Dave keeps Meggin at arm’s length by coming up with silly ‘rules.’ He never tells her anything about his past. She’d wanted him to go to a cooking class with her, but as always, he’d brushed her off. Once she’s gone, he realizes he pushed her away. Can he win her back, or is it too late? He suggests a ‘cook-off,’ but there’s far more at stake than winning the contest.
Suddenly the classroom lights flicked off and on, like the last call for an intermission at the theater. Conversations halted as the assistants filed up to the front, stepping onto the raised kitchen platform and forming ranks behind the butcher’s block that formed the main teaching area. Bright lights illuminated the space and Meggin noticed cameras pointing at the cutting board and stove top where the cooking would occur. From the corner of her eye she saw her neighbor’s long manicured fingers clenching and unclenching, anticipation humming through each excited digit. One of the uniformed assistants stepped forward, staring into middle space, and shouted,
The doors at the rear of the classroom banged open and a man strode through, an enormous white cowboy hat perched above his curling blond hair and cherubic face. Below his white chef’s smock, baggy pants patterned with green cacti and silver revolvers were tucked neatly into glowing white boots. In one hand he carried an enormous butcher knife, in the other a sausage the size of a man’s thigh. Meggin covered her mouth to hide her delighted smile just as her gaze shifted to meet Dave’s laughing brown eyes.
Her heart stuttered in shock, leaping into her throat even as the classroom broke out into spontaneous applause. He’d stayed. God he was gorgeous when he smiled. White teeth gleamed in his lean, tanned face and for a long moment they stared at each other in perfect shared amusement—then Meggin remembered her resolution and wrenched her eyes away. So he’d stayed. Had missed her enough to scalp a ticket to a cooking class. No big deal—it hardly meant he’d suddenly changed his rules.