Cooking with Fire

Cooking with Fire

Belladonna Bordeaux

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Passion can simmer gently in your soul or singe you alive.

Reality show celebrity Jamison Moresby has had it with struggling restaurant owners and their problems. He’s in a small Virginia town facing another frustrating shoot when he meets a woman who isn’t just the epitome of his perfect lover but also a danger to his well protected heart.

Reah Munjabi lives her life between two worlds—that of being the good Indian daughter and embracing all America represents. She’s broken down some of the barriers, but in Jamison’s arms she faces a new tangle of complications. She’s on a mission to find her own place in the vast schematic of the world.

Her relationship with Jamison is the spark that sets her Bengali blood on fire but the cost of being together might be greater than either of them is willing to pay.

 
PUBLISHED BY: Eirelander Publishing
ISBN: 1450542468
PUBLICATION DATE: 2010
WORD COUNT: 25000
SEXUAL CONTENT RATING: 4 4 4 4
EBOOK READER RATING:
CATEGORIES: Romantic Fiction, Contemporary
KEYWORDS: Contemporary Romance, Multicultural
 

EBOOKS BY Eirelander Publishing

EBOOKS BY Belladonna Bordeaux

 
EXCERPT
COPYRIGHT Belladonna Bordeaux/2010


Chapter One

Oil and water don’t mix.


“Jesus Christ, Richard, what the hell are you doing there? It’s a fucking omelet.” Executive Chef and restaurateur Jamison Moresby was ready to throw the sauté pan of burnt eggs at someone. Coughing against the pungent smoke hanging like a heavy haze in the kitchen, he shook his head in dismay. This was the worst kitchen staff in all North America.

Resigned to the fact he was stuck in this kitchen nightmare for the next seven days, he put a lid on his anger when the chief cook and nincompoop of The Seven Seas restaurant opened the back door in a lame attempt to vent some of the smoke.

The stench didn’t curdle his stomach as bad as when he’d swallowed his ethics and joined the crew of Restaurant Raves, Rants and Riots. “Get that camera out of my face,” he snapped when the piece of equipment encroached on his personal space.

Spun off from another British show, he’d been reluctant when the network approached him about doing reality television. His restaurant in London couldn’t afford a long leave of absence from their captain. The fact his divorce was killing him slowly prompted him to take the position as host and play the role of Satan personified. Curse like a drunken sailor. Turn idiots with knives and whisks into real cooks. Make a general nuisance of himself while making would-be restaurateurs into real business owners. Get pissy and bitchy just because he could.

Why wouldn’t he?

After going through hell in his marriage, he had enough anger stored up to last him a lifetime.

And, his ex-wife couldn’t leave well enough alone. She had to rub her snootiness in. The bitch.

He was fairly sick of seeing Amanda walk into his eatery on the arm of some well-to-do bastard. She ordered whatever wasn’t on the menu just to prove she still held a modicum of command over Lincoln on the Thames.

He’d married up in the scheme of things, while she’d gone slumming with a then Sous-chef who had huge dreams. Amanda hadn’t cared. In her words, he was a good fuck and her intention was to fund his first restaurant to secure more great sex. He, in turn, acted the part of her boy toy for about six months before telling her to bugger off.

Their relationship was doomed from day one. It was his burning drive to succeed that deluded him to think he could eventually make her love him.

Torn from his anger-induced musings by a crash of porcelain smashing on a tile floor, Jamison shot a glare at Richard. Damn it all to hell and back. He snapped his stare to the mess of eggs in purgatory splattered across the floor and up the stainless steel workbench. “For the love of God,” he fairly snarled. “This isn’t brain surgery. Just cook the damn food.”

Striding out of the kitchen, Jamison beat a bee-line for the alley at the rear of the establishment and what he hoped would be a moment of peace and quiet. “Fuck me,” he whispered under his breath once he was outside. Raking a hand through his stylishly cut hair, he steeled himself for the coming week.

In the back of his brain he went over the sad statistics of start-up restaurants. Most new restaurants closed within the first year because they lacked either good management, a good head chef who could control the kitchen or had a faulty business plan. Sadly, in the case of Richard and The Seven Seas, it was all of the above. The owners were open to constructive criticism, which they needed in droves, but he sensed they thought they knew everything. They needed to shift from the disgusting French food that no resident of Newport News, Virginia, desired and get themselves to a point where they understood simple food sold. Richard was the biggest problem.

