Exclusive Excerpt: The Secret Ingredient by KD Fisher

Hi, everyone! I’m thrilled to share an excerpt from The Secret Ingredient, my queer rivals-to-lovers foodie romance. When classically trained chef Adah Campbell and intuitive baker Beth Summers meet, their attraction…and rivalry…is immediate. The two women couldn’t be more different, but their intense passion for food and undeniable chemistry draw them together. Below is a sneak-peak of Adah and Beth’s first real date, complete with a fancy picnic and plenty of sexual tension.

The Secret Ingredient is available now. Thanks so much for reading and I hope you all enjoy!

I couldn’t look away. Never in my life had I seen something so beautiful. The sun shimmered off the water, almost turquoise where it lapped against the dark rocky shore, stretching out to a deep, flat blue. Seaweed drifted and bobbed in time with the steady beat of the current. In the distance small white sailboats glided along the horizon. The air smelled good. Clean and salty with the slight, faraway edge of someone grilling meat over charcoal.

I turned to Beth, the breeze tumbling through her hair and pressing the thin fabric of her skirt tight to her legs. Okay, she was just as beautiful as this place. But it was a close tie.

“I think the blanket and towels are in your bag,” she said, shouldering off her backpack and setting it down on a large, flat rock.

Beth’s giant beast of a dog, who I now realized was about as scary as a newborn chick, made a beeline for the water, swimming a few small circles before clambering back out to shake all over us. A laugh erupted from my chest but died right away at the sight of Beth pulling her T-shirt over her head. Her red bikini was, well, small, and I had to try real hard to tear my eyes away from her smooth, creamy skin to focus on pulling the picnic blanket out of my bag.

I cleared my throat as I shook out the blanket onto the sun-warm rock. “Here?”

“Perfect.” Beth raised her eyebrows suggestively but her smile was soft. “I think I need to get some sun before I swim. Are you hungry yet?”

“I could eat,” I said, tugging my shirt over my head and stepping out of my jeans. I’d been glad the one bathing suit I owned, a black one-piece I’d bought when I’d been training unsuccessfully for a triathlon, still fit.

Next to me, Beth’s breath hitched. I glanced at her to find her big brown eyes gone even bigger and locked on me. She wasn’t even trying to hide her desire as her lips parted and she moved a fraction closer. Half of me liked being wanted, itching to run my fingers along the curve of her hip, tighten my grip, and pull her against me. The other half of me wanted to hightail it back to the road and try my luck as a hitchhiker. She must have sensed my hesitation, because her body softened and she turned to busy herself with the food.

Dang it. I tried not to groan in frustration. Why did this always happen to me? Once I knew I liked someone, knew how much I wanted them, I clammed up. Talking was hard enough. Trying to kiss her…well, I might as well have been trying to make consommé with my hands tied and my nose plugged.

Beth sat down cross-legged and gestured for me to sit across from her. “Okay, I have prepared for us today…” Her voice was such an over-the-top version of the listing the specials tone, I had to laugh. “Raspberry sun tea, smoked fontina and grilled eggplant on homemade rosemary ciabatta, and a blackberry kumquat cake for dessert.” She plated the food expertly on blue enamelware and slid my lunch in front of me.

I wanted to tell her more about myself. Wanted to explain why I was so dang taciturn. Wanted to let her get to know me, whatever the heck that even meant. I opened my mouth to speak, and instead of the thoughtful words I’d arranged in my head, what came out was a low, “Sorry, I guess I’m kinda nervous.”

The blanket bunched between us as Beth scooted closer. “Me too. Which is actually really weird because I don’t do nervous. So we’re in it together.” She grinned. I loved the way her smile crinkled the corners of her eyes, the way it turned her whole face into sunshine.

Two amazing chefs. Two very different restaurants. One undeniable love.

For single mom Adah Campbell, the executive chef job at a posh restaurant in tiny North Port, Maine is a dream come true—and the perfect opportunity to start over, far away from a home that’s never felt entirely hers. But fitting in has never been easy, and between a new town, a new boss, and the unexpectedly attractive owner of a rival café, things get off to a rocky start.

Never did free-spirited Beth Summers think she’d still be in North Port. Travel the world gathering delicious recipes and finding friends and lovers? Absolutely. Step in to run her family’s small-town café? Not so much. However, once Beth commits to something, that’s it. Soon, The Yellow House is the hottest spot in town, but Beth’s out of energy—and out of ideas for moving forward.

Until Adah Campbell walks into her life, and moving forward suddenly includes making room for a whole new family.

Indiebound | Amazon | B&N | Apple | Google | Kobo
Release Date: October 27th

Carina Adores is home to highly romantic contemporary love stories featuring beloved romance tropes, where LGBTQ+ characters find their happily-ever-afters.

A new Carina Adores title is available each month in trade paperback, ebook and audiobook formats.

  • The Hideaway Inn by Philip William Stover (available now!)
  • The Girl Next Door by Chelsea M. Cameron (available now!)
  • Just Like That by Cole McCade (available now!)
  • Hairpin Curves by Elia Winters (available now!)
  • Better Than People by Roan Parrish (available now!)
  • The Secret Ingredient by KD Fisher (available now!)
  • Just Like This by Cole McCade (coming November 24)
  • Teddy Spenser Isn’t Looking for Love by Kim Fielding (coming December 29)

KD Fisher is a queer New England-based writer of authentic, heartfelt LGBTQ+ narratives. KD grew up all over the United States, bouncing from North Carolina to Hawaiʻi to Illinois, and finally settling in Maine where she spends far too much time at the beach.

When KD isn’t writing, she can usually be found hiking with her overly enthusiastic dog, obsessing over plants, or cooking elaborate meals. She loves classic country, perfectly ripe tomatoes, and falling asleep in the sun.

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Genre: Contemporary Genre: Romance Orientation: Bisexual Orientation: Lesbian Pairing: F/F Publisher: Carina Press

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