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Eggplant Highlights and Mustard Yellow Jeans (MM)

JMS Books LLC

Heat Rating: SIZZLING
Word Count: 28,527
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Seth Robinson manages a local kitchen boutique and has had a crush on a customer who frequents the shop. Though too shy to start up a conversation about anything other than kitchen appliances or the newest cooking gadget, Seth still hopes to catch the other’s eye. Seth has a tendency to change his hair color a lot, and when he gets purple highlights, it finally sparks a conversation between the two men.

Chris Berger runs a catering business in Bellflower and loves visiting Karlee’s Kitchen Essentials, where he can chat with the cute manager. He has a unique way of looking at the world and colors and is intrigued by Seth’s highlights.

Unfortunately, when they manage to get together, they’re both dealing with major upheavals in their lives. Will they be strong enough to work together to find their happily ever after?

Excerpt

Seth felt his cheeks burn as he pulled his gaze away from Chris and looked into the box. Ooh, a chocolate-frosted crème filled donut -- his favorite. “I love these kind,” he crowed. “Thanks, Chris.”

“A man after my own heart,” Chris whispered as he pulled another crème filled one out and took a bite, his eyes never moving from Seth’s face.

Karlee walked over and grabbed another donut. “I’ll take the box back and see if Cody wants one.”

Chris nodded, letting her take the box as his eyes scanned the counter. “Looks like something’s not working.”

“A new ice cream maker. Parts are cheap and won’t fit. Definitely not something we want carried in the store,” he explained.

Chris pushed some of the pieces out of the way and leaned his elbows onto the counter so he was only inches away from Seth.

Seth’s heart was racing and he struggled to find something to say. He glanced down at Chris’s jeans. “Cranberry,” he blurted out.

Chris raised an eyebrow.

“Your jeans. They’re the color of cranberry sauce. The kind you get out of a can,” Seth explained.

Chris glanced down and grinned. “You’re right,” he agreed with a chuckle. “When I got them I thought they were a little darker, but I still like them.” He paused as his eyes widened and his mouth gaped open. “What do you mean out of a can?”

Seth shrugged. “You know -- the kind that jiggles on a plate at Thanksgiving? The kind that stays in the shape of a can.”

Chris’s face visibly paled. “Please tell me you’ve had real cranberry sauce?”

Seth shook his head.

“Oh, Eggplant,” he drawled out in mock pity, “please tell me you don’t live off of canned food?”

Seth’s cheeks burned bright as he took another bite of his donut and tried to look away.

Chris reached up and cupped his cheek. “I have much to teach you, then, Young Seth,” he whispered with a smile.

Seth smiled back and decided to be honest. “You can try, but Karlee has given up on me.” He shrugged. “She doesn’t ever want me around the stove again. We had an incident at her place a few years back when I was trying to help. Think soup dripping from walls, vegetables on the floor ... it was ... bad,” he admitted, omitting the part where the smoke detector went off and the fire department showed up because they got a call from a neighbor. He’d leave that for another day.

Chris visibly blanched and straightened up. “Well, now it’s going to be my mission to teach you.” He turned to Karlee as she rejoined them up front. “I want Seth to be my assistant when we start the classes.”

Karlee nearly choked on her donut as she froze in place. “What?” she sputtered.

Seth shot Chris a half-smile and shook his head. “Never gonna happen,” he told him.

“Why not?”

“Because I don’t want the place to burn down,” Karlee answered. “No. No way. Never. Nope.”

Chris’s gaze bounced between them and he smiled. “I don’t give up that easily. I can teach him,” he vowed.

Karlee giggled and took another bite, while Seth shook his head in exasperation. It looked like Chris was going to have to learn the hard way that Seth should never be allowed in the kitchen.

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