Book 4 comes out at the end of March, but I thought I'd introduce you to Mr. Hot Stuff (the kitchen's nickname for him). Tyne, for me, sort of jumped off the page. I hope you like him as much as I did.
A brief intro: Tyne lives in the apartment above Daphne's stained glass shop. His friend, Chase, had a thing for Daphne before he fell for Paula. Chase still worries about Daphne, though, and finagles Tyne into promising he'll be there for her if the stodgy professor she's dating dumps her. Which he does:
Daphne sat behind the cash register, her head in her hands, her shoulders shaking. Oh, no. He’d never trusted the professor. Tyne went to her. “Hey, you okay?” Dumb question. Who sits there and sobs when life’s good?
She turned away from him. He bent to wrap his arms around her. “He dumped you?” Did the asshole have another girl on the stringer in some other town?
No one but Daphne’s parents had been impressed with Patrick. The professor was so self-absorbed, Tyne wondered how he could relate to his students. He probably didn’t. Chase had been interested in Daphne before he met Paula. Chase didn’t think much of Patrick either. He’d made Tyne promise to be there for Daphne if the misery came. Not a hard promise to keep. Tyne liked her. He’d never make a move on her—she was a for-keeps type girl—but Tyne didn’t just rent his apartment from her, they were friends. Or at least friendly to each other, good neighbors.
She turned and pressed her face against his chest. Tears and snot soaked his T-shirt. Gross, but what were friends for? He patted her head. Love sucked. Sometimes, it worked—like it did for Ian and Tessa, Chase and Paula. But usually? It wasn’t worth the bother, the pain. That’s why Tyne had promised himself he’d never fall for someone until he reached forty. Maybe not even then, but he might be ready for the crush of romance once he was older and his friends were more tied down. Maybe then he’d be bored enough that a relationship would look good.
Daphne finds his "help" a little off-putting:
Tyne never minced words. She’d forgotten that. He wasn’t the best person to spar with verbally. He’d have eaten Patrick alive. She frowned. “You make me sound stupid. No one’s talked to me like that. Ever.”
“Then it’s time they did. Own up. What the hell were you thinking?”
“I’m tired of dating. I’m tired of looking for Mr. Right, and I’m not getting any younger.”
“So what? I’d rather be by myself and enjoy my own company than be stuck with a jerk.”
She sighed. No one else would say that to her either. But Tyne wasn’t like anyone else. He was his own person.
Tyne cooks for her and takes her under his wing--whether Daphne wants it or not, and most of the time, she'd rather hide from him:
She looked surprised. “You cook on your days off?”
He gave a wicked grin. He knew it was wicked, because she looked wary again. “Days off are when I do what I want, complete freedom.”
“Is your food spicy?”
She looked flustered, tried to dodge the question. “Never mind. I’ll be fine. You’ve spent enough time with me. I’m sure you have something better to do, someone else to see.”
She was trying to get rid of him. How cool! Most women wanted him to stay. She meant to retreat back into her shelter, though, and he had no inclination to let her. “I haven’t made any plans. Let’s go to the store and grab whatever we want for tonight.” He couldn’t help himself. He asked, “Want some whiskey? Wine? If you’d like to get plastered, I’ll keep an eye on you.”
She looked horrified, and he chuckled. She glared. “I usually eat dinner at my parents’ house.”
“Then you’ve seen enough of them. Tell them you can’t make it tonight. Let’s go shopping. I’m hungry for Thai food, my favorite.”
“With curry? It’s hot, isn’t it?”
“It’s according to how much you add.” Another wicked grin. “How spicy do you want it tonight?”