KITCHEN GODS, BOOK 3
RELEASE DATE: 10.02.18
COVER DESIGN: AngstyG
When Chef Xander Bridges leaves the warmth and safety of his car on a cold, stormy night and approaches a stranger, the last thing he expects to find is a future. He’s wanted to leave his job for awhile, but with no good opportunities on the horizon, he’s been stuck in a long, painful rut. But when he befriends the stranger viciously tearing up his own vineyard, Xander discovers something inexplicable. Maybe he’s not the bitter, sarcastic man that everyone, including himself, has endured for years.
Maybe, with someone like Damon in his life, he could be something more. Something better.
Damon Hess doesn’t just want more, he demands it. With his alcoholic past, there are no gray areas for him. Only black and white. In love or not. Sober or drunk. But the chance meeting with Xander opens Damon’s eyes, and gives him a vision full of something he hasn’t experienced in years: hope.
Hope that he can expect companionship and affection, hope that he doesn’t have to grapple with his family’s questionable Napa legacy any longer, and most importantly, hope that there’s a future worth believing in. But the longer he and Xander spend cultivating that future, the more Damon realizes that the key is so much simpler than he ever imagined--it’s Xander.
Savor Me is an 80,000 word contemporary m/m romance starring an irascible man with a soft, gooey marshmallow center and another who knows he likes men, but has never been with one before. It is third in the Kitchen Gods series, but can be read as a standalone.
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“What’s all this?” Damon asked when he opened the door.
“Dinner,” Xander said, hefting one of the grocery bags a little higher on his hip. “I got the impression last time I was here that you were good with that espresso machine but that you don’t use your stove that much.”
Damon grinned, unexpectedly fierce and bright, and it nearly knocked Xander right back. “Guilty as charged,” he admitted, opening the door wider to let Xander come into the house.
It looked much the same as it had that night, a year ago. A little cleaner, perhaps, like Damon had gotten that text and had decided to neaten up in anticipation of Xander coming over.
This is not a date, Xander reminded himself.
He’d had to remind himself of this more than once when he’d been at the grocery store picking up food for tonight. First he’d agonized at the meat counter. When you brought a filet for dinner, what did it mean? What about salmon? Shrimp?
Love, marriage, or maybe even eternal devotion? A white picket fence?
Xander had to stop himself before he asked the butcher if the different cuts had deep, secret meanings, like flowers. There was no cut of meat that communicated: “this is just a friendly work dinner, but if you wanted it to be more, I could be convinced. And by the way, do you like men?”
“I decided,” Xander told Damon as they walked through the living room towards the kitchen, “that it would be completely stupid for you to hire me if I’d never even cooked for you before.”
Damon shrugged, one side of his mouth quirking up a little. It had the side effect of making his bottom lip look very bitable.
Xander set his groceries on the kitchen counter and began to unpack them like they held the secret to world peace. He was attracted to Damon and it was a problem, but their partnership didn’t have to be defined by his inconvenient attraction.
“I think I’d like to see you explore what you’re interested in,” Damon said quietly as he settled in one of the barstools. The same one Xander had occupied a year ago. Xander told himself that meant nothing. After all, there were only three barstools to pick from. Maybe that one was secretly the most comfortable and Xander had just gotten lucky.
It did something to the base of his stomach to think that Damon didn’t care; that he just wanted to give Xander the freedom and the space to do what he wanted. It had been a very long time since anyone had thought highly enough of him to do that, and Xander told himself not to be fooled into thinking that’s what this was.
“You really don’t care?” Xander asked in disbelief.
He’d never hired a chef before. Maybe when you hired one, you just naturally assumed you were getting their point of view, not your own.
“My point of view is the garden,” Damon said. “As long as you use as much of it as you can, I’m good.”
And Xander had taken at least that much away from their previous conversations about the restaurant, so he’d bought lots of vegetables, which he spread out across the counter now.
“Someday,” he told Damon, “all this will be from your garden.”
Damon set his elbows on the counter, forearms rippling with muscle, because even though he was wearing another plaid shirt, of course he’d rolled up the sleeves. But his intent couldn’t be to drive Xander crazy; it was just probably more comfortable. Maybe those crazy gorgeous forearms didn’t even fit properly into shirts.
Xander swallowed hard and looked away. “I figured I’d make a quick pasta with roasted garlic and sautéed vegetables. I got a nice salmon filet too.”
“Salmon’s good. I like salmon,” Damon said.
It was weird cooking in someone else’s kitchen, and it was even weirder doing it with Damon watching him so intently.
Beth Bolden lives in Portland, Oregon with her supportive husband. She wholly believes in Keeping Portland Weird, but wishes she didn’t have to make the yearly pilgrimage up to Seattle to watch her Boston Red Sox play baseball. She’s a fan of fandoms, and spends too much of her free time on tumblr.
Beth has been writing practically since she learned the alphabet. Unfortunately, her first foray into novel writing, titled Big Bear with Sparkly Earrings, wasn’t a bestseller, but hope springs eternal. She’s published eight novels and two novellas, with Catch Me, the next novel in the Kitchen Gods series, releasing in May 2018.