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The Missing Ingredient

3.72  ·  Rating details ·  143 ratings  ·  42 reviews
It can take losing everything to realize what you had all along.

Up-and-coming London chef Marcus Vine is poised on the edge of success, but the only men courting him are investors. That leaves Marcus with some free time—which is fortunate, because his godchildren need him.

A year ago, a horrible accident killed Marcus’s best friend, Raine, leaving her children without a mo
ebook, 1st edition, 220 pages
Published August 7th 2018 by Dreamspinner Press
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Average rating 3.72  · 
Rating details
 ·  143 ratings  ·  42 reviews

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4.5 Hearts

There are books that you read that give you a sense of hope and this book did just that. With an organic friends to lovers’ romance that isn’t typical, Brian Lancaster has written a wonderful romance that makes this reader believe in the power of love more than ever.

Told from the POV of famous chef Marcus Vine we quickly learn that Marcus is all about the work and not so much about a relationship. He has the normal hookups to scratch the sexual frustration itch but remains unattached.
About a year ago, Marcus, a busy chef in London, lost his best friend Raine in a car accident, and in one fell swoop, Raine's husband and their children as well, due to being asked to "give them time to grieve".

Marcus respected Tom's wishes, though he misses his two "nieces", never mind the grief of losing his friend and ersatz family.

But then he runs into them by chance and realizes that Tom doesn't look like's holding it together at all, and it's obvious that Marcus is needed. He immediately
3.5 stars rounded up to 4 stars. Full review to follow soonish!

Some ingredients are harder to substitute than others...

Marcus Vine is on the cusp of success as a chef, but finds that having only investors interested in him leaves him with time to spare and following the loss of his best friend Raine, Marcus turns to helping Raine's husband Tom as he struggles to come to grips with losing his wife and the mother of his children...Marcus's godchildren, trying to rebuild their lives to a new no
Aug 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
Ohh this was so so cute!

Tom lost his wife in a car crash. He’s left with 2 young girls and it’s very very hard on him to look after everything. He’s completely overwhelmed but he’s kind of proud so he doesn’t reach for help.
Fortunately some incredible circumstances made him crossed path with an old-friend Marcus. Marcus was the best friend of Tom’s wife. They've lost contact after Tom decided he needed to be alone with his kids.
Years later, with one look at Tom, Marcus decided to take things i
This was entertaining but average. If not for the audio I am sure I would have stopped. It had it's great moments but then there were the dramatics that felt unnecessary. I will read this author again and do recommend the story because it has a good message in the end, that love is love and you should and can be proud to who you are. ...more
Jan 31, 2019 rated it liked it
Audiobook review

When you, or at least I, pick up a Dreamspun Desires book, I'm not expecting a masterpiece. I'm not expecting anything remotely deep or a book that will keep me on my toes. I pick them for the fluff, the cuteness, to listen to a book where I don't have to engage my mind, but just simply get a way for a moment. This line gives me that, each and every time.

The Missing Ingredient is set in London. We follow Marcus Vine, a rising star in the culinary world. A car accident robbed hi
Joyfully Jay
Aug 16, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: sue
A Joyfully Jay review.

3 stars

I’m not really sure where to start with this one. On the surface, The Missing Ingredient is an exploration of love after loss and learning to move forward. And it delivers that message well enough. The writing style is fine, though it lacks much true voice. But honestly, The Missing Ingredient just wasn’t very good. The first problem is the plot. At times it reads more like a melodrama than a believable piece of fiction. There is a mystery that never matters, a pred
Molly Ringle
Aug 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: lgbtq
A steamy but also genuinely moving friends-to-lovers story--I love such things! Marcus and Tom's transition from family friends to a proper relationship, with all its rough complications and blissful moments, charmed me throughout. Bonus points for yummy British setting and dialect. (Yes, I'm an Anglophile; so rare among Americans, I know.) ;) Brian is an author worth watching and I'll always look forward to more of his books! ...more
Dec 23, 2018 rated it did not like it
Tom is not only a horrible love interest but he is also a horrible friend. He treated Marcus like garbage the entire book and was just not likable at all.
Lena Grey
Aug 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
“I believe forgiveness is the best form of love in any relationship. It takes a strong person to say they're sorry and an even stronger person to forgive.” ~ Yolanda Hadid

