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The Missing Ingredient

(Reality of Love #1)

4.61  ·  Rating details ·  70 ratings  ·  64 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 simple T
Published March 21st 2019
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4.61  · 
Rating details
 ·  70 ratings  ·  64 reviews

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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
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
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!
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: adult, 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
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
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
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
Britt Franks Red Hatter Book Blog
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 [The Little Bookworm]
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
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
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 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
Beyond The Covers Blog
Mar 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: gail
Elle Fierro is head chef at a popular top Restaurant and tonight is her last shift,she is off to Hollywood to be a guest judge on a new reality cooking show.She hopes that this will give her and her new restaurant the publicity she needs.

Austin Cox has made it on to the cooking reality show,one he filled out an application for on a drunken whim with his friends.He knows he can cook but he has no real restaurant  experience,but he hopes that he can gain some much needed knowledge and win.He needs
Apr 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is a NEW to me author & books! I fell in love with the blurb as much as the book cover! What a surprise to me that this book is now a MUST READ on my list!!

This is a HUGE opposite attracts love story! Because boy, were they different. In every sense so to say, we have Elle the strong, pierce, independent and her own boss heroine and a very sweet down to earth sexy as sin hero named Austin. p.s. will get hungry during reading! (pun intended, for both!) I am a NEED DRAMA type of gal (alwa
Kristen Lewendon
Mar 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This was a rare book for me. One where I spent most of the book thoroughly disliking one of the main characters and yet still loved the story. I adored Austin. He’s so sweet and funny, and his desire to be the one to look after his little sister makes him thoroughly endearing. Elle was much harder for me to like. It might have something to do with how much of myself I can see in her. She’s a perfectionist and so standoffish, making it hard to see her redeeming qualities. Once she’s able to break ...more
Mar 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
How I loved this story. It a great light hearted read that will keep you smiling, laughing and turning pages as fast as you can read. Elle is a spunky woman who needs to loosen up. She agrees to be a judge on a cooking show in hopes to get the recognition her restaurant needs. It on this show she meets Austin, a sexy fun-loving bartender who loves to cook and is devoted to taking care of his sister. He enters a cooking contest in hopes of getting the money he needs for his sister, but soon learn ...more
Debbie Caswell
Mar 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Another great book from this talented author and the start of another great series by the look of things and just like her Beach Squad series you don't only get wonderful characters but a great deal of humour which makes the pages fly by.

Elle is a chef that is about to open a new restaurant it is a good job she is the head chef because boy does she like to be in charge and by doing this reality cooking show she will get the publicity for her new restaurant that is about to open . Austin only ent
Kayla Busch
Mar 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I absolutely love this feel good romance. I have never read a romance based on a cooking reality show before and thoroughly enjoyed Elle and Austin's journey. Both Elle and Austin have big goals they are trying to accomplish and love was not on either of their radars. However, sometimes your in the right place at the right time and meet the person you are destined to be with. I really enjoyed the back and forth banter between them, Elle's sassiness and her Spanish sayings. I loved Austin's passi ...more
Jennifer Soppe
Mar 21, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A nice way to pass the afternoon while curled up on the sofa.

Elle, an executive chef, meets Austin, an aspiring chef, when he mistakenly enters her dressing room for the reality cooking show they are both going to be a part of. As the story progresses roles are shaken, perceptions are tested and the wrong choices may cost them everything. Marika Ray has branched out and spread her sassy heroine 's wings in The Missing Ingredient. Mixing plenty of humor with everyday issues and adding the realit
Read.Review.Repeat Blog
Mar 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
What a fun story to read. If you are like me and obsessed with the reality cooking shows then this will be a fun story for you. Elle is trying to make her mark in the food industry. Austin is just looking for a way to support his teenage sister. When the two are paired up for the TV show, Food was not the only thing getting hot. This couple had smoking attraction and confirmed that opposites do indeed attract. This was fun and flirty with the right amount of angst for a great romance. Cindy

The M
April Symes
The Missing Ingredient by Marika Ray is book 1 in her new series " Reality of Love".
Elle is a older woman who is a bit uptight, bossy and stresses out over way too much. She is a take charge chef who ends up a judge for a cooking show. Austin is the younger, hot stud who is tatted up as the contestant on this show who finds Elle fascinating and wants to rock her world. Theirs is a slow cooker of a romance but when that pot blows, wow, this story is amazing. Normally I am not one who likes the ol
Mar 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The Missing Ingredient by Marika Ray is the first book in her new Reality of Love series. This rom- com is funny and sexy with strong and smart and swoon-worthy characters. And this is an older woman/younger man read, which I love. Elle is a strong female that wants to stand on her own while Austin is a young, upcoming chef that needs to win this cooking competition. These two have some off the charts hot chemistry that makes for fun reading. I thoroughly enjoyed this book from Marika and cannot ...more
Mar 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arc-tbr
What a perfect blend of personalities and story line - There was not a Missing Ingredient to be found anywhere!
Austin is a blast! He had me from start
and Elle - There were a couple of times I wanted to knock her down a peg or two but as the story progresses you see the inner workings of her mind and a lot of her behaviors become more acceptable (she was a bit prissy in the beginning, IMO)
A charming story line that is refreshing and engaging mixed with the most delightful cast of characters
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I enjoy writing all types of fiction novels, based on what inspires me. Right now, I'm working on stand-alone romances in a series all about California lifeguards and their equally fearless women. Moderate suspense, a splash of humor, and lots of steamy romance...all with the beautiful ocean as a relaxing backdrop!

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