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Just One Taste

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Overview

Bad-boy chef Wes Murphy is dreading his final-semester cooking class—Food Chemistry 101—until he meets the new substitute teacher. Dr. Rosemary Wilkins is a feast for the eyes, though her approach to food is strictly academic. So Wes decides to rattle her Bunsen burner by asking for her hands-on advice—on aphrodisiacs

Rosemary is a little wary about working with Wes, whose casual flirtations make her hot under the collar. But once they begin testing the love-enhancing power of ...

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Overview

Bad-boy chef Wes Murphy is dreading his final-semester cooking class—Food Chemistry 101—until he meets the new substitute teacher. Dr. Rosemary Wilkins is a feast for the eyes, though her approach to food is strictly academic. So Wes decides to rattle her Bunsen burner by asking for her hands-on advice—on aphrodisiacs

Rosemary is a little wary about working with Wes, whose casual flirtations make her hot under the collar. But once they begin testing the love-enhancing power of chocolate, oysters, and strawberries, it becomes scientifically evident that the brainy science nerd and the boyish chef have some major chemistry together—and it’s delicious

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Exceptional culinary detail and page-singeing sexual chemistry combine with a fascinating group of characters to produce a sophisticated modern romance that ties into the current foodie craze. This debut—first in a projected ‘Recipe for Love’ series—will win over most contemporary romance fans.—Library Journal

“In her wickedly entertaining debut, Edwards dishes up a captivating contemporary romance expertly seasoned with plenty of sizzling sexual chemistry and deliciously tart humor.” —Booklist

“The simmering chemistry comes to a boil in this deliciously sensual and delightfully amusing debut.”—Orlando Sentinel

“This playful culinary confection is a lighthearted and entertaining romance that will delight readers…Steamy and satisfying fare, indeed” —Fresh Fiction

From start to finish, I devoured and enjoyed every moment of this book.…a little sweet and a little spicy with an end result to make you say “Wow”.” —Cheryl’s Book Nook

“I LOVED Can’t Stand The Heat. Louisa Edwards has written a great debut novel, and I look forward to reading more of the ‘Recipe for Love’ series.” —Beautiful Reads

“A deliciously fun read. The plot and eccentric characters are well written, and the kitchen sizzles with hot passion.” —Romance Reviews Today

Can’t Stand the Heat is a delightful blend of chemistry, competition, and cooking, and it was just what I was looking for. I loved the fast-paced scenes that make you feel the controlled chaos of a restaurant during dinner hour, as well as the slower-paced scenes such as Adam teaching Miranda how to cook…I am eagerly awaiting Edwards’ next release in the series. Here’s hoping it’s as good a read as this terrific debut.” —All About Romance

“Snappy, exciting, adventurous, and totally unexpected. Can't Stand the Heat... is one of the best light-hearted culinary, romantic novels this reviewer has read in a very long time! Grand job, Louisa Edwards.” —Crystal Reviews

Can’t Stand the Heat is the first novel in her ‘Recipe for Love’ series, and what a start it is…I love the sensuality as well as the conflict. I have become a fan of this author and cannot wait to read more in her series!” —Coffee Time Romance (5 Stars)

“Make sure that you have a good lazy day to spend with Can’t Stand The Heat, and don’t start reading this one in the evening, or I guarantee you will be up all night!”—The Romance Reader   

“The author blends love and recipes into a fun romp…Fans will enjoy the pizzazz and flavor that Louisa Edwards brings to her warm tale.” —Genre Go Round Reviews

“A funny, lovable story about two unlikely people falling for each other. The plot, characters, and setting comes together to form a wonderful, light-hearted, culinary romance that is a blast to read and I can't wait for the next ‘Recipe for Love’ novel!” —The Book Lush

“Delish! Creative debut author Louisa Edwards will have you eating out of her hand as you read her witty, insightful, foodie romance… Can’t Stand the Heat is filled with steamy passion, realistically described settings, a distinctive plot and characters that beg for their own stories.  Watch for more to come from this talented new author.” —SingleTitles.com

“Mmmm... Louisa Edwards’ debut effort—Can't Stand the Heat—is yummy!! The witty repartee between Miranda and Adam, the snappy dialog between Adam and his staff, make this a fun, sizzling, read… And all the food talk in between these covers? Make sure you’re not reading while hungry.” —Drey’s Library

“Can't Stand the Heat? I say, get into this kitchen!” —PublishersWeekly.com

“ An exquisitely prepared romance seasoned with scorching hot love scenes, Can’t Stand the Heat is truly an unforgettable dish. You can’t miss this delectable and mouthwatering debut!” —New York Times bestselling author Kresley Cole

“Smokin’ hot chefs, sizzling passion, and a big dash of charm—no reservations required for this smart, stylish romance!”—New York Times bestselling author Gena Showalter

Can’t Stand the Heat is HOT in the kitchen and everywhere else!” —New York Times bestselling author Carly Phillips

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312356477
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 8/31/2010
  • Series: Recipe for Love Series , #3
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 335
  • Product dimensions: 4.10 (w) x 6.70 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Louisa Edwards is the author of Can’t Stand the Heat and On the Steamy Side. She grew up in Virginia, where at the age of 11, she was already sneaking Harlequin romances from her grandmother’s suitcase, much to her parents’ horror. She graduated from Bryn Mawr College before moving to Manhattan to work in book publishing—a dream job that allowed her to earn a living by reading romance novels. She later moved to Ohio, where she worked as a restaurant reviewer. The Recipe for Love series combines her love of food and romance. When she’s not writing, Louisa eats at as many wonderful restaurants as possible—purely for research, of course.

