Today I am so pleased to welcome KD Fisher to Joyfully Jay. KD has come to share an exclusive excerpt from their latest release, The Secret Ingredient. Please join me in giving KD a big welcome!
Hi, everyone! I’m thrilled to share an excerpt from The Secret Ingredient, my queer rivals-to-lovers foodie romance. When classically trained chef Ada, Campbell and intuitive baker Beth Summers meet, their attraction…and competitiveness…is immediate. The two women couldn’t be more different, but their intense passion for food and undeniable chemistry draw them together. Below is a sneak-peak of Adah and Beth’s fraught and sexy first kiss.
The Secret Ingredient comes out tomorrow, October 27th, and is available for preorder now. Thanks for reading and I hope you all enjoy!
Beth sat down on the back stoop, a narrow flight of three wooden stairs and gestured for me to sit next to her. Try as I might to leave space between us, it was in short supply and our arms brushed. Heat bloomed on my neck. It had been a long time since I’d been this close to anyone other than Peter or Jay. My body felt weird, sensitized and heavy all at once.
“Okay, so your turn.” Beth turned to me, leaning in a little like we were sharing a secret. Freckles dusted her nose. She smelled like campfires and summertime with a hint of lavender. My gaze crashed down to the weathered wooden slats of the stairs.
“Um.” I cleared my throat. “You already know my name—”
“I don’t know your middle name. Or your sign. That shit is important.” Beth’s voice glimmered with mirth.
“Oh, well I don’t really like it. And I, uh, don’t know what sign I am.”
“Why, were your parents, like, super hippies? Is it something like Storm, or Rainbow? Probably not since you don’t know your sign. We’ll get to that later…depending on how the night goes, I just might do your star chart.”
I barked out a laugh and again my body relaxed just a little bit more. Taking a sip of my beer, which was, as promised, delicious and perfectly balanced, I shook my head. “No way. All of us kids have biblical names. My dad was a pastor.”
“Ah, okay. So is it, like…Ezekiel? Elijah? Sorry, we never went to church.”
“Gosh, no. It’s Delilah. I’m just telling you so you stop guessing. Even I’ve never met anyone named Ezekiel.”
“Aw that’s pretty. I think it suits you. Adah Delilah Campbell.”
I shrugged. “It’s a mouthful.”
“Do you have a lot of siblings then?” Beth asked, bending forward to grab a slice of bread from the plate resting on the ground. The purple crystal she wore around her neck glittered in the waning sunlight.
“Yeah.” I didn’t want to elaborate so I followed her lead and scooped up a piece of pizza. The perfectly baked crust had to be sourdough, with big air bubbles. It was topped with fresh corn, chiffonaded basil, and what smelled like sharp cheddar. I took a bite and couldn’t suppress my groan. It was perfect. The crust was chewy with just enough crunch and the toppings just worked. Simple but really, really good, each flavor bringing out the best in the others. “Holy cow!” I said when I swallowed one more bite. “This is fantastic.” The words were out of my mouth before I could even try to rein them in. Crap. This was Beth. The Yellow House. The dang competition.
As much as I wanted to find flaws, though, it seemed there were none. Even at this casual event, everything from the music to the food was perfect. Effortless, tasteful, and…I grudgingly admitted to myself, delicious.
“I love corn and basil together.” Beth enthused. “What do you think of the crust though? I just started using a locally milled wheat. Does it overwhelm the toppings?”
“Wait, you actually made this?” My voice broadcasted my disbelief.
Beth tipped her head to the side. “Um, yes?”
I stuffed another bite of pizza in my mouth to avoid saying anything else stupid. But Beth’s whole demeanor had shifted, back to the prickly woman she’d been when we first met. I didn’t understand why my brain refused to believe that Beth was capable of all of this. That she could make delicious food, and own her own restaurant, and for it all to be so…perfect. It felt unfair somehow, that a woman as beautiful as her could run an award-winning restaurant and make it seem so easy. Fun even. And crap, now I felt as misogynistic as my dang manager. Of course she was capable of running her own place.
