As I mentioned not long ago, my short story “Al Dente” was recently accepted to be part of the sexy anthology, Craving: One Night, coming to Crave Publishing this spring.
I couldn’t resist giving you a sneak peek. My hero is a famous Italian chef by the name of Matteo Rinaldi and my heroine is a Toronto food blogger named Ruby Zhang. The story begins with Ruby winning tickets to be part of a private couple’s cooking class with Chef Matteo.
Only she loses the other half of her couple right before the event.
Please enjoy this excerpt!
It wasn’t so much that her boyfriend had taken dick pics.
It was more the fact he’d sent them to the entire internet.
Not the entire internet, of course, Ruby Zhang corrected herself. Just about half of it. The female half.
At least she assumed Steve hadn’t sent photos of “Moose” to the male half. If he had, that opened up a whole can of worms she wasn’t prepared to confront. It was bad enough knowing he’d cheated.
“I didn’t cheat, babe, I swear.” Steve had tried to justify his actions once discovered. “You went away for the weekend with your sisters and I drank too much. I was just bored one night. Those women meant nothing to me.”
“Wow,” she’d countered. “You actually think that qualifies as an excuse.”
He might as well have cheated and probably had. It was the only reasonable assumption, although she hadn’t stuck around long enough to ascertain the particulars.
Either way, he’d unleashed Moose. That was his pet name for his dick, given to him by an ex because of its admirable dimensions. He’d liked it so much he’d kept it and used it as much as possible. At first, Ruby had thought it was cute. Now, it made her want to vomit.
Eighteen months with a man who likened himself to a huge mammal known for its annoying moans and inability to sustain its energy after rutting.
Yup, that was Steve in a nutshell.
Still, they’d talked marriage … that is, they’d talked about it being a possibility one day. Those plans were over. Less than two weeks later, Ruby was still reeling.
However, life would have to go on.
That was why she now stood in front of Toronto’s Ristorante Al Dente. Although it was Valentine’s Day evening, the restaurant was closed to the public for a special event. And not just any special event.
Months ago, Ruby had entered a draw to win a private couple’s cooking class with famed Italian chef Matteo Rinaldi. As a food blogger, Ruby had followed Rinaldi’s career and tried many of the recipes featured in his popular cookbooks. In fact, she owned the entire collection of books and most of the pages were dog-eared and covered in splotches of sauce because they were such a treasured feature in her kitchen. The handsome chef wasn’t just an author, though. He’d hosted numerous cooking specials on TV and Ruby had been glued to every single one.
Matteo Rinaldi might possess some incredible knife skills but he was also so gorgeous most soap opera actors would hurl themselves over the nearest cliff out of insecurity.
Meeting the chef would be a dream come true.
Learning to cook with his instruction would be heaven.
When she won the tickets, she’d been over the moon, despite Steve’s indifference. When she broke up with Steve, she’d contemplated giving the tickets to some friends. After all, it was supposed to be a couple’s cooking class and she was no longer part of a couple.
Ruby had waffled for all of five minutes. After a short period of wallowing, she’d cuddled her aging pet rabbit Shania and said, “Fuck that shit.”
Shania always helped her channel her inner badass. The rabbit was the equivalent of one hundred human years old and had that effect on people.
Only now, standing in front of Al Dente on a cold February night, Ruby was losing her courage. What would Chef Matteo say? On TV, he seemed like a nice man but what if he was haughty and disparaging in real life? Ruby had met a lot of chefs in her line of work. They weren’t always known for their humility.
The wind whipped through her, compelling her to make a decision. She took a deep breath.
Resolved, she grabbed the door handle and walked inside.
Like the excerpt? Don’t forget my latest contemporary romance A Good Man, Handymen 1, is currently available. Click here for more!