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Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1

Six months earlier …

“I came here instead of Dartmouth specifically to avoid classes like this one. The horror. The humanity! Where did I go wrong?”

Wes shook his head at the plaintive tone. He thought about laughing, but he didn’t want to throw fuel on the fire. Once Nathaniel Goodwin started bitching, it took an act of Congress to get him to stop.

True to form, Nate was undeterred by the lack of response. “No, seriously. I’d rather be in a class on serving techniques or what ever, front-of-the-house, waiting-tables type stuff,” he said, naming every culinary student’s least favorite learning track. “I’d be all over it. I’d be down. But no.” He shuddered theatrically. “It’s chemistry. My dad always wanted me to be a doctor. Dude, I could be premed right now if I wanted to take a bunch of chemistry classes.”

Wes stuck his tongue in his cheek to keep from saying what his dad wanted him to be. Also to keep from popping the snot-nosed kid a good one.

Sometimes it royally sucked to be the oldest guy in every classroom. Most of these kids were here at the Academy of Culinary Arts fresh out of college. Some were even younger. The only school Wes had ever attended regularly was Hard Knocks U, or as his father liked to call it, the School of Experience.

Trust a con man to put a good spin on a life of petty crime and ignorance.

“At least you’re not failing,” Wes said, wincing at the memory of his last exam score. He didn’t know why he couldn’t seem to grasp these concepts; it was as if his brain simply refused to see food as a collection of molecules. “Quit whining, princess. You just have to get through it and ace the final in a few weeks. Then you can ditch this Popsicle stand for the bright lights of Atlantic City and your choice externship gig.”

“Externship,” Nathaniel breathed, in tones normally reserved for spiritual revelation. “God, that’s going to rock.”

Wes scowled. “I can’t believe we’re on different rotations. You get to leave in three weeks, you scumbag. I have to wait another six!”

The Academy of Culinary Arts schedule wasn’t structured like an ordinary university; students entered on staggered rotations all through the year. Every student completed two full years of study, eighteen months of academics with six months of externship sandwiched in between, but there was a new crop of graduates and a new batch of incoming newbies every three weeks.

“That’s right,” Nathaniel crowed. “I’ll be working in a real restaurant, learning from the best, while you slave away here writing book reports and stuff. Suck it, beeyotch!”

“It’s not fair. They ought to schedule it by age—old-timers like me should get first dibs, since young’uns like you are barely mature enough to handle doing your own laundry for the first time.”

“Half a year in a top restaurant,” Nathaniel mused, focusing in on the fun part of the conversation with his usual laser precision. “Hot damn, I’m glad I’m gonna be a chef. This beats med school all to hell.”

“Come to think of it, the externship’s not all that different from a med student’s residency, except without the hospital. Unless you slice off a finger or something, which I wouldn’t be surprised if you did. Klutz.”

“Speaking of which, have you heard back from any of the restaurants you applied to?”

Externship slots at top restaurants were few and therefore were fiercely coveted. The Ivy Leaguers had nothing on culinary school kids when it came to fighting and backstabbing for a chance to scrub floors in the kitchens of the greats. Wes had thrown his hat in the ring for Daniel Boulud, Tom Colicchio, and Devon Sparks.

“Nothing yet.” Wes shrugged, tried to act casual. “I’m not worried, something will come through. Maybe not my top choices, but I’d be happy anywhere in New York City, really.”

“Dude, you should totally apply in A.C.! Then we could hang after dinner service.”

Wes suppressed a wince. Nate was a nice enough kid, but, unlike him, Wes had more on his mind than having a good time and pissing off his old man.

That second part was more in the nature of a perk, as far as Wes was concerned. Mostly, he wanted a real life as a real chef, and he was willing to do what ever it took to get there.

Including Food Chemistry 101. The bane of his existence.

“What’s up, bitches?”

Nathaniel’s face lit up like he just got parole. “Hey, Sloane’s here!”

The lanky brunette rolled her eyes and slid onto the stool next to Nathaniel. She immediately started giving him a hard time, which he grinned at and ate up like she was doing dirty talk or something.

Wes tolerated their schoolyardish brand of flirtation for about half a minute before he was forced to tune it out in self-defense.

“Hey, did either of you ladies hear anything about the new prof?” she was asking.

Wes and Nate exchanged clueless looks. “What happened to Prentiss?”

“Gone,” Sloane said. “Some kind of medical emergency or something.”

“Wow.” Wes blinked. The implications swirled around his head. “Who the hell did they find to replace him on such short notice?”

“Our illustrious president didn’t have time to search around much, that’s for sure,” Sloane said. “God only knows who we’re going to end up with this late in the term. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Todd the janitor up there talking about carbohydrates and lipids.”

“Awesome,” said Nate. “Bet Todd won’t give us any homework.”

Wes hooked his long legs around the bottom rung of his stool and frowned. He was already not doing so great in this class—would a new instructor make his life harder or easier?

Wes wasn’t used to getting bad grades at the academy. He worked hard, he excelled, he went above and beyond. He was at the top of his rotation.

