Hungry for You Excerpt

Talk about the stories that got the Argeneaus where they are today.

Re: Hungry for You Excerpt

Postby sherr on September 17th, 2010, 5:12 am

Wren....I knew he wasn't a traitor but unless you want to count the way he is getting poor Cale in a pickle. :lol:
good girls don't make history and I plan on being very historical
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Re: Hungry for You Excerpt

Postby susan60625 on September 17th, 2010, 11:22 am

wren wrote:
susan60625 wrote:Hey Sin! I've got another BC man for you! He's even older than Lucian! He's a character in Jeaniene Frost's Night Huntress and Night Huntress World series. In fact, he just had his own book published this summer. His name is Mencheres and, yes, he has his own pyramid on the Giza plateau! How do you like that for BC?


That was the book that I read, Sue.

Okay Wren! That is the latest book in the series. The first book is Halfway to the Grave. It introduces the main characters of Cat and Bones. There are four books in what is called the Night Huntress Series. Then Jeaniene put out two books in what she calls the Night Huntress World series. They center on two different side characters in the main series. Eternal Kiss of Darkness is the second book of these. She has a fifth book in the Night Huntress Series coming out early next year. I recommend you go back and start at the beginning. Then as you move through the series, some of the references in EKOD will make sense!
"It's staked and baked, Jo. We're not pork chops." T. Argeneau :D
"Ohhhh, glow in the dark. Good choice." D. Notte
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Re: Hungry for You Excerpt

Postby susan60625 on September 17th, 2010, 11:25 am

sherr wrote:Wren....I knew he wasn't a traitor but unless you want to count the way he is getting poor Cale in a pickle. :lol:

I can't believe this, but that "pickle" actually kept me up last night! I woke up about 3:00 a.m. and couldn't go back to sleep, trying to figure out how Bricker gets Cale out of this situation!
"It's staked and baked, Jo. We're not pork chops." T. Argeneau :D
"Ohhhh, glow in the dark. Good choice." D. Notte
:D
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Re: Hungry for You Excerpt

Postby Lynsay on September 17th, 2010, 3:01 pm

Just moving it down so people don't confuse this with the "other writers we love" section and miss the excerpt.

Lynsay wrote:Right on babe!! Here's the second chapter. I included the first chapter so you don't have to find and read it.


Cale and Alex

Chapter One

Cale was just raising his hand to knock at the door when it swung open. A tall fellow with short dark hair and a phone pressed to his ear peered out at him.

“Cale Valens?”

“Yes,” Cale answered, knowing the guards at the front gate had called up to the house warning of his arrival.

“Come on in.” The fellow stepped back to make way, pushing a button to end his call before offering a hand to Cale. “Justin Bricker. Most people call me Bricker.”

Cale accepted the hand, shaking it politely as he stomped his feet on the welcome mat a couple of times to remove the worst of the snow on his boots. He then stepped inside. “I was told I should speak to Garrett Mortimer.”

“Yeah, I know. The boys at the gate called the house and said as much, but Mortimer’s down at the garage with Sam.” Bricker shut the door and then turned to face him, waving the phone vaguely. “I was just calling down there to tell him you were here, but there’s no answer. Hopefully that means they’re on their way to the house.”

“Hopefully?” Cale removed his brown leather winter coat.

“Yeah, well, they may have been getting busy in one of the cells,” Bricker explained wryly as he took the coat and quickly hung it in a closet beside the door. “They’ve only been life mates for eight or nine months and are still pretty into each other.” He closed the closet door, swung back to Cale, and then headed up the hall toward the back of the house. “Come on. I’ll get you a bag of blood while we wait.”

Cale followed, recalling what his uncle Lucian had said about these men. Mortimer and Bricker used to be partners, enforcers hunting rogues vampires, but now they ran the enforcer house together. Bricker was the younger man and backed up Mortimer, who was now in charge of all the rest of the enforcers.

“One bag or two?” Bricker asked, leading him into a large, cupboard-lined kitchen with an island in the middle.

“One is fine,” Cale murmured.

The younger immortal immediately opened a refrigerator to reveal a large amount of bagged blood stacked up alongside various mortal foodstuffs. The sight was a bit startling. Cale hadn’t eaten mortal food in more than a millennium and only ever had blood in his own refrigerator. The thought crossed his mind to wonder if it was really hygienic to have raw meat and vegetables so close to the blood.

“O positive all right?” Bricker asked, sorting through the bags in the fridge.

“Fine.” Hygienic or not, he was hungry.

“Here you go.”

Cale accepted the bag Bricker held out with a murmured thanks, waited the few seconds it took for his canines to descend and then quickly popped the clear bag of crimson liquid to his fangs.

“Grab a seat,” Bricker urged, using his foot to hook one of the wooden barstools tucked under the island and dragging it out for himself. He slapped a bag of blood to his own teeth as he sat on the stool.

Cale pulled a second stool out, but had barely settled on the high seat when the soft shush of sliding glass doors opening and closing sounded from the next room. He followed Bricker’s glance expectantly to the open door across from them. It led into what was obviously a dining room. The end of a dark oak table was visible, as well as an end chair, but the door and whoever had entered were out of sight. However, their voices reached them easily and Cale found himself unintentionally eavesdropping on what he soon realized was a private conversation.

“Are you sure you’re ready, love?” a man asked in solemn tones.

“Yes, of course, I’m sure,” a woman answered, although she didn’t sound all that certain in Cale’s opinion. He wondered who she was and what she was claiming to be ready for.

Apparently the male speaker had noted the uncertainty as well. “Are you, Sam? It’s been eight months and you--”

“I know,” the woman interrupted. “And I’m sorry I’ve dragged my feet about it as I have. It wasn’t because I don’t love you, Mortimer. I do, but--”

“But you didn’t want to leave your sisters,” the man said with apparent understanding.

