Published by Kathleen Duhamel on May 1st 2017
New York public relations consultant and self-proclaimed control freak Katie McDowell may have made the biggest career mistake of her life. She’s agreed to temporarily leave her beloved Manhattan to manage the company’s struggling New Orleans office, knowing her biggest client is television chef Andre Thibodeaux, whose massive masculine presence makes her feel hotter than the onset of menopause.
Finding her way in a funky new city and earning the trust of her employees is tough enough without annoying hot flashes, night sweats and ugly mood swings, not to mention the lingering memory of one steamy night she shared with the big man she thinks she can’t have.
Sexy, smart, and successful, Chef Andre has everything a man could want except the right woman, and he’s determined to learn why Katie rejected him. To convince her to stay in Louisiana, he’ll need to find a way to make her fall in love-with him, as well as the vibrant southern city he calls home
“I should try to get some rest,” I told him. “The families will get another briefing from search and rescue in the morning, and they want me there.”
I pushed my chair back and stood up a little too quickly, woozy from the wine.
“Let me walk ya to your room,” he offered.
I tried to wave him off, but he persisted, so we made our way out of the restaurant, winding through the blinking lights and din of the casino to the elevators. I held onto his arm, catching a whiff of his woodsy cologne. I noticed how the collar of his white shirt was crisp and clean against his dark skin. Everything about him screamed masculine.
Look at what your life has become, I chastised myself. All work and very little play. Not where I thought I’d be at this stage of my life. I loved being married and I wanted a family. Through the years, I’d often thought about the children Kyle and I planned to have. What would they have been like? Easy-going like their father, or driven like me?
The thought of spending the rest of my life alone was too much to contemplate.
The elevator stopped, and a group of revelers poured in, all of them young, inebriated, and a little out of control. Loud voices were exchanged. One man bumped against me roughly before Andre slipped his arm around my shoulders in a protective gesture. I pressed my head against his chest and let him hold me close while my pulse pounded in my head.
We got out on the twenty-ninth floor and walked to my room door. After fumbling in my purse for my key card, I managed to get the door open. My hands were shaking and my heart thumped out of control when I tugged at his arm and said, “I don’t want to be alone tonight. Why don’t you stay?”