“Sorry,” I groaned, running a hand over my face. “I guess I kinda hoped you were…” I weighed the pros and cons of being honest, but my virtuous upbringing won. “I don’t know. The pretty face and the money behind it. I mean I knew it was your family business and I just figured—”
Beth shot off the stoop in a clatter of bracelets and a swirl of warm summer air. And boy, did she look mad. I hadn’t seen someone that fired up since I left home. My spine stiffened and my heart started racing, unwelcome adrenaline coursing through my limbs.
“You figured what?” She glared down at me. “That I don’t know what the fuck I’m doing. I’m not clueless. And even if I was, it doesn’t change the fact that you’re being an asshole. I work really fucking hard and gave up a hell of a lot to open this place. And some days I don’t even know if I like doing this. If I even want to be here.” She took a deep breath and seemed to be fighting to calm herself down. “Look, my mom ran this place as the local greasy spoon for decades. And my dad was a goddamn fisherman. We weren’t exactly rolling in it. And yeah, I guess I could have gone your route, the whole degree and prestigious restaurant thing, but it really wasn’t for me. And guess what? It wouldn’t make this place any better. You have no idea what I’ve sacrificed to get here. I barely even sleep anymore. And I fucking love sleeping!”
Even though her words made sense, should have made me take back my stupid assumptions, somehow, they had the opposite effect. “Oh, sure. Having to give up your beauty rest sounds real hard.” I scoffed and stood, glad I was a few inches taller than her. Suddenly we were so close I could feel the heat and anger rolling off her skin. “You have no idea what sacrifice is.”
Then her lips were on mine and she was pushing me back until my body slammed against the rough wood of the cottage. Her hands fisted in the fabric of my shirt and for a long moment I was too stunned to kiss her back.
Two amazing chefs. Two very different restaurants. One undeniable love.
For single mom Adah Campbell, the executive chef job at a posh restaurant in tiny North Port, Maine is a dream come true—and the perfect opportunity to start over, far away from a home that’s never felt entirely hers. But fitting in has never been easy, and between a new town, a new boss, and the unexpectedly attractive owner of a rival café, things get off to a rocky start.
Never did free-spirited Beth Summers think she’d still be in North Port. Travel the world gathering delicious recipes and finding friends and lovers? Absolutely. Step in to run her family’s small-town café? Not so much. However, once Beth commits to something, that’s it. Soon, The Yellow House is the hottest spot in town, but Beth’s out of energy—and out of ideas for moving forward.
Until Adah Campbell walks into her life, and moving forward suddenly includes making room for a whole new family.
Carina Adores is home to highly romantic contemporary love stories featuring beloved romance tropes, where LGBTQ+ characters find their happily-ever-afters.
A new Carina Adores title is available each month in trade paperback, ebook and audiobook formats.
- The Hideaway Inn by Philip William Stover (available now!)
- The Girl Next Door by Chelsea M. Cameron (available now!)
- Just Like That by Cole McCade (available now!)
- Hairpin Curves by Elia Winters (available now!)
- Better Than People by Roan Parrish (available now!)
- The Love Study by Kris Ripper (available now!)
- Just Like This by Cole McCade (available November 24)
- Teddy Spenser Isn’t Looking for Love by Kim Fielding (December 29)
KD Fisher is a queer New England-based writer of authentic, heartfelt LGBTQ+ narratives. KD grew up all over the United States, bouncing from North Carolina to Hawaii to Illinois, and finally settling in Maine where they spend far too much time at the beach.
When KD isn’t writing they can usually be found hiking with their overly enthusiastic dog, obsessing over plants, or cooking elaborate meals. KD loves classic country, perfectly ripe tomatoes, and falling asleep in the sun.
Connect with KD Fisher
- Website: https://www.kdfisherromance.com/
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/kdfisher_author
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/kdfisherauthor/
- Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/18177834.K_D_Fisher