Chef's Kiss (Chef's Kiss #1)
A high-strung pastry chef’s professional goals are interrupted by an unexpected career transition and the introduction of her wildly attractive nonbinary kitchen manager in this deliciously fresh and witty queer rom-com.Simone Larkspur is a perfectionist pastry expert with a dream job at The Discerning Chef, a venerable cookbook publisher in New York City. All she wants to do is create the perfect loaf of sourdough and develop recipes, but when The Discerning Chef decides to bring their brand into the 21st century by pivoting to video, Simone is thrust into the spotlight and finds herself failing at something for the first time in her life.To make matters worse, Simone has to deal with Ray Lyton, the new test kitchen manager, whose obnoxious cheer and outgoing personality are like oil to Simone’s water. When Ray accidentally becomes a viral YouTube sensation with a series of homebrewing videos, their eccentric editor in chief forces Simone to work alongside the chipper upstart or else risk her beloved job. But the more they work together, the more Simone realizes her heart may be softening like butter for Ray.Things get even more complicated when Ray comes out at work as nonbinary to mixed reactions—and Simone must choose between the career she fought so hard for and the person who just might take the cake (and her heart).Available now.
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Praise for Chef's Kiss
Named One of the 100 Best Books of 2022 by Time Magazine"It’s hard to say what’s sweeter: the slow-burn romance or the drool-worthy descriptions of decadent desserts." —Time Magazine“Alexander accomplishes a masterful juggling act: the banter is snappy, the chemistry between Simone and Ray sings, the commentary on social media fame is poignant without ever verging on precious, and the exploration of Ray’s nonbinary identity within the structure of a romantic comedy hits exactly right…one of the most intricate and satisfying queer romances in years. Fans of Casey McQuiston will be wowed.”
—Publishers Weekly (starred review)“[D]elicious… Alexander whips up a delectable couple with Ray and Simone; they are each on their own journeys for self-awareness and self-confidence, which they gratifyingly achieve on an individual level. Alexander’s romance confronts workplace discrimination, internal biases, and issues like transphobia and misgendering with ease. Baked to perfection.” —Kirkus Reviews“[L]ike a dish of comfort food you’ll want to devour.” — Washington Post"I want to give this book the biggest hug! CHEF'S KISS is an utter delight, filled with sumptuous food, and adorable banter. This is the first time I've read a book with a nonbinary love interest, and I was cheering for Ray and Simone the entire time. At times, it can be heart-wrenching, but above all it is the ultimate feel-good read, something I will be recommending to everyone!"—Jesse Q. Sutanto, author of DIAL A FOR AUNTIES"With its adorable grumpy-sunshine pairing, plenty of pining, and sumptuous descriptions of food, CHEF'S KISS is a sweet treat of a romantic comedy. But beyond the delicious recipes and the playful banter between the charming leads is a story about the sometimes difficult realities of the queer experience, and Alexander effortlessly tackles heavier topics without ever losing sight of queer joy and the happily ever after these characters deserve!"—Alison Cochrun, author of THE CHARM OFFENSIVE and KISS HER ONCE FOR ME"CHEF'S KISS is a luscious dessert of a novel, a romantic comedy as classic as it is modern, as satisfying as it is groundbreaking." —Camille Perri, author of WHEN KATIE MET CASSIDY"A truly delightful debut, as queer as it is sweet. Cheerful Ray and prickly Simone are a match made in a test kitchen. This tasty, modern rom-com celebrates loving fiercely, living authentically, and eating well." —Georgia Clark, author of IT HAD TO BE YOU"Sweet and so deliciously written! This charming foodie romance is brimming with delectable baking and memorable characters. Simone and Ray’s connection started out a bit grumpy/sunshine, but with a pinch of kindness, a dash of mutual support, and a heavy splash of acceptance, their relationship baked up into a sweet treat that is sure to melt your heart! An enjoyable debut!" —Farah Heron, author of ACCIDENTALLY ENGAGED and TAHIRA IN BLOOM
Chef's Choice (Chef's Kiss #2)
A fake dating arrangement turns to real love in this deliciously delightful queer rom-com from the author of the sweetly satisfying Chef’s Kiss.When Luna O’Shea is unceremoniously fired from her frustrating office job, she tries to count her blessings: she’s a proud trans woman who has plenty of friends, a wonderful roommate, and a good life in New York City. But blessings don’t pay the bills.Enter Jean-Pierre, a laissez-faire trans man and the heir to a huge culinary empire—which he’ll only inherit if he can jump through all the hoops his celebrity chef grandfather has placed in his path. First hoop: he needs a girlfriend, a role that Luna is happy to play…for the right price. She’s got rent to pay, after all! Second hoop: they both need to learn how to cook a series of elaborate, world-renowned family recipes to prove that Jean-Pierre is a worthy heir. Admittedly, Luna doesn’t even know how to crack an egg, but she’s not going to let that—or any pesky feelings for Jean-Pierre—stop her.Another swoon-worthy and heartwarming queer love story from a charming new voice in romance.Coming May 30, 2023.
