Cooking Up Trouble(4)

By: Judi Lynn

He was pretty sweet, really. But Gary had been sweet, too. Nice, handsome men might make great friends, but nothing more. “I’ll keep that in mind. For now, I’ve got to go. I have blueberry bushes to plant. You have a beautiful place. Settle in and I’ll see you at six.”

With a nod, he watched her go.

On the drive home, she couldn’t help thinking about him. Boy, did he have a lot to learn. She’d been lucky. She’d stayed with her grandparents every summer before she’d moved here. She knew what to expect of a small town. She had a feeling Ian McGregor didn’t have a clue.

Chapter 2

Tessa spent the next few hours planting her new bushes. The knees of her jeans were caked with dirt, her cheeks were smudged, and she looked a mess. But by the time Ian knocked on her front door, she’d showered and changed. She wore her good jeans and a long sleeved, cream-colored T-shirt. Once the sun set, the air turned cool. She let her hair dry naturally, flowing around her shoulders, which meant it curled every which way.

When she opened the front door for him, he held out a bottle of wine before he entered the house. He stared at her. “You have gorgeous hair.”

She laughed. “Thanks, come in.” Men always noticed her hair. It was flattering, but nothing more.

Ian stepped into the foyer, stopped to soak in his surroundings, and then sighed. “This place feels so homey, cozy. I’d like to get that feel at the lodge.”

“Lived-in. My grandparents owned it before they gave it to me.”

She led him toward the kitchen at the back of the house, but he kept getting sidetracked to look at things. “I didn’t realize bungalows were this spacious.”

She shook her head. “This is a wide one.”

“With a big, inviting porch. The lodge needs a bigger porch.” He glanced out the front window at the wicker furniture. Then he studied the arches that connected the living room to the kitchen and the side hallway. “How many bedrooms?”

“Two down, two up.”

“Nice. The lodge is bigger. Do you think I could make it feel warm like this?”

“Let’s talk about it over supper. Everything’s ready. When we’re finished, I’ll give you a tour of the place.”

“I’d like that.” He grinned. His grin was good. A girl could be swayed if she wasn’t careful.

He sighed again when they walked through the arch into the kitchen. White cupboards lined three walls. One row had glass panels to show off the dishes, bowls, and crockery inside. Granite counter tops provided plenty of workspace. Oak floors gleamed in the sunlight spilling through the windows. He sniffed the air. “I wish Lily liked to cook.”


He jammed his hands into his jeans pockets, embarrassed. “My fiancée. I came here to get things ready, and then she’s going to join me.”

“Smart girl, she’ll miss all the dust and mess.”

Ian frowned at her. “I should have told you about Lily sooner. I wasn’t thinking. If you cooked a meal to impress me . . .”

Tessa snorted. “Sorry, I’m not looking. I invited you over because you’re my neighbor. I’m glad you’re engaged. Now we don’t have that awkward guy-girl thing to worry about.”

Color tinged his cheeks. “I sounded like an ass, didn’t I? But girls have invited me for home-cooked meals before, hoping—”

She cut him off. “I get it. No problem.”

His shoulders relaxed. “We can be friends?”

“That’s my limit these days.” She motioned him to a seat at the cherry table and went to carry the food over. “Why don’t you pour us some of that wine?”

His gaze scanned the area, the French doors that led out to a three-season room and the white picket fence that bordered the small yard beyond that. Flowerbeds circled the fence, new shoots just beginning to sprout. An herb garden grew at the corner by the house. Beyond the private yard was a vista of gardens and trees, all leading to the lake.

“Where’s your bakery?” he asked. “In town?”

She dished chuck roast, potatoes, carrots, onions, and celery onto his plate, then filled her own, then passed him the sautéed green beans. “No, there’s a breezeway that leads to the garage. It blocks the view of the barn on that side of the property. That‘s where the farm stand and bakery are.”

“So you never have to leave your property, if you don’t want to.”

“I’m not very social, but being around people is nice now and then. It’s convenient having everything close, though. I spend a lot of time in the barn and gardens in good weather.”

Hot Read

Last Updated


Top Books