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Food Frenzy (MM)

JMS Books LLC

Heat Rating: SIZZLING
Word Count: 17,128
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Ethan is in between college and law school, helping out in the family restaurant for a year while his aunt recovers from a stroke. His mother Zoe runs the business, but it’s still overseen by his grandfather Fergie, for whom the restaurant is named.

They’re approached by Jeremiah Thomas, a writer for the magazine Foodie Today, who is interested in doing feature article on diners in America. Ethan and Fergie are all in, but Zoe doesn't like the looks Jeremiah gives her son over the counter and wants none of it.

There’s an immediate attraction between Ethan and Jeremiah ... over food and each other. Given the short time they have, Ethan throws caution to the wind and plunges into what’s supposed to a few nights of fun.

But law school and deepening feelings on both their parts loom on the horizon. Can they serve up a delicious helping of a life together?

Excerpt

Jeremiah cursed himself a bit that his notepad and digital recorder were in his briefcase and not out and running. This was good deep background for the article.

"Remind me of all of this when we start the interview of you rather than me." Jeremiah smiled.

"No, no. This isn't anything other than I wanted to tell you I'm thrilled with the idea of an article. We -- and I mean everyone except Zoe -- will work with you however you need." Fergie took a large sip of coffee and set the mug down. Obviously, he had a mouth of asbestos since steam was still rolling off the mug.

"Ethan and a couple of other family members have been discussing how to get our brand to extend a bit. Ethan thinks we can deliver biscuits by mail order. I'm willing to look into that. An article like this could get us those connections, hopefully."

Jeremiah nodded. "I can put you in contact with a couple of good places that won't over charge for the service. I gave Ethan some initial contact information."

Sadie set the more delicate coffee cup and saucer in front him with a perfect café au lait. Jeremiah smiled at her as she also set down a large plate of a variety of cookies. "We bake the cookies here daily, and people know we run out usually by noon. It was slow today."

Jeremiah sank his teeth into a chocolate chip cookie and smiled even bigger. "Very nice. These would do well on mail order."

Fergie looked at the young woman, who face was a huge question mark. "Mums the word to anyone until we've worked out details."

She shook her head, smiling, and went back to the counter to answer the phone.

"So, do we talk about the personal stuff?" asked Jeremiah, sipping the hot drink in front of him.

"Not sure we need to. It's the usual thing in these cases, really. You hurt my grandson, who I love more than life itself, and I rip your heart out," said Fergie before he took another gulp of coffee.

Jeremiah leaned back and laughed a loud and rolling laugh. Everyone wanted to protect Ethan. "If anything, Fergie, it will be Ethan who breaks my heart. He is an amazing young man." Jeremiah blushed. "On many levels."

"As long as we understand each other on the article and Ethan, I'm fine here." Fergie got up from his chair. "I'll see you at the restaurant. You'll see the last of lunch rush, at least."

"Meet you there," said Jeremiah as he was pulling a reporter's notepad and pen from his briefcase.

Fergie left, and Sadie came over. She sat down, looking directly at Jeremiah.

"Zoe's bark is much worse than her actual bite," offered the young girl. "But you'll see that we all love Ethan probably more than any other family member. He's the peace maker. He's the one you go to when you're in trouble. He has a big heart, and we worry about him finding that right guy."

"I was under the impression Ethan wasn't out to family or the community here."

"Which only goes to show you how really sweet the boy is." Sadie got up and went back to her station.

Jeremiah made a few notes, finished the now room-temperature drink, and smiled. Family could be great or a problem, and he hoped Ethan appreciated the family he had.

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