Release date: 7 April 2014
Mandy Parker doesn’t want to turn out like her mother, an aging actress desperate for the love of the crowd. Avoiding anything Hollywood related is vital for Mandy’s sanity; however, a bad economy forces her to take a job catering to a movie crew.
Since the woman he’d loved married his best friend, James Lubbock has put women far behind his career in the movie business. The assistant caterer is attractive, but he’s more focused on figuring out who’s sabotaging his set.
Sparks fly between Mandy and James, but can they overcome their painful pasts to risk a chance on love?
by Casey Dawes
Sensuality Level: Sensual
Casey Dawes lives in Big Sky Country where eagles, herons, deer, and the ever-changing landscape of the Clark Fork River distract her while she’s writing contemporary romances. Find Casey Dawes at www.stories-about-love.com, on Facebook, and on Twitter.
An excerpt from California Thyme:
Mandy dumped her discontent and walked into the Costanoa Grill for her evening shift. Waitressing in an upscale restaurant in a beach town in the summer was a decent job. One she was lucky to have in this economy.
As she entered the staff room, Carolyn, a fellow waitress, tapped her on the shoulder. “Good looker just sat down at table nine. He was here last week, too. No wedding band. Jill says he’s a good tipper. Lucky you.”
Mandy smiled. Big tips meant more money in her savings account. Her Subaru was still running, but the high mileage made her nervous. “If the tip is really big, I’ll share, but I’m not interested in anything else.”
“You should be. You’re not getting any younger.” Carolyn tossed her coffee cup in the overflowing trash and went back to work.
Twenty-five isn’t old.
Mandy glanced at the man seated at table nine. His lean profile and square jaw were classically handsome.
If I were in the market for a man, this one would do just fine.
Plucking a sweating water pitcher from the tray, she made her way through the scattered tables to a two-seater by the window. As she picked up his glass to fill it, she smiled at him and said, “Hi, I’m Mandy, and I’ll be your server this evening. Would you like anything to drink besides water?”
His lips curled into a grin, revealing the straight white teeth of a Hollywood smile, a smile that went all the way to his sea-green eyes. The wrap-around sunglasses perched on his sun-blond hair gave him a casual elegance belied by the Rolex on his tan wrist.
Her heart beat a little faster.
Good thing I’m a professional.
She put the water glass down without spilling a drop. “We have an excellent wine list if you’d like to see it.”
“How do you know I’m a wine connoisseur and not a Bud man?” he challenged.
She gestured to his pressed short-sleeve shirt. “A Bud man wouldn’t be caught dead in that.”
He laughed. “You’re right about that!”
Heat rose in her cheeks. “I’ll get you that list.” She brought the water pitcher back to its tray, hoping her face cooled on the way.
Moments later she was back with the thick, imitation-leather-bound book. “I don’t know if you realize this, but you’re at the edge of one of the oldest wine regions in California. We have a nice selection of local beverages on our menu. The Santa Cruz Mountains appellation is particularly known for Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs, although there are a few outstanding Cabernet vineyards, too.”
She snapped her mouth shut, wishing she could cut down on her ability to over-share.
“Glad to see your enthusiasm for your job.” He gestured to the purple streak in her hair. “Neat color.”
“Thank you. I’ll return in a few minutes.”
She checked in with her other diners, all the while trying to squash her awareness of the masculine vibe emanating from table nine.
He was exactly the type of man she wanted to avoid—too handsome, self-important, and probably involved in a career that would expose him to women who had no care for the feelings of wives. The same type of man her father had been.