Cooking Up Love by Gemma Brocato (31 Days of Halloween)

Title: Cooking Up Love
Gemma Brocato
Contemporary Romance
Lyrical Press
George leads a charmed life as a personal chef and assistant to reality
television’s latest darling. But that changes in a New York minute when her
Aunt Caro dies under odd circumstances, bequeathing her a small restaurant. Jem
plans to sell the café and continue her life in NYC, until a dramatic phone
call from her cheating boyfriend convinces her to experiment with the
ingredients for happiness and accept her Aunt’s legacy. Throwing herself into
remodeling the restaurant with the help of the town’s delicious contractor, Jem
revamps the menu and renews her faith in herself.
Kerrigan considered Caro a surrogate mother and hates the idea that the café
could be sold. He doesn’t need the remodeling project, but if it means Caro’s
beautiful, fascinating niece will stay to run the restaurant, he’s all in. He
wouldn’t mind being savory to Jem’s sweet.
brassy ex-wife is cooking up a scheme of her own, where Jack tosses Jem like a
salad and comes back to her. Fold in a creepy attorney hiding secrets of
environmental mayhem, add Jem’s claustrophobia, half-pint niece and nephew
twins, one mysterious lockbox, and bring to a boil–a recipe for romance.
Lyrical Press Contemporary Romance
Excerpt From Cooking Up Love
he’d heard the ominous click of the lock, he’d known they had a problem.
continued massaging her hand, but didn’t attempt to close the distance between
them, processing her words. Her chest heaved as she struggled to control her
breathing. “Humor me here. I’m trying to help. Let’s say you find yourself
unexpectedly in a close space, like now. Do you have…I don’t know…coping
behaviors or mechanisms you can pull out of your claustrophobia bag of tricks
to help you?”
a wide-open space sometimes helps,” she muttered through clenched teeth. She
sucked in a ragged breath. “Picturing a beach works best. I vacationed once at
Blue Bay Beach, on Mauritius. It was lovely there, peaceful and serene.”
you take a trip to the beach in your mind while I see if I can get the door off
the hinges. That’s right,” he whispered soothingly. “Just close your eyes and
picture the clear blue sea and endless sky.”
gently stroked Jem’s cheek and released her cold hand.
wrapped her freed arm over the other clutched against her middle. Long, silky
eyelashes swept downward, toward the pale skin under her eyes. He sensed,
rather than saw her mental attempt to sketch a calming beach scene behind
closed eyelids. Her effort to control the panic–drawing shallow, shuddering
breaths in and raggedly releasing them–moved him. He didn’t suffer with
claustrophobia, but even a blind man could recognize a huge source of anxiety
for Jem.
recognized the refrain to Bob Marley’s Three
Little Birds. Great choice. The sight of Jem swaying to the music
entranced him. Oh, yeah. Every little
thing was gonna be alright. Her breath still hitched, she was extremely
pale and her long, slender fingers clenched convulsively in the folds of the
soft gray dress. But she was trying.
turned toward the door to study the hinges, fishing in his jeans for a utility
knife. Dammit, he’d taken it out this morning at a job site and stuck it in his
jacket with his cell phone. The one he’d left on the table on the other side of
the locked door. Frustrated, he slapped his hand against the sturdy wooden
stopped humming at the sharp noise and her breathing sped up again. She
clutched the neckline of her dress, pulling it away from her throat, each short
gasp labored. The agony in her creased brow made him move to her side,
frantically thinking of a way to help her.
jumped as he grasped her shoulders and pulled her toward his chest.
it worse here,” she gritted out between tense lips.
breath stopped. With her eyes riveted to his, she wrestled to break free of the
constriction. Her soft breasts rose and fell against his chest, spearing heat
down his spine. God, he felt like a dog. This woman was struggling to work
through a reaction to a small space and he was turned on by her body rubbing
against his.
to distract her from the panic gripping her, he lowered his mouth.
first tentative brush against her lips confirmed his suspicion about how
kissable she was. His eyes nearly rolled back in his head as he caressed the
soft sweetness. The tension gripping her shoulders eased as his mouth moved on
than the rapid rise of her chest, she stilled in his arms.
deepened the kiss, licking along the lush seam. Her sunny, citrusy scent teased
his nose. He breathed deeply and gathered her closer.
moment his arms tightened, she stiffened and jerked away.
Author Bio
About Gemma Brocato
favorite desk accessories for many years were a circular wooden token, better
known as a ’round tuit,’ and a fortune from a fortune cookie that said she was
a lover of words; some day she’d write a book. All it took was a transfer to
the United Kingdom, the lovely English springtime, and a huge dose of
homesickness to write her first novel. Once it was completed and sent off with
a kiss even the rejections, addressed to ‘Dear Author’, were gratifying.
returning to America, she spent a number of years as a copywriter, dedicating
her skills to making insurance and the agents who sell them sound sexy.
Eventually, her full-time job as a writer interfered with her desire to be a
writer full-time and she left the world of financial products behind to pursue
an avocation as a romance author.
gamble paid off when she was a 2012 Finalist in the prestigious Golden Pen
contest for Romantic Suspense and she received contracts for her first and
second book.
with Gemma on Facebook,, Twitter,
@gemmabrocato or on the web at
Buy Links