Salsa Street, buy a food truck, and enter the community festival. He’ll smooth the Worthington reputation in town by participating, and show his father how serious he is about a new career path. But first, he’ll need to learn to cook for a crowd.
He approaches Rory to teach him, and knowing the fee will help with the finances she agrees, all the while panicking because she doesn’t know how to cook. Grady comes to the rescue, coaching Rory through an earbud, and classes begin. A food truck is a small space, and the sparks between the Rory and Jude are instant and unwanted. Both feel a strong loyalty to their online friends and push away their feelings in real life. Bring on the community festival!
The story is full of family – Rory’s close support from friends who become a brother and sister to her, Jude’s struggle to find his own path when surrounded by his manipulative father and the loss of the childhood closeness with his brother. The theme running through the story is the need to find your own path among competing obligations and assumptions about what is expected of you. Although published by an inspirational publisher, Tacos for Two contains few direct references to God but stands completely within the genre of sweet romance.
My favorite character is Rory’s cousin Hannah, whose honest and direct speech and questions quickly reach the heart of any matter the other characters may be pondering. Hannah is only one of the strong cast of characters Tacos for Two introduces while taking a well-known plot and adding touches of humor and the complexity of family to create a very satisfying read. If you enjoy stories in the Hallmark style, you’ll like Tacos for Two.