Manuscript Status: Finished
Mentor Name: Brighton Walsh
Mentee Name: Janet Walden-West
Title: SALT + STILETTOS
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Word Count: 92,000
The kitchen ignites when driven image consultant Brett meets her latest client: William Te’o, an attention-phobic debut chef desperate to win over Miami’s cutthroat culinary scene. Mission accomplished, Brett’s ready for no-strings fun, but Will’s all about Happily Ever Afters. He’s set to cook his way past her reservations, until a smear campaign led by Brett’s ex-client-turned-stalker threatens her career, his restaurant, and their chance at love.
Brett hurried under the Miami Beach Food Expo sign and into the smoke of grilled meat and a heady blend of curries. She cursed causeway traffic and missed trunk shows. But answering her best friend’s plea for professional help trumped even a Fendi sale.
Tucking her arms close, she made herself smaller and wove through the civic coliseum masses and their food-smeared fingers. God, the crowd had to be twice as large as last year.
She could do crowds again. She had to.
Breathe in. Hold it. Breathe out. Repeat, to the tempo of her heels hitting concrete. Practicing her calming exercise was second nature by now.
A couple sideswiped her, busy discussing espresso machines. Her heartbeat picked up, defying relaxation techniques. She flipped her oversized cocktail ring around, clenching her hand so the stone bit into her palm. Sometimes pain slowed the panic.
She had to find something other than the press of strangers to concentrate on.
A rich baritone voice rolled over the babble and sales pitches. Drawn by the mellow tone, she angled toward the cooking demo on the main stage.
Today’s chef towered over the culinary-school student assigned as his sous. The commercial range looked like a child’s play-set beside him. His deep, authoritative voice flowed with a rolling lilt.
A voice that made her think of rumpled sheets, skin sliding against skin, and demands growled in her ear.