Stubborn food critic Miranda Storme has reached her limit with infuriating restaurateur Gavin Luciano. Nicknaming her Red was just the tip of the iceberg—and not because her pulse races every time he uses it. She’d rather poke her eye out with a fork than let him know he affects her. Now he’s trying to charm a good review out of her? Last. Straw.
Gavin can have any woman he wants, but he only wants Red. The problem? He’s spent a good amount of time convincing her he’s a horse’s ass. Her words. Risking upsetting the feisty critic further could ruin his family’s business, but sometimes, when you know you’ve met your match, there’s nothing left to do but play dirty and go all the way…
|Publisher:||Entangled Publishing, LLC|
|File size:||2 MB|
About the Author
Jennifer Probst wrote her first book at twelve years old. She bound it in a folder, read it to her classmates, and hasn't stopped writing since. She took a short hiatus to get married, get pregnant, buy a house, get pregnant again, pursue a master's in English Literature, and rescue two shelter dogs. Now she is writing again.
She makes her home in Upstate New York with the whole crew. Her sons, one 5 and one 7, keep her active, stressed, joyous, and sad her house will never be truly clean.
She writes both sexy and erotic romance. She is published with Gallery for her New York Times, USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling Marriage to a Billionaire series. Other publishers include Entangled, Decadent,and Red Sage. She has also written a children's book, Buffy and the Carrot, co-written with her twelve year old niece, along with a short story about a shelter dog, "A Life Worth Living."
Read an Excerpt
All the Way
By Jennifer Probst, Libby Murphy and Liz Pelletier
Entangled Publishing, LLCCopyright © 2013 Jennifer Probst
All rights reserved.
"Hey, Gavin, can you take table three?"
Gavin Luciano turned to face his younger brother, Brando. A familiar combination of pleading and rebellion shone from dark brown eyes as Brando shifted from one foot to the other. "I've got a crisis in the kitchen and you want me to play waiter? I thought we agreed that would be your responsibility?"
The rebelliousness won over the pleading. "I gotta go to the bathroom."
Gavin lifted one brow. "I'm sure table three can wait another ten seconds."
"Then I need to call Tracey. I told her I'd call at six."
"Hmmm. I can always count on you to romance your women at prime dinner time."
"Give me a break."
Gavin hid a smile. He wondered if his younger brother knew he was capable of blushing. "Text her. I'll take this table while you go the bathroom. Tracey can wait another hour."
A scowl settled over Brando's face but he decided not to argue. This time. "Fine." Brando raced from the kitchen.
Gavin tried to remember if he'd ever been that young, where every lustful thought had been carved into his features and his body overruled his mind. Probably not. He couldn't remember when he'd been willing to give up a business deal for a romantic afternoon in the park. Of course, that was probably the reason the family restaurant was going under. Pop had no problem throwing a sign on the door — Gone Fishing — even during peak lunch hours.
He shook his head. It was going to be a hell of a night. Another waiter had called in sick, and his normally stable chef believed his wife was having an affair. The man seemed to have a heavy hand with the pepper and seasonings tonight, almost as if he imagined he served his new wife's lover. Gavin hoped everyone ordered the special. The sea bass was easy to prepare without screwing up the spices.
His progress halted as Dominick, the bartender, blocked his path. "I need a smoke. Can you cover the bar?"
He grabbed for his patience and reminded himself he was here to save a restaurant, not kill his staff. "No. I told you the new rules. Smoke on your breaks."
Dominick twitched and clapped him on the shoulder. Since they'd grown up together, it was difficult playing the boss. "Come on, dude. I'm dying here. The crowd's taken care of for the next few."
Gavin gave him a look that made many young interns quake. "Don't push me, Dominick. I'm already playing waiter, and I'm not getting behind the bar. If you don't want me to fire your ass, get it back in your spot."
The mutinous look almost made him feel guilty. Almost. "You need to get laid, man." Dominick trudged back behind the bar, cigarette still in hand. No wonder Mia Casa never made a profit.