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Praise for Chef's Choice
A June 2023 Indie Next List Pick“Classic romance tropes are deployed to charming effect… Like Luna’s beloved cheese plates and charcuterie spreads, this appetizing romance has something to delight a wide variety of readers. A first choice for contemporary romance collections.” —Library Journal (starred review)“Generous, tender, decadent, and sparklingly funny, Chef's Choice is a revelation as sublime as biting into an eclair. I found myself howling with laughter, ugly-crying, and falling in desperate love with Luna and Jean-Pierre. As with a perfect meal, you'll want to savor every moment and share it with everyone you love.” —Lana Harper, New York Times bestselling author of Payback's a Witch“Chef's Choice is a total delight, filled with queer joy and found family and so much warmth. Luna and Jean-Pierre stole my heart. Jean-Pierre is a tour de force of grumpy depressed European queer chaos and I would personally die for him.” —Cat Sebastian, author of The Queer Principles of Kit Webb“Start with two charming, lovable main characters, add a lot of laughs, and finish with a healthy pinch of spice and you've got Chef's Choice. I devoured every morsel of this delicious romance.” —Amanda Elliot, author of Best Served Hot and Sadie on a Plate“With hilarious banter, culinary delights, meaningful self-discovery, and two hot idiots I couldn’t wait to watch fall in love, this novel is everything I wanted and more. TJ Alexander’s blend of humor and heart is unmatched.” —Susie Dumond, author of Queerly Beloved“Chef's Choice is at once an enormously fun romp of romance tropes while also being incredibly important—by turns genuinely hilarious and swooningly romantic, and all the while, unabashedly, joyously trans. I love both Luna and Jean-Pierre with my whole heart, and I couldn't put their story down. I am so glad this book exists.” —Anita Kelly, author of Love & Other Disasters“A love letter to the trans community, Chef's Choice is a heartwarming delight! TJ Alexander's writing is a feast for the senses, sizzling with wit, charm, and the kind of characters that keep you chasing pages long into the night. Get ready to fall hard for Luna and Jean-Pierre!” —Courtney Kae, author of In the Event of Love“TJ Alexander’s witty and insightful voice, complex characters, and full-throated celebration of the joy of queer community make Chef's Choice a treat worth savoring.” —Ava Wilder, author of How to Fake it in Hollywood“In a world where content is increasingly stale, TJ Alexander is delectably fresh. Their characters are always vivid, their stories always delightful. Chef's Choice adds some much needed trans rep to the romance genre and is equally a story of both escapism and resistance. You don’t need to look much further for your next favorite book!” —Katalina Gamarra, author of Ben & Beatriz“[S]woony... The banter between leads is addictive with Alexander balancing fish-out-of-water linguistic comedy with achingly sincere emotional beats to excellent effect...the exploration of the characters’ gender identities makes many well-trod romance beats feel fresh. As long as Jean-Pierre and Luna are on the page together, readers will be delighted by their odd couple dynamic.” —Publishers Weekly
Chef's Choice Signed Copies
All copies include a signed bookplate (while supplies last) unless otherwise specified.
