Thanks, it’s lovely to meet you! I’m Paul Almeida and a chef by training.
Tell us a little more about yourself.
I recently opened my own exclusive restaurant, Paulo’s, just off Robson Street in Vancouver. I’m not in the kitchen as often as I would like any more, but I am determined to make my new restaurant the talk of the town.
Paulo’s is actually where I met Jemma. She was on a date with another man, and there was, shall we say, a little unpleasantness. She would tell you that she was handling it on her own, but I was certainly not going to stand by and let her defend herself when I was there to assist.
Chivalrous. *winks* I’m sure she appreciated your intervention. So is there something no one would believe about you? