(Approx Word Count 11k)
Drew and Boone share an interest in cooking—and in each other. Their recipes are yummy, and they find each other yummy too. They soon begin a torrid relationship. But Boone won’t give up his secret chili recipe, and Drew is determined to have it. He begins a series of kitchen experiments meant to suss out Boone’s secret ingredients and recipe, and he finally thinks he has it. The trouble is, Boone thinks he has it too—and he thinks Drew went snooping in his kitchen to get the recipe. So now he thinks Drew is dishonorable and untrustworthy. Will Drew’s kitchen experiments prove to be the downfall of what had been shaping up to be a wonderful relationship?
Excerpt of A Chili Relationship
“What do you drink? I have scotch, bourbon, vodka, and beer.”
“Either bourbon or a beer.”
“You tell me. What do you want?”
“Do you have ginger ale? If you do I’ll take bourbon and ginger. Otherwise I’ll take a beer.”
“One bourbon and ginger coming up. Plant your butt anywhere in the living room. The liquor is in the kitchen. Be right back.”
He came back carrying two drinks. “What’s yours?” asked Boone.
“Scotch and soda.”
“An honest drink,” Boone said approvingly with a decisive nod of his head.
They sat and got acquainted. Drew learned that Boone was thirty-seven—he was thirty-four himself—and had been especially eager to leave Cincinnati because of a bitter breakup with a boyfriend shortly before his great-uncle had died.
“He proved not to be trustworthy and honorable,” Boone said, “and I won’t put up with that. Not from anyone.”
In the course of an hour’s conversation, Drew discerned that Boone was intelligent, friendly, quick-witted, and open, all qualities he prized. He also seemed quick to judge, but then, who was perfect? In talking to Drew about the chili contest, Boone criticized one of the other contestants, Dean, for bragging about his honorable mention award, but Drew happened to know the fellow in question. He knew that Dean had had a miserable year: a divorce, a failed business, a bankruptcy, and even a rift with his best buddy. Under such ego-bruising conditions, Drew could hardly blame him for a bit of self-aggrandizement when something finally went right in his life! He explained the circumstances to Boone, who then tempered his opinion. “I guess I was quick to judge, but I didn’t know,” he said
They chatted through two drinks, then left for the restaurant. It was a Monday night, and they didn’t expect it to be too busy, but the Galley was three-quarters full when they arrived. “Kaitlyn will be your server,” the hostess said as she showed them to the last empty booth. “She’ll be along in a minute.” The hostess left menus with them.
Indeed a perky young woman with a nametag identifying her was alongside the table momentarily. “We have beer and wine. We’re expecting a liquor license, but we don’t have it yet. Can I get you anything?”
“I’m good,” said Boone.
“Me too,” Drew said to him, and then to the waitress, “Thanks, but we’re fine.”
“Maybe an iced tea,” Drew requested. “Boone?”
“Just water, please.”
“Certainly,” said Kaitlyn. “Be right back.”
While she was gone the two fellows studied the menu.
“The Moroccan lamb sounds good,” said Boone. “What about you?”
“I’m intrigued by the shrimp Florentine. Shrimp and spinach is an uncommon combination, but I think it’s going to work fine for me. That comes with a mushroom risotto. I’m drooling already.”
“How do you feel about each of us tasting each other’s dinner?”
“But of course!” Drew agreed heartily.
Kaitlyn returned with the iced tea and water, and they gave her their orders. When Drew asked for the shrimp Florentine, she said, “Good choice!” and winked at him.
“How is it prepared?” he asked.
“I think it involves parmesan cheese and chicken stock, white wine, spinach of course, and cumin—and garlic. I know there’s garlic. Lots of garlic. You may not be kissable tonight.”
“A little garlic won’t stop me,” said Boone. Kaitlyn giggled. Drew smiled. Then Boone was interested in him!
At the prospect of getting up close and personal with Boone, Drew almost hurried through his dinner, but the shrimp Florentine was too good to rush through, and so was the Moroccan lamb, which he had more than just one bite of. Everything was so good that, even though both men professed they couldn’t eat another bite, they just had to try the desserts. They decided to order a slice of pumpkin cake with rum sauce and a dish of coffee ice cream with blueberries, a novel presentation. They each had half of each dessert and then Boone ordered a cup of espresso and Drew ordered a cup of half-caf.
“Espresso?” Drew said. “You’ll never get to sleep tonight.”
“I expect you to wear me out,” he said with a sly grin.
Indeed, when they got back to Drew’s place, they were barely in the door when Boone kissed Drew, his tongue leading the way.
“You work fast,” Drew said with a laugh.
“Is that a complaint?” Boone asked.