If you can’t take the heat, stay out of Chef Rico Alvarez’s kitchen. 

Surrounded by the finest things money can buy, he leads a life of comfort and loneliness, and that suits him just fine – that is, until gardener Eden Stuart runs him off the road with her dilapidated old farm truck. His anger at her recklessness soon gives way to unforgettable attraction.   

Despite his awakening love, Rico makes it clear that his body is all he has to offer Eden – it’s all she’ll ever get from him. “Love without trust is meaningless and nothing more than personal vanity,” she tells him. Trust is everything.   

Rico knows she’s right… but trust is a commodity unaffordable for a man with so much to hide and everything to lose.   

Publisher’s Note: This steamy contemporary romance includes elements of power exchange.  




Rico reached up and gently cupped her chin and she again looked into his eyes. His dark searching gaze held hers. Slowly, so slowly, he moved closer to her mouth to kiss her. Eden stopped breathing, and her sight became blurry as she tried to focus on his handsome face. She leaned forward herself in anticipation of the contact of his lips. 

His warm firm mouth melded gently with her lips, but Eden could feel a sense of urgency building in her as the perfect moment passed into the next. She pressed her mouth firmly against his showing him the desire and tension she had endured with wanting him through the endless dreams and waking hours since the moment he had pulled her out of her truck. 

He kissed her back, molding her lips with his. His tongue lightly traced the corners of her mouth as his hands moved about her back and sides pressing her closer to his body. 

Rico thought she tasted like heaven, sweet and vibrant with life and need. His own body answered hers as he deepened the kiss and held her closer reducing the gap between them. He felt like he was about to fall forward into a vortex of emotion that he wouldn’t be able to pull back from. Her urgency was dragging him in, and he didn’t want to care if he was lost in the swirling wind, but he did care. He told himself that he couldn’t afford to lose control of this situation. 

Eden felt suddenly bereft as Rico pulled away from her and stood to his full height. Her legs were shaking, and she felt lightheaded when he ended the kiss. She would have fallen if she hadn’t been standing in the circle of his arms. 

She watched mesmerized as again a slow sensual smile spread across his face and he turned her toward the open door of the truck. He leaned in and whispered into the rim of the ivory and pink shell of her ear, “I think you should go home now, Eden, while I’m still able to send you there.” Rico gave her a little nudge forward in encouragement. 

Eden obeyed him, but home alone was the very last place she wanted to go.