Title: Hungry Heart
Author: Meg Benjamin
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Peace, love, and barbecue—with a big order of sexy on the side. Sous chef Darcy Cunningham is less than entranced with small-town Konigsburg’s obsession with barbecue. But her future career as a chef de cuisine requires expanding her culinary horizons, so she talks the Barbecue King, a.k.a. Harris Temple, into taking her on as his apprentice.
However, learning Harris’s professional secrets wasn’t supposed to include falling for his spicy blend of smoky sexiness and laid-back charm. Chico Burnside specializes in flying under Konigsburg’s small-town radar, but lately life has been going a little too smoothly, even for him. Hoping to shake things up a bit, he talks Harris into teaming up for Konigsburg’s first barbecue cook-off. But once shy scientist Andy Wells catches his eye, Chico’s got more on his mind than brisket. Like enticing her out of her shell to show her just how tenderly a big guy can love.
As the competition ignites, so does the romance. Until a natural disaster threatens to derail Konigsburg’s dream team before the grills even get good and warmed up.
“So maybe I’ll hire you away from the Rose.” He rubbed his thumb across her palm, slowly, back and forth, a ribbon of heat against her skin.
Her throat tightened. “You can’t afford me,” she whispered.
“Sure I can. I’ll pay you in ’cue and loving. How can you pass that up?”
She glanced at him quickly. He was smiling, but there was something behind it. Hell, what do I do now?
She licked her lips. “’Cue and loving? Sounds like a plan.”
“I’m not kidding, Darcy,” he said slowly. “Which is rare, believe me. But this time it’s true. I’m not kidding.”
She exhaled a long, shuddering breath. “I don’t… What does that mean?”
“It means I love you, toots. What did you think it meant?” His hand closed more firmly on hers.
She took another deep breath. Suddenly her chest felt way too tight. For a scary moment she thought she might pass out. Terrific. Love means being unconscious.
“Darce?” He sounded concerned. “I didn’t mean to give you a panic attack. Just relax, okay?”
“How can I relax?” she said through gritted teeth. “You said you love me. Nobody has ever said that before. Hell, I’ve never said that before.”
He paused. “Are you saying it now?”
Oh god, oh god, oh god. “Yeah. Okay. Yes. I’m saying it now.”
There was another long pause. “It might be nice if you actually said it, you know.”
She took another deep breath, then blew it out. “I love you.”
He narrowed his eyes. “That sounds like you’re in pain.”
“I am in pain,” she muttered. “I’m scared to death.”
“Come here.” He held out his arms to her. After a moment, she pushed herself to her feet, then dropped onto the lounge chair with him, feeling his arms close tight around her shoulders.
“No reason to be scared, Darce,” he murmured. “It won’t hurt. I promise.”
It already hurts. But she didn’t say it. Instead, she sank deeper into his arms, closing her eyes tight. If this was a dream, maybe she’d wake up happy.
About the Author
Meg Benjamin is an author of contemporary romance. Her Konigsburg series for Samhain Publishing is set in the Texas Hill Country and her Medium trilogy for Berkley InterMix is set in San Antonio’s King William District. Meg’s books have won numerous awards, including an EPIC Award for Contemporary Romance, a Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Award for Indie Press Romance, the Holt Medallion from Virginia Romance Writers and the Beanpot Award from the New England Romance Writers. Meg lives in Colorado with her DH and two rather large Maine coon kitties (well, partly Maine Coon anyway).
Meg loves to hear from readers— contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Meg will be awarding a $50 Amazon GC to a randomly drawn commenter during this tour and her Virtual Book Tour, here.