About the Book
by Nina Crespo
Paperback, 288 pages
Published December 28th 2021 by Harlequin Special Edition
A welcome second chance…Or a recipe for disaster?
After their ill-fated fling quashed her dreams, small-town chef Philippa Gayle’s onetime rival-turned-lover Dominic Crawford upended her life. But when Philippa’s forced together with the celebrity cook on a project that could change her life, there's no denying that the flames that were lit years ago were only banked, not extinguished. Can Philippa trust Dominic enough to let him in…or are they just cooking up another heartbreak?
Philippa fastened the last black button on her crisp new lime-green kitchen jacket. So much for a simple staff presentation. Not only was she expected to introduce Dominic, per Zurie’s request, she now had to stay for his entire cooking demonstration.
She snatched the empty packaging for the jacket from her desk. Underneath it was the bio for Dominic that his publicist had dropped off not too long ago.
Chef extraordinaire. Bestselling author. Star of an acclaimed cooking show. A pampered chef focused on his public persona. Was that who she was dealing with for the next few weeks?
As she stepped out of her office into the kitchen, a few of the staff walked by.
“I don’t care what he makes,” one of the servers said. “I just want to hear his voice as he describes it. He could make mud pies sound irresistible.”
Philippa kept her face neutral as she followed behind them, but inside, she gave an inner eye roll”
“I’m just glad he’s not like some celebrities,” a kitchen helper responded. “The way he stood up for us about where we could sit in the dining room proves he actually cares about people who work in the kitchen.”
Stood up for them? Was there not enough seats?
Philippa flagged down Quinn. “I heard something about there being a problem with seating for the demo. Is everything okay?”
“Oh, yes, it’s fine now. There was just some mix-up with the publicity person. She said all the Pasture Lane employees would have to sit in the back and let everyone else sit up front. But Dominic set her straight.”
As Quinn rushed into the dining room, Philippa hung back and peered through the window near the top of the right-hand door.
“How does it look out there?”
The resonant tone of Dominic’s voice coming from behind ignited a frisson of awareness that moved along Philippa’s spine and tingled across her nape.
“It’s a full house.” She calmed an unsteady breath and faced him.
Up close, he looked even better than he had in the lobby. But hints of fatigue were in his eyes. She hadn’t taken his present work schedule into consideration when she’d asked him to do the cooking demo.
They both spoke at the same time.
Dominic gestured for her to speak first.
“I appreciate you adding this to your full schedule. And for making sure my staff have front-row seats. If they weren’t already fans of chef extraordinaire, Dominic Crawford, they are now.”
She’d meant to tease him, but from his slight wince, her attempt had fallen flat. “That didn’t come out right. I didn’t mean it in a bad way. I was just referring to the intro Amber gave me.”
“I should have guessed.” He smiled, but as he glanced at the paper in her hand a shadow of discomfort moved across his face. “You don’t have to say all that. Owner of Frost & Flame is fine.”
“And have Amber come after me? No, thank you.”
Dominic gave a low chuckle. “Yeah, she’s insistent.” He took a step forward and the subtle notes of his cologne wafted into the space between them. “About the changes with the demo. I—”
The door opened behind Philippa, pitching her forward, and her hand with the paper landed on his solid chest.
Dominic took hold of her arms. “You okay?”
As she looked into his eyes, familiarity washed over her. The automatic desire to lean into him almost overwhelmed her.
Amber peeked past the door. “Chef Gayle, good. You’re right where you’re supposed to be.”
About the Author
Nina Crespo lives in Florida where she indulges in her favorite passions — the beach, a good glass of wine, date night with her own real-life hero and dancing.
Her lifelong addiction to romance began in her teens while on a “borrowing spree” in her older sister’s bedroom where she discovered her first romance novel.
Let Nina’s sensual contemporary stories and steamy paranormal tales feed your own addiction for love, romance, and happily ever after.
Stay connected with Nina on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest or through her newsletter. http://ninacrespo.com/
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