Food Chem might change that. If he didn’t bring up his grades in this class, he was looking at the number two slot, which could affect whether or not he got one of his top choices for the externship.

It was the subject, he mused. Food Chemistry … such a cold, distant way to look at something as vibrant and full of life as the magic that happened in a kitchen.

He shrugged to himself. Didn’t seem likely that a new instructor was going to make much of a difference, one way or the other. Wes would just have to work harder.

He leaned his elbows on the high table to watch the rest of the students trickle in, yawning and slouching. Food Chem wasn’t held in the lecture hall, with its auditorium seating and cooking demo capabilities, nor was it in one of the class kitchens lined with cooktops and ovens, sinks and racks and counterspace.

It was just a room, with windows along one wall that looked out over the tranquil lawn rolling down from the academy’s front doors. Four long metal tables were set up facing an honest-to-God chalkboard. It was like being back in high school.

What Wes could remember of his sporadic public school attendance, anyway. Which wasn’t much.

He and Pops hadn’t really stayed in one place long enough to formulate what you might call good study habits.

Wes frowned, thinking about his dad. He tried to calculate how long it had been since he’d heard from the old man—at least a year. Which meant it wouldn’t be too much longer before he popped up again to try and pull Wes back into the life with a well-planned investment fraud or a watertight piece of identity theft. He sighed. Or maybe just a request for a little ready cash to tide him over until the next big score.

The past few years, their interactions were a lot closer to loan applicant and bank officer than father and son.

It was always feast or famine with Pops and money. The man was damn good at swindling it out of people—but holding onto it? Not so much.

The classroom door opened, jarring Wes from his thoughts, and admitting a young woman Wes didn’t recognize. He frowned. Most of the students in his section had been in overlapping rotations together, through the thicks and thins of the grueling culinary arts program, for the past eight months. They’d wrestled with pasta dough together, learned basic hygiene and kitchen safety together, broken down flocks of chicken and fabricated countless fish and brewed up gallons of stock together.

He knew most of their secrets, their histories and their hopes, even if none of them knew Wes’s. Gathering potentially useful info like that was an early survival tactic that he’d never quite lost.

But this chick? Was so brand-new she practically squeaked.

Or wait. That was her shoes.

Wes stared at her feet, realizing all at once what was so strange and different about her.

She was out of uniform.

The Academy of Culinary Arts had a strict dress code. The place was famously well run and hyperregulated; there were severe consequences for breaking any of the myriad rules and regulations set forth by the academy’s president. Some of the worst penalties came from code-of-dress infractions.

Everyone at the academy wore black pants, a white chef’s jacket, and regulation black leather kitchen clogs. Every single person, from the chef instructors to the students on up to President Cornell. No exceptions.

Except, apparently, New Girl.

Who was clad in what looked like regulation geekwear. Baggy khakis that made her appear even shorter than she was, topped with a beige T-shirt featuring … Wes’s feet slipped off the rung of his stool.

Whoa. Is that a freaking Wookie?

And on her feet, squeaking against the sterile tile floor with a noise like she was wearing Styrofoam pan ties, were black Converse sneakers.

Wes stared in silence. In fact, the whole classroom went dead quiet, as one by one, the sleepy culinary students registered the stranger in their midst.

New Girl didn’t appear to notice, at first. Clutching a stack of note pads and papers to her chest, she shuffled quickly, head down and shoulders hunched, up to the front of the classroom. But instead of taking a seat at one of the student tables, she kept going.

Wes watched, fascinated by this tiny stick figure of a person, all jerky movements and shiny blond hair twisted into two messy braids down her back.

Until she reached the podium next to the chalkboard, where she paused, appeared to take a deep breath in, and turned to face the class.

And Wes got his first good look at her face.

Wide-set blue-gray eyes. Her bottom lip was plumper than the top, giving her a permanent pout. And her nose … damn it. Wes had to swallow hard. Her nose was interesting rather than perfect, and it was enough to take her face from merely pretty to knockout striking.

She looked like the beautiful starlet they cast to play the smart girl; the one who transforms by the end into the gorgeous woman she always was, with the help of contact lenses and pants that fit.

And obviously, she was the newest addition to the teaching staff.

Wes stared. Food Chem had just became his favorite class.

“Oh,” she said, her wide eyes going even wider at the sight of the class sitting there, silently watching. It was as if she were surprised to see them. “Um. Hello. My name is Dr. Rosemary Wilkins.”

She paused, glanced at the chalkboard.

Wes knitted his brows. Surely she wouldn’t … okay, maybe she would.

Dr. Rosemary Wilkins stepped to the board, grabbed a piece of chalk, and wrote her name in careful, looping script.

Dusting off her hands, she turned back to the class and continued. “I have a bachelor’s degree in organic chemistry from Yale, a Ph.D. in physical and analytical chemistry from the University of Virginia, and a Ph.D. in biological chemistry from Bryn Mawr. I’m here at the academy to study food. By which I mean, of course, the chemical processes and interactions between ingredients under controlled conditions. The ACA has unparalleled facilities for the kind of research I’m interested in conducting …”

She trailed off, mumbling something down at her notes. Wes was pretty sure he caught the words “wish I were there right now …”

Visibly bracing herself, Dr. Hot Stuff’s vague gaze found the class again. “At any rate, your previous professor had to leave unexpectedly, so I’m stepping in. To teach you. Somewhat … unexpectedly, as I said before.” She cleared her throat, eyes darting left and right. “So. What do you want to know?”

