Title: Spooning Leads to Forking
Series: Hot in the Kitchen #2
Author: Kilby Blades
Genre: Contemporary Romance/Romantic Comedy
Release Date: April 28, 2020
Leaving her name—and her job as a top food critic—behind in New York, Shea Summers seeks respite in Sapling. Her borrowed mountain getaway seems perfect for writing her opus. It’s also perfect for riding out a messy divorce and hiding the roomful of cash she kind-of-sort-of stole from her ex.
Too bad Sapling is a remote, three-restaurant town with food that leaves much to be desired. Sexy grocer, Dev Kingston, may be Shea’s saving grace. The way he looks at her with his aspen-green eyes shows her everything her marriage was missing, and he can special-order every delicacy she craves.
But Shea’s not the only one who isn’t what she seems. Dev moonlights as a sheriff’s deputy, a fact she finds out too late; a string of suspicious crimes finds newcomers under scrutiny; and her ex is going to extremes to find out where she is.
Taking the money and living under an assumed name might be on the right side of wrong, but dating Dev is a dangerous game. She’s still running and he’s still the law.
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Act natural, Shea instructed herself after she’d parked, let herself out and slammed shut her car door. Slinging her bag over her shoulder, she gave herself a pep talk as she took measured steps toward the door:
People go to the market more than twice a week in a lot of cultures.
It’s not a crime anywhere to show up looking cute. Own it.
The first part of her little routine was being the first to say hello. He was almost always near the front—not at either of the three lonely registers—behind a computer at the customer service desk. The service area was on a raised platform and sat adjacent to the leftmost register. Shea surmised he could process refunds for customers—only there were never many customers. Weekend mornings aside, it wasn’t uncommon for she and Dev to be the only ones in the store.
“Oh, hey, Dev,” she said breezily, casting him a slightly lingering smile. Sapling was a place where people stopped to greet one another. There was eye contact and genuine curiosity, and a growing warmth as people started to get to know her. When it came to Shea, Dev’s prevalent emotion seemed to be amusement.
Far be it from her to disown her own quirks. Her culinary requests were bizarre—bordering on outlandish—even for a health food specialty store. She didn’t dress like anyone else in Sapling, despite having once thought the garments she’d cherry-picked from her New York closet to be quite tame. If not for Dallas Eaton—the guy who wore 80s track suits and walked down Oliver Street with his macaw on his shoulder—Shea could win an award for most unusual fashion sense in town.
Dev’s warm baritone made her as melty as Nutella on oven-fresh brioche. She’d come to crave it like sugar. As expected, he sat in front of his laptop and the desk was littered with papers. Apart from Mondays and Thursdays, when the deliveries came, he tended to be glued to his seat, unless he was helping some random customer.
Half the fun for Shea was being a customer who needed help. Seeking his guidance had become addictive. At the beginning, it had been legitimate to confirm whether he carried things like prepared guacamole, pre-bottled, MCT-enhanced cold brew coffee and manuka honey. But she’d been shown the location of so many items, and knew the store so well by then, her new help requests were pure theater. Asking for obscure items tucked away in odd corners of the store was her newest gambit.
Pushing back in his rolling chair in a single, smooth motion, Dev got to his feet. Shea was ridiculously charmed by the gesture. Men who walked on the outside and rose when a lady walked into the room were a dying breed. Sure, she could chalk it up to attentive customer service, but her intuition told her Devon Kingston was a real gentleman.
“Looking for anything special?” She caught the bemused smirk that played at his lips a second before said lips captured his straw. He drank dark green juice from the same clear cup every day. Whatever he put in there, it was working. Dev was the picture of vitality—tall and lean and built like a cyclist, or a swimmer, or a rock climber or the player of any endurance sport. Shea didn’t know when he played said sports because he always seemed to be at the market. Still, a healthy tan proved he found time to be outdoors.
His beard was lustrous and dark—in her fantasies she had touched it—and it was impossibly soft. It matched silky hair that was shaven on the sides and grown in on the top and tousled just right. Spiked up at the roots somehow with ends that fell into form without looking stiff, it managed to achieve a frightening shine. But his eyes—God, his eyes—they were the real stars of her fantasies, not dull green like his juice—bright and vibrant like aspen leaves. Even his skin seemed to glow.
“Any chance my order is in?” Shea asked, knowing full well today was Wednesday and deliveries were Mondays and Thursdays.
“Sorry. You’re a day early,” he said.
“Oh.” She pouted a little, then appeared to recover from feigned disappointment.
Dev leaned his hip against the counter and his lips eased into a slow smile. “Guess you’ll just have to come back tomorrow.”
The rumble of his voice gave her a shiver. “I guess I will.”
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Apple Books: https://apple.co/3ar5Pih
Google Play: https://bit.ly/2yA8iti
Kilby Blades is a 45-time-award-winning author of Romance and Women’s Fiction. Her debut novel, Snapdragon, was a HOLT Medallion finalist, a Publisher’s Weekly Book Life Prize Semi-Finalist, and an IPPY Award medalist. Kilby was honored with an RSJ Emma Award for Best Debut Author in 2018 and has been lauded by critics for “easing feminism and equality into her novels” (IndieReader) and “writing characters who complement each other like a fine wine does a good meal” (Publisher’s Weekly).
When she’s not writing, Kilby goes to movie matinees alone, where she eats Chocolate Pocky and buttered popcorn and usually smuggles in not-a-little-bit of red wine. She procrastinates from the difficult process of writing by oversharing on Facebook and Instagram and giving away cool stuff related to her fiction novels to her newsletter subscribers.
Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/kilbyskorner
There is a giveaway for 5 signed paperbacks of Spooning Leads to Forking, 1 super-awesome gift basket that has cute dish towels and a spoon holder and heart-shaped measuring spoons + a signed copy of the first book in the series – The Secret Ingredient, 5 ebook copies of The Secret Ingredient, + 5 signed paperbacks of The Secret Ingredient (16 winners total, open internationally)