Fifteen minutes in his kitchen clued Jamison into just how dire the situation at The Seven Seas was. The man didn’t know how the hell to cook a microwavable dinner let alone haute cuisine. Mopping his face with his hands, Jamison heaved a frustrated sigh. He’d have to either convince the owners to put out an advertisement for a new chef or teach Richard the basic culinary skills.

“What’s the plan, Jamie?”

Eyeing the producer of the show, Kyle, Jamison shook his head. Damn it all, man. Get your head screwed on straight. “Number one—clean up that fucking mess.”

“Tell me about it. I’m almost afraid of what bacteria are coating the cook surfaces in there, and I think I saw a rat as big as a house cat prowling the floor of the fridge.”

“You know what we have to do. Get a crew in here to clean the place. It’s a health hazard and we don’t work under those circumstances.” Especially not since he’d gotten salmonella from one location two months back and had to be hospitalized for four days. Since that fateful sojourn, Kyle and he had agreed that the moment the television crew faced a potentially dangerous situation they’d halt filming and have the place given a thorough scrubbing. In Jamison’s opinion, Raves, Rants and Riots wasn’t worth any person’s life.

“I’ll tell the owners.”

“Don’t expect them to cheer. They’re still pissed I didn’t rave about the food or when I trashed the service.”

“Gotcha.” Kyle turned toward the door but hesitated. “Have you thought about what I said?”

The air in Jamison’s lungs rushed between his parted lips. “I do not need a woman.” Yeah he did, just not the way everybody thought he should go about it. He needed a chit who would spread her legs and welcome his cock with ease. He didn’t have the time or energy to wine and dine a young miss. He wanted a woman whose heat would scorch his flesh but didn’t have any aspirations of marriage. Quelling the urge to kick the side of the garbage dumpster, he gritted his teeth against the anger welling inside him. He wanted a lass who would let him fuck away his rage. You are a sick man, Jamison.

“Listen, mate, you need something. A shag is as good a place to start as any other, and it has less risk to the show. The last thing the execs at the network want is you climbing your arse into a bottle.”

“Shit. You think they are actually worried about that?” Considering his family’s history with alcoholism, it wasn’t too far-fetched.

“Man, it’s a part of their job to worry about everything.”

More should you say, they worry about the flipping money they might lose if I have a breakdown. “Whatever? Just get that shit hole cleaned so we can get back to filming.”

“Don’t jump down my throat. I’m going already.”

Jamison heard Kyle mumble a few curses as he strode back into the restaurant. Damn it. Leaning back against the brick building opposite the Seven Seas, he stared at the ratty door through which Kyle had walked. “A good fuck.”

He shook his head.

“And where might I find a woman willing to take me on?” he asked the chipped paint flaking off the door. He already knew the answer—there wasn’t one unless he visited the sleaze of a red light district.

His sexual bents ran the gambit but often veered into the world of Dom/sub. I don’t see any trained slaves running around in Newport News.

Add to his natural inclination of being the master of the bedroom his almost insatiable sexual appetite. He’d need a woman who wouldn’t question his orders. Damn me. As horny as I am I could take five whores and still want more.

Fisting his hand, he tensed with sexual frustration. He needed a woman who bowed to his every whim and could take him hard over and over again.

He could imagine the paparazzi getting a tip then boom, his telly career would be over in a matter of a few clicks of a camera’s shutter. It wasn’t as if his face wasn’t recognizable. Add to it his Essex accent, the television crew he traveled with, and holy hell, he was tempting a major scandal by just considering it.

The sound of a car pulling up drew his attention away from his musings. Gnashing his teeth together so hard he felt the muscle in his jaw jump, he pushed off the wall intent on returning to the Seven Seas and the chaos it represented.

Out of his peripheral vision he watched a tiny woman of Middle Eastern descent exit the compact car. She was gorgeous. Her thick dark hair inched down to her exquisitely formed arse. His hands itched to test the weight of it and to see if it was as smooth as it appeared. Unbidden, his cock went from limp as week-old lettuce to rock hard.

“Excuse me, sir, are you lost?” she asked.