Cale felt his eyebrows rise as he recognized the names. Mortimer was who he was here to see, but so was Sam. She apparently had a sister named Alex, and Aunt Marguerite had a “feeling” this Alex might be the woman he’d waited for his whole life. Cale wasn’t holding out much hope that Marguerite was right. As old as he was, he’d pretty much given up hope on ever finding a life mate. He’d pretty much resigned himself to being eternally single. But he also hadn’t wanted to offend the woman, so had agreed to come meet this Alex.

Curious now to see the couple who were speaking, Cale shifted slightly on his stool, leaning to the side, but it was no good. They must have stopped at the door they’d just entered. They also obviously thought they were having a private conversation and he glanced to Bricker, expecting him to make some noise to alert them to the fact they weren’t alone, but the younger immortal almost seemed to be holding his breath as he waited for what they might say next.

Cale found himself frowning around the bag in his mouth and was about to scrape his stool back to warn the couple, but the woman’s next words made him pause.

“It wasn’t because of Jo and Alex.”

Cale stilled curiously, hoping to hear more about this Alex.

“That was just an excuse, Mortimer. One I even had myself half convinced of,” the woman admitted on an apologetic sigh. “But Jo said something to me after she met Nicholas that made me realize it wasn’t the real reason.”

“What was that?” Mortimer asked quietly.

“She pointed out that after you turn me I would still have ten years to try to find them life mates. She said I was just afraid, and I think—no, I know now she was right.”

“Afraid of what, Sam?” Mortimer asked with quiet concern. “The pain of turning?”

“No . . . Although that’s scary on its own,” she admitted on a wry laugh. Her voice was more serious when she added, “But really I was afraid that you would wake up one day and realize . . . well, that I’m just me,” she finished helplessly.

“I don’t understand. I know who you are, Sam. What--?”

“I know, but—This is silly, but, while I’m smart, and hardworking and basically nice, I’m not . . .” Sam’s voice was slightly embarrassed as she said, “Well I’m just not some sexy, gorgeous vamp type of gal who can hold the attention of a guy like you for eternity.”

“Honey, you’re beautiful. I--”

“I look like Olive Oyle, Mortimer.” The words burst into the air on a breath of exasperation as if she thought that should be obvious.

Cale tore the now-empty bag from his mouth and glanced to Bricker with confusion, his voice a bare whisper as he asked, “Olive Oyle?”

Bricker removed his own bag and explained in a hushed tone, “Popeye’s girlfriend.” When Cale continued to stare at him blankly, he rolled his eyes. “She’s a cartoon character; dark hair, huge eyes, and spindly as a stick figure. Sam is--”

“Honey, I have eyes. I know you look like Olive Oyle.”

Bricker stopped his explanation on a low curse and squeezed his eyes closed briefly. He then turned his head back toward the door, muttering with disgust, “You old guys are so bloody smooth. Honestly.”

Cale would have liked to argue the point, but really, even he--who hadn’t bothered with women in what seemed like forever--knew Mortimer’s words had been the wrong thing to say. Obviously, Mortimer realized it too because he began to babble, “I mean, you’re beautiful to me. I love your smile and the way your eyes twinkle when you’re amused or teasing and--”

“But I still look like Olive Oyle,” Sam said in tones that made it obvious she wasn’t impressed with the man’s efforts to save the situation.

“Not really.” There was a distinct lack of conviction in Mortimer’s voice, but it was stronger when he added, “Look, honey, the point is, I don’t see you through rose-colored glasses. My love isn’t based on some shallow fantasy image of you and I’m not going to suddenly wake up one day and notice you have knobby knees.”

“Knobby knees?” she cried.

“I—No,” he assured her quickly, sounding a bit panicked now. “No, of course they aren’t knobby. I just mean I know exactly how you look. I do see you, and you’re what I want, not some silly fantasy like Jessica Rabbit was.”

“Jessica Rabbit?” Sam echoed with disbelief. “You had fantasies about Jessica Rabbit? A cartoon rabbit?”
Cale’s eyebrows rose at that. He’d been alive a long time and had fantasized about a lot of things, but never a cartoon rabbit.

“Well not as a rabbit,” Mortimer muttered, sounding a bit chagrined. “And not as a cartoon character. I wasn’t really—I mean, I didn’t want to hook up with her or anything. She was just a representation of the type of woman I thought I might end up with.”

“Voluptuous and sexy,” Sam suggested.

“Exactly,” Mortimer said, sounding relieved.

Cale didn’t need Bricker’s groan to tell him that was possibly the stupidest thing the man could say. Dark hair, huge eyes and stick figure didn’t suggest voluptuous and sexy to him.

“Mortimer,” Sam said, her voice hard, “I’m neither voluptuous, nor sexy. If that’s what you want, why spend eternity with me?”

“Honey, you are sexy. You’re smart, and brains are really sexy as hell.”

“Right,” Sam snapped, obviously not buying that line.

“Gad!” Bricker barked.

When the younger immortal leapt off his stool and hurried toward the dining-room door, Cale followed. He entered the room on the other man’s heels, his eyes moving with interest over the couple peering toward them with surprise.

Bricker’s description of dark hair, big eyes and spindly as a stick figure fit Sam, Cale decided. It was probably also the most unattractive way to put it. The woman did have dark hair, but only in that it wasn’t blond. There were tints of light brown and even red in her hair that made for a lush, almost auburn. As for her eyes, Cale had always found large eyes an attractive feature, but they did tend to dominate this woman’s thin face. He suspected they would be lovely if she had a little more meat on her to round her cheeks out a bit. Actually, the woman could have done with a little more rounding everywhere. Her body was on the point of emaciated. It made him wonder if she didn’t have some ailment of the thyroid or something.

He shifted his gaze to Garrett Mortimer then, but barely got an impression of fair hair and a muscular body before Bricker paused before the couple and snapped, “For cripes sake, you two! What are you doing? Sam, you love Mortimer, and he loves you and that’s what he’s trying to tell you, he’s just too stupid to get it out right. But he loves and wants you just the way you are.” He shook his head with disgust. “You should be secure in that knowledge by now for God’s sake. The two of you have been going at it like a pair of bunnies for months with no sign of letting up.”

