Release date: July 11, 2016
After her husband’s death two years ago, erotic romance author Liz Anderson moved home to small-town Angel Bay to heal her broken heart. So when her best friend fixes her up with a single father ten years her junior, she doesn’t expect much. But this hot young chef is igniting her long-dormant passion.
With a three-year-old daughter to raise and a restaurant to run, the last thing Luc Rossi’s life has room for is love. After his fiancée’s betrayal, he isn’t sure he believes in it anyway. His colleague’s matchmaking attempt is awkward at best, but what can he do except play the gentleman? Liz ends up being smart, charming, and sexy, and he can’t resist her.
An offer to teach her to cook leads to a steamy fling, but this gorgeous older woman makes Luc wonder if it’s time to open his heart again. Can he convince Liz that giving their relationship a chance beyond the bedroom wouldn’t be a betrayal of the past she holds dear?
by J.M. Stewart
J.M. Stewart is a coffee and chocolate addict who lives in the Pacific Northwest. She’s a hopeless romantic who believes everybody should have their happily ever after. Find J.M. Stewart at http://authorjmstewart.com/, on Facebook, and on Twitter @JMStewartWriter.
An except from Luc:
Liz Anderson stared at the familiar bright red door. She and her longtime best friend, Samantha, and Sam’s husband, Joe, had done dinner and board games once a week since she’d come home to Angel Bay not quite two years ago. Sam insisted on it, and on any other day, it would’ve been something she looked forward to, if only because it broke up the lonely monotony of her day.
Tonight, all she wanted was a bag of dark chocolate and a box of tissues.
Exactly two years ago today, she’d opened her front door to find two uniformed airmen on her doorstep. The kind of visit every military wife hopes never to receive. She knew what it meant even before the young serviceman opened his mouth—her “til death do us part” had come forty years too soon.
Daniel wouldn’t be coming home.
Which meant that tonight, she wasn’t in the mood to put on the act. To smile for Sam’s sake and pretend she was fine. Pretend that being alone one more day wasn’t killing her.
Sitting patiently beside her, her golden retriever, Bruce, gave a soft whine.
She glanced down at him at him and stroked his soft head. “Sorry, boy. I’m just not into it tonight. How ’bout we go to the park, instead?”
Bruce whined again and pawed at the door, then looked expectantly up at her. His soulful brown eyes pleaded with her, as if to ask, “Please?”
How could she resist that sweet face? She knew darn well he looked forward to these visits. He got to see his best buddy, Joe.
Liz pulled her shoulders back and punched the bell. She could do this. Being here was better than being home alone, crying. Right?
Barely thirty seconds later, the door opened to reveal Sam, looking as gorgeous as ever. At forty-one, Sam had the kind of looks that made women half her age clutch their boyfriends close when she walked down the street. She was all long limbs, willowy body, and big blue eyes.
Liz was the polar opposite. She was short, wide-bottomed, and had twenty pounds too many. If she hadn’t known Sam for most of her life, she might have felt like a faded flower.
Liz waggled her fingers in greeting. “Hi.”
She barely got the greeting out before Sam dove across the threshold, wrapping her in a hug so tight Liz squeaked. “Oh my gosh, I’m so glad you’re here!”
Liz let out a nervous laugh. Okay, something was definitely up. Sam’s expression held a little too much enthusiasm for a night of dinner and board games. “We just spoke this morning, Sammy. You’re acting like you haven’t seen me in ages.”
Entering the kitchen a few moments later Liz’s suspicions were confirmed. On the other side of the center island, holding a wire whisk poised over a bowl, stood a man. A man who wasn’t supposed to be there.
Liz dropped her voice. “You set me up.”
And not with just anybody, either. Sam had set her up with Luc Rossi—Sam’s boss. Sam worked as the sous chef at Aldo’s Authentic Italian Ristorante and Pizzeria. Along with being the head chef, Luc co-owned the place with his brother and his grandmother. Liz had seen him there at least a dozen times since she’d moved back to Angel Bay. The restaurant had become a favorite, and one of the brothers was always out in the dining room. The whole place screamed family, but according to Sam, Luc ran a tight ship. Slave driver, she believed Sam had called him once.
Luc blinked back at her, big brown eyes wide and stunned, before looking over at Joe. “You didn’t mention anybody else coming over.”
Joe’s mouth formed a thin, disapproving line as he shook his head. “I told you this was a bad idea, sweetheart.”
So the rat had fed Luc the same cockamamie story to get him over here.
Liz grabbed Sam’s arm before she could utter a peep and dragged her down the hallway. Once out of earshot, she whirled around. “How could you do this to me?”
Sam held up her hands. “Don’t be mad. I knew you’d never come if I told you. He’s nice, Lizzie.”