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The Missing Ingredient

(Reality of Love #1)

4.18  ·  Rating details ·  258 ratings  ·  111 reviews
Who knew a cooking show could get so messy?

Elle Fierro
All I have to do is appear as a judge on this cooking show in Hollywood and my restaurant will open to rave reviews. Pretty much my lifelong dream. What I absolutely shouldn’t do is sleep with one of the contestants and ruin everything I’ve worked so hard for. But he gives good hugs, makes me laugh, fills out a simp
ebook, 206 pages
Published March 21st 2019
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Average rating 4.18  · 
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A Book Lover's Emporium Book Blog
What a lovely surprise this book turned out to be! The Missing Ingredient was both humorous and steamy, and I enjoyed it thoroughly! In fact, I couldn’t put it down.

Elle was fierce, focused, and tough as nails; I admired her, despite how different she is from me. Austin was friendly and easy going; I adored him immediately. Opposites attract, and for Austin and Elle that attraction was explosive!

The writing was fun and lighthearted, with just a touch of drama. I especially appreciated the Spanis
Michelle Claypot_Reads
Just realised I never reviewed this back when I read it. Bad girl!!

I loved Elle and Austin's story. Older woman, younger man is often a trope that's done poorly. Not here. There's delicious chemistry, actual emotions and beautifully witty dialogue.

Definitely recommend.
Sierra Hill
Mar 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Advice to readers – don’t read this book while hungry – because it cooks up a plethora of good food, a delicious slow burn and a male character that is so yummy and good enough to eat!

The Missing Ingredient is a dual-POV book in Marika’s new Reality of Love series. I loved getting what seemed the insider scoop on the inner-workings of reality TV through the eyes of celebrity chef and judge, Elle, and her hot young and fun contestant, Austin.

Sweet and lovable Austin is the perfect ingredient for
Aug 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was my buddy read and I'm so glad my buddy picked this one. It was my first by Ray but won't be my last.

Elle is a chef with her sights set high. She's super serious and likes to instill fear rather than love. Austin is a easy going, new face chef and they are both on the same reality TV cooking show. Elle is a judge and Austin is a chef. There's an instant attraction but do they act on it?

Elle- is hardcore serious. She's determined to keep her name and reputation pristine especially while o
Jun 10, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Review to come.
Kim Gauger
Mar 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Younger man older woman for the win!!! This book has it all. The perfect blend of humor, heat and conflict. Austin is the perfect book boyfriend as he is charming, hilarious and down right sexy. Dimples, tattoos, and the hair. Elle is the bossy chef who is so uptight she needs someone to break down all the walls and loosen her up. These two are perfect and their chemistry is scorching hot. There may even be a little food adventures in this, some quite sticky situations with some syrup that makes ...more
Feb 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Attention! You must pick up The Missing Ingredient, STAT, if you love:

An unassuming and underdog hero with grace, humor, and an incredibly winning personality. Oh, and he’s sexy as all get out.

A FIERCE, driven, take-no-prisoners heroine who can’t help but have a few chinks in her armor.

DELICIOUS settings and genuine characters.

And a plot that makes you root for them all the way.