“Bricker!” Sam squawked, flushing bright pink as she glanced from the enforcer to Cale with a mortification he suspected wouldn’t be nearly as strong had he not been present.

“Oh, right,” Bricker muttered, glancing back toward him with a sigh that suggested he’d briefly forgotten Cale’s presence. “Sam, Mortimer, this is Cale Valens. Cale, this is Garrett Mortimer and Sam Willan.”

“Cale,” Mortimer said slowly, offering a hand, and then recognition lit his face. “Martine Argeneau’s son.”

“Yes.” Cale shook the offered hand politely and then glanced again to Sam. Much to his surprise, the embarrassment that had been coloring her face a moment ago appeared to have slipped away, replaced with an interest that was sharp and focused.

“Are you single, Mr. Valens?” Sam asked as she moved forward to shake his hand as well.

Cale raised an eyebrow at the blunt question, but glanced to Bricker when he released a short, sharp laugh.

“I see your agreeing to turn hasn’t dampened your determination to see Alex settled with an immortal, Sam,” Bricker commented with amusement, then warned Cale, “Look out. She’ll be holding a dinner party and introducing the two of you by week’s end.”

“Well, why not?” Sam sounded a touch defensive. “You never know. They might suit each other.”

“Honey,” Mortimer said on a sigh, “the chances of Alex being a possible life mate for an immortal are pretty slim. It’s amazing that Jo turned out to be Nicholas’s life mate. It’s very rare to find three mortal sisters who suit--”

“Chances shmances,” Sam interrupted firmly. “Besides, there’s no harm introducing them and seeing if they wouldn’t suit. Alex would make a good immortal. She’s smart, successful and already works nights. I’ll just call her and see if she can come over for dinner.” Sam started to turn away, but Mortimer caught her arm.

“Why don’t we find out why Cale is here and see if he even has time to stay for dinner first?” he suggested quietly.

Sam hesitated, but then glanced to Cale. “Can you stay for dinner?”

When he nodded, she grinned and then whirled away again.

“Thank you for humoring her,” Mortimer said on a sigh as they watched her cross the room.

Cale shrugged. “I am not humoring her so much as Marguerite.”

“Marguerite?” Sam stopped abruptly in the kitchen doorway and spun around, her already large eyes appearing even larger in her startled face.

Cale’s eyebrows lifted. The woman was almost vibrating with an emotion he couldn’t quite identify. He was about to read her mind when Mortimer captured his attention by echoing her exclamation in a deeper, though no less startled, voice.

“Marguerite?”

Cale glanced to the man, and then to Bricker, both of whom were now peering at him with intense interest. Grimacing, he admitted, “Marguerite seems to have a bee in her bonnet about me meeting Sam’s sister, Alex.”

“She does?” Sam breathed, taking several steps toward them.

Cale found himself shifting uncomfortably as he admitted, “Yes. She seems to think we might suit each other . . . I expect she’s wrong, but it can’t hurt to humor her and meet your sister to see one way or the other.”

“I’ll have Alex come over at once!” Sam spun away again, this time making it out of the room before anyone spoke.

A snort of amusement brought Cale’s glance to Bricker as the younger immortal asked, “You’re kidding right?”

“About what?” Cale asked, scowling. He didn’t like being laughed at and the younger man was definitely laughing. He was also eyeing him with a combination of pity and, strangely, what appeared to be envy.

“About not expecting Marguerite to be right,” Bricker explained, and then slapped him on the back.
“Buddy, if Marguerite is having one of her ‘feelings’ that you and Alex will suit, you’re as good as mated. It’s what Marguerite does. She finds life mates for anyone and everyone she can. She’s hooked up every single couple who have found each other the last few years.”

“Every Argeneau couple,” Mortimer corrected firmly. “She was not responsible for Sam and me.”

“Yeah, well I wouldn’t be too sure about that,” Bricker said dryly. “She probably suggested Lucian send us to that job in cottage country in the hopes that one of us would suit one of the sisters.”
Mortimer rolled his eyes at the suggestion. “She couldn’t have known about Sam and her sisters. I don’t think she’s even been to Decker’s cottage.”

“Oh, he didn’t tell you?” Bricker asked with amusement.

“Tell me what?” Mortimer asked, suddenly wary.

“Marguerite helped him find the place. Since he was always so busy on the job, she vetted the available properties and suggested the one next to Sam and her sisters was the nicest.”

“Christ,” Mortimer muttered.

Bricker laughed, but Cale simply peered from one man to the other curiously. “Is she really that good at finding mates for immortals?”

“Oh yeah,” Bricker assured him. “So, if Marguerite thinks Alex is the one for you, it’s in the bag. It looks like your bachelor days are done, my friend. Bet you can’t wait.”

Cale found himself frowning at the suggestion and said a bit stiffly, “Not all of us are lonely and in need of a life mate. Some of us manage to live relatively happy busy lives without one.”

“Yeah right,” Bricker said with disbelief.

Cale scowled, but didn’t argue the point further. Why bother? It wasn’t really true anyway.


“You have to be kidding me.” Alex Willan stared at the man standing on the other side of her desk. Peter Cunningham, or Pierre as he preferred to be called, was her head cook. He was also short, bearded, and had beady little eyes. She’d always thought he resembled a weasel, but never so much as she did at that moment. “You can’t quit just like that. The new restaurant opens in two weeks.”

“Yes I know.” He gave her a sad little moue. “But really Alexandra, he is offering a king’s ransom for me to--”
“Of course he is. He’s trying to ruin me,” she snapped.

Peter shrugged. “Well, if you were to beat their offer. . .”

Alex’s eyes narrowed. She couldn’t help noticing that he’d said beat rather than match or even come close. The little creep really was a weasel with no loyalty at all . . . but she needed him.

“How much?” she asked sharply, and barely managed to keep from hyperventilating at the amount he murmured. Dear God that was three times what she was paying him and twice what she could afford . . . which he knew of course. It was a ridiculous sum. No chef earned that, and he wasn’t worth it. Peter was good, but not that good. It didn’t make any sense that Jacques Tournier, the owner of Chez Joie, would offer him that much. But then Alex could suddenly see what the plan was. Jacques was luring the man away in a deliberate attempt to leave her high and dry. He’d keep him on for two or three weeks, just long enough to cause scads of trouble for her, then he’d fire him under some pretext or other.