Gavin had three months to turn the Titanic, and he'd already run out of lifeboats. Pumping an obscene amount of money into the renovations would help, but if they didn't get a schedule together and solid, sparkling reviews for the food, God himself couldn't hold back the icy waters.
He fought a shudder, clawed deep for calm, and headed toward table three.
Then he saw her.
He stopped short and stared. A swirling array of emotions slammed through him like a hurtling freight train, and for one brief moment, he was in another time and another place. The last image of her flickered before his eyes, an image he'd been trying to fight since he had returned home.
She was with the same man as he'd seen her with a few weeks ago. The pathetic reminder of his lovesick spying twisted his gut but he greedily gorged on her appearance.
She took off her raincoat and threw it over the back of the chair. One hand reached up to shake the moisture from her hair, causing a couple of loose curls to escape the constraints of her perfect French twist. Titian-red strands slid over her neck and shoulders. He remembered those curls used to tumble down her back in wild gypsy waves. Used to feel like fire trapped in satin when he would thread his fingers through them. The single candle on the table flickered and illuminated the pearl sheen of her skin, left bare by the low-cut black dress.
A pair of trendy black-framed glasses now shielded jade green eyes. And something else, something intangible he couldn't grasp yet. Almost as if there was a wall built around her that screamed look, but don't touch.
He wondered if her companion ignored the signal. He wondered why the thought bothered him so much.
The woman reached for her menu and laughed at something her companion said. The sound drifted across the room, shot-silk amidst the clatter of china and glasses, and still heady enough to settle in the pit of his gut and squeeze. Hot enough to remind him of a sip of age-old whiskey. With a sting.
Out of all the gin joints, in all the towns, in all the world, she has to walk into mine. Hell, he wouldn't be surprised if a piano player named Sam burst into "As Time Goes By."
Gavin dragged in a lungful of air and paused for a beat. Then he walked toward table number three.
* * *
Miranda Storme scanned the menu with an ease of an expert, her mind automatically making mental notes of prices and cuisine. She wondered if she'd have enough time to order the special.
"Uh-oh, you've got that look on your face."
Miranda glanced up. "What look?"
Andy Carson pulled his brows into a frown. "The critic look. Can't we enjoy one meal without whipping out your notepad? Let's be rebels tonight. Let's order a plain bowl of spaghetti and meatballs and forget about testing the chef's skills. I'm tired of working every time I pick up a fork."
She laughed. "Andy, you get to eat for free, and I don't even make you write the column."
"I don't care. I had a Big Mac yesterday and I couldn't enjoy it. I kept trying to figure out exactly what was in that special sauce."
She bit her lip. "Okay. Since you're nice enough to suffer through the opera with me, I'll order the spaghetti. An Italian restaurant can't screw it up, and we can make the performance in time."
His face lit up as he closed the menu. "Perfect. Anyway, we're not on an official review tonight and — what's the matter? You look like you've seen a ghost."
She watched the man approach her table and heard a strange roaring in her ears. Long strides closed the distance between them with the same ruthless determination he'd shown years ago. It had been part of him she'd fallen in love with.
Until he had used that same determination to walk right out of her life.
As the deep, gravelly voice stroked her ears, Miranda controlled a shudder. Slowly, she lifted her gaze to meet his, and was grateful she still felt numb. Steel-blue eyes met and held hers. Piercing in intensity, as if he could see right into her soul. Once, he had. She'd sworn to never make the mistake again.
"Hello, Gavin." She kept her tone even, as if running into your first love occurred on a daily basis. "How are you?"
"Fine." The polite, cliché conversation made her shudder, but no original words rose to her lips. His probing gaze released her and studied Andy. He seemed to take inventory, as if checking for weaknesses that could be used later to his advantage. An awkward silence settled over the table.
"I take it you two know each other," Andy said.
Miranda re-gathered her composure. "Andrew Carson, this is Gavin Luciano." The two men exchanged nods. "Gavin and I dated many years ago. He was an up and coming advertising executive at the time." She forced a smile. "I'm sure he's been quite successful."
Miranda's head swung back around. "You left?"