Wes looked around the room. He could practically hear the crickets chirping.

A wash of red suffused her cheeks, but she pressed onward. “I mean, here you are. At one of the premier culinary schools in the United States. From that, I infer that you all want to make good food. Don’t you want to know the reasons behind what works and what doesn’t? Unless …” She paused, looking uncertain. “Oh dear. You don’t think of cooking as a creative endeavor, as ‘art,’ do you?”

Wes propped his head on his hand and watched her wring her hands. He couldn’t understand why the combination of her nervous speech and jerky gestures was hitting him right in the libido.

As a simple reflex, his brain started cataloguing what he knew about her, sizing her up.

She looked about Wes’s age, maybe even a little younger. She certainly wasn’t older. Which meant she must’ve been in her teens when she got that first degree.

Dude. Prodigy alert.

One of the students, Bess, a plump blonde who’d proven multiple times over the course of this class that she was categorically not a prodigy, said haltingly, “Are you really a teacher?”

Wes winced. Well, at least she hadn’t asked if Wilkins was a real doctor.

“No.” Dr. Wilkins looked bewildered at the very idea. “I’m a scientist. I thought I already said … at any rate, this may be my first time in front of a class of real live students, but at least you won’t be stuck with me for very long, since this rotation is almost over.”

Another long silence. Wes watched their new teacher shift her weight from side to side, fingers gripping the podium so tightly they went white at the tips.

Wes studied her. He noted the curve of her pink cheek, the quickness of her breath. She was short, he decided, but perfectly proportioned. Her skin was like the porcelain tableware they used at La Culinaire, the academy’s student-staffed restaurant, creamy white and so fine it was almost translucent.

Not that Wes was any kind of expert on school, but even he could tell that little Miss First-Time Teacher was bombing this class in a big, bad way. It was painful to watch her try to untangle her tongue enough to get to the actual sharing of information, and his classmates’ deep and abiding silence wasn’t helping.

One good question would probably get her going, Wes thought. But when he sat up and raised his hand, he knew deep down that he didn’t deserve the grateful look she shot him.

As much as he wanted to tell himself he was heroically stepping in to save her from the humiliation brought on by her absentminded-professor routine, he couldn’t.

Because Wes had never been very good at lying to himself. And when he looked into his delectable new teacher’s blue eyes, he saw more than a brilliant, beautiful, painfully awkward woman.

He saw someone who held his grade—his future—in the palm of her little hand.

Shit, Wes, what are you doing? Don’t be that guy.

He dropped his arm hastily back to his side, but it was too late. She’d already zeroed in on him.

“You have a question?” she asked eagerly.

“Yeah,” Wes said, licking his lips. “Sure. What I wanted to know was what you meant by what you said earlier. About not seeing cooking as an art form?”

“Oh!” She looked surprised. “I’m not sure what you mean. Can you elaborate, Mr.… ?”

“Murphy,” Wes supplied, adrenaline buzzing up his spine. It was weirdly intoxicating to have her full attention. “I was interested because it seems like you don’t think there’s anything creative about cooking.”

“Well, wouldn’t you agree that the process you know as cooking is truly little more than the chemical reaction of ingredients to each other, to heat, et cetera?”

“Sure, but there’s more to it than that.”

She frowned. “What did you say your name was?”

“Murphy. Wes. And I mean, I couldn’t tell you the chemical reasons behind it, but cooking is more than boring, set formulas playing out in some predictable pattern.”

“Chemistry isn’t boring.” She bristled, clearly stung. “Only an idiot would dismiss the importance of the fundamental building blocks of our world.”

Excerpted from Just One Taste by Louisa Edwards.

Copyright © 2010 by Louisa Edwards.

Published in September 2010 by St. Martin’s Paperbacks.

All rights reserved. This work is protected under copyright laws and reproduction is strictly prohibited. Permission to reproduce the material in any manner or medium must be secured from the Publisher.

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First Chapter

Just One Taste


By Louisa Edwards

St. Martin's Paperbacks

Copyright © 2010 Louisa Edwards
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9780312356477