When Marcus Vine, of 'A Missing Ingredient' by Brian Lancaster, loses his best friend, Raine, in a fatal car crash, he, in essence, loses his two godchildren. Before the accident, he was deeply involved in the little girls' lives. Marcus was more like their uncle than their mother's good friend. At the funeral, their father, To
Barb ~rede-2-read~
Audiobook provided by the publisher through Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words in exchange for an impartial review.

Chef Marcus Vine is a busy man, running his own popular restaurant in the UK and opening another with an investment partner in New York. But he finds time to step in and help out when he realizes his former best friend’s family needs him. Raine died a year ago and her husband, Tom, is struggling to be everything to his two daughters.

With Marcus’s help and support, their lives take
Oct 21, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was given a copy of this book to read and review for Wicked Reads.

This is a sweet and angsty romance about a celebrity chef who falls for his best friend’s grieving husband. Marcus’ life might be glamourous but he’s also lonely and missing his friend. A year after his wife’s death, Tom is a mess. When Marcus steps in to help Tom and his daughters restore some order to their lives, he quickly becomes part of the family.

A gay-for-you story that is further complicated by Marcus’ lifelong friend
3.5 stars

At first, I was a bit uncomfortable with the situation -- (view spoiler). But then I thought, heh, I didn't encounter this much issue in M/F romance, so why the attitude, Ami?!? After I settled with the fact, I enjoyed the relationship progress. Loved reading how Marcus bonded with the kids and how he became integral part of the family, not simply as Uncle Marc.

Minus point for Tom being quite a douche near
Ed Davis
Jan 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
What a wonderfully heartwarming story. I know this is not everyone’s cup of tea, but I enjoy a sweet romance with two characters I want to get their happy ever after. Marcus and Tom were two such characters for me. I found this book at the library, but I’m certainly going to be checking for other books by Brian Lancaster.
Sep 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
I would say that this is a 3.5 stars rounded up because I enjoyed it quite a bit. It was lowish angst and super sweet but I thought it was well written. The only part I didn't like was the slightly abrupt ending. There was an epilogue but it was still not completely satisfying to me. Otherwise, I thought it was well done. ...more
Ruthie Taylor
Oct 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
~~I received a free copy of this book to read and review for Wicked Reads ~~

This was a strong four star read until the very end ... the last word tipped it right up to a 5* just like that!

I am a huge fan of chef / restaurant romances, and I really liked how this one managed to combine the very talented, celebrity chef that is Marcus to the outside world, with the caring, friendly, best friend that he is to Tom and his children.

We know from the beginning that Marcus found Tom attractive, but as
Nov 21, 2018 rated it liked it
This is a very clear GFY plot. Tom and his discurses about this are a bit confussing ... but the love story is not bad. They have pretty much cute moments together and a HEA !
I wish we had a secondary plot about Marcus friend (the cop) having his own story too! I don't like love triangles because that! Its always one out of the equation! :/
Natosha Wilson
Aug 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this book. It is sad how the two men got together in the first place but in the end they made one another and the children that are involved happy so that made this an even better read.

Marcus is a famous chef. He loves his business, so much so that he is the process of trying to open another restaurant like the one he owns now but in New York City. Other then his business his personal life is pretty much a couple of short term relationships, if you could call it that. He has no
Aug 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Total book hangover in progress here… What a touching, beautiful story. Tom was once married to Marcus’ best friend, Raine. Out and proud Marcus always had a thing for straight Tom, but kept it under wraps for over a decade. A year after Raine was killed in an auto accident, Tom and Marcus reconnect and sparks start to fly.

