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Sweet Home Alabama meets Top Chef when Miami’s most determined image consultant clashes with Samoa’s most uncooperative chef in a race to rebrand him as South Beach’s newest star.

Brett Fontaine learned early that appearance matters and not to count on anyone but yourself. Trading her red-dirt roots for the title of Miami’s go-to image consultant, she refuses to let anything jeopardize her new life.

Not an influential client-turned-stalker who’s up for parole.
Not post-kidnapping panic attacks.
Certainly not the stubborn, attention-phobic chef she’s challenged to transform into a celeb in ninety days.

Will Te’o can almost taste the dream he sacrificed American Samoa, culture, and cherished family ties for—opening a four star restaurant in the most cut-throat culinary location in North America. Unfortunately, that requires navigating it’s equally cut-throat social scene. When his first public performance ends in a social media spectacle, his only option is turning to the stiletto-wearing nemesis who’s invaded his kitchen.

Neither expected to share anything but barbs, yet somewhere between accidentally bonding over comfort food and office-wrecking sex, they’re named South Beach’s hottest pairing. Until Brett’s stalker engineers a reputation-shattering reveal. She may be going down, but she’s not taking Will’s dreams with her. Now Will’s pulling out all his new skills and cooking up a last-ditch event. He’ll prove to Brett that relying on the right person makes for the perfect recipe—or be left heartbroken in the spotlight.

308 pages, Paperback

First published April 7, 2020

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About the author

Janet Walden-West

9 books122 followers
Janet Walden-West lives in the Southeast with a pack of show dogs, a couple of kids, and a husband who didn’t read the fine print.

She pens inclusive Urban Fantasy and Contemporary and Paranormal Romance.

A PitchWars alum and Mentor and RWA Golden Heart finalist, she's the author of contemporary romance series, SALT + STILETTOS: South Beach Romances, and the paranormal Region Two Series.

She is represented by Eva Scalzo of Speilburg Literary Agency.

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5 stars
51 (69%)
4 stars
16 (21%)
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5 (6%)
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 51 reviews
Profile Image for Melanie A..
1,044 reviews385 followers
June 14, 2020
4.5 STARS!!
"It hurts to breathe without you."
Wow! What a strong finish . . . I'm still swooning. 😍

Plot in a nutshell: Brett Fontaine is a successful image consultant in Miami who's called in to help with the launch of chef William Te'o's new restaurant.
"This town is as much about flash as substance. To succeed, you have no choice but to master both."
He grudgingly puts his rough-around-the-edges self in her hands.

You can see where this is going, right? There were definitely some enemies-to-lovers vibes going on here, and my all-time fave: forced proximity. I loved the tension it created between these two.
"The hard truth is that appearance matters." She braced herself for disapproval and him retreating to his high horse.
Okay, so, WOW. The author has created two incredible main characters in Salt + Stilettos; memorable, intelligent, strong yet vulnerable, and diverse. If you're interested in reading about Samoan culture and seeing the world through the eyes of two characters of color, you've hit the mother lode!

Brett made for an amazing heroine. She was tough as nails and used to depending on herself.
Words were cheap, and people never lived up to them.
She had a rocky start in life . . .
"Don't mention the f-word to her either. Family ain't her thing."
. . . and it leads to one of the main conflicts between her and Will.

OH. MY. GOD. Will. Be prepared to swoon, ladies.
"Helping my mom and sisters isn't a burden. It's fa'a samoa - a privilege, a good thing."
Will Te'o is not your typical hero. Even if the American Samoa transplant is 6'8" and gorgeous - have I mentioned the tattoos?😍 - he struggles with his confidence in certain situations.
"You've never been out of place. You've never not belonged."
His vulnerable side was so well done! He felt so exposed working with Brett . . .
Her mistake had been assuming someone built like a tank couldn't be hurt.
. . . yet he still maintained his sense of self. And once he saw past Brett's walls . . .
"You maybe don't wear your heart on your sleeve, but it's worth working to get to the real you."
. . . he didn't back down and wouldn't be deterred.