Alex opened her mouth, prepared to warn Pierre, but the smug expression on his face stopped her. Peter had always been an egotistical bastard. It was bad enough when he was only the sous-chef, but in the short time since she’d promoted him to head chef, his ego had grown to ten times its previous bloated state. No, she thought with a sigh, he wouldn’t believe her. He’d think it just sour grapes.

“I know you can’t afford it,” Peter said pityingly. Then with something less than sympathy he added, “Just admit it so I can stop wasting my time and get out of here.”

Alex’s mouth tightened. “Well if you knew why even bother suggesting it?”

“I didn’t want you to think I was totally without loyalty,” he admitted with a shrug. “Were you to beat their offer, I would have stayed.”

“Thanks,” she said dryly

“De rien,” he said and turned toward the door.

Alex almost let him walk out, but her conscience got the better of her. Whether he’d believe her or not, she had to at least try to warn him that he was setting himself up for a fall. Once Jacques fired him--and she didn’t doubt for a minute he would—Peter would be marked. The entire industry would know that he’d left her for them and then lost that job. Even if people didn’t suspect the truth of what happened and label him a putrid little weasel, they would think he’d been fired for something.

Alex had barely begun to speak her thoughts, however, before Peter was shaking his head. Still, she rushed on with it, warning him as her conscience dictated. The moment she fell silent he sneered at her with derision.

“I knew you would be upset, Alexandra, but making up such a ridiculous story to get me to stay is just sad. The truth is, I have been selling myself cheap for some time now. I’ve built up a reputation as an amazing chef these last several weeks while cooking in your stead--”

“Two weeks,” Alex corrected impatiently. “It’s only been two weeks since I promoted you to Head chef. And you’re cooking my recipes, not coming up with brilliant ones of your own. Surely you can see how ridiculous it is that someone would pay you that kind of money for--”

“No, I do not see it as ridiculous. I am brilliant. Jacques sees my potential and that I deserve to be paid my value. But you obviously don’t. You have been trying to keep me under. Now I will get paid what I deserve and enjoy some of the profits produced by my skills.” Mouth tightening, he added, “And you’re not going to trick me into staying here with such stupid stories.”

With a little sniff of disgust, Peter turned on his heel and sailed out of her office with his nose up and a self-righteous air that made her want to gag.

Alex closed her eyes. At the moment, she wanted nothing more than to yell a string of obscenities after the man, and suspected she would definitely enjoy his fall when it came. Unfortunately, her own fall would come first.

Cursing, she pulled her Rolodex toward her and began to rifle through the numbers. Perhaps one of her old friends from culinary school could help for a night or two. Christ, she was ruined if she didn’t find someone and quickly.

An hour later, Alex reached the W’s in her Rolodex with no prospects when the phone rang. Irritated with the interruption when she was having a crisis, Alex snapped it up. She barked “hello,” the fingers of her free hand still flipping through the Rolodex cards one after the other in quick succession.

“I have someone I want you to meet.”

Alex frowned at the strange greeting, slow to recognize her sister’s voice. Once she did, a deep sigh slid from her lips and she shook her head wearily. She really didn’t need this right now. She was heartily sick of the parade of men Sam had been presenting her with over the last eight months.

It had been bad enough when she and their younger sister, Jo, had both been single and available, but now that Jo had Nicholas, Sam was focusing all of her attention on finding Alex a man. She supposed it wouldn’t be so bad if even one of the men Sam had insisted on introducing her to had shown some mild interest in her, but after barely more than a moment, and sometimes as little as a few seconds, every single one had simply ignored her, or in some cases, even walked away.

It was giving her a complex. She’d even started dieting, something she’d sworn she’d never do, and exercising, a pastime she detested, as well as trying different makeup and fashion choices in an effort to boost her now-flagging ego.

This really was the last thing she needed, but Alex knew Sam’s heart was in the right place and forced herself to hang on to her patience and even managed to keep her tone to only mildly exasperated. “Sam honey, my head chef just quit and I have one hour to replace him before the dinner set start to arrive. I don’t have time for your matchmaking right now.”

“Oh, but, Alex, I’m pretty sure this is the one,” she protested.

“Right, well, maybe he is, but if he isn’t a world-class chef I’m not interested,” Alex said grimly. “I’m hanging up now.”

“He is!”

Alex paused with the phone halfway back to its cradle and pulled it back to her ear. “What? He is what?”

“A chef?” Sam said, but it sounded like a question rather than an announcement. It was enough to make Alex narrow her eyes.

“For real?” she asked suspiciously.

“Yes.” Sam sounded more certain this time.

“Where did he last work?” she asked cautiously.

“I—I’m not sure,” Sam hedged. “He’s from Europe.”

“Europe?” Alex asked, her interest growing. They had some fine culinary schools in Europe. She’d attended one of them.

“Yes,” Sam assured her. “Actually, that’s why I was sure he would be the one. He’s into cooking and fine cuisine like you.”

Alex drummed her fingers thoughtfully on the desk. It seemed like just too much good fortune that her sister wanted to introduce her to a chef the very day she was in desperate need of one. On the other hand, she’d suffered enough bad luck the last few months that a bit of good luck was surely in order. Finally, she asked, “What’s his name?”

“Valens.”

“I’ve never heard of him.” Alex murmured, and then realized how stupid it was to say that. She didn’t know every single chef in Europe. In fact, she only knew a few from her days in culinary school . . . and the names of the famous ones of course.

“Look, he’s a chef and you need one. What can it hurt to meet him?” Sam asked. “I swear you won’t be sorry. I really think this will work out. Marguerite is never wrong. You have to meet him.”

“Marguerite?” Alex asked with confusion, recognizing the name. She was the aunt of one of Mortimer’s band mates, Decker Argeneau. Alex had never met her, but Sam mentioned her a lot. However, she had no idea what the woman had to do with any of this.

