Derek Dunne is a Cordon Bleu-trained food critic for the prestigious New York Monitor, whose scathing review of a popular Italian bistro has driven away all but the most loyal neighborhood patrons.
Lucrezia Serafina DiCicco is a clumsy business-school drop out, working as a chef and scrambling to keep her family's restaurant afloat, after her father develops diabetes and is banned from his kitchen for his own good.
Now, with The Monitor folding, Derek is searching for his next career path and longing to get back to his first love—cooking—while Lu is desperate for an influx of cash to save the struggling restaurant…even as her father puts his foot down about non-family employees.
Derek and Lu embark on a marriage of inconvenience to save the restaurant. But can Lu ever really trust the man who nearly destroyed her family, who once noted her initials spelled “LSD,” and her food was like a “bad trip?”
Or will it be their hearts on the chopping block?
She brushed her hands on her apron and straightened her shoulders as she strode toward the bar. Not in the mood. So not in the mood. As if the hunky stranger had come there seeking a hook-up, rather than to send back his too-salty pasta fagiole. or rubbery calamari, or register some other grievance.
She looked a fright besides. The moon might resemble a pizza pie but amore did not live anywhere in the restaurant anymore, except in its name. As that bastard Derek Dunne had pointed out in his review. Vicious…but truthful, she had to admit.
As she approached the customer, she positioned herself with her back to the mirror over the bar, so she didn’t have to see her sorry reflection. At least no one else sat at the bar to gawk at her frazzled condition.
The man swirled a pool of condensation on the burled wood with his index finger. Strong hands. No rings. Up close and personal, his looks were even more devastating, the essence of hearty masculinity radiating raw, contained power, his body taut with muscles beneath a finely tailored suit that stretched across broad shoulders, his blue eyes intense enough to put her in a near trance. She gazed at his long, blunt fingers playing restlessly on the bar and imagined him sliding them across her heated flesh. Making her wet. Thrusting inside her. His thumb stroking her clit until it swelled, the pleasure so unbearable he had her writhing with passion, screaming for release.
Holy cannoli! What the heck was wrong with her? Was she that desperate? Yeah, probably. And yeah, he looked that good. Good enough to eat. With or without whipped cream and chocolate sauce. Oh, yeah. That image helped cool down her roaring libido. Not.
Suppressing a shiver, she cleared her throat. “I’m Lu DiCicco. You wanted to see me?”