The respect he showed to Brett, the consideration, the kindness was utterly refreshing. The man was SERIOUS book boyfriend material!
Despite some spectacularly devastating rejections and betrayals, Will was open to trust.
So where are the 5 stars? Bear with me for a moment . . .

A big part of the success of this book for me was the writing. The author has a wonderful talent for descriptions and I loved the way Will would think in terms of his profession as a chef. For example, I love this thought in reference to Brett's nails.
The color of fresh tangerines today instead of the usual pearly-pink, like the inside of an abalone shell.
But the beautiful prose also contributed to the plot dragging a bit. Sometimes there was just too much description to wade through and I wanted the story to move along more quickly. For example:
Amusement enriched his voice, making it touchable, something lush to roll around in like her favorite pashmina.
Honestly, I wouldn't have wanted to be the editor on this book, lol. Such a great sentence, but there were just too many of them. But hey, take that with a grain of salt. I highlighted the heck out of this book!

Overall, a great read that was full of intelligence and maturity. Plus, cuddling up with Will Te'o will curl your toes.
He whispered promises and appreciation, not able to tell if it was Samoan or English.
I'll definitely read more by this author!
Profile Image for "Avonna.
1,123 reviews303 followers
April 29, 2020
Check out all of my reviews at: https://www.avonnalovesgenres.com

SALT + STILETTOS (South Beach Romance Book #1) by Janet Walden-West is a new contemporary romance by a new to me author with plenty of food, fashion and love.

Will Te’o is about to realize his dream. He worked his way up from his home in American Samoa to the top of the culinary scene in South Beach. With his partner, he is about to open his first restaurant but as talented as Will is in the kitchen, he has no understanding of the social scene and celebrity status he must now achieve for his and his restaurant’s success.

Brett Fontaine worked hard to raise herself up from dirt poor and hungry to the top image consultant in South Beach. Brett knows image and clothes matter. Her best friend has hired her to take on his partner, Will and get him ready in just 45 days for their restaurant’s grand opening.

Brett and Will butt heads, but slowly they learn to trust each other and the chemistry builds to a flash point. When Brett’s stalker engineers a reputation shattering reveal, Will is determined to prove that Brett can always rely on him. Can Will prove to Brett that he will always be there for her?

I fell in love with Will and Brett. Both are such contradictions and you would think opposites, but under the shell of each is someone so ready for love. Will is six feet eight of talented chef, traditional Samoan, and chief support of his extended family back home. He was so loving and that his character started out so insecure and hurt it broke me up. I was so glad that Brett was able to understand him and build him up rather than hurt him more. Will was so full of love and Brett needed it. Brett had to deal with both her terrible childhood and a stalker which left her traumatized and yet she was still willing to let Will in. When these two finally came together the sex scenes were smokin’ hot. The romance progressed at a realistic pace and the sex scenes were never gratuitous. All the secondary characters were interesting and fully fleshed.

I can highly recommend this contemporary romance and am looking forward to many more books in this series!
Profile Image for Lu.
745 reviews25 followers
April 24, 2020
A family-oriented chef falls for his all-business consultant.

I've been venturing more into contemporary romance, and when I read the blurb of this book, I knew I had to give it a try. I'm so glad I did. If you are into sweet heroes, this book is definitively for you.
William Te'o is an American Samoan chef who finally managed to realize his dream of owning a restaurant in a fashionable area of Miami. He is creative and talented in the kitchen, but awkward and clumsy in the outside world.

When his partner hires a consultant to help improve his public image, he wants nothing to do with it and fights her (very politely) at every turn. The fact that she is beautiful, refined, and attractive does not help at all.

