Delicious

Mills & Boon
June 7, 2006 (Paperback)

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Can she take the heat...?

What on earth is Angus MacAllister doing at her school? He's way too gorgeous, arrogant and famous!

Teacher Elisabeth Read isn't prepared for the cookery class to be given some star treatment by celebrity chef Angus. She's even less prepared for the delicious attraction that instantly flares between them! The usually cautious Elisabeth is soon feeling hot, bothered, and definitely out of control, as Angus uses all his persuasive powers to tease and tempt her into his bed!

But Angus is unaware that Elisabeth is still coming to terms with a painful past, when she was left pregnant and alone...

All it takes is one small moment of recklessness...and Elisabeth will be forced to make the toughest decision of her life...

rrah top pick

More About Delicious

Delicious was the second book I ever wrote. It was rejected twice by Harlequin Mills & Boon before it was accepted, and I rewrote it completely.

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"Once again, Cohen charms with delightful characters, sensory detail and a lot of heat. Another brilliant job!" -Romance Reader at Heart

"Fresh, sassy and exciting." -Cataromance, 4 1/2 stars



Excerpt

His hands were beautiful. Strong and capable, with long fingers and slightly turned-out thumbs. The most extraordinary hands she’d ever seen, the only hands that had ever made her body respond before she’d ever felt their touch.

But why did he want the kids to look at them?

Then she saw it, what she hadn’t been able to see before because she hadn’t been looking closely, and she drew in a sharp breath.

His hands were covered in scars from fingertip to wrist.

Some were white and fully healed, some pink and shiny. Some thin, some round. He turned his hands over slowly so they could see that the backs of his hands, and his forearms, were similarly marked.

“If you become a chef, you’re going to have hands just like this,” Angus said. “Knives will cut you; pans will burn you. I won’t even go into what a bacon slicer can do. This one—” he ran his right thumb up a jagged scar the entire length of his left index finger— “was caused by a prawn. And if you become a chef, you’ll be proud of every scar, because every single one of them taught you something that’s made you better.”

Elisabeth couldn’t take her eyes off them. She imagined the pain each scar had cost.

She knew about scars. Although none of hers were visible.

He pulled a knife from the collection, and with a quick movement that Elisabeth barely registered, sliced the onion in half. Angus’s hands moved like a magician’s, taking a whole onion and transforming it into slices seemingly without any effort whatsoever.

“You’re not crying,” Elisabeth said, drawn into the spell of watching him.

“That’s for two reasons. One, is that this is a very sharp knife. Two, is that I’m not a crier.”

Well, that’s one thing he and I have in common, Elisabeth thought. She wasn’t a crier, either, any more.

He finished slicing the onion and gave the knife to Danny, presenting him with the handle; he pulled out another knife for Jennifer, who held it as if it were alive.

“Miss Read, you look like you need a big one,” he said quietly, his grey eyes sparkling. He pulled out a huge knife and offered it to her.

“I don’t need to learn,” she protested.

“I’m surprised.” His voice was a low, intimate throaty sound that made the hairs on the back of Elisabeth’s neck stand up. “I thought a good teacher would never pass up an opportunity to learn something new.”

After that, she had no choice. The man was a master manipulator of people as well as cookware. Elisabeth took the knife and before she knew it, she found herself julienning a carrot and admiring his teaching style.

She put the enormous knife down to watch him instructing Danny and Jennifer. Their concentration was complete as he praised them and gave them tips. He was gentle with Jennifer, and casual and jokey with Danny. They were learning.

And so was she.

She picked up the knife and started on another carrot, letting her body settle into her chopping rhythm. Up and down, stack the carrot slices, slice into matchsticks and push into a neat pile. Usually she didn’t bother about what her food looked like or how it was cut, but this had a certain satisfaction.

“It’ll be easier if you let the knife do the work instead of your arm.” Angus’s voice was soft in her ear. She started, nearly dropping the knife.

“You shouldn’t sneak up on people who are holding knives.” She glanced back over her shoulder at him; he was only inches away. The knife handle became slick in her suddenly-perspiring hands.

“Just trying to help. Here, let me show you.” He stood closer to her and put his arms around her from behind, his hands over her own. His breath tickled her ear and sent a shiver down her spine. “Just lift your wrist. Let the knife point stay on the board. Like this.”

He guided her hands, his grip firm, gentle, and utterly compelling. Up and down on the board, rocking the knife.

His arms embraced her. His body behind her was hot, tall, controlled strength. She could smell him: lemony aftershave, the onion on his hands, and the sensual smell of himself.

“We didn’t get to finish our conversation earlier,” he murmured to her. “How about we go for another coffee after this? The skim milk’s on me.”

She couldn’t see his face; she could only see his corded wrists, his ravaged, competent hands. They covered hers completely and controlled her movements.

“No thank you,” she said.

“See, this is exactly what we need to talk about. You keep on acting the dignified school teacher with me. I know there’s more to you underneath.”

“And what makes you think that?” she asked, keeping her voice steady.

His breath feathered on her neck before he answered, and sent a thrill down her spine that tightened her breasts, made her nipples harden underneath her thin shirt.

“Because of the way you make me feel,” he said.

Ohhhhh damn him again.

She knew it was a line. She knew he flattered and flirted. She knew it meant precisely nothing.

But her heart leapt, her breath caught, and her insides melted, because he sounded as if he were telling the truth.

She watched his hands and hers on the knife. They made a rhythm together. Up, down, up, down, sensual and hypnotic. Slicing the carrot to ribbons.

“Mr MacAllister, there are children in the room, and I don’t think this is appropriate.” She twisted her shoulders as if she wanted to shake him off.

He took his hands off hers and stepped back. The desired effect, and yet Elisabeth wanted his arms around her again.

“I agree,” he said quietly. “So let’s go somewhere else together, after we’ve finished here. If you say no, I’m going to keep on asking until you say yes, so you might as well save us both some time.”

Elisabeth looked around the room again to check if Danny and Jennifer were watching. They were both absorbed in their knifework. They wouldn’t have been able to see the full sexual meltdown she’d been going through.

Angus could, though. She could see it when she looked at him; his smile, the invitation in his eyes. Her cheeks felt flushed, her joints loose, and when she glanced down she saw that her hard nipples were visible through her bra and thin top.

Why hadn’t she put on a sweater this morning? Or full-body chain mail?

“Don’t you want to?” Angus asked.

Cocky so-and-so. Elisabeth reached for another carrot. She lay it down carefully on the chopping board. Then she caught his gaze and held it.

“No, Chef,” she said. And brought her huge knife down onto the carrot, hard, thwacking it in half.

Angus winced.

“I get it,” he said. “There is no following her in this fierce vein.”

Shakespeare. He was quoting A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Elisabeth blinked.

“You’ll say yes eventually,” Angus said, and grinned at her, and went back to helping the kids.

From the book DELICIOUS, by Julie Cohen
Mills & Boon Modern Extra, June 2006
ISBN: 0-263-84990-2
Copyright 2006 by Julie Cohen
This edition published by arrangement with Harlequin Books S.A. For more romance information surf to www.eHarlequin.com

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