Delicious(Buchanans, Book 1)(8) by Susan Mallery
She pulled a notepad out of her pocket. “Okay, let’s talk specifics. I need about a week to get the kitchen up and running. I already have a lot of ideas about staffing, so there’s only cleaning and stocking both equipment and food. Before I can stock, we need to talk menus.”
“When will you have them finished? I get final approval.”
She raised her eyebrows. “Are you going to tell me what to cook?”
“In this matter, yes.”
She didn’t think so, but she would pick that battle when the menus were done. “I’ll let you know how it’s going in a couple of days. How much time do you need for the front of the store?”
He used a slender stylus to access information on his Palm Pilot. She moved closer to look over his shoulder.
Big mistake. Suddenly she was aware of him. Heat from his body seemed to warm her from the inside out. She breathed in the scent of him. Unfortunately, he still smelled the same. Just clean male skin and something that was uniquely his own.
Scent memories were powerful. She’d learned that in culinary school and often used the fact to her advantage when cooking. Now she was trapped in a swirl of memories that included lying naked next to him, listening to his breathing after he’d just left her trembling and exhausted from sexual satisfaction.
She took a big step away.
“I assume there’s a plan for the opening,” she said, happy that her voice sounded normal. Sexual thoughts were so inappropriate where Cal was concerned. Not only were they divorced, she was pregnant. She doubted he would find that a turn-on.
“I want a big splashy party on the first night. No dinner service, just a crowd and samples. You’ll be able to show off what’s to come. We’ll invite local press and the beautiful people.”
She smiled. “The beautiful people?”
He shook his head. “Business leaders, celebrities, whatever.”
“They’ll be so happy to hear how enthused you sound.”
“I want the restaurant up and running. The party is a necessary evil.”
“Don’t put that on the invitation,” she suggested. “I’ll work up a menu for that as soon as I finalize the menu for the restaurant. And just so you know, I’ll use your contracted people for regular deliveries, until they screw up, but for the party, I’m getting my own stuff in here. I have some fish people I use.”
“Actual fish people?” he asked. “Gills? Fins?”
She rolled her eyes. “You know what I mean. I’ll be using them for special orders.”
She studied the notes on her pad. What else was there to discuss? She looked at him. “Did you have…” She frowned, catching his puzzled stare. “What?”
He took a step back. “Nothing.”
“You have the weirdest look on your face. What are you thinking about?”
“I said nothing.”
“It has to be something.”
“No, it doesn’t.”
Cal swore silently. He couldn’t remember the last time he’d gotten caught staring at a woman’s chest. What did he care about Penny’s parts?
He didn’t. He hadn’t in years. It was just…she looked different. There was an air of confidence he didn’t remember. That could have come from her recent success. But there was also the issue of her br**sts.
They were bigger. He was sure of it. He dropped his gaze to her chest, then looked away. Yup, bigger. Her sweater hugged her curves before falling to just below her waist. He’d been married to her, had seen her naked countless times. While he’d always liked her body, she’d complained about being too boyish. All angles and lines. Her br**sts had been small. But now…
They were bigger. How could that happen? Oh, sure, he knew about implants, but Penny wasn’t the type, was she? And if she was willing to have surgery to increase her cle**age, wouldn’t she have gone for more than a cup size?
He shook his head and told himself to think of something else. He was the cofounder of a multimillion-dollar corporation and in charge of a good-sized restaurant. He was also over thirty. Surely he could get through the rest of the meeting without obsessing over his ex-wife’s br**sts.
“Who are you bringing with you?” he asked to change the subject. “You said two people.”
“Edouard, my sous-chef, and Naomi.”
He swore. “No.”
She raised her eyebrows. “Excuse me, but you don’t get a vote. She helps me. Naomi handles things for me and she’s the best expediter in the business. We’ll need that when we get busy.”
He knew that a good expediter was worth any price when the restaurant was swamped. Someone had to get plates out to tables, making sure the various parties were all served the right food at the right time. The expediter was usually loyal to the back of the store, while helping out in the front. The expediter knew everything that was going on in both places and could keep the chef in the loop.
“How do you know we’re going to be that busy?” he asked. “It takes time to build up a clientele.”
She smiled. “Hey, it’s me. They’ll come.”
“Talk about my ego,” he grumbled.
She went down her list and brought up several more items. “I’ll be paying my cooks really well, so brace yourself.”
“I have a budget.”
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