The Family Recipe Sneak Peek

When the rich and famous fall in fairytale love, it’s the domestic staff who quietly take care of the details… Sparks fly when Ana, a billionaire’s talented chef, and Clark, a pop star’s security expert, suddenly have to work—and live—together!
Ana has kept her love life on the back burner for more years than she’d care to count, but she can’t help being intrigued by her tough, unflappable new acquaintance. The problem is, the attraction doesn’t seem to be mutual.
When Clark finds himself the sole guardian of a young relative, he’s determined to put familial duty above frustrating feelings for the woman he’s secretly obsessing over.
With the help of their scheming siblings, can this resourceful chef and stubborn bodyguard find a way to create the perfect family recipe—together?

Read on for a sneak peek of chapter 1!

Fools Rush In


Her boss said her name so quickly, it almost became one syllable.

As a self-made software mogul and billionaire, Gavin Cohen did almost everything efficiently.

Ana Luisa Ortiz, while studying at the top culinary academies in the world, could not have guessed she would end up as a private housekeeper and chef to a businessman in the Los Angeles area, but that’s what happened after a family emergency brought her home from Italy. Although the emergency had passed, here she remained almost five years later. The housekeeping part of her role didn’t require much time once she had developed a system. On the other hand, the chef part of her role, she reveled in. She took pride in preparing any kind of meal deliciously and competently, but her heart was in the exotic and labor-intensive, which Gavin heartily appreciated.

“Ana,” he repeated earnestly into the phone, even though she had already answered him and was awaiting further communication. He mumbled her name this time, and she suspected he had been drinking. “Ana, I’ve met someone. She’s so beautiful—”

She could hear flattered giggling at close range, and she imagined that a woman was sitting in his lap. “Congratulations, Mr. Cohen,” she said patiently, with the phone jammed between her shoulder and ear. Tonight, she was assembling a mass of tamales, because Gavin had been hinting for more since he’d eaten the last ones after Christmas.

A slippery lock of hair fell into her face, and she tried to blow it away.

Suddenly the hair was tucked back into her headband. “Thank you,” she mouthed to her sister, Carmen.

Carmen was sitting at the kitchen counter across from her, decidedly not helping to make tamales, but now she sidled closer so she could eavesdrop on the conversation. Ana had to smile at her unapologetic nosiness. In her opinion, there was no one more perfectly adorable than her baby sister. They shared the same dark brown hair color and brown eyes, but Ana didn’t have Carmen’s multitude of freckles. And clocking in at just barely five feet tall, Ana was half a foot shorter than her “little” sister. While Carmen was gracefully statuesque, Ana’s hourglass figure—emphasized by her shorter frame—verged on the dramatic.

After more happy canoodling sounds confirmed the suspicion that her boss was drunk, a stranger’s voice addressed her from Gavin’s phone.

“Excuse me, am I speaking to Mr. Cohen’s housekeeper?” This voice was deep; serious—and definitely not the giggling woman on Gavin’s lap.

Carmen looked so excited by this development she almost fell off of her stool as she scooted it even closer. She wrote on a paper towel: Who is that??

Ana ignored Carmen’s foolish question, since she obviously didn’t know the answer. On the phone, she said, “Yes, is everything okay?”

“Yes,” the man said. “Mr. Cohen and a guest will arrive at the condo in about ten minutes. I’ll be coming in to do a security sweep first. Do I have your permission to run a background check on you?”

“What? Why?” Carmen gasped, at the same time as Ana was murmuring, “Sure.”

“Who was that?” he asked in a cool tone.

“Carmen Ortiz, maid,” Ana responded.

“And your name?”

“Ana Luisa Ortiz.”

“Anybody else in the condo?”


“Any other employees with access?”

“Eric has an elevator key. Otherwise, the building manager has emergency access to the elevator and the fire exit.”

“Good to know, thank you. Eric Lippens, the chauffeur?” the manly voice asked for confirmation.

“Slash pool boy,” Carmen added, unhelpfully, as Eric was not actually the pool boy. The penthouse pool was maintained and cleaned through a service provided by the building which housed Gavin’s condo, but Carmen and Eric didn’t get along, and Ana’s little sister was always willing to stir the coals.

“Am I on speakerphone?” the man asked.


After a pause in which Ana did not explain that her sister was practically glued to her side and could hear every word, he said, “We’ll be there soon. I’d like you both to meet me at the door, and after I’m finished with the sweep, you’ll have a few minutes to put together whatever you need to vacate the premises for the night—”

“No,” she heard Gavin’s voice interrupting in the background. “They live there. They don’t have to leave.”

Gavin sounded so unlike his usual calm self that Carmen wrote, He’s so wasted! on the paper towel and underlined it for emphasis. Ana nodded.

The bodyguard must have lowered Gavin’s phone from his ear or attempted to cover the microphone with his hand, but Ana and Carmen could still hear the muffled discussion that followed. Especially after Carmen reached over and turned Ana’s phone volume all the way up.

“It’s irrelevant whether Ellie minds,” they overheard the security man saying to Gavin and whomever his companions were. “Her safety is our first priority—”

“Yeah, safety first.”

Carmen raised her eyebrows at Ana as a new voice—a very amused and not drunk voice—entered the chat. The serious manly man who had been speaking on the phone to Ana replied, “Valuable contribution, Tim.”

Safety-conscious Tim sounds hot. Carmen drew little flames around his name on the paper towel.

“Just saying,” Tim responded. “I’m sure a few domestic employees aren’t going to be a problem.”

