Life never tasted so good.
Miller Sykes’s meteoric rise to award-winning chef is the stuff of culinary dreams, but it’s all crashing down around him. He’s been given a diagnosis that could cost him something even more precious than his life: his sense of taste. Rather than risk the very thing that defines him, Miller embarks on a last tour of his favorite meals while he still can.
But there’s a catch: he needs a financial backer to make it happen, and he doesn’t want anyone to know he’s sick.
Dr. Clancy Rhodes has two weeks to come to terms with putting aside oncology to work at his father’s thriving plastic surgery practice. When the opportunity to travel with a Michelin-starred chef presents itself, the foodie in him can’t believe it. It doesn’t hurt that Miller’s rugged good looks are exactly Clancy’s cuppa joe.
As Clancy and Miller travel from coast to coast and indulge in everything from dive bars to the most decadent of culinary experiences, they’re suddenly sharing a lot more than delicious meals. Sparks fly as they bond over their love of flavors and the pressures of great expectations. But when Miller’s health takes a turn for the worse, Clancy must convince him he’s more—so much more—than just his taste buds. And that together, they can win a battle that once seemed hopeless.
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Seventies Santa laid a hand on Clancy’s hip, and the connection between Miller and Clancy snapped, the latter’s attention drawn to the interloper. Miller was off his stool the next instant. If he thought too hard on it, he’d reverse course and walk out the door instead of onto the dance floor. Let Clancy pursue things with the attractive man who was clearly interested in him. Who wouldn’t be? And why shouldn’t it be Santa? It sure as hell shouldn’t be Miller, who had a death sentence hanging over his head.
He had no business making any sort of claim on Clancy. No business getting more involved with him, even if only for the week they had left together. No business shoving his body between Santa’s and Clancy’s, knocking Santa’s hands off him, and grasping Clancy’s hips. No business, when Clancy grinned and stepped forward, coasting his hands over Clancy’s hips and splaying his fingers across the curve of that perfect ass.
Santa ceased to exist, Clancy’s attention totally on him.
“Dancing,” Miller shouted over the music. “Wouldn’t have figured.”
Clancy leaned forward, speaking right into Miller’s ear. “Did you miss the part where I like dick and live in WeHo?”
Laughter bubbled out of Miller, and Clancy’s goofy smile made him impossibly sexier. That body, those moves, and still the irrepressible brightness. Miller stepped closer, swiping back Clancy’s damp hair and letting his fingers drift slowly through it. “Fuck, you’re stunning.”
Smile wide, Clancy draped his arms over Miller’s shoulders and brought their bodies into brushing contact. “Dance with me, Chef.”
Miller didn’t even care about the slip, not when it was uttered in that low, sexy voice, seducing him into movement.
Song after song, they swayed and writhed in sync, their bodies like magnets inching closer and closer. Miller couldn’t say how many songs it was before his forehead fell against Clancy’s and the last bit of distance between their bodies vanished. The instinct was there to close the distance between their mouths too, but almost as strong was the profound relief rushing through Miller. He’d needed this release, needed to let go and forget about everything except moving his body in time with the gorgeous man in his arms. Clancy had known that, had recognized it while they’d sat at the bar, and had made it happen. He’d been exactly what and who Miller needed tonight.
“Thank you,” Miller whispered.
“You’re welcome.” Clancy’s warm breath tickled his lips. “But this is ninety-five percent selfish on my part.”
“It’s one hundred percent selfish on mine.”
Clancy looked up with dilated eyes, only a thin ring of dark green visible. He licked his lips, and if he hadn’t spoken, Miller would have claimed them. “I’m more than okay with that.”
Unhooking his arms from behind Miller’s neck, Clancy ran his hands over Miller’s shoulders and down his arms, tracing the ink. They traveled back up, then down his chest, fingers curling in Miller’s T-shirt. Clancy dragged them backward until his back hit the wall. Miller tried to slam on the brakes, not wanting to crush Clancy, not wanting to eat him alive in public, but Clancy kept hauling him forward. Cheek to cheek, chest to chest, Clancy slid a knee between Miller’s legs and pressed his thigh up against Miller’s straining cock. Clancy canted his hips, revealing his own need, and Miller couldn’t stop himself from rocking forward. He shoved a hand between the wall and Clancy’s ass and grabbed a handful of cheek, holding Clancy and his dick tight to him, chasing after this feeling. Heat, relief, life, desire, all driving him higher. He snuck his other hand under the hem of Clancy’s shirt, dragging his fingertips through the sweat at the small of his back. A shiver raced through Clancy, and Miller thrust his hips again. He couldn’t remember the last time he’d been this turned on, had felt so wanted while also wanting so much.
Clancy nipped his earlobe. “Be selfish a little longer.” He dragged his lips along the line of Miller’s beard and over his cheek, angling toward his mouth.
Miller wanted to taste him, more than he’d ever wanted to taste anything. Wanted to taste the hot, flushed skin behind Clancy’s ear, the sweat from his back that slicked Miller’s fingers, and the softly curving lips that had tempted Miller every time they’d closed around a damn fork. He wanted to know how the bitter, spicy sweetness of the Vieux Carré mixed with Clancy’s own unique flavor.
About Layla Reyne
RITA Finalist Layla Reyne is the author of the Agents Irish and Whiskey, Fog City, and Changing Lanes series. A Carolina Tar Heel who now calls the San Francisco Bay Area home, Layla enjoys weaving her bi-coastal experiences into her stories, along with adrenaline-fueled suspense and heart-pounding romance. She is a member of Romance Writers of America and its Kiss of Death and Rainbow Romance Writers chapters. Layla is a 2019 RWA® RITA® Finalist in Contemporary Romance (Mid-Length) and 2016 RWA® Golden Heart® Finalist in Romantic Suspense.
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