Thank you for inviting me to your blog, Pembroke.
Most of my books are fantasy with a dash of romance, where I let my imagination flow as I create other worlds. I also write contemporary romance. These books are usually set in locations I know or have lived near.
"Recipe for Romance" is set in the Hibiscus Coast area north of Auckland. Beautiful scenery and lovely beaches all make their way into my story. I wrote the first draft when I lived on the North Shore of Auckland and my family often went to Whangaparaoa or Orewa. It is here I first saw sand yachts hurtling up and down the beach. A wonderful and breathtaking sight which cried out to be included in Kirsty and Reeve's story.
Kirsty is a fully trained chef, but feels she needs more practical experience before she takes charge of her own kitchen. This is the reason she works as a sous chef in a small hotel. Reeve breezes in as the new owner's representative and stirs up a war zone in the kitchen. Everything goes wrong for Kirsty and she's sure Reeve thinks her an incompetent fool.
She's wrong. He is sure the sous chef is innocent, but needs more time to solve the mystery of loss of income for the hotel restaurant.
I loved writing this book. The characters were created by my imagination but soon took over the tale, indicating in no uncertain terms what they thought should happen. I now live in a different, but equally beautiful, part of New Zealand but still have happy memories of bringing up my children on the North Shore of Auckland with its beautiful beaches and friendly people.
"Hi, Kirsty. I helped myself to some coffee. Hope it's okay. I'm on a ten-minute break."
"No problem." Kirsty smiled as Gina sat beside her. The bubbly receptionist had taken the new employee under her wing six months earlier and introduced her to the big city. The other girl acted as the more experienced of the two even though Gina was a few years younger than Kirsty.
"What a gorgeous day." Gina leaned back in the sunshine. "Even better when you sit and look at this fabulous view."
Kirsty sighed contentedly as she wrapped her hands around the cup and slipped off her shoes. She looked fondly at her friend and took a sip of the hot coffee. Gina was one of those "always on the go" people. Sometimes Kirsty found it difficult to keep up with the younger girl.
"Hey, Kirsty!" Gina voice started low and confidential, but it rose with excitement as her questions bubbled forth. "What do you think of the new man? Have you met him yet? He's a bit of a change from old Mr. Bennett, isn't he?"
"I'm afraid we got off to a bad start." Kirsty smiled ruefully. "I thought he was a salesman, and told him in no uncertain terms what I thought of him."
"You didn't, did you?" Gina stared at her. "Hang on. Someone said he helped you out during the lunchtime rush, so he can't be so bad. "
"I suppose he's okay, and he did thank me for all my hard work," Kirsty admitted. "I just wish he'd told me who he was, then I wouldn't have treated him like something the cat dragged in. What really annoyed me is this should have been my day. With Chef on his day off, I was in charge. Monday is the only chance I get to run the kitchen my own way, and today everything went wrong. Mr. Stuart breezed in, took over, and it was the final straw. I wouldn't be surprised if the mess in the kitchen gave him the impression I'm some sort of incompetent idiot."
"Don't worry about it. It's his first day. By tomorrow he probably won't even remember your name. A great looking guy like him has got to have a nice nature to match. I wouldn't lose any sleep over it."
"I wish I was as sure about it as you are." Kirsty sighed and lifted the cup to her lips.
"Ah, there you are, Miss Lawrence. I've arranged for one of the chambermaids to help out this evening." Reeve's voice made the two women jump, and Kirsty nearly upset her coffee. Why couldn't the man make any noise instead of creeping around like a ghost? Silently she prayed he hadn't overheard any of their conversation.
"This will cover the dishwashing," Reeve continued. "How will you manage if there's a rush?"
"It's usually pretty quiet Monday evenings," Kirsty replied, settling back on the seat. "We have two extra staff when we're busy, and I've arranged for one of them to come in tonight, so I should be okay. By the way, I'd like to thank you for your help this morning."
"Thanks are not necessary." Kirsty heard the distraction in his voice, and his manner made her feel small and insignificant. "I'm in charge of the hotel now, and I couldn't allow the restaurant to be closed on my first day here. Which brings me to this evening's meal. I noticed the main course is steak. It might be best to change this to something easier to prepare. With limited help you won't have time to cook individual meals."
Kirsty stared at him in disbelief. How dare he criticize her ability to run the kitchen? He strode away before she could say a word, then turned at the kitchen doorway.
"By the way, Miss Lawrence, I believe you usually have a few hours off in the afternoon. Under the circumstances I'm sure you won't mind canceling them today. I'll see you get time off in lieu at some future date."
Kirsty's voice deserted her. She stared at him, anger darkening her eyes. Reeve turned and walked through the kitchen door, seemingly unaware of the turmoil boiling up within her.
Buy Link: Available 21st December 2012