"Yep." He rocked back on his heels with a satisfied look. "I moved into a different field."
"What are you doing now?" she asked.
The tiny smile turned into a full-fledged grin. She sucked in her breath at the sight of that slow smile flashing a perfect row of white teeth. Totally confident. Overwhelmingly arrogant. Devastatingly masculine. "This," he said. Gavin whipped out a pencil and notepad from his jacket. "Can I take your order?"
She blinked. She took in his appearance, which consisted of a black turtleneck, khaki slacks, and a sport jacket. "You're a waiter?"
"Tonight I am. I'm the owner. This is my restaurant."
A rush of memories flooded through her. Dear God, she'd known Mia Casa sounded familiar. How could she have picked his family's restaurant? Not that she'd ever been invited here when they dated. Other than it was Italian and located in Manhattan, Mia Casa was just another common name of another place to dine.
Her stomach tilted. "You always said you never wanted anything to do with your family's restaurant."
Darkness settled over his features, then disappeared. "I was wrong." His voice dropped to an intimate pitch. A shiver ran down her spine. "About a lot of things."
Her hand shook as she reached up to slide the glasses back up her nose. She was so not going there. Having a chatty conversation with the man who dumped her would only ruin her appetite. She took a deep breath and briskly closed her menu. "How intriguing. Well, I think we're both ready to order."
Andy sat back in his chair and waved one hand in the air. His face reflected growing amusement. "Miranda, you order for me. You know what I want."
She registered Gavin's frown with relish. It would have been unheard of for Mr. Macho to let a woman order for him. For once, she succumbed to her evil side and deliberately leaned toward Andy. Her hand slid over his as she played with his fingers. His shocked expression almost ruined her moment, but she kicked him under the table and ignored his wince. "Darling, would you like to go traditional tonight?"
He blinked and remained silent. Her heel dug into his ankle. "Oh, yes, sweetheart. Traditional is fine."
Her professional critic training kicked in and she relaxed into her familiar world of food. "I think we'll start with the calamari, and bring some bruschetta with that. The spaghetti and meatballs as the main course. What's your vegetable?"
Did he wince, or was she imagining things? "Tonight we have broccoli rabe. But I recommend the salad instead of the vegetable. We have a wonderful house dressing to accompany it."
"Broccoli rabe, please."
"We're known for the stuffed artichokes. I think you may enjoy that, instead."
Oh, yeah, he really didn't want her to have the broccoli. She'd been to enough restaurants to know when a waiter was told to push certain items. Giddy satisfaction flowed through her veins. "No."
He shifted his weight. "As you wish. May I suggest the special tonight, instead? The chef has been preparing it all evening and it's quite extraordinary. Chilean sea bass over a bed of polenta served with —"
"No, thank you. Bring us two glasses of Chianti Reserve, please."
Frustration beat from his figure. Gavin was used to being in control, both in and out of the bedroom. Andy was probably driving him crazy with his refusal to speak. "Perhaps your companion would like an opinion?" Gavin asked.
Andy shrugged. "Whatever she says."
She almost laughed as her ex-lover's jaw clenched. Miranda blew an air kiss across the table. "It's so wonderful you don't need to be in control. I won't disappoint you, darling. I haven't yet."
"Funny, you used to love not being in charge." He paused. "Quite loudly, if I remember correctly."
Her breath strangled in her throat as she remembered the way he used to back her up against the wall, lift her skirt, and make her beg. She squeezed her thighs together, waited till she found air again, and forced a smile. "Not anymore. We'll be skipping desert to catch the eight o'clock show at the Met."
His pencil paused. "La Traviata?"
His thumb rubbed the edge of the pencil with slow, fluid motions, and Miranda remembered those blunt fingers gliding over her naked skin as the powerful strains of the opera rippled through the air. Remembered each stroke of his body against hers as he controlled the rhythm, ignoring her cries as he took her on a wild ride of pleasure, until the tension exploded while the music rose to a crashing crescendo. Remembered lying in his arms afterward, gazing into the fire, knowing she belonged to him.
She cursed the huskiness to her voice. "Yes."