Chapter 1
Six months earlier …
“I came here instead of Dartmouth specifically to avoid classes like this one. The horror. The humanity! Where did I go wrong?”
Wes shook his head at the plaintive tone. He thought about laughing, but he didn’t want to throw fuel on the fire. Once Nathaniel Goodwin started bitching, it took an act of Congress to get him to stop.
True to form, Nate was undeterred by the lack of response. “No, seriously. I’d rather be in a class on serving techniques or what ever, front-of-the-house, waiting-tables type stuff,” he said, naming every culinary student’s least favorite learning track. “I’d be all over it. I’d be down. But no.” He shuddered theatrically. “It’s chemistry. My dad always wanted me to be a doctor. Dude, I could be premed right now if I wanted to take a bunch of chemistry classes.”
Wes stuck his tongue in his cheek to keep from saying what his dad wanted him to be. Also to keep from popping the snot-nosed kid a good one.
Sometimes it royally sucked to be the oldest guy in every classroom. Most of these kids were here at the Academy of Culinary Arts fresh out of college. Some were even younger. The only school Wes had ever attended regularly was Hard Knocks U, or as his father liked to call it, the School of Experience.
Trust a con man to put a good spin on a life of petty crime and ignorance.
“At least you’re not failing,” Wes said, wincing at the memory of his last exam score. He didn’t know why he couldn’t seem to grasp these concepts; it was as if his brain simply refused to see food as a collection of molecules. “Quit whining, princess. You just have to get through it and ace the final in a few weeks. Then you can ditch this Popsicle stand for the bright lights of Atlantic City and your choice externship gig.”
“Externship,” Nathaniel breathed, in tones normally reserved for spiritual revelation. “God, that’s going to rock.”
Wes scowled. “I can’t believe we’re on different rotations. You get to leave in three weeks, you scumbag. I have to wait another six!”
The Academy of Culinary Arts schedule wasn’t structured like an ordinary university; students entered on staggered rotations all through the year. Every student completed two full years of study, eighteen months of academics with six months of externship sandwiched in between, but there was a new crop of graduates and a new batch of incoming newbies every three weeks.
“That’s right,” Nathaniel crowed. “I’ll be working in a real restaurant, learning from the best, while you slave away here writing book reports and stuff. Suck it, beeyotch!”
“It’s not fair. They ought to schedule it by age—old-timers like me should get first dibs, since young’uns like you are barely mature enough to handle doing your own laundry for the first time.”
“Half a year in a top restaurant,” Nathaniel mused, focusing in on the fun part of the conversation with his usual laser precision. “Hot damn, I’m glad I’m gonna be a chef. This beats med school all to hell.”
“Come to think of it, the externship’s not all that different from a med student’s residency, except without the hospital. Unless you slice off a finger or something, which I wouldn’t be surprised if you did. Klutz.”
“Speaking of which, have you heard back from any of the restaurants you applied to?”
Externship slots at top restaurants were few and therefore were fiercely coveted. The Ivy Leaguers had nothing on culinary school kids when it came to fighting and backstabbing for a chance to scrub floors in the kitchens of the greats. Wes had thrown his hat in the ring for Daniel Boulud, Tom Colicchio, and Devon Sparks.
“Nothing yet.” Wes shrugged, tried to act casual. “I’m not worried, something will come through. Maybe not my top choices, but I’d be happy anywhere in New York City, really.”
“Dude, you should totally apply in A.C.! Then we could hang after dinner service.”
Wes suppressed a wince. Nate was a nice enough kid, but, unlike him, Wes had more on his mind than having a good time and pissing off his old man.
That second part was more in the nature of a perk, as far as Wes was concerned. Mostly, he wanted a real life as a real chef, and he was willing to do what ever it took to get there.
Including Food Chemistry 101. The bane of his existence.
“What’s up, bitches?”
Nathaniel’s face lit up like he just got parole. “Hey, Sloane’s here!”
The lanky brunette rolled her eyes and slid onto the stool next to Nathaniel. She immediately started giving him a hard time, which he grinned at and ate up like she was doing dirty talk or something.
Wes tolerated their schoolyardish brand of flirtation for about half a minute before he was forced to tune it out in self-defense.
“Hey, did either of you ladies hear anything about the new prof?” she was asking.
Wes and Nate exchanged clueless looks. “What happened to Prentiss?”
“Gone,” Sloane said. “Some kind of medical emergency or something.”
“Wow.” Wes blinked. The implications swirled around his head. “Who the hell did they find to replace him on such short notice?”
“Our illustrious president didn’t have time to search around much, that’s for sure,” Sloane said. “God only knows who we’re going to end up with this late in the term. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Todd the janitor up there talking about carbohydrates and lipids.”
“Awesome,” said Nate. “Bet Todd won’t give us any homework.”
Wes hooked his long legs around the bottom rung of his stool and frowned. He was already not doing so great in this class—would a new instructor make his life harder or easier?
Wes wasn’t used to getting bad grades at the academy. He worked hard, he excelled, he went above and beyond. He was at the top of his rotation.
Food Chem might change that. If he didn’t bring up his grades in this class, he was looking at the number two slot, which could affect whether or not he got one of his top choices for the externship.
It was the subject, he mused. Food Chemistry … such a cold, distant way to look at something as vibrant and full of life as the magic that happened in a kitchen.
He shrugged to himself. Didn’t seem likely that a new instructor was going to make much of a difference, one way or the other. Wes would just have to work harder.
He leaned his elbows on the high table to watch the rest of the students trickle in, yawning and slouching. Food Chem wasn’t held in the lecture hall, with its auditorium seating and cooking demo capabilities, nor was it in one of the class kitchens lined with cooktops and ovens, sinks and racks and counterspace.
It was just a room, with windows along one wall that looked out over the tranquil lawn rolling down from the academy’s front doors. Four long metal tables were set up facing an honest-to-God chalkboard. It was like being back in high school.
What Wes could remember of his sporadic public school attendance, anyway. Which wasn’t much.
He and Pops hadn’t really stayed in one place long enough to formulate what you might call good study habits.
Wes frowned, thinking about his dad. He tried to calculate how long it had been since he’d heard from the old man—at least a year. Which meant it wouldn’t be too much longer before he popped up again to try and pull Wes back into the life with a well-planned investment fraud or a watertight piece of identity theft. He sighed. Or maybe just a request for a little ready cash to tide him over until the next big score.
The past few years, their interactions were a lot closer to loan applicant and bank officer than father and son.
It was always feast or famine with Pops and money. The man was damn good at swindling it out of people—but holding onto it? Not so much.
The classroom door opened, jarring Wes from his thoughts, and admitting a young woman Wes didn’t recognize. He frowned. Most of the students in his section had been in overlapping rotations together, through the thicks and thins of the grueling culinary arts program, for the past eight months. They’d wrestled with pasta dough together, learned basic hygiene and kitchen safety together, broken down flocks of chicken and fabricated countless fish and brewed up gallons of stock together.
He knew most of their secrets, their histories and their hopes, even if none of them knew Wes’s. Gathering potentially useful info like that was an early survival tactic that he’d never quite lost.