Fuck me. Meaning it both literally and figuratively, he stared at her when she approached him. His mouth went dry. His gaze dipped to her tiny breasts shrouded by the clingy material of her knit top then down her pant-clad legs. Her hips were also slender but in his mind’s eye he could picture his hands clasping them as he entered her wet pussy.

Clearing his throat, Jamison inhaled sharply when she finally halted her forward progression a few feet from him. Get it together, mate. He reprimanded himself. “I’m helping out the owners of the Seven Seas.”

He expected her to laugh at him. Instead, she bowed her head and nodded. “Lovely couple. I really like the Tanners but they have…” she stopped abruptly and he knew she was internally arguing about how to describe the restaurant.

Wrestling with his lust, he forced his breathing to slow. There wasn’t a damn thing he could do about his raging hard-on. She sounded as though she should anchor a British news broadcast. It was perfect diction with that hint of sophistication he’d never achieved. Her tone didn’t carry the high and mighty aloofness of Amanda’s though, and to his thinking that was a good thing. “Do you work for them?”

“No.”

His cock nearly broke through his briefs when she smiled at him. Perfect. The word popped into his head so fast, he had to stop himself from groaning. In his opinion, she epitomized the perfect woman. “What brings you to the alley then?”

“I work down the street. I park back here so I don’t have to walk to the public garage in the dead of night. One of the problems all the shops on the boardwalk deal with is the lack of proper car lots.”

He couldn’t stop staring at her. “I noticed that. So the customers have to park all the way down the street?” It was a stupid question but he wanted to keep her talking. There was a lyrical note to her speech that was a better aphrodisiac than oysters.

Her smile turned patient. “Yes. It’s been a trial for them but if the food is good, well, they’ll come anyway. During the summer months, we get a lot of foot traffic. Tourists, you know? They like to stroll along the boardwalk and if the mood strikes them, grab a bite or take away.”

It was a term he rarely heard in America—take away. Trying to think of anything to keep her going, he swallowed hard against the knot of lust growing in his throat. “What’s your restaurant’s specialty?”

Her laughter lit right through his ears to tease his scrotum. His balls tightened and he held a breath awaiting her answer.

“Indian.”

Turning on the charm for no better reason than to maybe get her out of her clothes later tonight, he pasted a wolfish grin on his face. “Curry?” After having been in Newport News for less than a day, he still couldn’t see Anglo-Indian food being that big of a draw.

“Red, Yellow and Green,” she answered, her tone filled with humor.

“Care if I stop by later? I haven’t had a good curry in a long time.

“Missing London?”

He narrowed his gaze on her face. Well hell, Indian cuisine was big in the UK. Curry specifically. She probably knew that. “Yeah, I am.”

“Stop by, I’ll fix you a nice Bengali curry and naan—on me.”

He could only wish. Licking his lips, he imagined her laid out on a table only the spicy food was her. He snapped his gaze to her oval face. Curling his fingers into a fist to keep from brushing his knuckles down her flawless dusky complexion, he fought for personal sanity in the storm of emotions she’d caused with their innocuous discussion. “What time do you open?”

“Just stop by anytime. I’ll tell the maitre d’ to watch for the bloke who sounds like he just jumped ship.”

Jamison threw back his head and laughed at her quip. He sobered when she began to walk away. “Would you care to join me for a drink afterwards?”

A sultry element entered her gaze when she steered herself back toward him. “I don’t drink.”

Stop sticking your foot in your mouth, shit for brains. Pulling up his knowledge of Western Asia and the Middle East, he kept his rejoinder simple. Thanks to his lucky stars he had two junior chefs at Lincoln on the Thames who hailed from the region, and he recalled some of their discussions with him regarding the whys and ways of their cultures. Taking into account she didn’t wear the tikka or the red string around her wrist, he concluded she wasn’t Hindu. “A cup of tea perhaps?”

“That sounds suspiciously like a date.”The teasing lilt was back in her voice. There was also a hint of something else Jamison couldn’t put his finger on. He prayed she was silently inviting him to dessert.

“Call it what you will.” He felt his body harden when she raked her obsidian gaze down his tall frame. “You game?”

“I’m game.”

“We’ll talk about the particulars over supper.”

She nodded before walking away.

He told himself the reason he’d stood there was to make sure she made it to work safe and sound. The truth was he wanted her with a passion that threatened to flambé him alive.
 

 
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