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After my dad passes away I scramble to find a job. A position stocking shelves in a restaurant supply store sounds perfect for this shy, curvy girl who’s uncomfortable with small talk and being around people all day.
But nothing’s small about the older man who walks in on my first day of employment…celebrity chef Christian Cherry.
He’s tall, dark, and handsome to the extreme, and the only man this younger woman has ever fantasized about giving her innocence too.
And when he gives me a seemingly innocent invitation to come see his cooking show being filmed, my beautiful coworker says she sees something in him for the first time in the three years that he’s been coming in…an intense hunger for a woman, and that woman is me.
There’s just no way a simple, sweet curvy girl who prefers romance novellas to a night out on the town could be enough for an older man who’s got everything going for him, is there?
He’s my dream Mr. Right, and I don’t want to get overexcited and read his intentions wrong…until he tells me he needs my help making a very special dessert sticky sweet, and Mr. Cherry intends to put it there to get the flavor he so deeply desires.
This possessive OTT alpha is making it crystal clear that he’s cooking up a plan to raise a family with me, and he’s going to show me he’s ready to do whatever it takes to put a bun in my oven and a ring on my finger, and turn my fantasy into a HEA…forever.
*Chef’s Kiss is a standalone romance with an HEA, no cheating, and no cliffhanger.
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My fingers clench around the Mason jar, hands trembling, the second he steps foot into the restaurant supply store where I just started working this morning.
Christian Cherry, celebrity chef and owner of the hottest restaurant in town, not to mention that he stars on his own TV show on the Food Network.
I feel my palms sweat and the jar slip from my hands, falling to the cold cement floor beneath my feet and breaking into a thousand pieces.
Alexa, who’s training me, sighs audibly. “You can clean that up when you’re done.”
“I’m really sorry, I can get a mop and bucket out of the back, and I’ll pay for it out of my pocket.” By out of my pocket I mean my first paycheck, because my pockets are as dry as the Sahara Desert.
“Don’t worry about it,” she says, clearly a bit worried and annoyed. “You need to learn how to work the register anyway. Now’s a good a time as any. We just opened and this is as empty as we’ll be all day.”
“But it’s not my turn,” I profess, feeling my stomach tighten as I fuss with my clothes. “I thought I was starting this afternoon.”
“Come on, It’s easy. Plus he’s just here to pick up an order. He’ll be in and out as quickly as he taps his Apple pay against the terminal.” Alexa looks down at me, one eyebrow rising up high. “Why were you putting the cold brew in the toaster?”
“Huh? I wasn’t. I was…” I look and see she’s right. Everything else I’ve done this morning has been correct, but the moment I saw Christian my mind completely froze. “I had the toaster open for the paninis.”
“Anybody here?” Christian says, and I can hear his foot tapping from behind the counter. There’s what equates to a giant cheesecloth which separates the registers from the back room so he can’t exactly make us out, but I’m sure he can see the shape of us, and probably the nervousness in my voice.
I follow Alexa to the front, taking in Christian as he’s looking off to the side, obviously annoyed and more obviously in a rush.
“There…” He freezes mid-sentence, his eyes completely bypassing Alexa and landing…right…on…me. “…you are.”
“She’s new. Take it easy on her, if that’s even possible for you,” Alexa quips.
I tuck my chin and look up at the sight of him. He’s even bigger in real life than he seems on TV. And he’s a big deal on TV.
I’m terrible with numbers but he’s tall enough to play professional basketball, well over six and a half feet tall. It’s not everyday you see someone that tall, and it’s not everyday you see someone as attractive, famous, and just amazingly put together as Christian.
“Are you gonna tap your Apple pay so I can grab your order out of the back?” Alexa asks, but he just stands there like his feet are stuck in quicksand.
My breath catches, and I try to take a deep breath in to remain calm, but my chest is completely locked up.
Christian is the most gorgeous man I’ve ever seen, not that I’ve been face to face with many. And I’ve never seen a celebrity before.
It doesn’t make it any easier that Alexa seems so at ease with him, annoyed actually. I feel like the third wheel at a sexy people date. The responsible one that they brought along to drive and get them home safe.
I try not to panic being face-to-face with the star of my favorite TV show, but my desire and intrigue betray me.
My eyes drift down to his thick forearms, which look like twisted rope. His sleeves are rolled up telegraphing that he’s got real work to do today, and the tattoos that have been done on those masculine muscles doesn’t go unnoticed.
His white button down seems to so effortlessly drape across his muscles, as if the designer made it for him. Maybe it was made for him. A man like him can certainly afford custom made clothes. Then again I’m sure anything and everything would look good on him, while I’m out there trying to find specialty shops to fit my unusual shape.
It’s surreal seeing someone that you plan your day around on TV, in the flesh. He almost doesn’t seem real when I watch him, but now that he’s here…oh he’s real alright. Very, very real.
“You’re new here” pours from his lips like warm chocolate over a banana split. His tone is dark, masculine, and sounds better than a late night DJ. And it’s a statement, not a question.
“Your Apple pay?” Alexa asks, and out of the corner of my eye I see her shoulder blades pull together and her chest arch forward as she flips her hair off her bronzed shoulders, which she made sure to tell me she got courtesy of a weekend jaunt to Cape Town last weekend. While the rest of the city is covered in snow, blowing their noses and trying not to slip on invisible ice, Alexa’s off hanging off the side of boats on other continents with men she met online. She’s already told me no fewer than three times this morning that this job is just temporary until she gets wifed up.