Second Chances in New Port Stephen
A trans man returns to his Florida hometown for Christmas after his career goes up in flames, only to cross paths with his high school ex in this charming rom-com about family and second chances from the author of the “delectable” (Time) Chef’s Kiss.Eli Ward hasn’t been back to his suffocating hometown of New Port Stephen, Florida, in ages. Post-transition and sober, he’s a completely different person from the one who left years ago. But when a scandal threatens his career as a TV writer and comedian, he has no choice but to return home for the holidays. He can only hope he’ll survive his boisterous, loving, but often misguided family and hide the fact that his dream of comedy success has become a nightmare.Just when he thinks this trip couldn’t get any worse, Eli bumps into his high school ex, Nick Wu, who’s somehow hotter than ever. Divorced and in his forties, Nick’s world revolves around his father, his daughter, and his job. But even a busy life can’t keep him from being intrigued by the reappearance of Eli.Against the backdrop of one weird Floridian Christmas, the two must decide whether to leave the past in the past…or move on together.Coming December 5, 2023.
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A trans regency romance featuring Lord Christopher Eden, a “man of unusual make” whose penchant for privacy is upended when he is given the dreadful task of finding a wife by the end of the London Season if he wants to keep his estate -- a situation further complicated by Lord Christopher's intriguing new valet, who is harboring a secret of his own. View deal announcement.Coming 2025.
About the Author
TJ Alexander writes about queer love. Originally from Florida, they received their MA in writing and publishing from Emerson College in Boston. They live in New York City with their wife and various houseplants. They are represented by Larissa Melo Pienkowski of Jill Grinberg Literary Management.Connect with them at Twitter, Instagram, Goodreads, or StoryGraph.See their book recs at Bookshop.org. (Disclosure: TJ is an affiliate of Bookshop.org and will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.)Please direct any media or business inquiries to info (at) jillgrinbergliterary (dot) com with "ATTN: Larissa Melo Pienkowski regarding TJ Alexander" in the subject line.
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Content Warnings for Chef's Kiss
CHEF'S KISS contains the following:○ A nonbinary character who uses they/them pronouns, who is not out in the workplace at the beginning of the story, and who is referred to as she/her until they come out○ Misgendering after the coming out (accidental from allies & purposeful from non-allies)○ A fatphobic comment from a huge jerk○ Alcohol (social drinking; a character gets drunk)○ Mild blood and prescribed drugs in a post-surgery context○ Mentions of past child neglect (a now-grown character was kicked out of the house as a teen for being gay)
Content Warnings for Chef's Choice
CHEF'S CHOICE contains the following:○ Depictions of transphobia○ A brief accidental misgendering○ A moment of street harassment of a trans woman (resolved quickly with the perpetrator frightened away)○ Discussions of various gender affirmation surgeries○ A scene involving needles for hormone replacement therapy shots○ A trans character has a panic attack because of a fear of airport security
Content Warnings for Second Chances in New Port Stephen
SECOND CHANCES IN NEW PORT STEPHEN contains the following:○ A main character who is a recovering alcoholic, is sober, and does not backslide/relapse○ A main character whose mother died in a car accident a few years prior to the events of the book○ Mentions of anti-Asian racism & stereotyping in the gay community and society more broadly, as well as allusions to institutional anti-Black racism in the public school system and politics○ Mentions of anti-trans legislation and growing anti-trans sentiment in Florida law○ A divorced couple who are amicable but develop a child custody issue○ Non-penetrative sex between a trans man and a cis man
May 30 @ 5:30 PM EST: TJ Alexander in conversation with Alexandria Bellefleur. An in-person event for Chef's Choice at 116 Suffolk St. Masks required. Register here.
May 31 @ 7 PM CT/8 PM ET: TJ Alexander in conversation with Cat Sebastian. A virtual event for Chef's Choice hosted by Novel Neighbor. Register here.
June 1 @ 6 PM PT/9 PM ET: Zoom in to kick off Pride Month with novelists TJ Alexander, Anita Kelly, Emery Lee, and EE Ottoman as they celebrate the release of TJ's latest book, Chef's Choice, and discuss writing and publishing trans romance! Register here.
Friday, June 9 @ 1 PM ET
King Arthur Baking Company - Book Signing
135 US-5 #135, Norwich, VT 05055
Saturday, June 10 @ 1 PM ET
Savoy Bookshop – Book Signing
10 Canal St. Westerly, RI 02891
Wednesday, June 14 @ 7 PM ET
Arlington Public Library Escapism Book Club – I'll be joining the club via Zoom for a discussion of Chef's Kiss.
Ithaca Is Books Festival - Details TBA
Buffalo Street Books
215 N Cayuga St, Ithaca, NY 14850