"You always did like the opera." His hot gaze drifted over her face, and lower. "Some things never change."
She looked away and handed him the menus. "That'll be all for now. Thank you."
"I'll bring your appetizer shortly." Gavin turned and strode gracefully across the room.
Andy cleared his throat. "Whew, I have bruises on my leg. Next time remind me if I need to play the role of your boy toy."
"I'm sorry, Andy. It's ... complicated."
He grinned. "No problem, it was kind of fun. I guess that's the guy who screwed you up, huh?"
His words hit the tender spot of memories buried deep. "Yep."
Andy reached out and awkwardly patted her hand. "Let's see, this is the part in the evening when my wife would say a few words to make you feel better."
"Care to give it a whirl?"
She gave a strangled laugh. "Tell me about it. But he taught me a lot about myself. I'm stronger now." Maybe if she said it enough she'd finally believe it.
One brow shot up. "Just don't confuse strength with denial. Shutting yourself off from feeling isn't necessarily being strong."
"I always told you to be a shrink."
"Those weren't my words. They were from my own shrink."
Miranda sighed. "Maybe he gives group discounts. After tonight, I think I'm going to need it."
* * *
Miranda blinked back tears and fumbled for her water glass. Unfortunately it was empty, so she settled for a sip of Chianti. The alcohol added to the fire on her tongue and did nothing to quench the blaze.
Andy seemed to have the same trouble. He grabbed his own water glass. "Are you sure you didn't dump him and he wants revenge?"
Miranda choked on the wine. "It does seem a bit, er, overpowering, doesn't it?"
"He must have used a pound of pepper and garlic." He signaled for more water. "And that broccoli rabe was just plain scary. I'm still chewing it and I ate the stuff an hour ago."
"The bread was good."
"Yeah, let's give the place four stars."
Miranda laughed. There was nothing her friend hated more than a disappointing Italian restaurant. "Don't get cranky. We'll just get a cannoli to go."
She rose from the table. "Why don't you grab the check while I go to the ladies room?"
"Okay, I'll meet you out front."
Her heels clicked against the wooden floor as she made her way toward the back of the dining area. Her gaze swept over her surroundings, noting the combination of old- and new-world style that made up the restaurant. One glance at the large modern bar showed her the restaurant was undergoing some growing pains, battling between the current times and the fight to keep tradition. Miranda pictured the mighty Gavin Luciano running the place like a pirate rules his ship.
She washed her hands and carefully checked her appearance. As she tried to smooth some loose tendrils of hair back into the French twist, her hands trembled. She dropped her arms and stared into the mirror.
How long had she waited and hoped for him to return? To chase her and admit he'd fallen in love with her and wanted to stay?
Too long. Eventually, she grew up and grew strong. She realized he'd never come back, and she needed to build her own foundation.
Now he was back.
Miranda straightened her shoulders. It didn't matter, of course. She'd walk right out of his restaurant tonight and never see him again. Only shock made her body seem so strangely out of control.
She swung open the door and started down the long hallway.
"God, you look good, Red."
She froze, then turned slowly around and came face to face with her past. "Thanks. You haven't changed a bit."
He gave a soft laugh and moved forward. Waves of masculine energy emanated from his body, pulling her in. His gaze traveled over her face, her hair, and downward. "From someone else, I'd take that as a compliment. Coming from you, I'm a bit leery."
Miranda struggled to remain cool and distant. "I'm sure my opinion won't keep you up at night."
A lazy grin curved his lips. "It's not your opinion I'm worried about. There were always other things about you that kept me up at night."
She jerked away as the intimate words flowed between them. "I've got to go."
Excerpted from All the Way by Jennifer Probst, Libby Murphy and Liz Pelletier. Copyright © 2013 Jennifer Probst. Excerpted by permission of Entangled Publishing, LLC.
