I don’t know why, but knowing the other Lead was a chef made me so happy. Maybe it’s because I was expecting it to be the prince or something like that, so I was taken by a welcome surprise.
The Way to a Man’s Heart (Kingdom of Corazon I) by Ann Marie James releases today in the Contemporary, Erotic, LGBTQ+ Romance genre.
The heart wants what the heart wants…
Christian Diaz grew up as the best friend and unofficial bodyguard to the Crown Prince of the Kingdom of Corazón. After an incident left him questioning his place in the castle, Christian joined the military and didn’t return for ten long years.
Now he’s been assigned to the castle as Royal Military Liaison to investigate the source of some recent threats against the crown. The annual Midsummer’s Ball is the perfect place for the anti-monarchy group to make their next move, so that’s where Christian will be too. If it gives him a chance to reconnect with his friends in the castle and make a play for the man he has compared all others to, it’s even better.
Max Ramirez is now the head chef for the castle. He started as a sous chef at age twenty when Christian was just an awkward teen. Now that Christian’s back at the castle, all grown up and interested in Max, the chef is determined not to let an opportunity with Christian pass him by.
When someone tries to sabotage the Midsummer’s Ball, Max and Christian need to work together to track down the people determined to make this event their last.
Pride Publishing: https://www.pride-publishing.com/book/way-to-a-mans-heart
First for Romance: https://www.firstforromance.com/book/way-to-a-mans-heart
Max waited impatiently for Christian to excuse himself from his friends before turning around and heading toward the kitchen.
“Listen… I just received a phone call from the bakery making the cake for tonight saying their van was stolen and they were waiting for the replacement. At the same time, I was notified by security that the bakery van is here to deliver the cake. That’s weird, right?” Max watched as the relaxed and friendly Christian morphed into the super-serious, dedicated soldier it was rumored he had become. The change was fascinating.
“Where is the van now?”
“Pulling up out back probably. I told the guard to stall them and I would be right there.”
“Okay.” Christian reached up and pressed a button on an earpiece that was so small Max hadn’t even noticed until now. “Sean? Yeah. Can you bring the K-9 to the rear kitchen entrance? Need him to check something for me.”
Max didn’t hear Sean’s response, but Christian responded with a curt, “Understood.”
They both hurried into the kitchen and outside where the van was just arriving to make its delivery. Christian said something quietly to the guards there before making his way to the driver’s side as one of the guards went to the passenger door at the same time. Max could see in the side mirror that the driver looked surprised by the attention then nervously licked his lips.
Christian reached out and opened the driver’s door, signaling for him to step out of the vehicle, just as another soldier and his K-9 partner arrived on the scene. The driver was young— early twenties, if that, with long hair and a surfer vibe. He was wearing the bakery uniform, so maybe Max had overreacted. “Hey, man, what’s going on?”
“What’s your name?”
“Who do you work for?”
“A guy paid me and my buddy a thousand euros to deliver this cake. Gave us all the paperwork and uniforms and everything. Said he was short-handed and really needed last-minute help. Is something wrong?”
“We don’t know yet. I’m going to ask that you two stand over there with my guys.” A couple of more soldiers came up, took the arms of the two young men and walked them away from the van.
Christian ducked his head inside the front of the van and peered through it. “I don’t see anything rigged to the doors. Should be safe to open them— but be careful.”
“Yes, sir.” Another two soldiers cautiously opened the rear doors. Once they had been opened, Christian, the K-9 and his handler met at the back of the van. Max caught a glimpse of the cake right before Christian signaled for him to come closer. “Is this the cake you ordered?”
Max examined it more carefully. “Actually, no. Katarina made changes last week. This is the version prior to that. She had originally bowed to pressure from Zia to make it super flowery, but Katarina wanted to make it more her style and had them change it to a design to match the grapevine fairy sculptures. It should have one made to replicate the ice sculpture on top.”
Christian and Sean shared a meaning-filled look before Sean gave a signal, and the dog jumped into the van. The large German Shepherd immediately laid down inside and barked three times. Christian turned to him. “Okay, Max. I need you to return to the kitchen. We’ll take it from here. You said the real cake is coming soon?”
“Yep. Should be here in a little bit.”
“Please, try to act like nothing happened. I’ll talk to you about it later, okay?”
“Sure. I can do that. Please be safe.” A voice yelling for him through the doorway had him returning to the kitchen after a brief wave. Max pushed his curiosity and nerves to the side. He had a ball to serve.
Ann Marie James is fluent in two languages, English and sarcasm. She believes that you will never learn anything new if you don’t read as much as you can, and/or talk to every stranger you meet. She always looks for the best in people and to treat people the way she wants to be treated. Above all Ann Marie believes in love, whatever form it takes. Relationships are hard, love is the glue that keeps it together.
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Ann is giving away an Amazon gift card with this tour: