Maddie Frye, the Checkerberry Inn’s snarky, introverted chef, just wants to be left alone. But with the inn’s upcoming gala, Maddie’s boss has matchmaking on the brain. So when the gorgeous new guy in town helps her out for a night, she comes up with the perfect solution to her problem…
Cole Granville is looking for a fresh start. When a part-time job opens in the Checkerberry’s kitchen, he takes it without a second thought. The only catch? He’s got to help his sexy new coworker snag a date for an upcoming dance. But as he coaches Maddie on attracting her crush, Cole realizes he’s the one falling for the curvy brunette.
Each book in the Checkerberry Inn series is a standalone, full-length story that can be enjoyed out of order.
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Cole froze, his heart racing. The last time he’d heard those words, they were followed by “Stop! Police!” Resisting the urge to run, he turned toward the voice and stared. The Checkerberry’s spitfire of a chef was running toward them, apron flapping in the wind.
“Uh-oh,” said Brent. “What’d you do to make Maddie leave the kitchen at this hour?”
“No idea, I haven’t seen her since church on Sunday. Maybe she’s yelling at you?”
Brent chuckled. “Looks like we’re about to find out.”
She came to a stop a few feet back, her peaches and cream complexion flushed from exertion. “Hey, hi. Cole, right?”
The men exchanged a glance. Brent offered him a victorious smirk.
“Yes, ma’am. What can I do you for?”
“Ma’am? Good grief, I’m not ninety. Even if I do feel that way sometimes. It’s Maddie. Just Maddie.”
She put a hand to her chest. Cole’s gaze followed the movement but he did his best not to let it linger there. He’d admired her curves from a distance many times, but never this up close. Today, her top was unbuttoned farther than it usually was on Sundays…
She cleared her throat and brought the hand down to plant on her hip. “You still looking for work?”
Cole stared at her, momentarily dumbstruck.
“Work.” She waved a hand in front of his face. “Are you still looking for work?”
He blinked, trying to clear the fog of surprise from his mind. “Yes, ma’am—I mean, Maddie. Did you need help moving something? Or lifting?”
“No. More like washing dishes. You got two working hands and arms?”
“Then you’ll do. Please tell me this was your last run of the day.”
“It is.” More like his only run of the day. Probably wasn’t even necessary, but Old Tom hated to see him sit around bored on the days he filled in at Granville’s Hardware. Not that he’d ever complain—those days were what graciously supplied the roof over his head until Cole got on his feet financially.
“Perfect. You finish with Brent, I’ll call your grandfather.” She hurried back toward the inn, leaving the men to themselves once more.
“Come on,” said Brent with a grin. “I’ll help you unload so you can get to our queen bee.”
Cole smirked. “Thanks.”
“I hope you didn’t have any plans tonight. Big gathering up there, lots of old biddies. They stay longer than you’d expect.”
“Nah, no plans.” Cole looked back toward the inn, seeing it for the first time as a possible ticket to success. Who knew? If washing dishes paid a decent wage, maybe he’d find a way to stay longer than expected. And a cash advance. In fact, his dream studio was counting on it…
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