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.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I Loved Jennifer Probst' s Billionaire Series and she did not disappoint with All the Way! I was absolutely hooked from page one and turned page after page because I could not put it down! Miranda and Gavin' s Story was heartwarming as well as Steamy!!! Miranda and Gavin dated 3 years before, Gavin left Miranda heartbroken to travel the world and to pursue his career to achieve the Power and the money! Gavin is called back home to save his family's Italian restaurant, Miranda is now a well known restaurant critic! She comes in on a bad night and gives the restaurant a low rating! Not only does that hurt business but also makes Gavin realize he made a mistake! Miranda doesn't trust him and his intentions, Gavin has to prove himself to her, save the restaurant, decide if his job overseas really makes him happy! His company wants him to end his leave early, but he has lots to accomplish! This was truly a touching, heartwarming story, that had me going through so many different emotions! I highly recommend picking up a copy, it is a wonderful read!
All The Way, the newest installment of Jennifer Probst's must reads, will not disappoint the reader who wants warmth, humor, steamy sexual tension with smoking love scenes, and real life characters that you love at first sight, including the hero's family. You can never go wrong with a story from Ms. Probst.
The last place Miranda Stowe expected to find Gavin Luciano was in the middle of Mia Casa while she she having dinner with her best friend. Seeing Gavin brought up all the ugly memories of how he left and what she had to deal with afterwards. She uses her job as a food critic to get her ultimate revenge, but she learns that Gavin isn't going to give up that easily. Three years ago, Gavin abruptly left Miranda for a job in Europe. Temporarily home to help save his family's restaurant from bankruptcy, Gavin also planned on finding a way to apologize to Miranda and prove to her she meant more to him than just a brief affair. But Gavin has his work cut out for him, because Miranda is not the same woman he left behind and this one isn't going to let him off that easy. This was a cute story, but I wasn't really in love with the characters the way I wanted to be. Miranda was just a bit too cold (and down right nasty when she ran into her arch nemesis in restaurants) to make me want Gavin to fight for her. I understood why she was that way, but it was just too much of a change from how she used to be. Then there was Gavin. Sometimes he was just a little too wishy washy for me. He wanted to help his family, yet he was ready to flee in a matter of weeks. He wanted to win Miranda back, yet he was leaving for China in a few weeks. With all his contemplations in India and his realization that he loved Miranda, he didn't come to the conclusion that he wanted to be back in New York? I enjoyed the foodie part of the story and LOVED Gavin's father and his gang of old croonies. I love how Gavin's dad quoted Sinatra and how he and his friends would fight over the rat pack. They were charming and brought back memories of my childhood growing up with my Italian grandfather playing Dean and Frank.
## I enjoyed reading this book. With 167 pages it was a perfect afternoon read. The chatacters were interesting and developed fully. The hero was sure he wanted the heroine this time around without doubts but struggled with his professional decisions. In most second chance stories the heroine seems to forgive much too easily for my taste, so I loved how in this story she made sure the hero knew how much hurt he caused. Several times in fact. And I love how he wanted to prove that he could be trusted this time. Worth your time and money.
Loved this story! I enjoyed the family scenes as much as the romance. I couldn't help but fall in love with them all.
As always the story was great, funny , hot sex and a happy ending. Love this author cannot wait for her next book in the billionare series
Great Story!! Recommend Very Highly!!!
All the Way is a great book! I love the way Jennifer Probst writes! From the begin of the story your aware that Miranda and Gavin have past. Miranda was heartbroken by Gavin. Gavin knows he made a mistake all that time ago. I love watching Miranda and Gavin build back the their relationship! I enjoyed reading how Miranda learns the Gavin is not the same person as he was berfore. I love the Gavin wants to show Miranda who he is now! Gavin has a sweet and caring side. Miranda is not the same either senstive person she was. It is wonderful to see that two people can find love their way. I love the way Jennifer writes the story and the way it unfolds! I love how Jennifer used Frank Sintra lines in her story. Truly a great read
Couldn't Put it down! Jennifer had done it again! This is a beutiful book that will hook you from the first page and won't let you go until the last. If you are a lover of good food, amazing characters and a heart warming love story don't hesitate to buy this book. You will not be sorry.
