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Challenging the Chef
Publication date: October 19th 2023
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Western
When an interloper arrives in his kitchen, will romance start to simmer?
Chef Owen Thorpe left behind his celebrity status when he moved to Summer Creek. The quaint town and country atmosphere allow him to seek solace in his recipes. His peace and quiet is threatened when he’s coerced into being part of a big auction package that includes the winner spending a week cooking with him in his restaurant. The last thing he wants is some chef wannabe in his way. However, the real danger he faces is losing his heart when the winner turns out to be a beautiful woman who knows her way around a kitchen.
Burdened by the weight of her demanding career as a school psychologist, Tawni Young turns to cooking and gardening to escape from the never-ending stress of her work. When her aunt gifts her an auction package that includes cooking lessons in the small town of Summer Creek, Tawni realizes the chef she’ll be working with is none other than a celebrity she had a huge crush on during her college years. From the moment the two of them meet, an undeniable attraction sizzles while wits collide.
As they embark on a tantalizing journey of culinary delights, will Tawni and Owen discover the most important ingredient is love?
In this heartwarming and deliciously wholesome tale, Challenging the Chef takes readers on a savory adventure filled with sweet romance.
Read the entire Summer Creek Series!
Catching the Cowboy
Rescuing the Rancher
Protecting the Princess
Distracting the Deputy
Guiding the Grouch
Challenging the Chef
He could do this. Play nice and dig deep to dredge up the charm that used to come to him so easily. He’d unearthed it anytime a food critic or reporter came to town interested in reviewing the restaurant. If he thought of the woman as someone he needed to impress, like a critic, then maybe it would be easier to get through the next few days.
What were four measly days in the grand scheme of things, anyway?
Just nearly a hundred hours of misery. Pure misery.
Nothing to worry about, he thought derisively.
Scoffing, he removed the sauce from the heat and set it aside. Owen glanced at the clock. Time was growing short before Miss Young arrived. If he hurried, he could whip up the sour cream lemon blueberry Bundt cakes he planned to offer for dessert that evening. He’d already made strawberry pudding that would be served with shortbread squares and fresh whipped cream topped with candied lime peel.
Determined to have the cakes baking before Miss Young messed up his afternoon, he rushed to mix the ingredients and was just sliding the last cake pan into the oven when he heard Mayor Mitchell Kane speaking to someone as they entered through the back door.
Owen really needed to get a keypad lock back there one of these days. Grumbles drifted under his breath as he set the timer for the cakes, quickly washed his hands, and turned with a towel in his wet hands to greet the interloper who was about to completely upset his schedule for the next four days.
Despite what Nate had mentioned about her not being too hard on the eyes, Owen wasn’t prepared for the woman who stepped into the kitchen with Mitch. His hands stilled, clenching the towel as he took in her appearance.
Dark brown hair flowed over her shoulders in thick, chunky waves. Apple cheeks tinged with pink, lips that appeared entirely too kissable, and the slightest smattering of freckles on her nose gave her a girl-next-door vibe. Pretty brown eyes sparkled like fizzy root beer but looked intelligent and interested when their gazes connected.
The mayor helped her remove her coat, and Owen’s mouth went dry at the sight of her curvaceous figure. He sucked in a breath and inhaled a delightful floral fragrance that tantalized his nose.
What was he supposed to do with this beautiful being when he’d been expecting a middle-aged foodie with money as expandable as her waistline?
This was even worse than he’d envisioned. He had no time for distractions like Tawni Young, who certainly lived up to her name. She looked young. Fresh-faced. Yet the name Tawni made him think of a jungle cat and something that held a great deal of danger.
If the attraction he felt to her was any indication, she was going to be nothing but trouble to him.
USA Today Bestselling Author Shanna Hatfield writes sweet romances rich with relatable characters, small town settings that feel like home, humor, and hope.
Her historical westerns have been described as “reminiscent of the era captured by Bonanza and The Virginian” while her contemporary works have been called “laugh-out-loud funny, and a little heart-pumping sexy without being explicit in any way.”
When this farm girl isn’t writing or indulging in rich, decadent chocolate, Shanna hangs out with her husband, lovingly known as Captain Cavedweller. She also experiments with recipes, snaps photos of her adorable nephew, and caters to the whims of a cranky cat named Drooley.
To learn more about Shanna or the books she writes, visit her website http://shannahatfield.com or find out more about her here: linktr.ee/ShannaHatfield
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