Excerpt: Sapphire Storm - Vilma Iris | Lifestyle Blogger

Ethan Blake has dedicated his life to satisfying other people’s appetites. At forty-three, he’s finally landed his dream job—head pastry chef at an exclusive resort. Now he’s got a jet-setting career that’s taken him to romantic locations all over the world. But years before, after his parents threw him out for being gay, Ethan supported himself in a manner he’d rather keep under the covers today.

Roman Walker is a twenty-five-year-old fitness celebrity awash in thirsty followers. But when he walks through the doors of Sapphire Cove, it’s not just to oversee the menu for his celebrity client’s wedding. Decades ago, Roman and Ethan crossed paths on a New York street corner during a terrible, life-changing moment that scarred them both. Now Roman’s back for revenge.

But when his plan goes wildly off the rails, Roman suddenly finds himself at the center of an even stranger and darker plot concocted by his most famous client. Well-versed in the ways of the wealthy and the entitled, Roman’s former target offers to be his strongest ally during a moment that might derail the young man’s newfound career. But the experienced older man’s offer also ignites an irresistible and forbidden attraction that threatens to consume them both, even as it exposes old secrets and incurs the wrath of the powerful and the famous.


Sapphire Cove

Book 3

Book Type:

Contemporary Romance

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Excerpt: Sapphire Storm
By C. Travis Rice

Excerpt: Sapphire Storm

New York Times bestselling author Christopher Rice, under his pen name, C. Travis Rice, returns with the third steamy installment in his Sapphire Cove series. SAPPHIRE STORM once again transports you to a beautiful luxury resort on the sparkling Southern California coast where strong-willed heroes release the shame that blocks their hearts’ desires. I’m thrilled to share a sneak peek below!

Someone was crying in Ethan’s pastry kitchen.

He’d lived all over the world, trained in some of the finest restaurants and hotels on the planet. At forty-three, he’d finally landed his dream job, head pastry chef at an exclusive resort. He knew full well that most professional kitchens were nonstop hives of frenzied activity, places of frequent injuries and near infernos.

Still, it was out of the ordinary to discover one of your team members rocking back and forth on her knees in front of the oven as if the Virgin Mary had just appeared to her in the window. And insulted her cooking.

But that was exactly the sight that greeted Ethan when he arrived at Sapphire Cove on Saturday morning.

He noted the sharp scent of burning sugar and diagnosed the scene instantly. Carefully, he crouched down beside his distraught junior chef.

“I’m an idiot and I should die!” Stephanie Powell wailed.

The young woman weighed almost nothing soaking wet, but his attempts to bring her to her feet with several gentle tugs on her forearm all failed. “You’re not an idiot,” he said, “and I’d very much appreciate it if you lived as I enjoy working with you.”

“Oh my God. It stinks. Everyone’s going to hate me.”

Indeed, she’d made a rookie mistake, but he saw no point in pouring salt on the wound. Once she’d stood of her own volition, he said, “We’ll call engineering and see if there’s a side panel they can remove it through. Now please. Let’s not descend into a shame spiral over this.”

Stephanie sniffled, then wiped her nose with the tissue Ethan had yanked from a nearby box. “I just wanted to make everybody some pudding, and I thought if I put it in the oven for a bit, I could finish it off with a nice crust.”

“Yes, well, it sounds like you jammed it in the oven, and so word to the wise, if the pan doesn’t quite fit at first, don’t risk it. There’s a good chance it’ll expand during the cook cycle and be impossible to get out. Also, while I do realize we work in a bit of a bubble here in the pastry kitchen, most grown-ups don’t have pudding for breakfast.”

Stephanie grabbed him by his shoulders. “Please fire me, Chef. If you don’t, everyone’ll give me a terrible nickname over this. Like Puddin’. Or Bernie. Or Crusty.”

“No one’s going to give you a nickname. We don’t do nicknames here.”

“Morning, Puff Pastry!” Chloe Simmons bellowed as she threw open the door to the pastry kitchen. The head chef’s work on the breakfast buffet had left her with a sweaty brow and cheeks so flushed they almost matched the flame red curls spilling out from under the black handkerchief she was using as a headband.

“She’s main kitchen,” Ethan whispered to Stephanie. “She doesn’t count.”

Chloe barged her way in. “Jonas is looking for you, Ethan. Woah. Stinks in here! You guys puttin’ crude oil in the profiteroles now?” Dramatically waving one arm in front of her face, she zeroed in on the offending oven. “Jammed it in, did yah? Smart! This should only set you guys back like, what, a day?”

Leaving Stephanie with instructions to call engineering and several more assurances that her career wasn’t over, he stepped out into the main kitchen, where breakfast buffet items were being busily prepared on all sides of him.

A summons to the office of the resort’s special events director was usually serious business, and he intended to make haste.

Matching him step for step, Chloe quietly said, “You need to fire her. Kitchens are all stress all the time. She’s not up to it.”

“A correction, my dear Chloe. Your kitchen is all stress all the time. My little corner of Sapphire Cove is a place of artistry and wonder, where dazzling creations are assembled over a period of days while your staff tears each other apart over who’s going to haul six hundred pounds of scrambled eggs up to the breakfast buffet.”

“She doesn’t know how an oven works, Ethan. And she’s crying at ten a.m. Give her the boot or you’ll pay for it, promise.”

“Nonsense. Her problem was one of scale and mathematics. I made a similar mistake when I was her age, only the hotel where I was working was an old Scottish castle and the ovens were wood fired from the cellar. It took seventy-two hours to get them back on. Nobody fired me.”

“Probably because you were the cutest one there.”

Ethan stopped and turned to face her. “A question, Chloe. Are you following me right now because you know I’m a better chef and you’re desperate to learn from my brilliance?”

She grinned and pinched him on the cheek. She loved their regular sparring as much as he did. Like so many people who made professional cuisine their profession, adrenaline and edge drove her.

“A word of warning, brother,” she said. “Whatever Jonas wants to talk to you about, it’s the Peyton wedding, so expect everyone to be out of their minds because that event’s already making people…” She finished off the sentence by twirling a finger through the air next to her ear.

“I appreciate it,” he answered sincerely.

And he did.

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