I enjoyed seeing how this story played out. Miranda runs into her former lover Gavin. Gavin is the one who left her in the past. Now he wants her back. She tries to fight those old feelings. He doesn't seem to give up so easily. Food is also mentioned a lot in the story and would make me hungry for the meals described! Another great story Jennifer!
Another amazing book from Jennifer Probst, could NOT put it down!! writing is amazing, you'll fall in love with Gavin & Miranda. Buy it now!! Thank you Ms.Probst for another amazing book and making my Monday so much better, YOU ROCK!!!
I loved the book i couldnt put it down when i started reading and i dont even like to read
All The Way is well written with relatable characters and a plot that keeps you reading to find the answers. It has no cliff hangers, is a stand alone book and entertains you with Sinatra music lines by Old men who are called the Rat pack. Gavin and Miranda was once involved, 3 years later he is back and wants to pick up were they left off. Miranda wants to be in control of the relationship this time around. Will they both get what they want and get that second chance at HEA?
So logical..So truthful..Could not put it down
Reviewed by: Rachel Book provided by: the publisher for review Review originally posted at Romancing the Book Italians? Restaurants? GAVIN? Oh. My. I’m a huge fan of Jennifer Probst. I feel like she brings a really unique feel to every book she writes. This book, does not disappoint in the least. In fact, once I got through the first two chapters, I was well on my way to believing this was the best book she’s written yet. Miranda is a control freak food critique. Of course, it shouldn’t have surprised her that the very restaurant she walks into is the one owned by her ex, Gavin. He’s supposed to be working for corporate America! Not waiting tables! She soon discovers he’s helping his family out for a few months–and that he’s never forgotten about her. But Miranda has way too much pride to go crawling back to the man who broke her heart. Years ago she gave him a part of her and he sent her an email, breaking things off! She leaves in a fury and writes a terrible review for the restaurant, making Gavin and his family furious, hurt, and stressed. What follows is a very romantic story about Gavin and Miranda, and how Gavin teaches Miranda how to let go, and most importantly how to trust again. There are quite a few twists and turns in this book, ones I didn’t see coming, which I really appreciated. I always felt like I was kept on my toes and I never lost focus or got bored. I LOVED Gavin’s character. His sexuality and masculinity literally flew off the pages. He had such a good heart and really did want to make things right with Miranda. Miranda kind of drove me crazy. I wanted to shake her sometimes. I mean Gavin had only given her one reason not to trust her and it was years ago. But she eventually redeemed herself, and you learn why she is the way she is. The ending was tied up quite nicely and I found myself happily sighing once I was finished. Minor swearing and a few sex scenes.
I usually enjoy JP books but this one just wasn't very good. I did not like Miranda at all. She was silly and vindictive. Gavin was a better character but wasn't great. The book was written as if it was just thrown together in about a week. Very disappointed.
I really enjoyed this new series. I enjoy Native American history & excited to see how the vampire legend & indian relate to each other. Looking forward to Hunter's story & his upcoming 12 tests.
it was a very fine read - I enjoyed the characters but wanted to see more of a dominant side of Gavin. Otherwise, it was good.
Good Book! 4.5 Stars I am a huge fan of all books authored by Jennifer Probst. Her writing is fun, realistic and sincere. All the Way is no exception, it is a well-paced steamy romance that I could not put down. Sexy Miranda Storme is a very successful New York City food critic. Her reviews are honest, fair and have the power to make or break a restaurant. The day she was sharing a meal with her good friend Andy, she runs into her gorgeous ex-boyfriend, Gavin Luciano, the love of her life that left her three years ago by way of an email. Gavin has returned to help manage and fix Mia Casa, his family's restaurant, which happens to be where Miranda is having lunch. Revenge is sweet as Miranda decides to review Mia Casa, and unfortunately for Gavin, the truthfulness of her review may put an end to his family's business. In spite of the negative review, Miranda and Gavin find time to reach out to each other and communicate. Little by little they rip each others emotional barriers down and fall in love all over again. However, the journey to true love and ultimate forgiveness is difficult and painful. Luckily, they are able to find it once again. I highly recommend All the Way!