But this chick? Was so brand-new she practically squeaked.
Or wait. That was her shoes.
Wes stared at her feet, realizing all at once what was so strange and different about her.
She was out of uniform.
The Academy of Culinary Arts had a strict dress code. The place was famously well run and hyperregulated; there were severe consequences for breaking any of the myriad rules and regulations set forth by the academy’s president. Some of the worst penalties came from code-of-dress infractions.
Everyone at the academy wore black pants, a white chef’s jacket, and regulation black leather kitchen clogs. Every single person, from the chef instructors to the students on up to President Cornell. No exceptions.
Except, apparently, New Girl.
Who was clad in what looked like regulation geekwear. Baggy khakis that made her appear even shorter than she was, topped with a beige T-shirt featuring … Wes’s feet slipped off the rung of his stool.
Whoa. Is that a freaking Wookie?
And on her feet, squeaking against the sterile tile floor with a noise like she was wearing Styrofoam pan ties, were black Converse sneakers.
Wes stared in silence. In fact, the whole classroom went dead quiet, as one by one, the sleepy culinary students registered the stranger in their midst.
New Girl didn’t appear to notice, at first. Clutching a stack of note pads and papers to her chest, she shuffled quickly, head down and shoulders hunched, up to the front of the classroom. But instead of taking a seat at one of the student tables, she kept going.
Wes watched, fascinated by this tiny stick figure of a person, all jerky movements and shiny blond hair twisted into two messy braids down her back.
Until she reached the podium next to the chalkboard, where she paused, appeared to take a deep breath in, and turned to face the class.
And Wes got his first good look at her face.
Wide-set blue-gray eyes. Her bottom lip was plumper than the top, giving her a permanent pout. And her nose … damn it. Wes had to swallow hard. Her nose was interesting rather than perfect, and it was enough to take her face from merely pretty to knockout striking.
She looked like the beautiful starlet they cast to play the smart girl; the one who transforms by the end into the gorgeous woman she always was, with the help of contact lenses and pants that fit.
And obviously, she was the newest addition to the teaching staff.
Wes stared. Food Chem had just became his favorite class.
“Oh,” she said, her wide eyes going even wider at the sight of the class sitting there, silently watching. It was as if she were surprised to see them. “Um. Hello. My name is Dr. Rosemary Wilkins.”
She paused, glanced at the chalkboard.
Wes knitted his brows. Surely she wouldn’t … okay, maybe she would.
Dr. Rosemary Wilkins stepped to the board, grabbed a piece of chalk, and wrote her name in careful, looping script.
Dusting off her hands, she turned back to the class and continued. “I have a bachelor’s degree in organic chemistry from Yale, a Ph.D. in physical and analytical chemistry from the University of Virginia, and a Ph.D. in biological chemistry from Bryn Mawr. I’m here at the academy to study food. By which I mean, of course, the chemical processes and interactions between ingredients under controlled conditions. The ACA has unparalleled facilities for the kind of research I’m interested in conducting …”
She trailed off, mumbling something down at her notes. Wes was pretty sure he caught the words “wish I were there right now …”
Visibly bracing herself, Dr. Hot Stuff’s vague gaze found the class again. “At any rate, your previous professor had to leave unexpectedly, so I’m stepping in. To teach you. Somewhat … unexpectedly, as I said before.” She cleared her throat, eyes darting left and right. “So. What do you want to know?”
Wes looked around the room. He could practically hear the crickets chirping.
A wash of red suffused her cheeks, but she pressed onward. “I mean, here you are. At one of the premier culinary schools in the United States. From that, I infer that you all want to make good food. Don’t you want to know the reasons behind what works and what doesn’t? Unless …” She paused, looking uncertain. “Oh dear. You don’t think of cooking as a creative endeavor, as ‘art,’ do you?”
Wes propped his head on his hand and watched her wring her hands. He couldn’t understand why the combination of her nervous speech and jerky gestures was hitting him right in the libido.
As a simple reflex, his brain started cataloguing what he knew about her, sizing her up.
She looked about Wes’s age, maybe even a little younger. She certainly wasn’t older. Which meant she must’ve been in her teens when she got that first degree.
Dude. Prodigy alert.
One of the students, Bess, a plump blonde who’d proven multiple times over the course of this class that she was categorically not a prodigy, said haltingly, “Are you really a teacher?”
Wes winced. Well, at least she hadn’t asked if Wilkins was a real doctor.
“No.” Dr. Wilkins looked bewildered at the very idea. “I’m a scientist. I thought I already said … at any rate, this may be my first time in front of a class of real live students, but at least you won’t be stuck with me for very long, since this rotation is almost over.”
Another long silence. Wes watched their new teacher shift her weight from side to side, fingers gripping the podium so tightly they went white at the tips.
Wes studied her. He noted the curve of her pink cheek, the quickness of her breath. She was short, he decided, but perfectly proportioned. Her skin was like the porcelain tableware they used at La Culinaire, the academy’s student-staffed restaurant, creamy white and so fine it was almost translucent.
Not that Wes was any kind of expert on school, but even he could tell that little Miss First-Time Teacher was bombing this class in a big, bad way. It was painful to watch her try to untangle her tongue enough to get to the actual sharing of information, and his classmates’ deep and abiding silence wasn’t helping.
One good question would probably get her going, Wes thought. But when he sat up and raised his hand, he knew deep down that he didn’t deserve the grateful look she shot him.
As much as he wanted to tell himself he was heroically stepping in to save her from the humiliation brought on by her absentminded-professor routine, he couldn’t.
Because Wes had never been very good at lying to himself. And when he looked into his delectable new teacher’s blue eyes, he saw more than a brilliant, beautiful, painfully awkward woman.
He saw someone who held his grade—his future—in the palm of her little hand.
Shit, Wes, what are you doing? Don’t be that guy.
He dropped his arm hastily back to his side, but it was too late. She’d already zeroed in on him.
“You have a question?” she asked eagerly.
“Yeah,” Wes said, licking his lips. “Sure. What I wanted to know was what you meant by what you said earlier. About not seeing cooking as an art form?”
“Oh!” She looked surprised. “I’m not sure what you mean. Can you elaborate, Mr.… ?”
“Murphy,” Wes supplied, adrenaline buzzing up his spine. It was weirdly intoxicating to have her full attention. “I was interested because it seems like you don’t think there’s anything creative about cooking.”
“Well, wouldn’t you agree that the process you know as cooking is truly little more than the chemical reaction of ingredients to each other, to heat, et cetera?”
“Sure, but there’s more to it than that.”
She frowned. “What did you say your name was?”
“Murphy. Wes. And I mean, I couldn’t tell you the chemical reasons behind it, but cooking is more than boring, set formulas playing out in some predictable pattern.”
“Chemistry isn’t boring.” She bristled, clearly stung. “Only an idiot would dismiss the importance of the fundamental building blocks of our world.”
Excerpted from Just One Taste by Louisa Edwards.
Copyright © 2010 by Louisa Edwards.
Published in September 2010 by St. Martin’s Paperbacks.
All rights reserved. This work is protected under copyright laws and reproduction is strictly prohibited. Permission to reproduce the material in any manner or medium must be secured from the Publisher.


