Crème Brûlée Upset




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When Mike Tucker dumps crème brûlée down chef Patrice Wilson’s dress whites, she knows it’s time to forget her life-long crush and move on. It isn’t until she’s no longer speaking to him that Mike realizes he’s loved her all along. His just-before-Christmas campaign to win her back involves four nosey parents, three scoops of ice cream, two other suitors and a Don Quixote singing troubadour.

Rose
PRINT ISBN 1-60154-172-4
(272 pages) Sensual

Excerpt

Mike Tucker mingled, liberally sampling hors d'oeuvres from the groaning buffet at his surprise party. The food was beyond belief. The sweet, onion relish was a perfect contrast to the peppery edged roast beef. His housemates, Randy and Alex had obviously spared no expense.

The living room was steamy, and the buzz of conversation nearly deafening. Everyone he knew had been in on the secret--his business partners and their wives, the office staff, and friends from grade school on up.

He shook his father's hand and hugged his mother, smelling her spicy perfume.

"Did you call Patrice today like you promised?" his mother asked, brushing an invisible something from his suit coat.

He put on his expressionless courtroom face. He hadn't seen Patrice since she'd left for Le Cordon Bleu in Paris more than four years ago. "Yes, Mom," he said. And that was true. He had called Patrice. She just hadn't been home.

He scanned the crowded room, wondering if the call was supposed to have been the catalyst that would have allowed Patrice to attend the party. If so, it was better that he hadn't gotten through. He was no more ready to see her now than he'd been when she'd moved back to Chicago six months ago to take the job of head chef at Victor's. Still, part of him felt strangely disappointed when he didn't spot her. Maybe she'd be arriving later, with her parents. "Are the Wilsons here?"

His mother frowned. "Roy and Janice are in Cancun this week. Didn't you get their card?"

"Oh, yes, I did." She wasn't coming. He topped off his drink and took a long sip.

The Scotch was smooth and went down like water. Surprised to find that his world was a little blurry around the edges, Mike abandoned his tumbler and concentrated on his guests.

Moments later, Randy appeared at his elbow. "Having fun?"

"Yeah." Mike grinned. "This is a great party. You guys shouldn't have."

"Nothing more than what I expect from you when I make partner," Randy said as he led Mike to the far side of the room. "A word to the wise--be nice."

Be nice? Mike didn't get time to speculate on the meaning of Randy's comment before his roommate's whistle cut through the noise.

As heads turned in their direction, Randy's voice rang out. "Can I have your attention please?"

Patrice Wilson took a deep breath and opened the kitchen door. The surprise party was in full swing, and the air was thick with the sound of voices. Looking in the living room, she recognized a few of the guests, but not many.

Blocking the door open, she centered the serving cart in the passageway. This was it, the moment when she wheeled out her masterpiece and offered Mike congratulations on making partner. Still she hesitated, pausing to wipe damp palms on her crisp, white chef's apron. Maybe presenting this dessert wasn't the best idea.

Looking across the room, she saw her brother Randy had already positioned Mike where they'd agreed in front of the picture window. A single glance at Mike was all it took for her heart to skip a beat. His chocolate-brown hair had been recently trimmed and lay in sexy waves that begged to be touched. His navy suit was exquisitely tailored, emphasizing his broad shoulders and slim torso. But tonight wasn't about how good he looked. Tonight was about congratulating him, showing him she'd grown up, and moving on.




Current Reviews: 3

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