Kate Meader writes contemporary romance that serves up delicious food, sexy heroes, and heroines with a dash of sass. Originally from Ireland, she now makes her home in Chicago, a city made for food, romance, and laughter—and where she met her own sexy hero.
When not writing about men who cook and the women who drool over them, she works in an academic library.
Visit her website at http://katemeader.com and follow her on Twitter @kittymeader
IF YOU CAN'T STAND THE HEAT . . .
Photographer Lili DeLuca spends all her time working at her family's Italian restaurant, instead of following her dream of getting an MFA. When famous British chef Jack Kilroy unexpectedly challenges her father to a cook-off, Lili decides she's tired of playing it safe and vows to seduce the tempting Brit. But once a video of her and Jack kissing goes viral and her luscious (if voluptuous) butt starts trending on Twitter, Lili fears she's cooked up a recipe for disaster . . .
Jack Kilroy's celebrity has left him feeling used and used up. While Lili's oh-so-sexy moans when she tastes his delicious creations turn him on, he's even more aroused by how this beautiful, funny woman is unimpressed by his fame. He knows they could be amazing together, if she could only see past his rabid, bitch-fork-wielding fan base. Now as he's about to start a new prime time TV cooking show, can Jack convince Lili to realize her own ambitions-and turn up the heat in his kitchen?
Top 5 Reasons Lili DeLuca Would Make a Great BFF
1. She’s got a wicked sense of humor.
2. She’s not afraid to look a little silly, though to Jack Kilroy it looks a lot hot. Case in point, tooling around Chicago on her Vespa while wearing a Wonder Woman outfit.
3. She’s loyal to a fault.
4. Her family means everything to her. And yes, they drive her crazy.
5. She owns her curvaliciousness, though it takes a while for her to own the girl power that comes with her bangin’ body.
The bartender tossed a coaster down and asked him what he needed. Some peace and quiet and a six-month holiday to sort out his life. Not that there was a chance in hell of getting it. He had five episodes to complete and a contract for his new show to negotiate. He had his Chicago restaurant to open and seven others to oversee so the quality wouldn’t slip. At the ripe old age of thirty-three, everything he touched was golden, a far cry from that fourteen-year-old Brixton street thug who had been headed for the gutter, prison, or worse. Cooking had saved him and set him on the right path. Now he felt . . . He wasn’t sure what he felt.
Oh yeah, tired.
He looked into the deep blue eyes of the bartender, an older Italian guy who could probably intuitively tell a troubled soul when he saw one. At least Jack hoped so.
In a heavy accent, the bartender offered, “How about some grappa?”
Jack gestured his surrender. “Lay it on me. Show me what I’ve been missing.”
Twenty minutes later, he’d tried three different varieties of the pungent grape brandy and was feeling that comforting burn in the pit of his stomach. The bartender had explained how grappa was made and how the varieties differed from each other. It was quite the education. With that warm Italian-inflected English washing over him, Jack watched, entranced, as he expertly poured cocktails and manned the bar. He should poach this guy away when he opened his new restaurant.
Lili’s scent, hot woman and floral, but more specifically vanilla with shades of hibiscus, reached him before she did and he felt that pleasurable prickle again. Grappa, like all alcohol, was a great leveler and summoned his magnanimous streak. He opened his mouth to apologize, but he couldn’t actually remember what he was supposed to apologize for. There had to be something. With a woman like this, there was always something.
“Your appetizers have arrived and there’s no way on earth we’re serving them over here.” She turned to leave.
“Hey, wait,” he said, his hand brushing her arm.
She stood, fists at her waist, her stiff posture drawing his gaze to the flare of her hips, the slope of her breasts.
Christ, she was a lot of woman.
“What?” she asked, still pissy.
“I’m surprised you’d take the time to give me a personal update on my first course.” Though close to twenty-five minutes for appetizers was a bit much.
“I just want you to eat them how the chef intended. Hot instead of cold.”
He blew out a breath. “Look, I’m sorry about insulting Italian cuisine this morning. I’m sure your father’s a great cook and the meatballs are fantastic.” It came out sarcastic, so not his intention. As well as being a great leveler, grappa turned guys into morons.
“He is a great cook. You won’t eat better in Chicago.”
“I don’t doubt it.” He flashed a conciliatory grin.
“Okay, then,” she said, clearly thrown. Hey, it worked on housewives. She hovered for a moment, then turned heel and split.
“I am sorry about that,” the grappa-pusher said, his brow lined with concern. “She is not normally so rude.”
Jack waved the apology away. “No worries, mate. That’s how she usually talks to me—or that’s how she’s only ever talked to me.”
Another shot appeared before him. The man knew how to work it.
“She is right, though. The food here is quite good,” Ol’ Blue Eyes said, pouring a shot for himself. He clinked Jack’s glass. “Salute.”
Jack slammed it and peered at the man before him. It was time for this guy to step up and do what bartenders do—listen inattentively to some drunken digressions while dispensing old-world wisdom.
“Have you ever met a woman who annoys the hell out of you?” He paused to judge his next words carefully, his muddled brain already ascribing high-level importance to them. His head both pounded and spun like wet sneakers in a dryer. Drinking was not the cleverest of ideas.
“I mean, you just want to touch her, and if she’s mouthy, kiss her to shut her up.” He turned the shot glass over. When the idiotic rambling started, the night was pretty much kaput. Time to halt the crazy train at this station. The bartender’s face darkened and he spouted something in Italian that reeked of wisdom and portentousness.
Now we’re cooking. Jack lifted an eyebrow and waited to be wowed.
“It means ‘Wine, women, and tobacco reduce one to ashes.’ So my Liliana has made an impression?”
My Liliana? Jack’s body wrenched in sobering alert; then his self-preservation instincts kicked in and he thrust out his hand. “I’m Jack Kilroy. Pleased to meet you.”
The bartender laid down his towel and considered the outstretched hand for a heartbeat before taking it in his firm grasp.
“Tony DeLuca. Cara’s and Liliana’s father.”
Grand prize – 2 deep dish pizzas (shipped frozen) from Lou Malnati's and a copy of FEEL THE HEAT.
5 additional copies of FEEL THE HEAT will be given away as well!
Open to residents of the US only.