Brett Fountaine is sophisticated, well-spoken, and annoyingly distant. Whenever she enters Will's kitchen in her high stilettos and fancy clothes, his heart skips a few beats. The sadness in Brett's eyes calls to Will's protective nature.

Book Art

The tension between the main characters is delicious. Sweet Will and practical Brett are adorable together. Will is all family and forevers, and Brett is all business and one-night-stands.

The writing is engaging, and the narrative flows effortlessly. There are some very steamy moments, keep a fan at hand.

This was my first book by this author, but will not be my last. I'm hoping Brett's friend Richard will get his own story.

I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Profile Image for Dianne.
6,765 reviews582 followers
March 18, 2020
Yum! Something good is cooking in Janet Walden-West’s literary kitchen and you are going to want a big helping of SALT & STILETTOS all for yourself as opposites attract like moths to a flame in the heat of Miami!

Te’o looks like anything but a culinary artist, but the big man from Samoa’s passion for food and his determination to make his dreams of owning top restaurant are finally coming true. All he needs is a little polish and a few lessons in how to handle the public and have the critics eating out of his hand.

Enter Brett Fontaine, foremost image consultant, who knows what it’s like to claw her way to the top of the heap, and she has no plans of losing her hard-won position. Little did she know, this chef was not a high strung artist, but a man just trying to take care of his family back in American Samoa. Let the fun begin!

While trying to turn this introverted mountain into a celebrity darling, Brett finds someone she could love, but that is not on her agenda at the moment.

Enter Cupid.

What a fun and entertaining read! A little sexy, a little sassy and even some warm and sweet moments make this one of those reads that will leave a 100 watt smile on your face, page after page, after page. Highly recommended for an upbeat escape where the palm trees grow.

I received a complimentary ARC edition from Janet Walden-West! This is my honest and voluntary review.

Kindle Edition, 323 pages
Expected publication: April 7th 2020 by City Owl Press
Genre: Contemporary Romance
For Reviews, Giveaways, Fabulous Book News, follow: http://tometender.blogspot.com
Profile Image for Kelly.
Author 19 books1,320 followers
February 23, 2020
Fashion and food collide in this delicious opposites-attract romance! Salt + Stilettos combines a gentle giant hero and food descriptions so exquisite my mouth watered for them both.
Profile Image for Red Jameson.
Author 32 books87 followers
March 21, 2020
Okay, before I gush and gush and gush about how much I love this book, let me get a few disclaimers out there. I haven’t read romance novels in the last few years. The trend of the romance novels in the last five years has been veering into rapey heroes who like to bully and belittle the heroines as well as sexually assault them. Anyway, I’m so happy I gave this a try! Will, the hero, is the most heroic hero I’ve read in years, and I’m so happy about this story that I will read anything by Janet Walden-West!
The story begins by letting us, the readers, get to know Brett Fontaine, a style consultant who knows her business and has helped many build their businesses and reputations to make them millions. Brett is a hard worker who likes her job but she’s the victim of stalking and kidnapping, and she’s still recovering from that. I like that she’s working on getting stronger and overcoming her own problems rather than expecting someone to save her. I like how strong she is. No, I LOVE how strong she is as a heroine.
Then we meet Will Te’o, the MOST AMAZING HERO! He’s warm, he’s compassionate, he’s considerate, and he’s HUGE—in more ways than one, ladies and, of course, interested gentlemen.  He’s an uber talented chef who is finally getting his own restaurant, but he could care less about what he looks like, let alone if he has a social media presence. He thinks the style consultant would be a waste of time, especially when he realizes he’s attracted to Brett. He doesn’t have a great track record with the ladies and Brett comes off as less than charming when they meet because she’s got it in his head that he’s an “artist” and needs a few tough love lessons.
They butt heads time after time because Will actually needs a style consultant to make it in a big town like Miami and his financial partner is insisting upon it. Eventually though, they start to understand where the other is coming from and then the story is just wonderful bliss of two characters learning about each other and learning how to trust each other when so much is stacked against them. It’s a beautiful story about the redemptive qualities of love, especially the kind of love based on mutual respect.
Oh my gosh, this story was like manna for me! Seriously, in an age where it seems the romance genre is turning to the dark side, and I mean that figuratively and literally since dark and rapey romance seems to be all that is trending right now, this is bright shining beautiful star. THIS is real romance. Read it and your heart will thank you for it.
Profile Image for Anne Raven.
19 reviews5 followers
February 21, 2020
I fell in love with Janet’s writing from the very first paragraph of Salt + Stilettos. Her amazing voice and comfortable style pull you in immediately and never let go. Salt + Stilettos is Contemporary Romance at its finest and proves to be a must-read recipe.

