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By Gail Gaymer Martin

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When she was in a snit, nothing pleased her. The chef stood over the scorching griddle, juggling his spatulas, flipping severed shrimp tails into his tall hat, then flicking a grilled shrimp onto Lucy’s plate. Her eyes as blue as her mother’s opened wide while she giggled and attempted to pick up the shrimp with chopsticks. It fell, but she only laughed and tried again. The chef glided past them, mounding the shrimp appetizer onto each attractive dish before he pulled out a knife the size of a machete and chopped and grilled zucchini and bean sprouts.

The countertops were cleared and the food stashed away. Kelsey poured another cup of coffee, hoping it was decaf, and she sank onto the breakfast nook bench, not wanting to leave before saying goodbye to Lexie. Ross had suggested dinner, and she’d readily agreed. When he’d asked for her telephone number, she had given him her cell phone number, but then had second thoughts. She’d only met the man today and, the more she thought about it, accepting a dinner date seemed a little premature. Maybe a coffee date would have been better.

Kelsey already knew what he could do to her emotions, and she wasn’t ready for that. She hoped he was as deft cutting a roast. Ross leaned back in his chair, barraged by multiple conversations surging around the dining-room table. But he wasn’t really listening. He’d been able to cover his addled thoughts as he and Kelsey worked in the kitchen for a few short minutes before Mrs. Carlson followed them to take over her job as chef for the celebration dinner. Meeting Kelsey in person tossed his original concept out the window.

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