He’s never met anyone like her… At 21 years old, Tonya Summers is a skater girl with the ESPN X-games as well as a college student, volunteer, and the sole provider for her family who lost their jobs in the economic downturn. A handsome, world-renowned TV chef is surely not interested in someone like her. She’s never even learned to cook… When Alex Stanley, who also volunteers at the Elysian Fields Soup Kitchen, meets Tonya, he is instantly captivated and presents her with an opportunity she can’t refuse—a chance at winning a half million dollars on the reality TV cooking show Happy Endings. Enough money to get her family back on her feet and herself a college education. The challenges mount… The producers want more than just bacon cupcakes—one of several recipes our celebrity chefs share with you at the end of the story. They are also looking for personal drama and sexual tension and are out to make sure it happens. Can there be a happy ending for Tonya and Alex?
“Can you smell it?”
“The sweet smell of success.”
All at once, the buzzer went off, indicating we could begin cooking. I almost jumped out of my skin. Nothing like dropping into a half-pipe—this cooking stuff’s scary—real cooking—not mac and cheese—and on television, in front of millions of viewers. I stood frozen at my counter, staring into the camera. Alex began gathering our ingredients—bowl, eggs, sugar I couldn’t get it together. I stood there like a zombie.
“Tonya,” Alex whispered.
I peered up at him, and he handed me an egg then, cupping my hand in his, cracked the egg delicately on the side of a large black bowl. The yolk dropped into it, sliding along the side. So sexy!
“Breathe,” he said in a hushed tone.
I took a deep breath. “Okay,” I whispered back.
His hand lingered a split second more on mine, and he gave me a soft, reassuring squeeze. Smiling up at him, I handed him a second egg, which he cracked with our hands clasped.
The baking experience proved a lot more thrilling than I’d ever imagined it could be. Cooking with Alex Stanley? Hot and messy. I loved it!