Doss Chambers’ dreams of having his own restaurant crash and burn after a lapse of judgment leads to a fatal accident. Doss pays for his mistake, but starting over with a criminal record isn’t always easy. He’s lucky to have the support of his family, and he’s working hard to fulfill the dream he’s never given up on.
If only he could cook…
Henri Courtan is a vampire with a checkered past, as well as being the best pastry chef in Paris. Searching for a place to belong, he ends up cooking for a group of vampires with a penchant for human food. The last thing he expected was to fall in love. But then he accepts a special delivery and logic goes right out the window.
Two men trying to make fresh starts—will their pasts bring them closer together or keep them at arm’s length?
New York, 2037
I was a week shy of my eighteenth birthday when my world turned upside down. My brother Luke, who was just a year older than me, had begun having severe and frequent seizures—five in less than two weeks. Doctors found a medication that stopped him from having more, but fearing a sudden relapse, Luke’s driver’s license had been suspended.
My brother was too much of a rebel to be told what to do, however. One night my parents went out to a party. They strictly forbade Luke and me to leave the house.
As soon as they were gone, Luke grinned at me. “We’re going to Sawyer’s party.”
I idolized my brother, and I wanted to do whatever he did, but even I knew this was a bad idea. “We can’t do that. Mom and Dad said to stay here. Besides, I don’t have my license yet, and you’re not supposed to drive.”
He growled and clenched his fists. “Well, I want to go! All I’ve done for weeks is travel between that fucking hospital and home, so I’m going. And since you failed your driving test—again—I’ll have to drive.”
“But they took your license! If you get caught, you’ll be fucked.”
“Don’t be such a douche. Those seizures were probably just weird migraines or something. I feel fine.”
When I still hesitated, he sneered at me. “You’re such a pussy. No wonder you can’t get laid. Stay home. See if I care.”
Always the same taunt—just because I didn’t want to break the rules, I was the weak one. I was the scaredy-cat. For years, I’d lived in Luke’s shadow, and I was getting tired of it. I gritted my teeth. “Fine. We’ll go to the stupid party. But if we get busted, it’s on you.”
We reached Sawyer’s house without incident, and I realized maybe I’d been worrying about nothing. I only had one beer, though. After all, our mother could smell alcohol from a mile away. And if she caught us drinking when we were still underage, there would be hell to pay.
The party was all right. I hung out with some friends, throwing around ideas for a hiking trip that month. Around midnight, I ran across my brother making out with a varsity cheerleader. I didn’t want to interrupt, knowing he’d be pissed, but I was petrified our parents were going to get home before we did.
I tapped Luke on the shoulder. “Hey.”
He turned and glared at me. “Really, Doss? What the fuck, man?”
“We have to go, Luke. We’ll be lucky if we don’t get busted. Dad’ll kill us.”
The thought of dealing with the wrath of our father was enough. Luke kissed the cheerleader once more and stomped toward the car.
I found him leaning heavily on the driver’s side door and moaning. “Oh damn, I don’t feel that well. You have to drive.”
“No way!” I panicked. “If I get caught, I’m dead meat.”
“Stop worrying. Just drive slow.”
My heart was in my throat as I climbed into the driver’s seat. The roads had been fairly clear on our way to the party, but it had rained heavily for a few hours while we’d been there. The roads were bound to be a gauntlet of standing water and oil-slicked pavement.
“Go on,” Luke urged.
Hesitantly, I pushed the power button and backed the car out of the driveway. After triple-checking my mirrors, I pulled out on the road and prayed to whatever god was listening that I wouldn’t get busted.
A few minutes later, Luke cleared his throat. “I, uh, really appreciate this, Doss. I had to blow off some steam, ya know? Mom hasn’t let me do a thing lately without standing over me. I’m surprised she lets me wipe my own ass.”
I couldn’t help but laugh at that. Our mother had indeed been smothering Luke, but I didn’t really blame her. I was worried, too, even if he was just as much of a jerk to me as he’d always been. “She’s just worried, all right?”
Luke didn’t answer, so I glanced over in concern to see if he’d fallen asleep. In the light from the dashboard, I saw his eyes flicker quickly back and forth. He didn’t respond when I shook his arm. He was seizing.
Looking back at the road, I realized I’d drifted into the other lane. An oncoming vehicle flashed its lights and laid on the horn. I panicked and hit the brakes hard. The wheels locked, but that didn’t change our path.
I had just enough time to throw my arm across Luke’s chest to brace him before the impact. After a horrifying screech of metal on metal, I blacked out.