Seasoned with Love (Prosperity Ranch #4) - Heather B. Moore

Prosperity Ranch Series

One Summer Day

Steal My Heart

Not Over You

Seasoned with Love

Take a Chance

Seasoned with Love

She’s not looking for a relationship, only to grow her career. And he’s solely focused on raising his young daughter. Nothing can turn his head, until he meets Cara Prosper.

Cara Prosper has tried and failed at romance, so it’s better to focus on what she can do well. Cook. When she’s hired to cook for an elite holiday event at a ranch in Wyoming, her childhood memories rise up again. Family has always been important to her, but it’s never been everything. After meeting big-shot Hollywood producer Roman De Marco, she discovers that first impressions can be dead wrong. And Roman might be exactly what she’s been missing.

(All characters in this book are fictional and not based on real people. The town of Prosper is also fictional and not named after any other towns named Prosper.)

“YOU’VE WORKED THE LAST THREE Christmases. Don’t you have some seniority now?”

“That’s exactly why I have to work, Mom,” Cara Prosper said. “When you’re a chef, it’s prestigious to work when the crowds are the biggest or the important people are in town.”

Cara’s mom was a patient woman, but Cara could swear she heard the silent sigh all the way from Texas.

“California seems so far away this time of year.”

“I was there for Thanksgiving,” Cara reminded her mom.

“Two days after,” her mom was quick to correct, then she did sigh aloud. “I’m sorry. I know this is your job, and I’m proud of your amazing career. It’s just that . . .”

Mom didn’t need to finish the sentence. Family was important in the small town of Prosper, and with all her siblings grown and working on their own careers and relationships with significant others, the holidays had taken front and center stage on her mom’s priority list.

“I know, Mom, and I’m sorry. I wish I could be there, too, for Christmas, but my boss has me doing a private event this year—apparently I was personally requested, so I can’t turn that down.”

“Oh, interesting,” her mom said, although her tone was a bit flat. “Who’s it for? A famous movie star or something?”

Cara pushed down a laugh. Just because she worked in Southern California didn’t mean she had celebrities at the restaurant every night. Yeah, there had been some on occasion, but Newport wasn’t the same scene as Los Angeles was. Still, the fine dining restaurant she worked at had a stellar reputation in the industry, and they had reservations booked out weeks in advance.

“It’s someone you’re probably familiar with—at least Dad and my brothers will be—but I doubt you know him by name.”

“Oh?” Now her mother sounded intrigued.

“Don’t say anything to them, okay? I don’t mind them knowing after the fact. Before, it can be awkward to field questions I won’t know the answers to.”

“I won’t breathe a word.”

Cara knew that was the case, especially with her mother. If anyone was a trusted confidante, it was Heidi Prosper.

“His name is Roman De Marco.”

Silence met Cara, and she smiled. “Think of the western series that Dad watches on Sunday nights.”

“Frontier Town?”

“Yes,” Cara said. “Mr. De Marco is the producer of the series, and apparently he bought an entire ranch in Wyoming for filming. The cast has to film in December to secure some authentic winter scenes, and he promised them all gourmet meals the week of Christmas, including Christmas Eve dinner.”

“And you’re the chef?” her mother asked. “Who has to miss your own Christmas to cater to celebrities who probably have private jets to fly home on a whim?”

Apparently, Cara’s mom wasn’t too impressed with Roman De Marco, or his massive ranch, or what was probably millions of dollars in net worth. Heidi Prosper only wanted her daughter home for the holidays.

“True,” Cara conceded. “But I’ll have Christmas Day off and a couple of days after that. I can fly from Wyoming to Texas that day.”

“You’d still miss our Christmas Eve dinner and Christmas morning gifts,” her mom complained. “We’d love to see you later, of course, but it won’t be the same if you’re gone for the main events.”

Cara hid a sigh. “Well, it can’t be helped. Plus, it’s a notch in my boss’s belt to have a good relationship with someone like De Marco, and another line in my resume should I ever need to draw upon it.”

It was like her mother wasn’t even listening. “You don’t need a resume to be a chef in Prosper. Did I tell you Marva