“Just meet him,” Sam pleaded.

Alex sighed, her fingers tapping a rapid tattoo. She could sense that Sam was lying about something in her determination to get her to meet the man, and really, she didn’t have time to waste at the moment. On the other hand, Sam hadn’t hesitated to say he could cook and had even said it was why she’d thought they might hit it off so Alex suspected that part of it was at least true. At least she hoped it was. The fact was, she was desperate. And, frankly, beggars couldn’t be choosers. If the man could cook even half decently she was definitely interested in him though not the way Sam was obviously hoping she would be.

“Send him over,” she barked and then slammed the phone back in its cradle before she could change her mind.


Cale was telling Bricker and Mortimer about the wedding he’d attended in New York for several of his family members and their life mates when Sam came hurrying back into the room. “It’s all set,” she announced excitedly. “You have to go to her restaurant right away.”

Cale frowned. “You said you would have her come here.”

“Yes, well, there was a change of plans. Alex has a small crisis at the restaurant and can’t leave,” Sam announced, catching his arm and urging him toward the door to the kitchen. “Actually that reminds me. Can you cook?”

Cale stopped, forcing her to a halt, and announced stiffly, “I don’t eat.”

“I didn’t ask you if you eat,” she pointed out. “Can you cook?”

“Why would I cook if I don’t eat?” he asked dryly.

“Not doing one doesn’t preclude your doing the other,” Sam said impatiently, and then clucked with irritation and tried to urge him to continue forward as she pointed out, “Male designers don’t wear women’s clothing, but they design it.”

“How do you know they don’t wear it?” Bricker asked lightly, drawing Cale’s attention to the fact that he and Mortimer had followed and now stood behind them.

Mortimer chuckled at the words, but Sam didn’t seem to see the humor. Grinding her teeth together, she tugged at Cale‘s arm again. “Come on. You need to get to the restaurant before she changes her mind and takes off for the new place or something.”

Cale tugged his arm free of her hold. “I do not cook food and have no desire to visit a place filled with the stench of it. You’ll just have to arrange a meeting for a different day. I have no desire to go to her place of business.”


Cale and Alex

Chapter Two

“I can’t believe Sam told her sister I am a chef,” Cale muttered for probably the sixth time since finding himself bundled into the passenger seat of his rental car, and riding away from the enforcer house with Justin Bricker at the wheel.

“Believe it,” Bricker said dryly. “Sam is desperate to see her sister settled with an immortal. She and her sisters are as thick as thieves. She’ll do everything and anything she can to ensure Alex doesn’t have to be left behind at some point in the future.”

“Hmm.” Cale supposed he could understand that. He had often thought it must be hard for mortals to give up their families and friends to claim the immortals they loved. They gained a lot in return, of course: eternal youth and a love and passion most mortals could only dream of. Still, family was important to his clan, and to his mind it spoke well of Sam and her sisters that they deemed family important as well.

“Still . . . a chef? Just the sight of food makes my stomach turn, and the smell . . .” He grimaced and shuddered, growing nauseous at just the thought of it. His reaction to food was one of the reasons Cale didn’t much bother with mortals anymore. Their very lives seemed to revolve around food or beverages. They did business over coffee or drinks and held feasts to celebrate every event. It was for that reason that Cale had funneled most of his business interests into areas where he need only deal with immortals. Of course, some of them ate too, those who were still young, or were mated. But he ran into the problem much less often when dealing with immortals than he would with mortals.

“This is the first time I’ve heard of an immortal with that kind of reaction to food,” Bricker commented, and then cast him a curious glance and asked, “Just how old are you?”

Cale scowled. The older he got, the more he detested answering that question and supposed he was starting to feel his age. Not physically, of course, but mentally. The truth was, lately, Cale was bored to tears. It was why he’d agreed to a long visit in Canada. He hadn’t had any real change in his life for a very long time. Running companies that catered to immortals needs and had mostly immortal employees meant he hadn’t had to change his name or job for some time. He also lived on a country estate just outside Paris where there were no neighbors to notice his lack of aging. It had allowed him to avoid moving as well.
Cale knew that while doing so had been convenient, it had also allowed him to stagnate. Lately he’d been thinking that a major rearranging of his life was in order. He’d been contemplating leaving his company in the hands of one of his capable senior employees and taking up a different line of work, but simply hadn’t decided on what he wanted to do. He’d considered several things, but most of them necessitated attending university to gain the necessary skills, which meant being around mortals and their ever-present love for food.

Another option he’d considered was hiring himself out as a mercenary. Cale had enjoyed battle in his youth and while he couldn’t become a proper soldier because he couldn’t risk daylight, he understood they still hired mercenaries to fight in third-world countries. He supposed it spoke of how low his mood had sunk that the idea of a bloody battlefield appealed to him.

“If you’re Martine and Darius’s son, you have to have been born before Christ,” Bricker said thoughtfully.

“Your father died in 300 B.C. or something, didn’t he?”

“230 B.C.,” Cale said tightly. It was not a time he liked to recall. He had lost not only his father, but several brothers that year, all in the same battle. Actually slaughter was the better word since they’d been lured into a trap by an immortal who vied for the same mercenary contracts they did and had decided to eliminate the competition. Cale’s father, Darius, had been a great warrior and raised his sons with the same skills and then made a living by hiring himself and his sons out for battle.

Including Cale, his mother had borne eleven children with his father, all sons. The pair had met and become life mates in 1180 B.C. when his father was two hundred years old and his mother three hundred. While they had adhered to the rule of one child every century, they’d also had two sets of twins, and—so far—the council didn’t punish parents for having twins by making them wait an extra century to have another child. Of those eleven sons only three still survived. The rest had died alongside their father on a bloody battlefield in 230 BC. Cale still ached at the memory of the mammoth loss.

“Well, then maybe your reaction to food is because you’re so old,” Bricker murmured with concern. Apparently, the idea of having such an extreme distaste for food was bothersome to the younger immortal.
Shrugging, he said more cheerfully, “But if Marguerite’s right about this--and she always is—once you meet Alex you’re going to find yourself craving food.”