What a fun read! I had a smile on my face while reading it, and while I raced to the end, I couldn’t help but want to s
Wendy Livingstone
Mar 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Elle is a feisty female who ends up as a judge on a reality show. Austin is a sexy hunk and contestant on the show. This story is told as a dual POV, and is a slow burn romance. This is a well written flawless story, which is humorous, witty, fun, with a tad bit of drama, which all leads to an all round entertaining and light-hearted read. I was totally captivated throughout this addictive page turner, and cannot wait to read more from this talented author, whose work I highly recommend for all ...more
C.E. Johnson
Mar 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
There's nothing I love more than a feisty heroine, and Elle fits that perfectly! She is a strong character and I loved her! And can we talk about the hotness that exudes from a man who can cook like Austin? This was a super fun, light-hearted read with just enough sizzle and drama to make it the perfect story to devour! I really enjoyed Elle and Austin's story and give it 5 tasty stars!
Becca Whaley
May 17, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
So this is my first book by this author. I love Austin and Elle. Even if I wanted to smack Elle at times lol. Austin is so incredible even at the age of 22 he is more responsible than many 40 year olds. The love he has for his sister is so sweet...
Carol Soares
Mar 30, 2019 rated it it was ok
I was anxious to read this book but now that I've read it I'm a bit disappointed it's so boring, 0 excitement. Sorry.
Feb 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: arc, 2019
I haven’t read that many older woman/younger guy tropes so I don’t have that much of a comparison to go on but if they’re anything like this I think I need to explore it more often. Elle takes a new gig as a chef judge for a new cooking show thinking of it as a great boost for her career. She’s 32 confident, career driven and intimidating (really what famous chef isn’t?) and she’s in desperate need of a hug. Now comes along one of the show contestants who’s 22 lighthearted, family driven, with a ...more
Mar 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Take one hot beautiful chef with fire in both her demeanor and recipes and mix it with an adorable, handsome, funny, up and coming chef and you get a recipe for a really good story.

This is the first book in a new series by this author and I loved it. It’s cute, quirky, hot and will make you salivate in more ways than one. I wouldn’t say there’s a lot of drama in this book. It’s more life lessons. It makes you stop and think what’s really important to you and is it actually really important to yo
Lisa Hemming
Mar 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Marika Ray has written another winner with the first book in her new Reality of Love Series, “The Missing Ingredient.” I loved everything about this book from the spirited and sexy chef, to the carefree but serious, bartender who meet on a reality cooking show. Elle is colorful, hard working and bossy and she definitely needs to slow down and enjoy life. Austin is laid back, funny and confident and someone who always puts his family first.

Elle was thrilled about her job as a judge on the cookin
Mary Brannian
Mar 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The Missing Ingredient by Marika Kay

“Always be memorable.” – Elle Fierro
Elle Fierro, “El Jefe”, is a 32-year-old head chef of a 3-star restaurant. Her driving ambition is to open and operate her own restaurant. Becoming one of the celebrity judges on a new cooking show “Taste Test” is the perfect platform to get name recognition to give her new restaurant a major boost. Yes, it means being away from New York for several weeks to do the show, but if all goes well, it will give her loads of free p
Britt The Hatters
Mar 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Grab your aprons and hold on to your chef hats folks Marika Ray has brought all our foodie dreams to life with The Missing Ingredient! As a person who hates most reality TV but also has a serious obsession with cooking contests and a certain angry chef I was bouncing off the walls in excitement when I read the blurb and found out one of my favorite one click Authors was combining everything I loved into one magnificent read. I was even more thrilled when I picked it up, started reading and disco ...more
Amy [Book Addict Reviews]
Feb 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is a new to me author and this is a different story but I loved it!

Elle is a chef judge on a new reality cooking competition, she is getting ready to open her own restaurant, so the publicity is good for her career. She is feisty, she is driven, I kept calling her the female Gordon Ramsey in my head while reading.

Austin is a constant on the show, he is surprised to even be on the show, but winning could completely change is life and his sisters life. He has no formal training like others o
Brenda Brown
Mar 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
LOVED Elle and Austin. This opposites-attract story was made all the sexier by the older woman/younger man element. I loved seeing both characters grow throughout and this story left a huge smile on my face. (It also left me wishing I was a more creative cook, but that's a whole different thing. :) )
Leisa Ann
May 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Great quick read! Loved Austin and Elle....their chemistry is undeniable. Austin is a sweetheart of a good guy trying to make a better life for himself and his sister. Elle has never known love and although it takes a few mistakes she is able to figure it out. Loved this book....sweet with plenty of heat
Maria Wagner
Oct 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved it!