For some reason, I adore the gay-for-you trope and this one does not disappoint. In my opinion, the plot was both original and interesting with enough complexities to keep th
Heather Martin
Jul 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
**Copy provided to Bayou Book Junkie by DreamSpinner Press for my reading pleasure in hopes of an unbiased opinion, a review was not a requirement.**

The Missing Ingredient is the first book I’ve read by Brian Lancaster. It’s a friends to lovers with a verrrrrry sloooooow burn. Seriously slow. For the most part, I really liked Marcus. Though he was a chef with multiple restaurants, we wasn’t a jerk. He was grieving the loss of his best friend and her family that he was asked to step away from aft
Cathy Brockman
Audio Review-
Marcus is a busy celebrity Chef but he misses his best friend Raine who was killed in a tragic car accident nearly a year ago. Tom her widower asked Marcus to give him and the kids space to grieve and he would call him and let him back in the kids lives but a year later and he hasn't.

Marcus runs into them in a restaurant and his friend encourages him to make the move and approach Tom. Tom looks rough and exhausted and finally agrees to let Marcus help him with the kids. Their friend
Aug 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
A Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Review

Rating: 4 stars out of 5

For the full review, visit

From that review: " The Missing Ingredient by Brian Lancaster is one of those contemporary romances that some normally  label Gay For You, a tag I've never liked or been conformable with.  This is a heartwarming, sweet romance about a widower who has lost his wife and  finds love again with his wife's best friend....a man.  It's a slow burn, come to the realization of attraction
4.5/5 Definitely enough for me to check out this author's other stuff. I love finding new authors, especially British ones. I'm glad I took a chance and bought this one when my library didn't have it.

Tags- Bi/Pan: Tom is demisexual-ish, Blue Collar: Tom is in construction (seems to be semi-in charge he handles bids and business-y stuff and looks hot in a suit); England: takes place primarily in the London borough of Bromley with a few visits to NYC

I can see the start of a series with this: the h
Sep 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
It was a good book but I was left with a feeling that something was missing for me emotionally.
Marcus is too perfect and I hated Tom for giving Marcus hope and keeping him on a side like a dirty secret for no apparent reason except his mental comfort.
His parents were open-minded, his work situation was secure, only his drinking buddies were potentially at risk of not wanting to hang around if they knew he was bisexual but they were not his best friends and true support unlike Marcus.
And super-su
Alan Chan
Aug 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Loved this book. It's definitely a slow burn, so not for readers who prefer instant gratification rather than an interesting plot line and a relationship that grows on you. I thought Marcus handled himself with dignity and grace, and while Tom comes across as annoying at times, he can be forgiven because of everything he's been through.

Bravo, again, Mr Lancaster.

Would love to see a sequel to this.

Hint, hint!
Nice audio to listen to. Liked the accent and the differentiation between all the voiced characters. It was well paced and brought the characters to life.

The story was nice. It hit the spot for a nice romance. Of course the characters go through a bit of a journey and thinking before they finally arrive where they should be.

Kudos to the author for the twist in the last chapter with Tom's mother. I was all "oh no, not this after all the heartache." Joke was on me, lol.
Aug 09, 2018 rated it did not like it
You want to know was is the missing ingredient of this book ? The lack of chemestry between the main characters .. what they fall in love .. when ? They had sex ? Is was to most boring sex scene that I've reas in my life.. ...more
Katy Beth Mckee
Sep 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is a new author for me. At times I got frustrated by both of these men. They seemed to have trouble getting their act together. But the ending was so special it made everything come together.
Talk about finding love in unexpected places. I do think Marcus may have gone along a little too quickly in terms of his character, but the story was ultimately so sweet that I chose to let that go. A charming read.
Aug 08, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mm-romance, 2018
Enjoyable, quick read.

I really liked Marcus. Tom I had a hard time warming up to. I kinda got there in the end.
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BRIAN LANCASTER is an author of gay romantic
fiction in multiple genres, including contemporary, paranormal, fantasy, crime, mystery, and anything else his muse provides. Born in the sleepy South of England, the setting of many of his stories, he moved to Southeast
Asia in 1998, where he shares a home with his longtime partner and two of the laziest cats on the planet. Brian Lancaster once believe

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