Continues...

Excerpted from Just One Taste by Louisa Edwards Copyright © 2010 by Louisa Edwards. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 38 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 39 Customer Reviews
  • Posted June 23, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Great read!

    The third installment in the Recipe for Love series. I have enjoyed the series and this latest book was no exception.

    The blurb from the book is all about Wes and Rosemary's romance. However, there is a secondary romance, one featuring Jess and Frankie (a gay couple) that has been playing out over the course of the series and finally came to a head during this book. This couple got nearly as much playtime as Wes and Rosemary and it is a shame. It's almost as if both stories were shortchanged by having to share space within this book.

    That said, I really did like this story. I particularly enjoyed the quirky character of Rosemary. She's not your typical romance heroine, but she's believable and likable. Rosemary is the star of her romance. Wes is the weaker of the pairing. Of course, he's the once with experience, but he's also the one struggling with his past and his possible future with Rosemary.

    I'm quite interested to see if this series is going to continue or if Ms Edwards will be stopping with a trilogy. And for those cooks out there (of which I am not), there are recipes included in each book to enhance your enjoyment of the story.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 4, 2014

    I was actually really excited that this book was about a charact

    I was actually really excited that this book was about a character that really didn't stand out as much in the first 2 books of this series. I'm totally in love with Wes as a character I love how he has a bad boy quality to him but wants to do good. I did enjoy the character of Rosemary but I did feel her "nerdiness" was a bit much but still great character none the less she's your typical plain jane whos obessed with sci-fi and is a genius. Also within this book is the final "chapter" in the Frankie and Jess romance and you really get to see how their relationship finally comes together, I was happy with the outcome but I do agree with RtBBlog I felt this book was a bit rushed since it was shared with another story but that didn't stop me from purchasing "Too Hot to Touch" which is the first book in Ms. Edwards "RIsing Chef" series. What I love about Louisa Edward books is there are recipies at the end which is awesome because sometimes when I'm reading the food that is being discribed makes my mouth water lol.

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  • Posted May 16, 2014

    Louisa Edwards did a wonderful job again.  I'm not quite sure if

    Louisa Edwards did a wonderful job again.  I'm not quite sure if I spent as much time enjoying the book or wishing it came with a
    personal chef to cook everything as I read about it. This is definitely not a book to read while you're hungry.

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  • Posted January 31, 2014

    I loved Rosemary. Yes, she is an over the top nerdling. So, what

    I loved Rosemary. Yes, she is an over the top nerdling. So, what? Star Trek, Star Wars, Land of the Lost. Absent minded obsessions. Cool. She is smart and strong.

    I liked Wes as well. Sexy chef trying to becoming himself.