1 cup powerful emotions
½ cup cultural identities
¼ cup found families and familial responsibilities
2 T vivid and vibrant settings
1 T enemies to lovers
5 t rich secondary characters
2 t adorable hounds
Pinch of perfect antagonist

Take 2 headstrong, complex, and highly motivated characters and toss them into the frying pan, combining powerful emotions with complicated cultural identities and families. Immerse in vivid and vibrant settings and allow to simmer in the South Beach scene.

In another pot, sauté rich secondary characters, adorable hounds, and antagonist. Whisk together and crank up the heat until caramelized.

Best served with a side of Spam... *spoiler* (you’ll get this inside joke once you read!)

Okay, I may have taken the recipe thing too far, but seriously, there is so much foodie romance to love here.

Strong, fiercely independent heroine who took the crappy lemons life handed her and turned them into a thriving business. Brett is one of my favourite heroines, and I totally want to curl up on her couch and hang out with her and her hounds, listening to Pearl Jam.

And Will… *sigh*… Talk about a gentle giant. But make no mistake, this cinnamon roll, with his drool-worthy tatuas, is no pushover. Will may prefer to lurk in the shadows and steer clear of the limelight, but he’s extremely determined to make his dreams a reality and very protective of his family.

I have in fact joked that if I thought I could take Brett on, I’d fight her for Will. But that woman would kick my ass in thirty seconds tops. All without breaking a heel or mussing her hair.

Brett and Will have so much chemistry, you’ll be rooting for them right from their gorgeous meet-cute. I give them 5 Michelin Stars!
Profile Image for Kat Turner.
Author 10 books324 followers
February 20, 2020
This is one of those stories that will stay with me for a long time. Salt + Stilettos was so unique and compelling, with such interesting and complex characters, that I'm already daydreaming of another Will & Brett story and maybe even writing fan fic in my head. :)

Will and Brett come from very different backgrounds, yet through the Miami restaurant scene they bond over shared passion both in and out of the kitchen. Each of these two is such a well-rounded individual, seeing the world through their own eyes and experiences. As distinct people, they are flawed yet relatable and easy to love. Will is gentle and thoughtful and one-hundred percent there for everyone and everything he cares about. Brett is sharp and smart, articulate and cool, yet underneath that super competent woman is one who's healing from some deep wounds and making peace with her past as she grapples with whether a relationship might be for her after all. Their chemistry, and the build -up of attraction between them, was scorching and tense and led to some hot, smoking sex. They were quite different, yet perfect together. A truly special book.
Profile Image for Paris Wynters.
Author 7 books172 followers
April 20, 2020
I absolutely loved this book. Not just for the food but the characters were amazing. I loved Will. Nothing gets me more than a shy/ awkward hero who can step up and be an alpha when needed. And boy, is he charming. Brett was okay. I didn't connect with her as much, but I also read this after watching Draft Day and felt if she was tough in the way Jennifer Garner was able to step up as a business woman, yet have a softer side I would have rooted for her more. The pacing was great and everything flowed so nicely. And I loved the diverse atmosphere of the book. And having been to Miami I could relate to some of that social status and appearance that goes on there. Definitely a book I would recommend.
Profile Image for Felicia Grossman.
Author 4 books112 followers
June 13, 2020
You guys, Brett and Will are the best. I adore them and this book so, so, so, much. He's a chef and she's an image consultant and he just wants to cook and care for his staff and family and she wants to not only help out his business partner but throw herself into a challenge and back into her career after (and still dealing with) being stalked and together they are just wow.

