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Sous chef Kirsty Lawrence's problems begin with the arrival of the new hotel manager. Everything she touches ends in disaster. Has she really become so inept or is someone sabotaging her work? Reeve Stuart obviously distrusts her, but she can't help her growing attraction to him.
Reeve initially believes Kirsty is incompetent, but he still feels drawn to her. He must put his feelings aside to concentrate on finding out why the hotel restaurant is losing money. Could Kirsty be the reason? Instinct tells him no, but his feelings for her might be influencing his decision.
Reeve ran a hand through his dark hair and sighed. The ledgers on his desk didn’t make sense. His company had made an offer for the Hibiscus Hotel because the previous year’s accounts had showed a small, but healthy profit. The figures in front of him bore little resemblance to the previous ones.
The accommodation income differed only slightly and could be due to the summer season not yet being in full swing, but the abrupt downturn in the restaurant profits was worrying. A year ago, the figures indicated the restaurant was popular for functions and casual dining plus the hotel guests. In the last six months, the casual customers had dropped fifty percent and few functions were booked in the foreseeable future.
He scanned the books again, confirming what he’d already noticed. The downhill trend had started six months ago, slowly at first, but gaining momentum until the restaurant was now barely breaking even. Reeve closed the ledgers and stood, stretching to take the kinks out of his shoulders.
He’d arrived at the hotel early to go over things with the manager, but had been slightly disconcerted to find Mr. Bennett had called in sick. The elderly man had also decided to take early retirement, which meant Reeve was now in charge. It had taken him nearly an hour to find the records he wanted in the untidy manager’s office, and another hour to check and recheck the figures.
By now breakfast would be finished and it would be the best time to take the ledgers through to the restaurant and go over them with the head chef. Pausing to wipe the smear of dust from his hands, he sighed in annoyance.
Crossing the reception area, he noticed how dark and old-fashioned it looked, but that didn’t excuse the untidiness.
“Good morning,” he said, greeting the head receptionist. “Could you get one of your staff to tidy the magazines on the side tables? Oh, yes, I’d also appreciate it if you could ask the housekeeper to send one of her maids to thoroughly clean my office. Thank you.”
The woman blushed and nodded in reply as he turned and headed for the restaurant. As he had expected, the room was empty. The tables had been cleared and set up for lunch, but once again the tiredness of the room drew his attention. Unfortunately, until the restaurant was making a profit, there would be no money to upgrade the dining area.
A crash from the kitchen caught his attention and, placing the ledgers on a nearby table, he strode through the swing doors. He could hardly believe the sight that met his eyes. He had expected a well run, busy kitchen. Instead dirty breakfast dishes haphazardly overflowed the sink, flour was everywhere, and no work was being done. In fact the whole place appeared empty.
Muttered words of anger drew him towards the far end of the kitchen where he found a young woman dressed in the kitchen uniform of checked trousers and white jacket.
“Bother!” she exploded as she dragged the hat from her auburn head and threw it onto the nearby desk.
“I don’t think that’s going to help, do you?”
At the sound of his voice she spun round and stared at him. “I—um.” Green eyes flashed with annoyance as she struggled for composure, then she straightened and asked haughtily, “Can I help you?”
“I hope so. I know you’re busy, but could you find the head chef and tell him I wish to see him in the restaurant.”
The look on her face warred between surprise and irritation, her expression so comical that Reeve turned and left the room before he burst out laughing.
* * * *
For one second Kirsty considered hurling a flour-covered pastry ball after the retreating figure. It would make such a satisfying white mess in the perfectly groomed dark hair, but before she had time to act on the temptation, the stranger left the room and the restaurant doors swung in his wake.
“Sue Perkins added just the right amount of humor to Recipe For Love. A pinch of humor, a dash of love, and a cup of delightful characters make this a great summer read.” 4 Stars! Reviewed by Anne Boling for ReviewYourBook.com
“Scenes that describe the scenery around them are quite poignant and well written. The North Island of New Zealand became alive under Ms. Perkins’ pen and I was thoroughly delighted by my visit. It feels as if the author was thoroughly enjoying herself while writing the tale and it shows. The plot progressed at a decent pace while I was pondering the bad guy’s motives for making Kristy his target. Within minutes of beginning Recipe For Love, I found myself eagerly searching out Ms. Perkins’ other books. The author’s great sense of humor is responsible for such an entertaining read. All in all, Recipe For Love is a fun and light-hearted contemporary romance that has moments to savor.” Reviewed by Bluebell, The Long And Short Of It Reviews
SRR GRADE: A “Yummy is the word I would use to describe Recipe for Love by Sue Perkins. I enjoyed the laid back pace of the plot and the "forbidden fruit" story line. Kirsty brought a smile to my face on more than one occasion because she knew how to handle the kitchen but she was also cunning enough to figure out how to cover her butt and keep herself out of hot water. Reeve seemed to thrive on the conflict between he and Kirsty. The secondary characters such as Chef Antoine, Gina, and Henri all provided the necessary comic and emotional support to make this a story worth recommending. This was a good, relaxing book that felt like a breath of fresh air.” Reviewed by Shira, Simply Romance Reviews
Book Publisher: Whiskey Creek Press
No. of Pages: 215
Paper Weight (lb): 9.2
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