    I thought the conflict for West stretched out too long. The end of the book felt rough. I wish there are been more there and more of the HEA and couple time but overall I was charmed and will be reading more by this writer.

    Fun!

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  • Posted March 5, 2012

    Slow Mover

    I wasn't crazy about this book. It moved slowly and had more than enough vividly descriptive sex to last me for at least ten books.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 8, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Wonderfully written romance

    This is the last book in the Recipe for Love series and I'm so sad to say goodbye to these characters!
    I loved Wes and Rosemary's story (Rosemary is an awesome character!) There are also cameos in this book from Miranda and Adam (the h/h from Can't Stand the Heat) which were fun and helped to wrap up the secondary romance between Frankie and Jess. I can't wait for Edward's next series to come out!

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  • Posted September 23, 2010

    Plenty of Cooking in teh Kitchen and Not all With Food

    Too many cooks in the kitchen are usually not a good thing. In the case of Just One Taste, it's a delicious thing. You'll want to read this book. I'm glad I did.

    This is my first "taste" of a Louisa Edwards book, and I think I'll be going out for the others in this series. Not that I needed them to know what was going on. Far from it. The book and characters stand alone well and I wasn't lost once. I just really like her work. The tempo is quick and the plot twists enough to keep me entertained.

    This is one book with characters I could identify with. Everyone has had issues with their folks at one point or another. We've all had those moments we wish we could erase. Rosemary is a troubled soul in that her past tends to dictate what happens in her present. Although there were times when I wanted her to come out of her shell a bit more and really embrace life (and Wes), I understood her reluctance.

    Wes is a handsome hero, and a pill. Really. He's salivating for Rosemary. Wants to know what it would be like to lose himself in her for a while. I had to give him props. There were times when most men would've walked away from Rosemary, but not Wes. Wonder where I could find a Wes of my own?

    My favorite part of the story had to be Jes and Frankie. Talk about keeping the reader on her toes. The men had a relationship-a hot one at that-but it's since fizzled. Seeing the interplay in the kitchen as they dance around each other literally and figuratively had me planted in my seat. These two need their own book. Please?

    If you want a story with sweet romance, definite sensuality and enough laughs to make your day, then you need to read Just One Taste. I give this book 4.5 books!

    originally posted at: longandshortreviews.blogspot.com

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  • Posted September 17, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    It snaps and sizzles

    Just One Taste by Louisa Edwards is another sizzling scorcher with spicy characters.

    Bad boy Chef Wes Murphy wasn't looking forward to his final semester cooking class, Food Chemistry 101. One look at the new substitute teacher, Dr. Rosemary Wilkins things are starting to sizzle. Wes decides getting close to Rosemary couldn't hurt his chances of acing the class. He finagles Rosemary into helping him with his final project on aphrodisiacs.

    Rosemary was never comfortable with people her own age. She was a child prodigy and was always around older people. Teaching this class is way out of her comfort zone but she is willing to help out the President of the academy. Her first class didn't go as well as she had hoped but a student helped her find her footing. Rosemary is surprised to find Wes Murphy in her office after class asking for a favor. Rosemary agrees to help Wes with his final project but she wasn't prepared to be so attracted to him.

    When Wes leaves Rosemary in the lurch can she forgive him when she finds out the reason he left her high and dry. Rosemary and Wes have a mountain of issues to overcome to get back what was just starting to blossom between them. But these two opposites work well together whether its in the kitchen or the bedroom.

    Just One Taste is smoking hot and delicious. Rosemary is a delight, her brain doesn't work like regular folks and that is part of her charm. She charms the pants latterly off Wes and he makes her see that there is more to life then her lab. The secondary romance of Jess and Frankie is very emotional and worth waiting for it to be worked out. I loved this series and can't wait to read what this author will cook up next.

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  • Posted August 22, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Culinary Aphrodisiacs!

    Wes Murphy thinks he's failing Food Chemistry 101, a course mandatory for him to pass before he can apply for the coveted externship at one of the famous New York City restaurants. When his professor suddenly takes a leave of absence, Wes can hardly believe the hot, brainy babe that takes over teaching his class. The chemistry of food becomes a brain new topic, one he broaches with Dr. Rosemary Wilkins, little realizing how she is struggling to be an academic success in a field which she adores, the chemistry that makes molecules of different ingredients interact when heated to become something with, yes, aphrodisiac possibilities. But her research is exactly about aphrodisiacs and this is how Wes and Rosemary connect.

    However, nothing is easy indeed! Wes's father is a con man who upon discovering Rosemary's background engages his son to dupe the woman Wes is coming more and more to love and respect. So Wes chooses the easy way and dumps her to protect her; but he's haunted by his deed just as she is saddened and even embittered after feeling used and abandoned.

    The plot is far from over! A bevy of characters appear in the restaurant where Wes does earn the perfect externship, including two male lovers vying for affection, jealous about others, and scheming to expand their successful business to an even greater site of haute cuisine.

    Louisa Edwards obviously loves food and romance, as this novel which is part of the "Recipe for Love" series is replete with the sensual and amazing descriptions of ingredients, recipes, the cooking process, and the proper presentation of culinary delights. Wes and Rosemary will meet again, and the reader will feel the tension as the plot turns moment to moment from tension to connection, back and forth, before a most luscious ending is served, promising years of more amusing and delicious debacles to come!!! Four stars!!!

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