Today I’m sharing a new release from fellow Evernight author Aletta Thorne! Check out her paranormal romance The Chef and the Ghost of Bartholomew Addison Jenkins, an Evernight Editor’s Pick, below. Aletta is also here today to share her main character’s top ten kitchen tips!
Halloween, 1982. MTV is new, poodle perms are the rage, and life just might be getting better for Alma Kobel. Her ugly divorce is final at last. Her new job as chef at Bright Day School’s gorgeous old estate is actually fun. But the place is haunted—and so is Alma’s apartment.
Bartholomew Addison Jenkins’ ghost has been invisibly watching Alma for months. When he materializes one night, Alma discovers Bart—as he likes to be called—has talents she couldn’t have imagined … and a horrifying past. Can you have a one-nighter with a ghost? And what happens if you decide one night is all you want—and end up ghosting him? Some spirits don’t like taking “no” for an answer.
“You’ll turn over the record. Oh, because you…”
“I do like to keep up. Who poured you wine from the … refrigerator? Although, I don’t understand why people of your age prefer it so icy.”
Alma followed Bart into the living room, still wondering why things didn’t seem odder than they were. She remembered the Casper the Friendly Ghost cartoons she’d seen as a little girl. This ghost was acting—well, perhaps a bit more flirty than friendly. He only glowed a bit as they walked through the dim hallway that connected her rooms. You can hardly even tell he’s translucent. What had he seen of her, though? She was glad her frustrating night with Sid had been at his place.
As Bart bent over the turntable and flipped the record, the reading lamp by her couch highlighted the silver buttons of his coat. She curled up on the couch and put her wine glass on the glass-covered orange crate she’d turned into a coffee table.
Bart sat beside her, suspiciously close. He put an arm over the back of the couch, and Alma shook her head again. That’s the old sneaky-arm trick—like a high school kid. It’s kind of cute. She pulled her legs up under herself, and they quietly listened to the music.
“You’re right,” she said after a few minutes. “‘Fountains’ is really good, too. I almost never listen to that side.”
Bart made a quiet harrumphing noise.
Do ghosts clear their throats? Apparently so.
“Dear lady,” he said. “Although I do try not to snoop, as you would say, I have indeed observed your solitude. Let me assure you, your life will soon be happier.” He slid even closer to her.
Okay. Now the ghost is absolutely coming on to me. This is really happening. Oh, hell—why not? He’s not bad—for a dead guy.
“Um, Bart?” she said. His eyes really were a startling color—almost bronze… “You can’t actually be…”
Bart set his fingertips on her cheeks, looked into her eyes, and sighed. Then he smiled. “You think this is a ridiculous situation. It’s not ridiculous,” he said. “Not at all. Allow me to demonstrate … with your permission, m’lady.”
Somehow, that was funny, and Alma giggled. “Granted.”
Bart’s hands were impossibly soft and gentle—and his touch had some of the same fire-and-ice buzz that she’d felt before in the kitchen when he’d tried to get her attention. He guided her lips to his, and gave her what would have been a tiny peck—from anyone else. It shot a bolt of fire straight through her.
“Oh,” she said. It took a minute to get her breath.
Alma’s Ten Top Tips For Making Tasty Food (and Running a Good Kitchen)
- Don’t think too hard about what you did last night with Bart (the ghost who appeared in your apartment) or what you said to his ghost friend Geoff, who showed up at your job this morning.
- Always use fresh nutmeg in your muffins. It’s a pain in the ass to grate, but you only need a little of it, even if you’re making ten dozen muffins. Worth it.
- Don’t look too hard at Jan’s cute beard stubble when he comes in for the dinner shift.
- You probably need more garlic and onions than you think you do.
- The only thing that will get the burnt remains of tacos or stir-fry off the bottom of a big sauté pot is a wire scrubber, even though Charlie from the Health Department will bust you if he finds one. But there are all KINDS of places you can hide one. (Charlie WILL check the garbage if he sees you trying to chuck one in there, though. Charlie can be a jerk, sometimes.)
- That clunk in the stockroom probably was only Geoff pushing over a thirty pound tin of maple syrup. You’d better explain that to your prep cook, who can’t see ghosts.
- Keep your knives sharp. Don’t Cuisinart onions. Jan’s right; makes ‘em mushy.
- The best cornbread recipe in the world is in The Moosewood Cookbook. You can substitute yogurt for the buttermilk if you need to.
- That other clunk from the stockroom? A thirty-pound in of honey. You’d better take Mary outside to explain.
- Try not to take your job home with you. There’s a ghost waiting for you in your apartment—and he has some very interesting ideas.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Aletta Thorne believes in ghosts. In her non-writing life, she is a choral singer, a poet, a sometimes DJ, and a writer about things non-supernatural. But she’s happiest in front of a glowing screen, giving voice to whoever it is that got her two cats all riled up at three AM. Yes, her house is the oldest one on her street. And of course, it’s quite seriously haunted (scared the ghost investigator who came to check it out). She is named after a little girl in her family who died in the late nineteenth century, at the age of two.
Paranormal and contemporary romance author.