I love watching the sweet but wary Will come to respect what Brett does and why she does it, and grow to love her for all she is (which is brilliant and complex and fabulous). It was wonderful to see Brett struggle with trauma from the recent past and the long-ago past, and not be "fixed" but be willing, through her love for Will take more chances. That was very special and realistic.

The chemistry was off-the-charts and the sex scenes were hot and the side characters were all complex and interesting, with realistic foibles and flaws, but also strengths and warmth. I loved and believed everyone moment of the world and their story. So, so, so, good.
Profile Image for fictivate.
3 reviews46 followers
February 25, 2020
This was one of my favorite reads of the year. (I got to read it in it's first form before it'd sold to a publisher!) Leaving myself a reminder to come back and write a full review here. If you love sweet heroes, be sure to add this one to your list!
Profile Image for Bookishrealm.
1,839 reviews4,673 followers
May 13, 2020
TW: Stalking and Harassment

As a self-proclaimed romance newbie, I'm always looking for new ways to expand my horizons when it comes to romance. I'll usually hunt down videos on booktube of my friends that are experts in the romance genre. Luckily for me, I was able to acquire an ARC of this book right around the time that I was looking for more romances that were based in food. Salt + Stilettos is not only an insight to the restaurant industry in fast paced cities such as Miami, but also what possibilities can happen when we decide to give love a chance.

Probably one of the greatest aspects of this book is the character development. While I haven't read a lot of romances, I have read enough that I've become used to the female lead having to overcome issues with physical appearance or the management of dating post horrendous break up. Walden-West does an interesting twist and it's our male lead Will that has body image issues and a difficult time finding his self worth after being dumped by a cruel ex. It was interesting to see this role reversal navigated in the developing relationship between Brett and Will. With that being said, Will made my heart swoon (he's officially my new book boyfriend). He was such a kind, loving, nurturing individual in spite of Brett's short comings. To be quite honest there were plenty of opportunities for him to walk away and quite a few times when I wanted him to leave. Nevertheless, he was empathetic to Brett's situation and spent time attempting to understand how he could better support her. Brett ended up not being my favorite female lead that I've encountered in reading romance, but I definitely could appreciate and understand why she was so hesitant on allowing someone into her life.

The romance in this book is also diverse. Will is American-Samoan and the author was sure to include cultural references. There is also diversity in socio-economic status. While this may not seem important, it is the driving force behind the insecurity of specific character and also drives the plot in an interesting way.

While I did think that the character development was phenomenal, I felt as though the book was a little too long. There were definitely parts of the book that could have been omitted. Sometimes I felt like the excessive writing slowed down the plot which otherwise could have been consistently fast paced. HOWEVER, those long drawn out steamy scenes were worth EVERY SINGLE WORD. I'm a sucker for slow burn romances. And I just realized that I'm more of a sucker for an author that takes their time to write these scenes out. I've read a lot of romances where these scenes are rushed and then I'm left feeling like "okay they had sex, now what?" Salt + Stilettos is the complete opposite. I felt like Will took his time and ya'll it had me fanning myself HAHA! Overall, I thought that this romance was great and I'm looking forward to seeing what's next. I'm thinking that this may be a series and I'm hoping the next book will touch a little more on Richard and whether or not he finds love.
Profile Image for Sera Taíno.
Author 23 books74 followers
January 24, 2022
Set in Miami's South Beach, this forced proximity romance is one of the best books I've read this month. Brett Fontaine is a celebrity image consultant fresh from a traumatic stalker and abduction situation that has left its mark on her in the form of panic attacks and insomnia. She is tasked by her best friend and restaurateur Richard with reforming chef Will Te'o's image in advance of their four star restaurant opening. Will Te'o is an American Samoan who's left his family and his island to realize his dream of opening a restaurant in one of the most competitive culinary communities. What starts off with preconceptions and skewed first impressions turns into an undeniable attraction that threatens to up-end both their lives.

