A recipe for desire...or disaster!
Preparation: Only the best chefs are selected to compete in the hit reality TV show Premier Chef. First, add one bakery owner-- Staci Rowland, who's out to prove that even the sweetest chef can wield a wickedly sharp knife. Then counter that sweetness with Remy Cruzel, a spicy and smokin'-hot Cajun chef, who's looking to prove he's more than his name....
Cooking instructions: Place each chef in direct competition with each other--and in the same house. Let the initial attraction simmer, and quickly turn into a steamy fling.
Caution: These key ingredients to a successful show--and a red-hot rendezvous!--are hiding a few secrets from each other, and from our judges. And the end result is one dish you won't want to miss!
Staci Rowland ran the last block and a half to the Hamilton Ramsfeld kitchen and studios. She was late, more than late she was on the verge of blowing the chance of a lifetime--the chance to be on Premier Chef. And the chance to win half a million dollars and have her own television cooking show. The chance to get back into a Michelin starred kitchen and prove that all the raw young talent she'd had hadn't been wasted.
She was running late because she was a little short of money this week, which was her own fault because she'd blown every cent of her disposable income on a new set of knives for this competition. Gas prices were high and she hadn't been able to afford a tank of gas from San Diego to Santa Monica so instead she'd had to bus it.
Now sweat was dripping down her back, she was overheated and the knives she carried in her left hand were starting to feel as if they weighed a ton. She ran through the front doors of the building, air-conditioning immediately starting to cool her damp back. She glanced at the empty reception desk.
"Damn," she said, under her breath, rushing to the desk to find a clipboard with a list of names, including hers and instructions to take the elevator to the fourteenth floor. She pushed the elevator button and opened her purse to search for the letter she'd received from the Premier Chef producers, hoping it had an exact room number on it. The bell pinged and she stepped into the elevator car, catching the toe of her shoe on the lip of the gap, which sent her sprawling forward.
Staci cursed as she tumbled through the air expecting to hit the floor and instead hit a warm solid person. She heard his curse as a stream of cool liquid washed over both of them. She glanced up, an apology on her lips, and froze as she stared into a pair of Caribbean blue eyes. She tried to push herself free but her hand slipped on his arm and he gripped her waist to keep her upright.
"Oh fudge," she said. "I'm just not having a good day."
He was tall and, she could tell from the way he was holding her, well built with a muscled chest and strong shoulders. His jaw was square with an almost bullish set to it and when he looked down at her with those brilliant blue eyes of his, they were frosty. Not frosty enough to dry the sweat dripping down her back but she felt a definite chill. Great, she thought, it was as if the universe was conspiring to ruin her day.
"I'm sorry," she said.
"It's cool," he said, his southern drawl washed over her senses and she did a double take. He had casually ruffled dark black hair that curled over his forehead. His body was lean and muscular not typical of every chef she'd met. And she had no doubt that he was a chef. "Maybe next time you should look where you are going?"
"Thanks, I hadn't thought of that," she shot back. Not in a mood to be sweet and cheery since she was overheated and as the liquid dried on her skin it felt sticky. "What were you drinking?"
"Sweet tea," he said.
Of course he was since his voice was all Southern plantations and magnolia trees she wasn't surprised. She brushed her hands over her clothes and shook her head. "Someone up there really hates me."
"Up there?" he asked, reaching around her to push the button for the fourteenth f loor.
"The universe or heaven or whatever you like to call the fickle fates," she said, tucking a strand of her short hair behind her ear.
"Why are you blaming an unseen power when you are clearly running late?" he asked. "If you'd been here on time none of this...