When Cale merely peered at him dubiously, he chuckled and added, “Trust me. By tonight you’re going to be stuffing your face like a mortal after a weeklong fast.”

Cale scowled, not pleased at the suggestion. Really, he wasn’t any more pleased to find himself trapped in a vehicle with the younger immortal. Food eaters always had a similar stench. Normally that smell didn’t bother him so much, but then he wasn’t normally trapped in an airless car with one. Wrinkling his nose, he sighed and asked, “Why are you driving me there again?”

“Because you don’t know your way around Toronto and Sam didn’t want to take the chance of your getting lost,” Bricker reminded him with amusement. “She also worried you might crack up your car on the icy roads and didn’t want to risk that either. Mortimer wanted to discuss her turning and wouldn’t let her drive you herself so she reluctantly decided I should deliver you to Alex. I’m to report back to her on every word that passes between you,” he announced with amusement.

“Right,” Cale muttered, beginning to wonder what he’d gotten himself into here. Perhaps it really wasn’t worth it to humor Marguerite after all. Not if it meant going to a restaurant where he would be surrounded by the stench of mortal food . . . and this Alex woman thought he was a chef for God’s sake! What on earth had possessed Sam to claim he could cook? He didn’t know the first darn thing about cooking and didn’t want to. On the other hand, if it turned out Marguerite was right and this woman was his life mate . . . Well, he supposed that might make it worth it . . . and he really might start to like food again then.

“Here.” Bricker reached blindly into the backseat to retrieve a book. He offered the large volume to Cale, saying, “Sam thought it might help if you gave this a quick once-over on the way.”

“Cooking for Dummies?” Cale read with something akin to horror as his gaze moved with distaste over the picture of the dead, headless, featherless, and trussed-up roasted chicken on the plate next to a bunch of equally roasted vegetables.

“Well, it can’t hurt,” Bricker said with amusement. “Alex is expecting a world-class chef.”

Cale tossed the book back on the seat behind him with disgust. “I have no intention of cooking. I’ll just go there, meet the woman, see if I can read her, and leave when I can’t.”

“Or,” Bricker drawled, “you’re going to go there, discover Marguerite was on the mark again, that you can’t read Alex, and you’ll be desperate for an excuse to stay close to her as you try to lay claim to her as a life mate.”

Cale snorted. “If I can’t read her and she is my life mate, I won’t need an excuse to stay close to her. She’ll want me there.”

“Oh, man do you have a lot to learn about mortal women,” Bricker said dryly.

Cale glanced at him sharply. “Surely if she is my life mate, she will--”

“What? Drop into your palm like a plum, ripe for the picking?” Bricker tore his gaze from the road to glance at him with obvious amusement. When Cale merely scowled, he shook his head and turned his attention back to the road. “You weren’t paying attention back there at the house, were you? Didn’t you catch the fact that Mortimer and Sam are life mates, have been together for eight months, and yet she’s only now agreeing to the turn? Mortal women do have free will you know.”

Cale’s eyes widened as he realized that was true.

“And contrary to what the movie claims, Earth girls aren’t easy.”

“What?” Cale asked, completely bewildered by the reference.

“Never mind,” Bricker muttered with disgust. “The point is, while we grow up with the knowledge that someday we will meet that special someone who can’t read us and whom we can’t read and so will therefore be our perfect life mate, mortal women don’t. They grow up being taught that men are cheating, lying bastards and being told that they will have to kiss a lot of toads before they find the one who will be their prince. And then they’re taught to be cautious because some princes are actually wolves in princely clothing.”

Cale peered at the younger immortal with dismay. “Are you serious?”

“You don’t watch much TV, do you?” Bricker asked dryly, and then suggested, “Get a clue, watch a movie or two tonight. It will bring you up to date on the state of the war of the sexes.”

“War?”

“Yes, war,” Bricker said solemnly. “Women aren’t the sweet little biddable gals pleased just to have a bit of attention anymore. If they have a man in their lives it’s because they want him there, not because they need him to take care of them. Today’s women can take care of themselves. At least a lot of them can. And as a successful businesswoman, Alex is one of the ones who can. In fact, dragging her attention away from her business is most likely going to be more of a struggle than anything. Especially right now,” he added grimly.

“Why especially right now?” Cale asked.

“She’s in the midst of opening a second restaurant,” Bricker informed him. “She started with this little hole-in-the-wall. It was fancy,” he added in case Cale got the wrong impression. “But small. Only she’s one hell of a cook and it was a raging success. You had to book months ahead to get a table. So she decided she needed a larger venue, only from what Sam has said that’s been one problem after another and Alex has been running in circles trying to get it together in time for opening night.”

“When is that?” Cale asked.

“In two weeks,” Bricker said dryly. “Trust me, she’ll be running around like a chicken with her head cut off and--life mate or no life mate--you’ll be lucky if she gives you the time of day if she finds out you’re not a chef.”

Cale was silent for a moment, and then undid his seat belt and shifted around to reach in the back for the cookbook. It seemed to him it was better to be safe than sorry.

“There’s absolutely no one you can think of who’s even a halfway-decent cook and presently unemployed?” Alex asked unhappily and then listened to the voice over the phone as Gina, a dear friend who was also a chef told her no. Alex grimaced and murmured, “Well, thanks for trying, anyway.”

Alex set the phone back in its cradle with a weary sigh. She’d spent the last forty-five minutes since talking to Sam making calls, but there didn’t appear to be any chefs out there in search of a position . . . which was just ridiculous considering the state of the economy, but it was also just her luck lately.

Growling with frustration, Alex scrubbed her hands over her face and then dropped onto her desk chair with a groan. She’d continued with her calls in case the chef Sam was sending over was completely unsuitable, but it seemed he was her only hope at this point. If he wasn’t up to scratch, she would have to cook here herself tonight, which meant she couldn’t see to the things she needed to do to get the larger restaurant opened on time at the new location.