The representation is on point in this novel Brett, coming from an impoverished background, possesses all the fears and flaws of a woman who has had to depend on herself and can't afford the weakness that comes with surrendering herself to someone else. Will is ambitious but carries the wounds of a person rejected for nothing more than who he is and struggles to reconcile his insecurities, ambitions and culture, all while trying to build something solid with a woman who wants nothing to do with commitment. In addition, it's nice to see the such a wonderfully strong female character depicted unapologetically, and a male character who is strong but also given permission to be vulnerable and emotional. Wonderful read.

ARC provided by the author.
3 reviews
March 2, 2020
This book made me hungry. And not just for food (wink wink). Will was my favorite because he is more than just a little shy/socially awkward – he is also confident and sexy and can pull the charm. So often we meet characters who are all one way, when in reality people are nuanced. I love how this book explored that. It took me a little longer to warm to Brett (mainly because I didn’t want her hurting my sweet Will’s feelings), but I loved her vulnerability and strength by the end. Really enjoyed this read, and I’ll end this review with two words: office sex.
Profile Image for Wendy Bunnell.
1,248 reviews30 followers
March 3, 2020
I got an early copy of this book and can't wait for more readers to be able to get their grabby hands on it and get to meet Brett and Will. There is so much heat, and not just from the delicious-sounding cuisine from Will's kitchen. It's got a pinch of My Fair Lady as Brett tries to tame Will's public image for the launch of a new restaurant, plus a dash of danger. Did you see what I did there, cooking terms? Ha, I'm not even a chef. But I was hungry for more.
Profile Image for Emily Quinn.
193 reviews25 followers
April 21, 2020
I simply can’t praise this book or the author enough. With two very unique characters being pushed way out of their comfort zone, neither expected an outcome like this! The story is captivating in every way imaginable and it’s impossible not to become invested in Brett and Will’s unforgettable adventure together. However, it’s not all just about love and lust – there is danger lurking, which really turns up the heat. Together, Brett and Will change each other’s outlook on life and become each other’s safe place. Just beautiful. I also must mention the author’s extraordinary talent for storytelling and flawless use of language. Would wholeheartedly recommend this one for fans of romance!
Profile Image for Laura Trentham.
Author 36 books883 followers
April 21, 2020
Great cinnamon roll hero who is genuinely a nice guy (my favorite!) Wonderful chemistry and the food descriptions made me hungry! I whole-heartedly recommend this opposite-attract romance!
Profile Image for Romantically Inclined Reviews.
530 reviews1,004 followers
March 12, 2020
This book was provided free in exchange for an honest review.

A friend of the author reached out to my blog and requested that I read her friend's book. I have a pretty long backlog of books TBR but I figured hey, this woman is super excited about her friend's book, I can't say no to that. So, I said yes, quick scanned the interest piquing blurb, promptly forgot what it was about, and waited for the ARC to come through.

When it finally came through I'll admit that I wasn't entirely feeling the idea of a chef, but I figured I'd give it a few chapters to really intrigue me and man I'm glad I did. This book was fabulously written with unique, out-of-the-box characters, and just a really captivating plot.

