Andi’s Book Review
Sapphyria's Book Reviews
Shut Up & Read
Paranormal Romance and Beyond
M&D's Have You Read Book Blog
The Creatively Green Write at Home Mom
Lisa’s World of Books
The Sweetest Seduction
The Kelly Brothers
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Crista McHugh
Date of Publication: January 6, 2014
Number of pages: 193
Word Count: 48K
Cover Artist: Jaycee DeLorenzo at Sweet ‘N Spicy Designs
The first book in a new contemporary series from award-winning author Crista McHugh, that’s a sexy, modern twist on Seven Brides for Seven Brothers.
Lia Mantovani has created one of the hottest restaurants on Chicago’s Magnificent Mile, but all that could disappear if she loses her lease with Kelly Properties. Having had her dreams ripped away from her before, she’ll do everything in her power to keep her restaurant. Her fate hangs on the whims of the frustratingly handsome Adam Kelly.
Adam has spent years trying to convince world famous chef Amadeus Schlittler to open a restaurant in Chicago, but he wants the prime location held by Lia. Business has always come first… until sparks fly when Adam meets her. When things get hot outside the kitchen, though, they’re both in danger of getting burned.
Her back was to him as she stirred something in a pan, her hips swaying as though she were dancing instead of cooking. She’d pulled her hair up into a ponytail, but a few rebellious curls had managed to break free along the nape of her neck. The button-down shirt she’d been wearing earlier was tied around her waist, the underlying tank top allowing him a better view of her smooth, sun-kissed skin. She hummed as she worked, each flick of her spoon releasing the aromas of garlic and fresh herbs into the air.
She turned around from the stove and froze when she saw him. “Is something wrong?”
The platter grew heavy in his hands, reminding him of why he’d come in the first place. “I was wondering if you had any more.”
She grinned and carried her pan to the center island. “If you fill up on the antipasti, you’ll have no room for the prima.”
Somewhere in the back of his mind, he remembered that the prima course in Italy usually involved pasta. But the dish she was plating now resembled rice. He came closer to inspect it. “And is this it?”
She nodded. “Orzo con verdure estive arrosto.”
“Orzo with roasted summer vegetables.” She placed a small hill of the orzo pasta with chunks of summer squash, zucchini, artichoke hearts, asparagus, tomatoes, and mushrooms onto each plate before offering a spoonful to him. “Care to try?”
“As long as there’s no shrimp in it.”
“Mom mentioned that some of you weren’t big fans of shrimp. Don’t worry—this is completely vegetarian.”
A harmony of flavors sang on his tongue when he sampled it. Bright basil, rich parmesan, zesty lemon, and smooth olive oil all balanced each other out and left him wanting to grab the spoon and scrape the pan clean. She watched him expectantly, her assured smile tempting him to sample more than just her cooking. He stepped back before he lost control of himself. “It’s very good.”
“I know.” She placed the pan in the sink and drizzled some olive oil over each plate of orzo. “It’s one of my most popular dishes.”
He watched the way she wiped the edges of each plate clean before adorning the pasta with a few shavings of parmesan and a sprig of basil. “Did you have any special culinary training?”
“I spent three years in Italy, learning from my aunts first before finally getting enough courage to enroll in more formal classes there.”
“And is this what you’ve always wanted to do?”
“Not always, but once I discovered my passion, I’ve never been able to let go.” She looked up from her work, her smile widening. “Have you ever felt that way about something, been caught totally by surprise and never realized how deep you were into it until it totally consumed you?”
Before today he might have said his work consumed him, but it didn’t capture his attention and make his breath catch like Lia did. His pulse raced, not from stress but from excitement and anticipation, as she spoke of her passion. If he could only have a tenth of that passion…
He narrowed the space between them as though they were two opposite poles of a magnet, the force too strong for him to resist. “I think I might have an idea of what you’re talking about.”
She licked her lips, a seductive move he’d seen dozens of women practice in his presence, but with Lia it seemed to be unconscious. “Oh?”
God help me, does she have any idea what she’s doing? He was close enough now to catch the faint scent of peaches that rose from her skin. His cock throbbed. He hadn’t been this worked up about a girl since high school. He dug his fingers into his palms to keep from acting like a complete Neanderthal and kissing her right there.
About the Author:
Crista McHugh is a multiple award-winning author of fantasy romance and paranormal romance with heroines who are smart, sexy, and anything but ordinary. She currently lives in the Audi-filled suburbs of Seattle with her husband and two children, maintaining her alter ego of mild-mannered physician by day while she continues to pursue writing on nights and weekends.