It is with extreme pleasure I welcome Tyndale author, Carla Laureano into our spotlight. Carla shared some thoughts with us last month but today we'll get a sneak peek into her novel.
Essayist Alex Kanin never imagined his pointed editorial would go viral. Ironically, his attempt to highlight the pitfalls of online criticism has the opposite effect: it revives his own flagging career by destroying that of a perfect stranger. Plagued by guilt-fueled writer’s block, Alex vows to do whatever he can to repair the damage. He just doesn’t expect his interest in the beautiful chef to turn personal.
Alex agrees to help rebuild Rachel’s tarnished image by offering his connections and his home to host an exclusive pop-up dinner party targeted to Denver’s most influential citizens: the Saturday Night Supper Club. As they work together to make the project a success, Rachel begins to realize Alex is not the unfeeling opportunist she once thought he was, and that perhaps there’s life—and love—outside the pressure-cooker of her chosen career. But can she give up her lifelong goals without losing her identity as well?
EXCERPT: (Taken from The Saturday Night Supper Club by Carla Laureano. Copyright © 2018. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved.)
There was definitely something going on. If they hadn’t already dragged her out of her apartment, Rachel would think they’d staged an intervention. Except Melody and Ana were the only ones who really cared about what happened to her. She might think of her kitchen staff as her family, but they were more like countrymen—a shared citizenship, outsiders among the larger mainstream community, bonded by their weird hours and neuroses and gallows humor. They were probably sad to see her go, but they wouldn’t think of her much beyond what her departure meant to them during work hours.
“You okay?” Melody nudged her. Rachel sucked it up, straightened her shoulders, and pushed away the beginnings of self-pity. “I’m fine. Just hungry.”
Their food came up next—enormous helpings of thick-cut fries piled with shredded duck, piled incongruously in red-and-white checked paper boats. They took their food and then wound their way back through the ever increasing crowd to where Ana had managed to snag one half of a table in the back corner. Melody slid in beside Ana, and Rachel squeezed into the small space between the fence and the table.
“I’ve been craving these for weeks.” Rachel took a fry from her basket and bit into it with a sigh. They were perfect—crisp on the outside with a creamy interior, at once both salty and sweet from a double bath in boiling duck fat. Not exactly the healthiest of choices, but oh, was it worth it.
“So . . .”
Ana’s tone immediately pegged Rachel’s intervention-meter. Rachel put her entire attention on her food. “So what?”
“What are you going to do now?”
Rachel put down her French fry before she could even finish it. No sense letting the conversation sour her enjoyment of such deliciousness. “Do I really have to have a plan?”
“You know I understand the need to mourn. But I also know that you’re going to go crazy if you’re not working. You need something to occupy your time.”
“I don’t know what I want to do yet,” Rachel said. “It feels like you’re telling me to start dating before the ink is even dry on the divorce papers.”
“We really need to get you a boyfriend,” Ana said.
“I’m not interested in a boyfriend.” She avoided their knowing gazes, scanning the patio behind them, and felt her muscles freeze.
She might not want a boyfriend, but that didn’t mean she was immune to the specimen of pure male beauty walking toward them. She’d had plenty of experience with Tall, Dark, and Handsome, especially in the manscaped streets of Manhattan, but the guy walking toward them could have stepped straight out of a Colorado outdoors magazine. Tall but not too tall with mussed brown hair, light eyes that looked either green or blue from this distance, and a chiseled jaw shaded with just the right amount of stubble. He wore jeans and a light canvas jacket over a T-shirt tight enough to hint at toned muscle beneath.
And he was looking right at her.
She was suddenly finding it hard to breathe, and the unaccustomed bloom of heat in her cheeks meant nothing good. “Holy . . . ,” she murmured beneath her breath.
“What?” Melody asked.
“Don’t look!” she hissed, but it was too late. Both Melody and Ana were swiveling toward the guy, who hadn’t wavered from his trajectory toward their table.
“You know, I think we need to go get drinks.” Melody rose abruptly. Too abruptly. “Do you want anything?”
“Other than to sink into the concrete? Fine. Something non-alcoholic. Surprise me.”
They were off faster than she’d ever seen them move, a few seconds before the man arrived at her table. She steeled herself against her inevitable, involuntary reaction and still felt a little tremor. Hazel. His eyes were hazel, and a dimple flirted at the corner of his uncertain smile.
She composed herself and looked up at him again, waiting for the introduction. Or more likely, an inquiry about the time because his girlfriend was late. A man like that had to have a girlfriend. Or a wife.
Instead, he shoved his hands in his pockets and asked, “Rachel Bishop?”
A bucket of cold water doused the lovely glow she was feeling. “Who are you? Press? I have nothing to say.” She began to gather their meals together, until he thrust a hand out.
“Wait. I’m not press. Not really. My name is Alex Kanin.”
Kanin. She stared at him for a moment, wondering why that sounded familiar, sure that she would have remembered him if she’d met him before. No matter how busy, she wouldn’t have forgotten that face. Then it dawned on her. The article in The New Yorker. Alexander Kanin. She straightened and sent her best glare his direction, the one that made her cooks cower in apprehension. “I have nothing to say to you.”
“Please.” He seemed to be gathering himself, his expression pained. “You don’t have to say anything. Just listen.” When she still didn’t relent, he pleaded, “I’ll only take a couple of minutes. I promise.”
Rachel looked for her friends in the crowd, but they were still standing at the outdoor bar, waiting for their drinks. The crowds had piled in even thicker now, and if she gave up their table, there was no telling when they might nab another one. She clenched her jaw while she considered. “Fine.” She pulled her phone out of her pocket, set the timer, and plunked it on the table between them. “You have exactly two minutes. Go.”
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Until next time, take care and God Bless.