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Sex, Lies and Apple Pies: New Orleans Connection Series, #6

Sex, Lies and Apple Pies: New Orleans Connection Series, #6

Автором Kathy Ivan

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Sex, Lies and Apple Pies: New Orleans Connection Series, #6

Автором Kathy Ivan

Длина:
125 pages
1 hour
Издатель:
Издано:
Jun 26, 2016
ISBN:
9781533714749
Формат:
Книге

Описание

Wendy Cunningham, the Princess of Pastries, has been recruited into being a judge on the National Bake-Off Championship.  When the ex-flame she left behind turns out to be a fellow judge, she decides to make the best of the situation, because she needs the publicity to open her newest high-end bakery.    

Slade Coleman is the hottest celebrity chef on the foodie scene, and he's not above making the most of his time in the spotlight.  When the "Culinary Cowboy" gets recruited to judge on the next sure-to-be-a-hit baking show, the opportunity is too good to turn down.  Nobody knows he has his own reasons for coming to South Florida.

When The Princess sees The Cowboy, sparks fly and it isn't long before passion ignites.  But something's going on behind the scenes, and it's up to Wendy and Slade to root out the bad apple before somebody gets hurt—or worse. 

Издатель:
Издано:
Jun 26, 2016
ISBN:
9781533714749
Формат:
Книге

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Sex, Lies and Apple Pies - Kathy Ivan

IVAN

DEDICATION

This book is dedicated to the wonderful ladies of the Summer Heat box set, who invited me to join them in the adventure.  It's been a blast working with you and getting to know you all. 

It's also dedicated to my sister, Mary Sullivan, who's the driving force behind my writing and keeps me motivated.  She lets me go on and on about story lines and plots and lends a hand when I'm stuck.  Sister, you're the best! 

WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING ABOUT KATHY IVAN'S BOOKS

Kathy Ivan's books give you everything you're looking for and so much more.  –Geri Foster, USA Today and NYT Bestselling Author of the Falcon Securities Series

This is the first I have read from Kathy Ivan and it won't be the last. Desperate Choices had it all... Night Owl Reviews

I highly recommend Desperate Choices. Readers can’t go wrong here! Melissa, Joyfully Reviewed

I oved how the author wove a very intricate storyline with plenty of intriguing details that led to the final reveal... Night Owl Reviews on Second Chances

Desperate Choices

Winner 2012 International Digital Award—Suspense

and

Best of Romance 2011 –Joyfully Reviewed

CHAPTER ONE

It took a lot of finagling, arm twisting, and calling in of favors, but Slade Coleman was finally in paradise.  Or more precisely, South Beach at the height of summer. 

Florida.  Sunny skies, white sandy beaches, and glorious bikini-clad women as far as the eye could see. 

He'd put down the top on his rented convertible and drove along the beach.  Felt the warm winds whip through his hair as he sped past the shimmering sands loaded with tourists. 

Summertime in Miami was smoking.  Hot nightclubs.  Hot food.  Hot beaches.  And most importantly, hot women.  He planned to immerse himself to the fullest in all of them, but first he had a job to do.

With practiced ease, he pulled the convertible up to the front entrance of the condo complex where he'd be staying for this gig, handed his keys to the uniformed valet, and gave the information for the unit he'd be staying in for the duration.  Just another of the perks he'd enjoy while in this town overflowing with decadence were all the high end benefits that came along with his friend's place. 

He looked around the sleek lines of the building's front entrance.  The place looked more like a five star hotel than a condominium complex, but who was he to complain—he'd only be here a short time.  And he didn't kid himself.  Though his life had changed over the last five years, he still wasn't used to the excesses that wealth brought. 

He was a simple country guy at heart, and always would be.  While living like this from time to time when he was on the job was a nice perk, it wasn't the life he'd want long term.  No, he needed lots of wide open space and fresh air.  Maybe a couple of horses and a dog.  That was more his style, though he'd need to be within driving distance of a big city if his dream of opening his own restaurant was to come to fruition.   

His friend, a professional football player, had been more than happy to loan him his vacation condo along with all the amenities that came along with it, including twenty-four hour concierge service, valet parking, two pools, a high-end gym, and private beach access.  What more could he ask?

Within minutes, he walked through the front door of the twenty-second floor condo, dropped his bag in the foyer, and headed straight to the wall of windows overlooking the Atlantic Ocean.  Clear blue skies and glistening azure waters as far as the eye could see.  Bright sunlight reflecting off the ocean was a wicked invitation to plunge beneath its watery depths.  One he wished he could indulge in immediately.

