Ryan Callahan’s parents died in a boating accident off Sutter’s Bay when he was five years old. Now Ryan is back in the bay ready to live in the Victorian reproduction house his father built for his mother. And ready to get his dream job a chef in a restaurant. The job of head chef seems to fall into his lap when Mabry’s is short staffed, but when the sexy as sin owner, Chris Mabry, returns from vacation he fires the inexperienced Ryan on the spot.
Ryan’s dream seems to be over before he gets a chance to prove himself, but when Chris realizes how bad his restaurant’s situation is, he rehires Ryan. As Mabry becomes a success, things sizzle between Ryan and Chris and soon Ryan is cooking for Chris personally.
For a moment Ryan wasn't sure if the banging came from the front door or his head. He blinked rapidly and stared at the ceiling. Jonesy licked his chin.
His mouth felt like he'd swallowed a case of cotton balls and his head felt like a freight train drove through the middle of it. He closed his eyes. The banging continued.
Ryan struggled to sit up and ran a hand through his hair. He felt desperately in need of a shower and like a gallon of coffee. He winced at the empty bottle of Jack beside the sleeping bag. He managed to make it to his knees, which he figured was a definite win.
"Whoever that is I'm gonna kill them," Ryan muttered. Finally upright, he staggered to the window and peered out. He rubbed his eyes. Looked again. Stepped away from the window.
"I know you're in there, Ryan," Chris Mabry said from the other side of the door. "I saw you look out."
"Fuck you. Doesn't mean I have to answer the door."
"No. But you might as well or else I'll keep knocking."
Ryan gritted his teeth and opened the door a crack. "What the fuck do you want?"
"Morning to you, too."
"Get off my property." He opened the door a little farther when Jonesy forced his way in, curious about their visitor. "Or I'll sic my vicious man-eating dog on you."
Mabry, looking shaved, clean, perfect, and polished in a pair of slacks and a dress shirt, glanced down at Jonesy. "He doesn't look particularly vicious."
"Looks can be deceiving."
"Why don't you let me in so we don't have to talk on the doorstep?"
"Why don't you go fuck yourself?"
"I see you are well mannered after a night of drinking." Mabry smiled and Ryan seriously wished he could wipe that smile off his smug handsome face.
He sighed instead and opened the door wide to let the man inside. "Have a seat. Oh, wait, there's no furniture, guess you'll have to stand."
Mabry eyed the sleeping bag and empty Jack bottle with barely disguised derision. "Nice house."
"It is a nice house. And anyway, how did you find me?"
"The address was on the paperwork you filled out."
"Oh." Ryan scowled. "Well, what do you want anyway? As you can see I'm not up for entertaining"
Now the guy looked all awkward as he shifted his feet. "Actually, I came to give you a job."
"Oh, screw that. Get out."
"I figured you'd react that way. But I'm serious, Ryan. I know you need one. Or at least you did yesterday. And considering your state this morning -- almost afternoon -- I'm guessing you haven't gone out and acquired a new one since last night."
Well, Ryan could certainly not argue with that, so he said nothing. Just crossed his arms over his chest and stared at Mabry.
"I admit I was a bit hasty firing you last night."
"How big of you."
Mabry sighed. "I've since spoken with my brother and other staff members as well as some of my customers. Everyone was very impressed."
"So, look I made a mistake. And I'd like to rectify it."
"Just what are you offering? A waiter? A sous chef?"
"Well, you don't have any experience."
Ryan shrugged. "Not direct restaurant experience. But I've been cooking since I was a kid. I grew up watching cooking shows. I used to cater parties for holidays and other gatherings for family and friends. I've always been around food. I'm sure you're sincere and all, but I'm not interested in being a waiter or a sous chef."
"Good luck though."
He pursed his lips. "Fine. The head chef's job is yours."
Ryan smiled. "Hm. Well, I don't know about Frank, but I don't work seven days a week. I want four days a week, ten hour days. You pick the days, though I want four days in a row. I don't care about having weekends off."
"Are you actually making demands?"
Ryan shrugged. "Take it or leave it, Chris. I'm not the one in need of a chef. And seems like you need more than one, actually. There happen to be other restaurants in Sutter's Bay. And new ones opening all the time. It doesn't matter to me which one I work at."
"You're a shit."