[Tweet “Dinner for One has my two favorite things: Sexy men and Food!”]Thanks for having me today A.O. Chika! Bastien and James are the leads in Dinner for One—the first novel in a series of four. Bastien is a chef and James a food critic, so it makes sense that food would bring them together. Sometimes people have a hard time talking to each other with words, and it’s easier to show feelings with actions. Dinner for One is about expressing feelings through a common love and letting actions speak louder than words.
Dinner for One took a lot of researching on my part because I’m not someone who cooks a lot and my baking skills are limited. I’m also not much of an adventurous eater. Give me Italian food and I’m good to go. Since Bastien is French and runs a French restaurant, traditional foods from France feature heavily in this book. I spent a lot of time on Pinterest while writing this one. (It’s addicting, and I’ve got a million dessert pins now.) Anyway, James makes a massive mistake and finds himself needing to apologize to Bastien. Below is an exclusive excerpt of how he decides on and starts cooking one part of his apology.
Bastien isn’t used to bad reviews. His French restaurant is the toast of the town, and when a well-known critic insults it, he’s left off-kilter. Luckily for him, he’s found a distraction. He’s just met an attractive writer at his niece’s school bake sale. He’s into food, into Bastien and the touch of kink they share, and there’s a chemistry between them that might make the perfect recipe.
James isn’t expecting to meet a good-looking French chef at a bake sale, but he’s not going to let the chance slide. It comes as a surprise when the chef turns out to be the owner of a place he knows—and has reviewed—and it puts James in a sticky situation. So he might have to omit some pertinent information to make it work… at least for now.
The fire alarm goes off in his building at three in the morning, and James is forced to go stand on the street with the rest of his neighbors as they wait for the fire truck to arrive and clear the building. Nothing’s smoking, so James is pretty sure this is another case of someone accidently lighting toast on fire or something. Although why they’re making toast at three in the morning he doesn’t know.
Everyone is uniformly grumpy at having been woken from their sleep by a loud piercing alarm. James is not an exception. Thankfully this shared grumpiness keeps anyone from trying to talk to him. He looks up recipes on his phone while he’s waiting, swiping through ones that he has saved as possibilities. He might as well be productive if he has to be up at this ungodly hour.
The fire truck pulls up, bright glaring lights flashing and sirens blaring. He wonders if his ears are bleeding at this point. His headache is certainly ticking away. As they stomp into the building, he moves his thumb back and forth between the tiny icons of a Cassoulet recipe and a recipe for Garbure. He’s tempted to go with the latter because it looks simple. At the same time, he thinks it’s time to make Bastien something more complicated, and he does have all the ingredients.
He opens the recipe.
It’s definitely complicated, and it’s going to take a long time. He won’t be able to redo it if he fucks it up.
Challenge accepted. [Tweet “He opens the recipe. It’s definitely complicated, and it’s going to take a long time.”]
They get cleared to return to their apartments half an hour later (someone’s cat knocked a candle over and set a placemat on fire—he can’t make this shit up). Predictably, after standing outside for an hour at three in the morning in October in New York City, he’s not feeling so tired anymore. His headache is still going strong.
He turns on all the lights, hooks his phone up to his Bluetooth speakers, and listens to Walk the Moon’s radio station on Spotify while he prepares the kitchen. He shakes his hips while he dumps the beans into the water to soak, and he sings along loudly while he chops the garlic, onions, and carrots. And then he realizes the beans have to soak overnight and he doesn’t have all the ingredients needed to continue. He really needs to start preparing better.
He puts everything away, calculates at exactly what time he can start cooking in the morning, and proceeds to dance around his living room obnoxiously till he’s tired enough to pass out on his couch.
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Meg Harding is a graduate of UCF and Anglia Ruskin University. For as long as she can remember, writing has always been her passion, but she had an inability to ever actually finish anything. She’s immensely happy that her inability has fled and looks forward to where her mind will take her next. She’s a sucker for happy endings, the beach, and superheroes. In her dream life, she owns a wildlife conservation and is surrounded by puppies. She’s a film buff, voracious reader, and a massive geek.