This book was absolutely amazing. It was entertaining and sweet. It was hilarious. It was well written and the storyline was spot on. The characters were remarkable and the bond they shared was strong. The ending was the sweetest ever.
Petra Gleason
Mar 28, 2019 rated it liked it
3.5 stars
Laura Lee
Apr 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Fun, sexy, sweet - everything you need in a great romance!
This was book #3 for Romanceopoly 2020.

Square: Around Town, Farmer's Market
Challenge Pack: Moon
Challenge: Read a romance where the hero or heroine is a chef or works in the food industry, owns a bakery/restaurant/food or drink establishment.

Elle Fierro is a successful chef in New York, on the verge of opening her own restaurant. We open with her final night at the restaurant where she was an Executive Chef for five years and will be heading to sunny Southern California to be the head
Christine C
Mar 21, 2019 rated it liked it
Elle is a famous chef in NYC, with cookbooks published and a new restaurant opening in a matter of weeks. She is hard, driven, and a perfectionist and her staff refers to her as El Jefe. She is invited to appear as a judge on a cooking competition pilot being filmed, and plans to use the publicity to jump start her new restaurant. Austin is just a guy who loves to cook, having received no formal training but his friends all rave over his creations. He enters the competition to gain entry into th ...more
Amy  Crull
Mar 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book is super cute! Elle and Austin bring the heat in and out of the kitchen lol! These two are from very different worlds but somehow they work perfectly.
Elle is in control and has the attitude to match. She has gotten where she is by being a ballbuster. She is here for a show and that's it. She didn't expect to fall in love and melt a little bit. Her and Austin's first meet was awkward, like really, really awkward. It seriously cracked me up! These two are like fire and ice.
Austin has a
Mar 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Wow! Man, talk about one thrilling and emotional adventure that keeps you spellbound in this amazing tale that you just can't put down. Marika puts everything she has into her tales and it flows smoothly along without a hitch. This is one exhilarating, refreshing spin with all the drama you can handle. A strong storyline that keeps this bombshell moving along smoothly. All the uncertainty and intrigue give a performance you can't get enough of. The characters and scenes
Brittany Hively
Jun 06, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What a steamy romance with a new spin!

I love books of all kinds, but sometimes it's hard to find a book that doesn't have the same old form and story type. Marika Ray puts a spin on things with The Missing Ingredient.

For starters, the female lead is older, which I don't see often. The story is also based off of a cooking show, which is not a concept I have read either!

I loved so many things about this book, but won't ruin it, but telling you individually.

I did love the characters. I could fe
Mar 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
I read this in one sitting. It was a fun and easy read that didn't require a lot of thought whilst reading it. Escapism at its best.

Elle is a successful chef on the way to opening her own restaurant. She is strict and passionate in the kitchen but it is clear that her staff respect her despite her outbursts. Her journey to opening up her own place takes to a reality cooking show where she is one of the judges. She sees at her chance to secure her future.

Austen is a contestant on the show, who is
Kathy Rouchelle
Mar 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
What a wonderful little read this was. An established, well known (and feared) Chef and an unknown, untried, young, funny and responsibility ladened wanna be Chef meet on set (well they weren't exactly on the set when they very first meet), and the sparks ignite, the angst begins and when all of the ingredients are mixed together, you get one mighty spicy dish served up to you right in the hotel room! What is the Missing Ingredient, well you will have to read this book to find out exactly what i ...more
Feb 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
What a fresh and wonderful treat The Missing Ingredient was! I always enjoy the age gap twist when it’s an older woman and younger man, and throw in a little bit of forbidden romance into the mix and it was truly enjoyable.

Elle is quite the Spanish firecracker, extremely professional and driven, and very uptight. She has a singular focus of opening up her own restaurant in NYC, and won’t let anything get in her way. So when small-town California boy Austin entered her life, she never saw him co
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Marika is a USA Today bestselling author writing steamy RomComs to make your heart explode and bring a smile to your face. She lives by the beach and posts a delightful number of hot lifeguard pictures.

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