As the owner of the Atomic Veggie food truck, Russ serves his popular vegetarian food all over the city. His former classmate and rival, Darren, owner of Meat Me Halfway, has never served a vegetable out of his truck, unless it was on top of one of his gourmet cheeseburgers. The two men never got along under the best of circumstances, but after spending one hot night together during culinary school, things went from bad to worse.
Now, when they’re not cooking, they’re thinking of ways to make each other miserable, with a series of ever-escalating pranks. When Darren approaches Russ in a time of need, will the two call a truce and finally give into the passion they’ve been denying for years? Or will one last prank prove to be the end of their simmering relationship?
Heat Level: 3
Length: Extended Amber Kiss (12k words)
Read a short excerpt...
...When Darren stood next to me, I ignored my usual instinct to move away from him.
“So, working with me again wasn’t so bad, was it?”
I smiled, but didn’t look at him.
“Well, I have to say touching raw hamburger meat is still as gross as I remember, but other than that, no. It wasn’t so bad. You were right. We always have worked well together.”
He clinked his long neck bottle against mine, and our eyes met.
“Told you so.”
“You really are a cocky bastard, you know that?”
“So I’ve been told.” He bumped his shoulder into mine, and my stomach flipped over at the contact. “Although, I’ve been told it’s one of my most attractive qualities.”
I drank a sip of my beer, but it stuck in my throat and I started to cough. When he slipped his arm around me and put his mouth right next to my ear, I thought I was going to choke all over again.
“You used to think so, Russ. And I think maybe you still do.”
When I felt his tongue slide over my earlobe, I knew I had to get away. I shrugged his arm off me and moved as far away from Darren as I could, which, under the circumstances, wasn’t very far. When I caught my breath, I realized what he was doing. I wasn’t going to fall for it again and I most certainly wasn’t going to let him off the hook this time. As my anger rose up inside me, I let him have it.
“I can’t believe you’re fucking with me right now, Darren. After I came here to help you.”
“What the hell are you talking about?”
He set down his beer and tried to come closer, but I put my hands up to stop him.
“You know exactly what I’m talking about. If you think I’m gonna fall for that shit again, you’re crazy.”
Darren looked confused, but I knew it was all part of his little game.
“I’m not trying to mess with you.”
“Oh, please. Yes, you were. What else do you call it?”
He slid a hand through his hair and retreated a step. “Well, if you want to know the truth, I was trying to hit on you.”
I shook my head and laughed.
“Duh, I know. So you could make me look stupid when I went for it. You did the same thing outside the bar a few weeks ago.”
“Dude, save it. Let’s just go. I can’t deal with you anymore tonight.”
I reached for the door, but he spun me around before I could turn the handle. His face was inches from mine, and I could barely breathe.
“Maybe I wasn’t clear before, Russ. I really want to kiss you.”
I was starting to think he was serious. There was one way to find out. I put my hands around his waist and pulled him against me. My logical brain knew it was a mistake, but I said what was on my mind anyway.
“Then go ahead.”
He wrapped his hand around the back of my neck and did as I asked. It was even better than it had been outside the bar, but part of me was still waiting for the other shoe to drop...