I'm not sure how Walden-West managed to create a hero who was both hot, adorkable, self-conscious with low self-esteem, and still made him one of the sexiest men I've ever had the pleasure of reading. I mean, I didn't even realize I was getting a little tired of the same old, same old in terms of alpha heroes with amazing bodies and egos the size of a damn airplane. I mean, jeez. Will was such a dynamic character with his body image issues compounded with him being a chef and then also suffering from a bit of a nasty breakup with a bit of a nasty lady. And I loved his American Samoan background. I found myself constantly googling phrases and bits and pieces about the culture in order to better understand him as a hero. His concern for Brett and her personal history made him the most thoughtful, kind, and considerate hero I've had the pleasure of reading in a long, long time. I mean, other heroes are hot but unattainable. Will was the kind of man you genuinely think you could meet in real life. Just an all around good guy.

I thought I'd find Brett annoying, but she ended up being such a complicated heroine that even when she was pushing our hero away I found myself completely understanding her motives for doing so. I normally don't enjoy business-related romances, but this one really got to me. I enjoyed watching Brett build up Will's self-esteem with her adoration and the dialogue between the two was just so beautiful and touching. I was swooning constantly.

I think that the plot itself had just the right amount of drama (both internal and external to the relationship) to make it exciting without making it over the top anxiety-provoking. In the end, the story truly was the relationship between Will and Brett, but I'll say that secondary characters brought some tension-breaking humor to the book. Also, normally a location doesn't bring that much to a book, but South Beach was like its own character in the book and I enjoyed learning more about the specific culture of the area.

There's a lot to praise in this book and very little to criticize. If wholesome, gentle giants and strong, professional heroines are your thing, then I can think of nothing better than sitting down with Salt + Stilettos and reading your fill.
Profile Image for Claire Davis.
224 reviews20 followers
May 14, 2020
I received this book in exchange for an honest review. I have given Salt+Stilettos by Janet Walden-West five out of five stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Steamy, slow burner romance with a hint of a psycho-stalker. What more could I ask for in a mysterious contemporary romance?

The chemistry between the two main characters had me very close to screaming at the pages of the book just wanting them to get together already. But when they do get together…. oh my. Prepare yourself for some steamy, sex scenes to unravel. It was everything I wanted from this story. An incredibly written story which had me hooked right from the start.

The writing of this book was very descriptive and allowed me to picture everything clearly (especially the foods that were made throughout!). The main characters that we follow are, Brett Fontaine who is a celebrity image consultant and William Te’o who is an incredibly talented chef. I absolutely adored both characters and I as per the book description above, Brett is hired to try and help Will to become better with his image, confidence and public appearances. I thought that the author did a really good job on developing their characters well in order for the reader to connect with them properly.

Two of my favourite tropes in a book are slow burning romances and enemies to lovers and I felt like there was a definite mixture between these two tropes in this story which I really enjoyed.

I thought there would be more of an altercation and interaction with the psycho-stalker as it was a big part to this book. Although they continued with this part of the storyline throughout it didn’t get dramatic in the direction that I thought it was going to go.

I absolutely loved this book and look forward to reading more material from this author. I would definitely recommend this book to readers who enjoy contemporary romance novels and steamy sex scenes.
Profile Image for Gia De.
Author 2 books156 followers
April 15, 2020
Janet Walden-West has put in the work.

I got an arc of S+S and just had to read it twice. Walden-West has created beautifully well-developed, complex characters. It’s clear that she takes the craft of writing seriously and has invested time in making sure that her heroine and hero are likeable, but are also dealing with real problems, beyond their interest in each other. Each stage of their relationship feels earned, fought for. At no point does the author make it easy for Brett or Will to get to where they are.
As a native South Floridian, I can also say that Walden-West infuses the vibe and color of Miami into the story, without beating the reader over the head with it. The story is a vibrant visit - without the sunburn or humidity.
And in terms of sensory experiences, don’t read on an empty stomach! The whole novel smells and tastes so good! There’s kimchi, bacon-wrapped scallops, rice pudding and plenty of umami.

It’s rare for me to get angry with a book. I don’t want to give anything away, but just when the slow burn sexual tension peaks, Walden-West throws in a reaction that’s enough to give you whiplash. I actually shouted at the unfairness. I was mad, but only because it made perfect sense based on the characters and I did not see it coming. Even the second time around, knowing the surprise was around the corner, I still felt punched in the gut.