Instead, with a flick of his hand, he slid open the patio door and strolled out onto the balcony, inhaling the salty tang of the ocean.  Oh, yeah, this was exactly what he needed, a couple of weeks of rest and relaxation in paradise.  It was a crying shame most of his time would be spent working. 

But not all of it, he reminded himself.  He planned to get in a little R and R while he got the job done.  His last off-the-official books job had strained him to the brink, and he sorely needed a break.  He stretched, feeling the stiffness in his muscles from sitting on a plane for several excruciatingly long hours. 

Damn, he was tired.  It was the kind of bone-weary, aching tiredness resulting from lack of sleep and a lack of faith in humanity.  He was sick of dealing with people who cared so little about others and the toll their capricious whims caused. 

He shook his head, cleared his thoughts.  Walking back into the condo, he dropped onto the leather armchair and dug his cellphone from his pocket.  With the slide of his finger across the screen, he dialed his longtime friend, Max Lamoreaux.

I'm here.  He leaned back against the pillowy depths of the chair, resting his head against the back cushion.  I've got a meeting with the TV show's producers in a little while, to get the rundown on exactly what I'm supposed to be doing.

Any problems?  Max's voice sounded a bit distracted, and Slade heard another muffled voice in the background.  His friend and sometimes boss was still at the office.  Damn, he hated government work, and all the secretive B.S. that went along with it, but his buddy's private investigative business thrived on it lately. 

Max had the whole mom, Uncle Sam, and apple pie mentality and it worked for him.  Slade was more of a live-and-let-live kind of guy.

No.  The flight went smoothly.  All the contract details have been ironed out by my agent and he assured me they were practically drooling at the chance for me to star in their show.  He scrubbed a hand against his face, felt the five o'clock shadow roughening his cheek.  Tell me again why you need me to work on this piece of dreck?

Max sighed.  I'm stuck here in New Orleans under subpoena to testify in the Trejo case and can't get down there.  I need a set of eyes and ears around the television studio.  They've got things locked down as tight as Fort Knox.

Couldn't you have hired a tech to work behind the scenes?  It would make more sense.  I don't have a damned clue what you expect me to find.

There's not a whole lot I can tell you at this point that you don't already know.  The client hired us to look into threats she's been getting.  It's your run-of-the-mill basic blackmail stuff.  Pictures and demands for money to buy their silence.

Why me?  Anybody could handle this.

Hang on.  Max whispered to somebody, his voice muffled, and then he was back.  You're good at spotting things that don't smell right.

Slade rolled his eyes at his friend's comments.  If he listened to Max, his friend would try to convince him he had some kind of ESP or psychic woo-woo going on.  Though if anybody would know about all that woo-woo stuff, it would be Max.  After all, he was married to a bona fide psychic.  But him, Slade Coleman?  Hell, no.  He was just observant.  And most people were idiots.

"Bro, I'm still trying to wrap my head around this.  I mean, it's a baking show.  What am I going to do, protect someone from flying cupcakes?" 

His friend laughed.  I'm really hoping it's nothing but a disgruntled fan and we catch them right away.  Until then, I'm following where the evidence leads.  Besides, this might be good for you.

Slade pulled the phone away from his ear and stared at the screen, before putting it back to his ear. 

Don't you think I'm a little overqualified for this gig?

Max snorted a laugh.  You're qualified for cooking, sure.  You can outcook anybody in the country, but... 

Baking?  Pastries and cakes and cookies?  Not really my speciality.  Slade knew his limitations when it came to making sweets.  He might be able to handle a boxed cake mix, but that would be stretching it.  Cooking he understood.  Cooking didn't have the same rules as baking.  Cooking made sense because he got to add his own spin on taste and make it uniquely his. 

You don't fool me, bro.  Your Michelin star says you're one of the best.  Your previous boss stated in The New Yorker you had the best palate he'd ever taught.  You've apprenticed under some of the biggest names in the industry. 

Slade grimaced, uncomfortable with his buddy's praise.  He loved his job—most of the time.  Put him in the kitchen with a six burner gas range and a handful of ingredients and he could whip up a meal fit for the President.  He just didn't like all the other stuff that went along with being a celebrity chef.  Truth be told, he hated that part.  Especially the nickname the paparazzi had given him.  Seriously, who wanted to go around being known as The Culinary Cowboy?

Again, that's cooking.  Not baking.  Two totally different skill sets.

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