A burned-out association executive spices things up with Santa Fe’s playboy celebrity chef, unaware that a secret in her past could send their future up in smoke.
Child advocate Nora Cross doesn’t have time for the private cooking lesson her sister won at a charity auction. Hunter Graham, the young chef, is the last person she needs telling her she’s forgotten how to have fun. So why can’t she get the very hot, very eligible man off her mind?
After a stellar debut in New York City, Hunter’s back in Santa Fe to open a new restaurant. He lives a charmed life and he knows it. He isn’t interested in a workaholic who’s glued to her smart phone. So why is he trying to convince Nora to relax and enjoy life—with him?
When Nora’s apartment and office are ransacked, Hunter comes to her rescue, surprised to find himself playing knight-in-shining armor to the uptight executive. But when it becomes clear Nora is no random target, Hunter realizes he’ll do anything to keep her safe.
Reviews for The Hungry Heart
2013 Readers’ Crown Finalist
“So if you are looking for a romance novel with a little mystery, please indulge me – read The Hungry Heart. I promise that you won’t regret it!” — Guilty Pleasures Book Reviews
“…a ripping good story.” — Manic Readers
“…this story sucked me right in and I truly enjoyed every minute of reading it.” — Smitten with Reading
“A TOP PICK” from The Romance Reviews
“The Hungry Heart is a brilliant start to a new series.” — What’s Hot? Books
“[The characters] are both real and extraordinary…” — Teresa’s Reading Corner
…fast-paced, witty and fantastically fun romance.” — The Cover (and everything in between)
Excerpt from The Hungry Heart
Whoever said a cold shower could cool your ardor didn’t know what they were talking about. Ten minutes of standing under freezing cold water had turned Nora’s skin blue, but it had done nothing to dampen her desire.
“Agh!” She allowed free rein to her frustration, not caring whether or not the running water covered her scream.
She turned off the faucet and sat on the edge of the tub. This was so unfair.
They had come so close. Hunter had wanted her—seemingly as much as she wanted him. She still wasn’t quite sure what went wrong.
Dammit, I should never have agreed to stay for dinner. This was her fault.
It wasn’t that she was in love with Hunter. She was too smart to allow that to happen. But she had made up her mind, made a decision that she would allow herself some pleasure—and why not? Then having done so, she had set out to try to make it happen. Not that she would have seduced him or done anything quite so bold. She’d just decided that she wouldn’t pass up any opportunities that came her way.
She knew he found her attractive. He had said as much, demonstrated it, too. He wasn’t a saint, and given his reputation it wasn’t unreasonable to expect him to make a move on her while they were sharing the same suite.
Only now they weren’t.
She inhaled deeply and willed away the threatening tears. No, she wouldn’t cry for him. It was only sex. She shouldn’t allow herself to feel this much anguish over one night.
She stood and towel-dried her hair. It was probably for the best, anyway. What was the point of one night of mindless sex?
She thought about Taylor and wondered what her relationship with Hunter had been like. Was she in love with him? Or had the sex been that good? Whatever the reason, the woman was still crazy about him, although he seemed to have little interest in renewing what they’d had.
Nora rubbed the condensation off the mirror and stared at the face looking back at her. She tried to be objective, but all she could see was a woman about to turn thirty-five. Tiny lines were beginning to form at the corners of her eyes—he’d called their color café noir when they’d first met—and there were more lines just above her top lip.
Her age had never bothered her—in fact, she’d always felt she’d accomplished a lot while still quite young—at least professionally. But dammit, it would be nice to experience fantastic sex at least once before I’m thirty-five.
What was it about turning thirty-five that disturbed her so much? It was just a number.
Her lips were a rosy pink and slightly swollen. She touched them gently, remembering the feel of Hunter’s mouth as it grazed hers, and then the hard urgency with which he had kissed her in the garage.
She turned away, frustrated. This was getting her nowhere.
Forget it. Forget him. None of it mattered anyway. Tomorrow morning she’d be back in her real world, and all this would be nothing but a memory.
She heard a noise and paused to listen more intently. Was that banging?
She slipped on a robe—the scratchy generic one provided by the hotel, not at all like the luxurious plush one she’d borrowed from Hunter—and opened the bathroom door.
Yes, someone was definitely pounding on her door.
“Who’s there?” she called, tightening the belt of the robe.
What? “I didn’t—”
She stepped up on her toes to peek out the peephole. Her knees felt like jelly and she leaned against the door, closing her eyes and murmuring a heartfelt “thank goodness.” Then she looked again to make absolutely certain her eyes weren’t playing tricks on her.
Hunter was magnificent in a fresh pair of dark khaki pants and a red golf shirt. His hair looked damp, as if he had just stepped out of a shower, too. In one hand he balanced a platter, covered by a large silver lid. He was impatiently shuffling from one foot to the other.
She pulled open the door and stepped back, waiting.
Hunter’s eyes widened and then he dropped his gaze to take in her bare toes. Slowly he raised his head. His appraisal of her was slow and intense. She felt exposed, and rubbed her palms against the fabric of the robe just to assure herself she had actually put one on. When he got to her face he paused, and then broke into his seductive, heart-stopping grin.
“I see you’re expecting me,” he said.