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Jack Donner’s heart skipped a beat when he saw the sign, ‘Whiskers’ Seaside Inn, next left.’ The place was well known in the area. When he’d seen the job notice in the paper, he couldn’t wait to apply. His last job, working on a fishing boat, had paid the bills, but it definitely wasn’t what he wanted to do with his life.
When he pulled into the car park, his hopes soared. The inn was as beautiful as he remembered. Not too big, but with a view that never failed to take his breath. He’d always admired the place. He parked and turned off the ignition.
A gust of cool ocean air curled around him the moment he opened the door of his beat-up old sedan. He got out and stretched the kinks out of his back, looking towards the front doors. He spotted two men embracing, and wondered about it, and them. He’d heard rumours about the owners of Whiskers’ being gay.
The couple parted, spoke a few words and one of them, a very handsome man who looked to be in his late thirties or early forties, got into the waiting car. The younger man stood quietly for a moment, his face a study in thoughtfulness. The T-shirt he wore with the Whiskers’ logo made Jack suspect the guy worked at the inn. The car pulled away, and they both watched it go.
He ran a hand through his unruly brown hair and tugged the corners of his collar straight. “Ready or not, here I come,” he mumbled and retrieved the manila folder from the passenger’s seat. Plastering on a smile, he headed towards the door.
“Howdy,” Jack said to the younger man who’d turned and opened the door just as he got there.
“Hi there, welcome to Whiskers’.”
“Thanks.” Jack walked into the lobby and stopped for a moment to get his bearings.
“Can I help you?”
Jack turned and smiled. “Jack Donner. I’m here to apply for the chef job.”
The blond man smiled and offered his hand. “Then you’re in luck, Mr. Donner. I’m Logan Emerson, the chef you’d be replacing.”
The two shook hands, and Jack returned the man’s smile. “Call me Jack, please. Can I ask why you’re leaving, or is that too personal a question?”
Logan nodded. “It’s personal, but a fair question. What the hell.” He turned and headed deeper into the inn, saying over his shoulder, “Come on, we’ll get coffee and talk.”
Jack followed the handsome cook, eyeing the way his ass moved inside his cut-off jeans. They went through a nice-sized dining room, the tables empty for the moment, but already set for the evening meal. The fireplace drew his attention and he wondered how often they used it. He had visions of cold winter nights, a storm raging and the firelight flickering off a masculine face. Jack shuddered and dragged his attention back to the present. “This is a really great place.”
“Yeah,” Logan agreed. “You could probably never tell there was a fire here a few weeks ago.”
“A fire?” Jack looked around again, surprised.
“Caused by a lightning strike. Not a whole lot of damage, mostly smoke and water. We had to close for a while, though. Thankfully, we’re up and running again.”
“That’s good.” Jack shuddered again. Fire was not his favourite element.
The chef opened a door, and motioned him to follow. “If you get the job, this’ll be your domain.” He waved his hand expansively around the room, which wasn’t all that big, but looked well-stocked. Logan filled two large mugs with coffee and continued farther into the room. A small bistro-style table and two chairs filled most of the area making a cosy place to sit and chat.
Logan sat on the far side and nodded towards the other seat. “Take a load off.”
Taking the proffered seat, Jack set his elbows on the table and sipped his coffee. “Looks like a solid kitchen. So you don’t mind if I ask why you’re leaving?” He let his gaze rest on the cook’s face, trying to focus on that rather than the way his shirt pulled tight across his chest. The man was a hunk, but he’d also seen him show feelings for someone else.
“You saw the guy I was saying goodbye to, outside?”
“Yeah, a nice-looking fellow,” Jack replied.
“He’s my guy. We’re moving in together. He’s going to be a judge. I’ll go with him, and find work where he’s posted.”
“Before I go, I’ll need help with a wedding we’re having here.”
Jack nodded. The place would be popular for weddings. “A big affair?”
“Not sure yet. It’s the owner and his lover.”
“I heard a gay couple ran the place.”
Logan chuckled and nodded. “You heard right. Ethan and Cade are finally going to tie the knot.”