Hope Monahan owns an earth to table restaurant in quiet Addington, Mass. A young widow, Hope has rebuilt her life. It's quiet and slow paced, but she likes it that way.
International playboy superstar chef Lucien Durand is in Addington to open a new branch of his string of Cajun restaurants, L'Enfer. He means to stay only until he gets L'Enfer Addington off the ground.
When Hope and Lucien compete with each other for the title of Addington's best restaurant, will they create a full course of true love? Or will it be a recipe for disaster?
“A date?” Hope shook her head. She couldn’t quite believe what she was hearing. “Are you asking me on a date—to The End Zone?”
Lucien frowned. “Is that such a bad idea?” He straightened his shirt cuffs. “I’d like to check out The End Zone’s food and don’t want to eat alone.”
And wasn’t that flattering? Not! “Well, uh, no, not a bad idea at all.” Hope felt flummoxed. What was he up to?
She didn’t know him at all, really, but one thing she was sure of. Lucien Durand always had an agenda. That agenda would always include him coming out on top.
She supposed she would find out his ulterior motive if she went out with him. She would not, however, make it easy for him. “I’d love to go with you. I can only take off Mondays, because the restaurant goes dark on Monday.”
His eyes widened. “You’re kidding me.”
She nodded, enjoying his obvious befuddlement. “I’m the only chef. Okay, aside from Shane. I can’t take a night without closing.”
A shadow crossed his face at the mention of Shane. “Baker’s so inept he can’t handle the kitchen alone?”
“Of course he can handle the kitchen alone.” What did Lucien have against Shane? “I just choose to shut things down on Mondays. My name’s on the food, so I make the food.”
He gave her a sharp nod. “Oui. I understand that.” He took her hand. “How about next Monday, then?”
Okay, she’d bite. “Sure. I’ll meet you there.” She gave him a big toothy smile. “What time?”
Lucien blinked. “I’ll pick you up.”
“That’s not necessary.”
“Yes, it is.” He’d pick her up, come hell or high water. “How’s eight?”
“Perfect.” For show, she made a big deal of checking her watch. “Oops! Gotta go!”
“Je va’t voir plus tard. Good-bye.” He gave her one more nod, turned and left.
She stood and watched him leave, enjoying the rear view.
And felt like she had just dodged a huge bullet.
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