Wednesday, June 2, 2021

🍽️ Excerpt & Giveaway ~ AN ACQUIRED TASTE by Kelly Cain 🍽️

An Acquired Taste (The Everheart Brothers of Texas, #1)
by: Kelly Cain
Series: The Everheart Brothers of Texas
Genre: Contemporary Multicultural/Interracial Romance
Release Date: June 8, 2021
Publisher: Tule Publishing
Amazon | Paperback | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Kobo | Goodreads

May the best chef win…

After four years at the country’s top culinary school and several years as head chef in her mother’s restaurant, Rowan Townsend has built a notable reputation. Her farm-to-table collard greens have long been bringing everyone to the yard, but limits on the restaurant’s size have led to long waits. Looking to expand the restaurant, she enters a televised chef competition. The problem? Her infuriatingly-talented nemesis from culinary school also enters.

To the culinary world, Knox Everheart is restaurant royalty. As much as Rowan wants to deny it, he’s a gifted chef. Rowan knows her arrogant arch-nemesis is confident he’ll win—he’s certainly given her a run for her money more times than she’d like to admit. But this time, she’s ready to show him who’s boss.

Their rivalry soon sparks fireworks in the kitchen and, as the competition heats up, so does Rowan’s attraction to Knox. And somewhere between pasta and gumbo, they both need to decide what’s worth fighting for.


Knox looks around completely uninvited. At least he stays within the living area. He sits at my desk and scans an eleven by seventeen piece of paper I’ve been scribbling on. It doesn’t matter to me that he sees it. They’re only ideas, none that will ever see the light of day.

“Pâté, duck au poivre.” He nods. “Spring pea ravioli?” He turns to me and raises an eyebrow, most likely because he knows I can’t make pasta for shit.

I shrug. “They’re just ideas I’d like to serve. No big deal.” In my spare time, I’ve been crafting a new menu with items I’d love to add if I have my way.

He continues reading, then picks up a pencil and starts scribbling. “These are some great items.”

I walk over and take the pencil out of his hand. “Thanks, but it’s pretty late. Did you come over to review my menu choices?”

“In my wildest dreams did I ever think I’d wind up in your apartment tonight. So, no.”

I breathe in his juicy fruit scent, and catch myself before I do something I don’t mean. I walk over to the couch and kick my shoes off.

He moves from the desk chair to the couch, sitting on the opposite end. “Tell me about your mom.”

Because I don’t have anyone to talk to really—Wyatt will only go so far before getting upset. And because Knox doesn’t have his mom and hasn’t had her in a very long time. And just maybe because I’m a little tired and have let down my guard, I tell him everything. Not just about Mama, but everything with the restaurant, with Sue. Everything.

He listens and doesn’t interrupt. And when I’ve finished confessing like the biggest sinner around, he only nods and says, “Thank you. That really puts things into perspective.”

“Glad I could help, Knox.”

“Do you want me to fix it? Give you the solution?”

“Of course not. I just thought you might have more to say.”

“Growing up without my mom is the absolute worst part of my life. Your mom is sick but from what you said, she’ll be okay if she takes care of herself. And I’m so glad for you. I’m sorry she’s stubborn. If I had any insight there, I wouldn’t be where I am with my father.”

“Where are you with your father?”

“An impasse it would seem. I’ve tried getting backing for my little corner of the world, but he’s had me blackballed. His reach is far and wide. Getting into this competition was a fluke, and it was too late for him to stop it. He even threatened to fire all three of us.” He lays his head against the back of the sofa, and closes his eyes.

If he’s expecting me to be surprised, that ship has sailed. Mama has told me enough about Flynn Everheart to have a pretty good understanding of how ruthless he is. It’s unexpected that he would act this way with his sons though.

“That’s awful, Knox. But it’s good that your brothers stood by you.”

He turns his head my way and opens his eyes. “Yeah, it is. Dad would never fire us though. It’s the whole reason he won’t let me go out on my own, why he pushed me into culinary school to begin with. You had it right when you said I was the heir apparent.”

“Why not Declan since he’s the oldest?”

“He’s a great chef. Not good enough in Dad’s eyes. And you already know about Weston. He’s a gifted pastry chef, but like me, it’s not his passion. He does it more to honor Mom’s memory than anything else.”

My stomach grumbles and I groan. I’d almost forgotten I hadn’t had anything to eat since before lunch. And I’m too tired to get off the sofa and make something.

“You didn’t eat? That gumbo is everything.”

“Gumbo is a special occasion food and we make it every day. You get sick of it really quick.”

He launches himself off the sofa and walks into my kitchen to wash his hands in the sink.