Why on earth had she set herself up for this hell? Alex wondered miserably. It had seemed such a simple and easy plan at the time. This restaurant had been going like gangbusters, always full, the money rolling in. She’d been the fat, happy cat enjoying the cream of her success . . . and then some little devil had whispered in her ear that she should expand and like an idiot she’d rushed impulsively forward with the idea.

Originally, Alex had hoped to purchase the storefront next door and simply knock down the wall between and make this restaurant larger. But then she’d realized it meant canceling several bookings to get the work done, and then someone suggested simply opening another restaurant at the other end of the city. She might bring in a whole new clientele.

With visions of a chain of La Bonne Vie restaurants dancing through her head, Alex had set out to find the perfect building in the perfect location. Then she’d settled down to decorate and market the opening of the second La Bonne Vie. Everything had gone smoothly at first, and then bad luck had begun to plague her. The perfect spot had been an old Victorian house at the edge of a busy shopping area. It was newly renovated, charming, and perfect--until an electrical fire had broken out late one night shortly after she’d started decorating it.

Fortunately, Alex had already had an alarm system put in and the fire department had gotten there quickly. Unfortunately, while the fire itself hadn’t spread far, there had been smoke damage throughout the entire building. Suddenly, instead of some light redecorating, Alex had found herself faced with the necessity of gutting the interior and fully restoring it.

Her luck hadn’t gotten any better from there. The last few months had been spent putting out fires of a different sort: chasing down shipments that were delayed or just seemed to have disappeared, workmen who suddenly quit or simply didn’t show up, orders that had somehow gotten confused so that the wrong products arrived. In a couple of instances, the workmen had started to install the wrong items before she got there and the companies refused to reimburse her for used products.

Soon the money had started to run out and she’d had to dig into her private savings. That was when Alex had begun to panic. With the opening date already set and promoted, she’d fired the project manager who had been overseeing the redecorating, and promoted Peter from sous-chef to head chef at the original La Bonne Vie so that she could be on site at the new building all the time to ensure that there were no more foul-ups . . . which had apparently convinced the little weasel that he was a world-class chef worthy of scads of money.

“The ass,” she muttered to herself, her glance sliding unhappily to the clock on the wall. Dinner bookings started at five and it was nearly that now. If Sam’s chef didn’t show up she’d have to start cooking herself. Not that she minded. Cooking was Alex’s first love, all she’d ever wanted to do. It had been a terrible wrench to her when she’d had to pass the head chef hat to Peter so that she could oversee the renovations at the new restaurant. But she’d had no choice.

Normally, Alex wouldn’t even have been here today when Peter arrived with his announcement. She’d only
popped by the restaurant to check on things and grab some paperwork she was hoping to go over later tonight. Her intention had been to head back over to the new restaurant in time for the delivery of paint the painters were supposed to get on the walls before the dining-room tables and chairs arrived tomorrow. At least that had been the plan before Peter had turned up with his announcement that he’d been offered that ridiculous sum of money to go to work for Chez Joie.

Alex scowled at the very thought of the nasty trick being used by her biggest competitor, Jacques Tournier. They had always been competitive, their respective restaurants vying for the same upscale clientele, but this was going too far. Not only could he ruin her, but he was definitely going to do Peter and his career some damage. But then Jacques had always been a jerk.

She glanced to the clock to find that while she’d sat fretting time had continued to crawl forward. Alex could no longer put it off;she had to get out there and get to work. The first guests would have arrived by now and their orders were no doubt already appearing in the kitchen. She would just call the painters at the other restaurant and—

A tap at the door sounded as Alex reached for the phone. Calling out for whoever it was to enter, she started to punch in the number to the new restaurant, but paused as the door opened and Justin Bricker appeared, his usual cheerful smile in place as he stepped into her office.
“Hey, Alex. How are tricks?” he greeted easily.

Alex stared at him nonplussed, and then groaned. “Dear God, surely you aren’t the chef Sam was talking about?”

“No,” he said with a laugh, and gestured behind him with a thumb. “Cale here is.”

“Kale?” Alex echoed blankly, her eyes sliding to the still half-closed door. She didn’t see any evidence of a second man. Frowning, she set the phone back in its receiver and leaned to the side, trying to see out into the kitchen as she muttered, “Kale is a vegetable.”

“Not kale. Cale . . . with a C,” Bricker explained and then glanced around and frowned when he saw that the second man hadn’t entered. Scowling, Bricker stepped out of the room briefly, and she heard him mutter, “What are you doing, man? Get in here and try to read her.”

Alex’s eyebrows rose at the words, and she briefly wondered what they meant, but then Bricker reappeared, dragging a man in a charcoal-colored suit into the room as the fellow said, “I was looking for something to cover my nose and mouth with. Dear God, how anyone can work around all this food is beyond me. The stench is unbearable. I--”

Alex arched one eyebrow as the man spotted her and came to an abrupt halt just inside the door. She’d opened her mouth to snap that her kitchen did not stink, but the words never made it past her lips. She found herself simply staring at the man. He was . . . interesting. Not handsome in the classical sense, but definitely interesting she decided and GQ worthy in that suit. Her gaze quickly slid over his tall, muscular build in what she was sure was a designer original. Her eyes then paused at his face to take in the strong, angular features, silver-blue eyes, and clear complexion.

What was it with all these friends of Mortimer’s? she wondered with a frown. Every single one had perfect skin and arresting eyes.

“Well? Can you read her?” Bricker asked impatiently.

“What?” Cale glanced toward him with a confusion that seemed to clear quickly. “Oh, right.”

His gaze shifted back to her, and Alex found herself sighing as he focused on her with a concentration she recognized from every other male Sam had introduced her to since hooking up with Mortimer. It was the look that usually preceded the man’s then completely ignoring her or even walking away, the look that was giving her a complex.

“Great! Another one of your and Mortimer’s weirdo friends,” she muttered with disgust and turned an angry glare on Bricker as she asked, “Are they all crackheads or has listening to your music too loud made them all mentally deficient?”

