Set in a restaurant named Seduction in the Pearl District, Listen to Me: A Fusion Novel (available now on Amazon) is the new romance novel by Kristen Proby, a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, and it delves into the blossoming love affair between the restaurant owner and a former rockstar turned acoustic cover aficionado. The restaurant is improbably named and improbably trendy, and the former rock star is improbably delighted to take a regular gig playing there every Friday and Saturday night.
The improbable Portland of Listen to Me is all sunshine, restaurant patrons who think a full meal of aphrodisiacs is appealing, and long drives on the Sunset Highway. It seems the only time the characters ever cross to the east side of the Willamette River is to go to their special place, Multnomah Falls (which, by the way, is no one's "special place").
Proby is a prolific romance novelist, and the best thing about this book is that it seems to be the first in a series: The main character, Addison Wade, started Seduction with not one, not two, but FOUR friends. They each play a distinct role at the restaurant (front of house! chef! marketing!) and their character development is strictly limited to exactly that role (i.e. the chef is a perfectionist and the finance person is good at math).
So it seems there will be at least four more books yet to come that will feature a parallel-universe foodie Portland: A city where an awesome first date is taking your restaurant-owning girlfriend out for fondue; where said restaurant-owner's favorite food is a burger from the Multnomah Falls Lodge; and where people read The Portland Tribune. Without further ado, here are the best lines from Listen to Me:
The Best Lines From Kristen Proby's Listen to Me:
On great restaurant reviews: "Cami, one of my very best friends, and a business partner, reads from the Portland Tribune, ‘Seduction is a restaurant unlike any other I've experienced. The food is delicious, the wine bar impressive, and the ambiance so sexy, it will take your breath away. I highly recommend this restaurant for your next date night.'"
On making mistakes: "Not playing music for people hurts as bad as if I were missing a leg, but playing at that open gig the other night was a big mistake. Because now I crave it again. But I don't deserve it. Because Christina is missing a leg. Because of me."
On class: "‘Can I help you?' A young woman greets me as I enter Seduction, nestled in the Pearl District, one of the trendiest areas of Portland. From the outside, it looks like an old warehouse. On the inside, it's pure sex. But not the kind of seedy sex that you'll find in any of the many sex or strip clubs in the city. This is classy sex."
On the best things about Portland: "The drive to my home west of Portland via the Sunset Highway only takes about thirty minutes from downtown. That's one of the things that I love about this city: you can go from bustling city to lazy suburb in just minutes."
On aphrodisiacs: "‘My man picker is broken,' I announce and take a big bite of roasted grape and brie crostini with honey and sea salt and immediately—and silently—praise Mia's culinary genius. ‘Which is fine, because I'm done with men.'"
On the best part about being a rock star: "‘It's been a month since I started playing at Seduction on the weekends. These gigs have been more fun for me than any other I've performed, and I've played at all the major awards shows, celebrity weddings, and the biggest arenas in the world.'"
On the best way to cook steak: "‘That steak is overcooked,' she says to her sous chef. ‘I won't serve it like that. When the customer says medium, they want medium.'"
On drugs: "‘We have a zero-tolerance policy here, Daisy. You're dealing with the public and their food. You could hurt someone.'
‘I wouldn't ever hurt anyone,' she cries. ‘Please, give me a chance. I'll stop doing the coke. I promise.'"
On being a business owner: "I lean my head back on his shoulder, turn my face, and kiss his chin. ‘Sometimes owning your own business is hard.'"
On Multnomah Falls: "‘Are we going to get burgers after this?' she asks.
‘I love it here,' Addie sighs as she leans back on me and watches the water fall down Multnomah Falls. ‘It's so peaceful.'"
—Amelia Ayrelan Iuvino