My apartment is: one average-sized bedroom, a decent bathroom, living room and kitchen. The latter two rooms are part of an open plan so there’s only a counter separating the two. My kitchen is the biggest room in the apartment, and it’s full of every gadget a modern chef could want in a home cooking space. I use this kitchen on my days off to test recipes that Lillie will never let us use.

Knox opens my fridge and moves items around, pulling out a small container and lifting it in the air while still examining the fridge’s contents. “Béchamel?”

“Tis.”

He rummages a few moments longer then comes out balancing clarified butter, Dijon mustard, Gruyère, the container of béchamel, and a couple slices of ham. He sets them on the counter, grabs bread from the box, then a pan from a cabinet.

Before he continues, he unbuttons his shirt, staring at me the whole time. It’s almost as though he’s seen my dreams and means to give me a show. But the thing is, I get it. He knows I don’t have an apron just as I’m sure he doesn’t either, and getting his fancy shirt stained isn’t in the plan. I don’t cook in anything I don’t want ruined either. He pulls it off and places it on the back of one of the stools, then sets back to work.

My new favorite thing is watching Knox Everheart grate cheese. In my kitchen.

His body puts my dreams to shame. He still has on an undershirt, but it’s thin and doesn’t hide one single muscle jumping and flexing as he grates. Another huge difference—tattoos on his chest. I had no idea.

When he turns to the stove to heat the pan, I nearly faint. I sit up straight because I am no longer tired. My senses are firing on all cylinders, and my nipples definitely have a mind of their own, hardening under my jacket. Thank goodness I was too tired to take it off.

His chest is thrown out, his arms extended back, perfect posture on full display. His back is…beautiful. Completely unmarred, tanned, and jacked. Muscular broad shoulders flow into a trim waist and tight butt.

He turns back my way to assemble the sandwich and smirks. “You have a little something on your chin, Amber.”

I won’t give him the satisfaction of checking for drool because I know I haven’t lost complete control. Yet. Instead I muster a weak, “You wish, Everheart.”

He lifts one side of his mouth into a half smile and glances at me with hooded eyes before turning back to the pan. While it’s sizzling in the skillet, he heats the broiler. Then tops the sandwich with more cheese and béchamel, setting it under the fire.

Knox pulls down a plate and slides on his creation, setting it on the counter.

“Croque monsieur, madam.”

Purchase An Acquired Taste from:

📖 You can read my 5 Star Review of An Acquired Taste here📖

Kelly Cain is a native Northern Californian but has spent the last couple of decades in Texas, currently residing in the live music capital of the world, Austin. Consequently, most of her books are set somewhere between those two locations.

Kelly writes multicultural romance with determined women directing their own fates, and the swoon-worthy men who adore them. She loves reading most genres but please don’t ask her to pick just one. However, she can pick her favorite book boyfriend – Will Herondale.

When she isn’t reading or writing, Kelly is most likely using a genealogy site to research her extended family, both old and new. Or cooking/baking something delightful.

She has two adult daughters, and a new granddaughter.

She is represented by Amy Brewer at Metamorphosis Literary Agency.

Places to find Kelly Cain:

An Acquired Taste is an enemies to lovers romance. What are your thoughts on the trope? Do you love it or hate it, and why? Kelly is offering up a $25 Amazon Gift Card. Good luck!


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20 comments:

  1. Sounds very interesting - thanks for sharing

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  2. Enemies to lovers is one of my faves. 😃

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  3. I love the enemies to lovers trope

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  4. I love an enemy to lovers troupe! It makes for great banter between the characters.

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  5. I love enemy to lovers trope! It makes for good banter between the characters!

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  6. Enemies to lovers is one of my favorite tropes to read.

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  7. I love enemies to lovers. I like the slow burn

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  8. I like the enemies to lovers trope. Thanks for the giveaway.

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  9. I prefer friends to lovers. The enemies to lover trop tends to have more angst.
    Jennifer Rote

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    1. I love friends to lovers. Enemies to lovers definitely have to be done right, in order to make it successful. Kelly did a really good job with this story.

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  10. I love enemies to lovers because it creates tension between the characters.

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  11. This book was my first enemies to lovers romance and i loved it. I agree with it cause tension, juicy tid bits, you just know that romance is gonna have a hint of spice to it.

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  12. I like friends to lovers because they see each other in a new way.

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  13. Enemies to lovers is my favorite trope ❤

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  14. Enemies to lovers is one of my favorites.

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  15. This was a great read! Can't wait for more books from this author.

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  16. I love the trope. This sounds like a great book.

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