“I know they don’t do crack, so it must be the music thing,” Bricker said with amusement.

Alex rolled her eyes. “I don’t have time for this, Justin. Can he cook or can’t he?”

Bricker glanced to Cale. “Can you read her?”

“Read what?” Alex asked irritably, her gaze shifting back to Cale to see that his expression had become even more concentrated, focusing on a spot in the center of her forehead.

“You can’t, can you?” Bricker said with what sounded like glee.

“No.” The word was barely breathed, and the deep concentration on his expression faded to be replaced by a slightly stunned expression.

Alex frowned. Cale wasn’t walking away like all the other men had after that look. Instead he was staring at her as if she was some rare and exotic creature. She would have preferred the walking away, Alex decided as discomfort began to slither through her. Shifting impatiently, she glanced to Bricker again. “What is--?”

“He can cook,” Bricker interrupted cheerfully.

Alex narrowed her eyes, sure there was something here she was missing, but completely clueless as to what that could be.

“Ms. Willan?”

Alex glanced to the door with a start. Bev, whom she’d promoted to sous-chef to replace Peter when she’d raised him to head chef, was now standing in the doorway, an anxious look on her face. “Yes?”

“The orders are coming in and Peter—I mean Pierre,” she corrected herself with a grimace, “hasn’t come back from wherever he went. Should I--?”

“Peter,” Alex emphasized the name, “isn’t coming back. He only showed up today to quit,” she added abruptly, recalled to her present problems. “Get started on the orders. I’ll be there in a moment.”

Wide-eyed, Bev nodded and backed out of the office, leaving Alex to glance back to the two men. Cale was still staring as if she were the crown jewels, but Bricker was grinning like the idiot she was beginning to suspect he was.

Sighing with exasperation, she shifted her full attention to Cale. “Where did you train?”

“He’s from Paris,” Bricker announced.

“He is?” she asked with surprise. Sam had said Europe, but Cale’s accent wasn’t exactly French. Actually, she couldn’t place it at all, it held hints of French, with some English intonations and even Germanic ones as well. Realizing that what accent he had wasn’t really relevant, she pointed out, “I didn’t ask where he was from, but where he trained. Was it La Belle Ecole, Le Cordon Bleu, or--”

“Cordon Bleu,” Bricker interrupted and Alex narrowed her eyes on him briefly. When he merely beamed at her, she glanced to Cale to note that he was still staring at her. For some reason, that stare was starting to wear on her, making her feel like she had a booger hanging out of her nose or a smudge on her face or something . . . which just annoyed her.

Refusing to give in to the urge to run her hands over her face and nose to check, she ground her teeth together and snapped, “Fine. He trained at Le Cordon Bleu. Where has he worked since then?”

When Bricker hesitated, Cale said, “I work for myself.”

Alex’s eyes widened slightly though it wasn’t at his words so much as the sound of his voice. She hadn’t noticed that sexy, sort of husky tone to his voice the first time he’d spoken, but then perhaps she’d been too upset at the suggestion that her kitchen stank to pay attention then. Irritated with herself for noticing it now, she scowled and asked, “If you have your own restaurant, why would you want a job here?”

“He doesn’t really,” Bricker spoke up when Cale hesitated. “He’s here visiting in Canada for a while, but offered to help out until you can find a replacement chef.”

“Oui. What he said.” Cale nodded with satisfaction and smiled at her, making Alex catch her breath.

Had she thought he was just interesting and not handsome? What was wrong with her, she asked herself and then frowned as she noted how hot it was in her office. She would have to check the thermostat before she left and see about turning it down, Alex decided, avoiding the urge to tug her sweater away from her chest and fan herself. She then frowned at that thought. Before she left? She was thinking as if she’d already decided to hire the man. That wasn’t right. While she appreciated that he was willing to help out when he was here on his vacation, for all she knew he couldn’t cook spit.

Forcing herself to regather her thoughts, she cleared her throat and asked, “Are you any good? Is your restaurant successful?”

“Alex,” Bricker said dryly. “The man’s wearing a designer suit. His watch is diamond-encrusted. He’s very good at what he does.”

Alex blinked and glanced from the suit—which really looked very nice on him—to the watch he now appeared to be trying to hide by tugging his sleeve down over it. Despite the discomfitted reaction to Bricker’s pointing out his outer signs of success, she caught a glimpse of the sparkling watch face and acknowledged that the man had money, which suggested some level of success at what he did.

A curse and the crash of shattering glass from the kitchen made up Alex’s mind for her. She would test him out, and if he could cook, she would accept his help. It would at least give her some more time to find a replacement for Peter while allowing her to make sure the renovations to the new restaurant didn’t run off course again.

“He can cook something to reassure you if you like,” Bricker announced suddenly.

Alex nodded at once, and then raised her eyebrows in surprise as she noted the horror on Cale’s face and the sharp way he turned on the other man.

“You can,” Bricker said insistently, then in tones that suggested a meaning that she didn’t understand, he added, “Trust me.”
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Re: Hungry for You Excerpt

Postby rockie on September 17th, 2010, 3:11 pm

OMG that is great!!!!!!!!!! I can't wait for HFY to come out!!!!!!!!!! yay,
Thank you Lynsay!! :)
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Re: Hungry for You Excerpt

Postby GiGi3 on September 18th, 2010, 11:03 pm

LYNSAY!!! THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU! :shock: :mrgreen:
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Re: Hungry for You Excerpt

Postby Denise on September 22nd, 2010, 11:57 pm

I'm thinking Bricker is going to give a little help.
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Re: Hungry for You Excerpt

Postby jill on September 23rd, 2010, 7:52 pm

Lynsay Thank YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Luv and can't wait...how long again?
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Re: Hungry for You Excerpt

Postby Britani on October 7th, 2010, 4:08 am

I can't wait for the book to come out to read more of the story and I have a month to wait.
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Re: Hungry for You Excerpt

Postby luvargeneau on October 10th, 2010, 11:26 pm

Can't wait for the book to come out, It's going to be great! I'm so excited!
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