Cooking Up Trouble by Judi Lynn
Tessa Lawrence vowed off men when she found her fiancée in another woman’s arms. These days, she focuses on her small farm and running her bakery and farm stand. She keeps busy enough, men don’t enter her mind…until Ian McGregor buys the property next to hers. Ian knows how to run a business, but that doesn’t mean he can change a tire or fix a well. He feels bad about relying on Tessa for help, but she insists “that’s what neighbors do.” But how close should neighbors get? Should there be boundaries?
It had been a long day—Tessa enjoyed watching the scenery stream past her and she relaxed as the miles flew by. When they reached the restaurant, Ian held her chair when the hostess led them to their table. He ordered wine and insisted on her choosing an appetizer. “You’ve been so nice to me, let me do this for you.”
Oh, hell, why not? Tessa decided to flush her usual frugality and went with the flow. When she ordered fried calamari, Ian raised his eyebrows, surprised.
“I pictured you as a shrimp cocktail girl,” he said.
“I am usually, but variety’s nice once in a while.” But not too often. Probably why she worked outside and baked in good weather and wrote during her months of hibernation. She’d have to cook Ian something out of the ordinary some night for supper, though. She’d been playing it safe with standard fare.
They talked about Luther over their entrees and changed to small talk and laughter over dessert.
“I bought one of your books and read it,” Ian told her. She stared. “I write romance.”
“Yup, that’s what it seemed like. Girl meets boy. Boy screws up.
Boy works hard to win her back. Happy ending.” “Romances always have happy endings.”
“In books.” He smiled. “I like your writing style.” Her eyes danced with humor. “And the book?”
His grin could mesmerize. “Well, I’m guessing most guys don’t make a habit of reading mushy stuff, but I’m glad I read yours.”
“But one’s enough?”
He laughed. “Probably, unless you put a lot more sex in the next one.”
She shook her head. “I write sweet romances.” “Not a guy thing, we like action, in and out of bed.”
“I’ll remember that if I ever decide to change the audience I write for.”
He reached across the table to lay his hand over hers. “No need for that. I like you just the way you are.”
She couldn’t finish her coffee. A lump lodged in her throat. Her heart felt like it enlarged. Could a compliment turn you into an idiot? She searched for words, didn’t find many. “Thank you.”
He pulled his hand away, embarrassed. “You’re the best, Tess. Remember that.”
By the time they started for home, Tessa realized that it had been a long time since she’d enjoyed herself so much.
When Ian parked by her front door, he asked, “Supper tomorrow?” “Grams always comes to my place on Sundays.”
“Good, I like her. See you at six?”
Couldn’t the man order a pizza? But then she shrugged. Why not?
It would make Grams’ night. “See you then.”
He gave a smile and tilted sideways. Was he going to kiss her goodnight? She stiffened. So did he.
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About the Author:
I taught 1st, 2nd, and 4th graders for six years. Kids are awesome. I love them. Once I stayed home to raise my own, I turned to writing, and I love that, too. Funny thing, though, my family would rather eat than have me finish a chapter, so I got hooked on cooking. I own more cookbooks than anyone should admit to, and they’re all scribbled in. If I’ve cooked the recipe, it has the stains to prove it. I also enjoy working in my perennial flowerbeds and reading. Plus, it’s always great when my dogs take me for a walk.