Dine With Me by Layla Reyne
Release Date (e-book and audio):
September 16, 2019
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Life never tasted so good.
Miller Sykes’s meteoric rise to award-winning chef is the stuff of culinary dreams, but it’s all crashing down around him. He’s been given a diagnosis that could cost him something even more precious than his life: his sense of taste. Rather than risk the very thing that defines him, Miller embarks on a last tour of his favorite meals while he still can.
But there’s a catch: he needs a financial backer to make it happen, and he doesn’t want anyone to know he’s sick.
Dr. Clancy Rhodes has two weeks to come to terms with putting aside oncology to work at his father’s thriving plastic surgery practice. When the opportunity to travel with a Michelin-starred chef presents itself, the foodie in him can’t believe it. It doesn’t hurt that Miller’s rugged good looks are exactly Clancy’s cuppa joe.
As Clancy and Miller travel from coast to coast and indulge in everything from dive bars to the most decadent of culinary experiences, they’re suddenly sharing a lot more than delicious meals. Sparks fly as they bond over their love of flavors and the pressures of great expectations. But when Miller’s health takes a turn for the worse, Clancy must convince him he’s more—so much more—than just his taste buds. And that together, they can win a battle that once seemed hopeless.
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By the time they were on the ferry to Martha’s Vineyard, all of Clancy’s thoughts and words were fighting to get out. He watched through the windshield as Miller stood by the ferry’s rail, a lone figure seemingly oblivious to the blowing snow flurries as he stared straight ahead.
To the island where they would be stuck together for the weekend.
Fuck. Clancy had to say something or else this was going to be the most awkward Christmas Eve weekend ever.
He tossed his empty coffee cup aside, grabbed his scarf from the back seat, wrapped it around his neck, zipped up his hoodie, and buttoned his coat over everything. Bundled, as well as an LA boy could be, he shoved open the car door, took one step out, and had to cling to the door to avoid wiping out. Steadying himself, he carefully made his way to the rail where Miller stood. And just as carefully, he approached the conversation, starting with something easy. “Thank you for the coffee and beignets this morning.”
“I promised you,” Miller answered flatly, not giving him a glance.
Careful and easy took a flying leap off the side of the boat. “Do you still want to be here?” The next second, Clancy registered how that question could be taken, beyond just this trip, and he wanted to jump over the rail himself. “On this trip,” he clarified. “Because if you’re just here because you promised, we can call it off. You can keep the money—”
“It’s not about the money.”
“Fine, but Miller…” He leaned a hip and hand against the rail, trying to get Miller to look his way, to no avail. “If this trip is making you miserable, if you don’t want to be around me, if you—”
Miller’s hand over his silenced the rest of Clancy’s words. “I want to continue, and I don’t want to do it alone.”
“But do you want to do it with me?”
Miller finally gave Clancy his eyes, and they were red-rimmed and bloodshot. Clancy sucked in a sharp breath, fearing the worst.
“Yes,” Miller said softly.
Clancy didn’t hide his huge exhale, and Miller’s answering smile was worth it. The world steadied below Clancy’s feet even as the boat rocked over the waves. He drew his hand back and shoved both of them into his coat pockets. “Where are we going, then? On Martha’s Vineyard?”
Miller glanced back out over the water, toward the island that was growing nearer. “The first place I chef’ed.”
“I thought that was in New York, with Greg.”
He shook his head, a strange mix of pain and longing streaking across his face. “When Sloan and I left home, we came here first. A friend of Ma’s ran a B and B in Edgartown. It was the summer season and she needed the extra help. She rented us a dingy little basement apartment for cheap, Sloan cleaned and helped manage the inn, and I was the on-site handyman and landscaper. But I still needed to get out and make some extra cash.”
“So you found a restaurant to work in?”
“The kitchens in New York and San Francisco might have refined my skills, but Oscar M’Raihi gave them to me.”
“I can’t wait to meet him.”
Exclusive Q&A with Layla Reyne
- Can you share with us something about the book that isn’t in the blurb?
LR: It’s not just Miller and Clancy in this story. There’s a supporting cast of characters—family, of the blood and found sort—that I absolutely adored writing. And they support, first and foremost. No one here is trying to foil or divert our main characters, and I love that about this story. They are there to support Miller and Clancy, as best and as full-of-heart as they can.
- Are there any secrets from the book (that aren’t in the blurb), you can share with your readers?
LR: Every place Miller and Clancy visited is a place I’ve dined or based on a place I dined. (Sadly, a few of my favorites had closed!) Each place in this book is as special to me, for my own reasons, as it is for Miller and Clancy. For instance, one of the stops is The French Laundry, which is where my husband and I got married, so it holds a special place in my heart too.
- Does one of the main characters hold a special place in your heart? If so, why?
LR: Ohmigod, they both do. This story has been rattling around in my head since 2015. It was on the initial list of project ideas I gave my agent. There’s a lot of me in both Clancy and Miller (more so Clancy, my husband more so Miller), but it’s really a love letter to all the amazing dining experiences I’ve been so lucky to have in my life.
- What is the significance of the title?
LR: It starts as the opening line of the advertisement Miller posts for the tour. It also ends the book in a way that still makes me happy sigh.
- What is the future for the characters? Will there be a sequel?
LR: This is a standalone, so there won’t be a sequel. Though keep your eyes peeled for a special project involving one of the secondary characters.
- If you had to describe character Miller Sykes in three words, what would those three words be?
LR: Loyal, Self-Sacrificing, Stubborn
- If you had to describe character Clancy Rhodes in three words, what would those three words be?
LR: Earnest, Honest, Risk-taker
- If your book was to be made into a movie, who are the celebrities that would star in it?
LR: Oh, this is easy (since the book has been in my head for YEARS). I’ve always had Clive Standen as my fancast for Miller and Grant Gustin as my fancast for Clancy.
- Was the writing process different and what challenges did you face writing contemporary romance versus romantic suspense?
LR: I couldn’t just throw a car chase or explosion in when I needed to pick up the pace! But seriously, I really did have to dig deep to center this one more on emotions, more on the journey of these two men, individually and potentially together in the future. That’s what’s driving the story, versus my usual twisty plot.
About The Author
RITA Finalist Layla Reyne is the author of the Agents Irish and Whiskey, Fog City, and Changing Lanes series. A Carolina Tar Heel who now calls the San Francisco Bay Area home, Layla enjoys weaving her bi-coastal experiences into her stories, along with adrenaline-fueled suspense and heart-pounding romance.
She is a member of Romance Writers of America and its Kiss of Death and Rainbow Romance Writers chapters. Layla is a 2019 RWA® RITA® Finalist in Contemporary Romance (Mid-Length) and 2016 RWA® Golden Heart® Finalist in Romantic Suspense.
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