“Well, it’s not ideal,” the man holding the phone replied. “It’s easier to have them leave than need to worry about—”

“Just stop,” the no-longer-giggling female voice begged. “Not everything is a big deal! Gavin trusts these people and that’s enough for me. Can you not be uptight about this? Can you possibly just go with the flow for once? Just once?”

Carmen wrote, I would totally watch this show.

Ana smiled and shook her head.

The manly voice came back on the phone after a pregnant silence. “Never mind about gathering your belongings, Ms. Ortiz. Meet me at the door in five minutes, please.”

“Sure,” she responded mildly.

Gavin’s voice came back on the line. “Sorry about that, Ana.”

“No problem, Mr. Cohen. I’m making tamales. Is it bad if Carmen and I are in the kitchen? I can pack it in for the night, but it’s going to take a little while to get everything put away.”

“Tamales!” Gavin spoke the word urgently, before he remembered to modulate his voice. “No. That won’t be a problem. You should finish what you’re doing. Are any of them ready?”

“Yes, the first batch.”

“Excellent! You’re the best,” he said with unusual warmth before hanging up.

“I’m so glad I didn’t go out with Jared tonight!” Carmen said. “You’re always like, Gavin is the most boring rich guy alive. Stop trying to turn his life into a soap opera. But I knew he had the perfect makings of—”

“Carmen,” Ana said.

“Who do you think the woman is?” Carmen continued. “She must be a celebrity, right? She’s got security. Security with a capital S.”

“Can you take the phone?” It was still propped where Carmen had set it on her clavicle because Ana’s hands were covered in a crumbly, greasy mix of masa and pork.

“Oops, sorry, mija.”

Carmen grabbed the phone and also turned on the water at the sink so Ana could wash her hands.

“Thanks. Maybe don’t give the safety guy a hard time. He doesn’t sound like the type to be amused by your brand of humor.”

“The funniest and cleverest brand of humor? Well, to each his own, I guess. Don’t worry, I’ll be a perfect angel.”

Ana rolled her eyes. “Well, don’t strain yourself.”

In just a few minutes, Carl from the front desk called to inform her he was sending someone up.

The man who stepped out of the elevator doors looked very tall to Ana, but was in reality only a few inches taller than average. He had short dark hair, a pale
complexion, and very light eyes. His features were a bit craggy and hard—he definitely wasn’t pretty, but all of his rough points combined into a package that could be called handsome.

Ana’s heartbeat inexplicably picked up speed, and the smile she’d automatically bestowed on him faltered. “Would you like me to show you around?”
His pale gray eyes—were they green, or blue?—studied her for a long moment, and she internally squirmed before he finally nodded.


She tried to shake off her loss of equilibrium and started the tour of the condo, while Carmen trailed behind them like a puppy.

“Are there any firearms on the premises?” he asked, as she opened another door revealing Gavin’s massive closet, which resembled a men’s clothing boutique.

“Not that I know of. Not unless they’re in Mr. Cohen’s safe,” Ana added, thinking that she was familiar with every other inch of the apartment.
He nodded and typed something on his phone.

“This is where Carmen and I live,” Ana said next, after they’d passed through the laundry room to what amounted to a miniature apartment within the larger space.

“Isn’t this type of living arrangement unusual these days?” he asked.

She shrugged. They stared at each other for a moment, as if he was waiting for her to say something. “Is it?” she finally said.

It was his turn to shrug. “Do you mind if I check out your rooms?”

“That’s fine.”

“Mine is the messy one,” Carmen volunteered.

Ana thought she saw his lips quirk a little.

In less than a minute, they were walking back to Gavin’s kitchen, and the bodyguard made a phone call. “Yes,” he said to the person on the other end of the line. “I need one emailed. Thanks.”

Next, he asked for their contact information and forwarded a document to each of them. “I assume Mr. Cohen has had you sign non-disclosure agreements regarding his personal life?”

Both of the women regarded him in bemusement.

“No?” They shook their heads. He read through it with them, and in no time at all they were signing; promising not to reveal any of whatever it was that was going to happen. “Thank you for your cooperation.”

“Yeah, safety first,” Carmen said.

He squinted his incredible, mysteriously-colored eyes slightly at that comment, but his voice remained unruffled and businesslike when he said: “If you choose to speak to the press, Miss Glass’s legal team will retaliate. No matter how much money they promise you, it won’t be worth it.”

After a moment of shock, Carmen had a revelation. “Ellie Glass?” she gasped. “Gavin is partying with the princess of pop?”

Ana refrained from outwardly wincing at her sister’s gaucherie. “Of course we won’t say anything!”

Ellie Glass’s security expert briefly watched Carmen’s face turning various colors before his spooky, pale eyes settled once again on Ana. “Good,” he finally said. “Please move away from the door. They’ll be coming up soon, with my colleague Tim, the hot one.”

Then he left.

“Is it just me, or did you get serious Clark Kent vibes from that guy? Laser eyes, am I right?” Carmen prompted. Ana didn’t answer, as she tried to interpret the man’s parting remark. Carmen saw her confusion and added, “I guess he saw my notes when he was in here for five seconds.” She passed the paper towel to Ana from where she had left it on the kitchen counter.

Ana laughed as she read it.

Who is that??
He’s so wasted!
Safety-conscious Tim sounds hot
I would totally watch this show

“For all Clark Kent knows, you wrote all that,” Carmen added. “Embarrassing.”

Ana laughed again. “Thanks, Carmen.”

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