Four years after Roman Kincaid was catapulted into stardom as a country-western singer and A-list movie star, he is burned out: exhausted by a grueling schedule, drained by the ceaseless demands of producers and managers, weary of meeting the needs of others at the expense of his own. Leaving a sold-out show in Phoenix, he rents a car and drives north and east, landing in the Painted Desert town of Rainbow Rock.
Nearly three years after leaving her old life behind, Lottie Beale is feeding people and baking pies, managing the Kachina Café and tending secrets of her own. When circumstances conspire to give two attractive people some time alone together amid the world-class vistas of the Four Corners, they discover more than either had bargained for.
In the kitchen with the door swinging closed between them, she took a moment to gather herself, planning to be at her sunniest when she went back to the dining room. He’s leaving and I’m not going with him. At least I can send him away with a smile. She cut into her “Roman’s Holiday” pie and plated two slices, each on a swirl of chocolate sauce. Then she added another swirl and a dollop of whipped cream to the top. Picking up two forks, she took a deep breath, pretended a smile, and went to serve the man she loved. “Here it is, the new pie sensation of the century.”
“I can hardly wait.”
She set a slice in front of him. “Before you take a bite, I want you to know I made it to taste like you. No, that’s not what I mean! Not to taste like you taste—” She stopped herself. Then she grinned. “If I knew how to make that, every woman in the country would buy it.”
Roman acknowledged the compliment with a nod.
She tried again. “I wanted it to taste like who you are. Ugh, I’m botching this something awful. Just taste it and tell me what you think.” She waited while he cut a bite of the pie and lifted it to his mouth.
“Oh Lottie.” He closed his eyes, savoring the flavor. “It’s marvelous.”
“Really? You’re not just saying that?”
“I thought it was a winner. Glad you like it.”
“Like it? I love it! Tastes like me, huh?”
“Well, like who you are, like what this time together has meant… to me.”
Susan Aylworth started her first book when she was nine. “It was called Buff, The Proud Stallion. I wrote eight whole pages.” For her fifth grade career day, she stated her ambition to become “a rich and famous author.” Decades later, she is pleased to have achieved the ‘author’ part of that goal. A former university professor, she enjoys researching backgrounds and careers for her novels. “It’s one way to live many lives at once.” She lives in northern California with her husband of 45 years and two spoiled cats.
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