How often do you get to read a novel that makes you hungry, tugs at your compassion, throws you for a loop, and finishes at just the right point - making you sad to leave the characters, but happy with where they are in their lives?

If that’s what you’re looking for, Salt + Stilettos is for you.
Profile Image for Valeen Robertson (Live Thru Books Blog).
4,967 reviews160 followers
May 14, 2020


Brett has been coerced into making over her best friend's new business partner/chef at their new restaurant. She's not thrilled, because it's obvious the Jason Momoa lookalike needs more time than she's been allotted to be made into the proper image for the restaurant's premier chef. She didn't count on their hotter than hot attraction or the encounters they keep having. And she especially didn't count on developing feelings for him. But it could be the start of something great if her past doesn't get in the way.

This is a great read. I absolutely adored Will and his big heart. Brett was harder for me to connect to, but I kinda understood where her prickly attitude came from, if not entirely falling for her like I did Will. But their chemistry was smoking and I really enjoyed reading their journey. I'm definitely looking forward to more from Janet Walden-West.

ARC via Let’s Talk! Promotions for an honest review.

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78 reviews4 followers
April 3, 2020
Salt + Stillettos is a contemporary romance novel about a successful career woman, Brett Fontaine, who traded her trailer park past to become Miami’s hottest go-to- image consultant. Brett learned at a young age not to trust anyone nor let anyone get too close. All the rules go out the window, when Brett is introduced to her new client, Will Te. Will Te is on the cusp of becoming the next hottest chef in North America; however, he needs Brett’s help to polish his image and navigate around South Beach society. Brett never meant to fall in love with Will, but the sparks between them are hotter than any dish Will can cook. Not everyone is excellent for Miami’s hottest couple, Brett’s stalker was recently released from jail, and is determined to end Brett’s career. This earth-shattering reveal has the recipe to not only destroy Brett but Will too.
Profile Image for Pat Esden.
Author 8 books253 followers
March 12, 2020
If you’re looking for a novel to sweep you away and make you forget about your everyday world, this is it. Just don’t pick Salt & Stilettos up unless you’re ready to not put it down until the last word is read. It’s that good.

Plenty of other reviewers are going into detail about the plot, so I’m not going to bother with that. I just want to say that both Brett and Will felt totally real, the slow burn and build of the chemistry between them was perfect. The sexy times were super-hot, but more than that I enjoyed their struggles and the perfect ending that left me smiling. This is a don’t miss for any reader who enjoys romance, especially when it’s served with a big dose of Miami South Beach sizzle.
5 reviews
March 9, 2020
Smart and sassy! Put Brett & Will anywhere and there will be some cooking going on...on the grill or between the sheets it's all sizzlin'! Throw in a side of humor and sarcasm and mutual respect...what a recipe!

p.s. & this is for any folks who may be following what I am reading...this is definitely "ADULT" so if explicit content offends you, steer clear of this and don't send me any negative comments if you choose to read.
122 reviews2 followers
May 12, 2020
Salt+Stilettos tells the story of image consultant Brett and Samoan chef Will. I really loved the characters, they were very likable and I could relate to them. They were so different, but still they fit perfectly together. I liked the setting and the pacing of the book was great, not to slow and not too fast. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who likes to read contemporary romance.

I received a free copy of this book via Booksprout and am voluntarily leaving a review.
Profile Image for Tommy.
267 reviews5 followers
June 11, 2020
Not my typical genre of reading habit, I ended up enjoying the interplay between characters...fully realized and realistic in their dynamic. A well put together read from an author I'm excited to see more from.
Profile Image for Tara.
194 reviews3 followers
April 15, 2020
A delicious treat of a book with relatable characters! Don’t read this on an empty stomach!
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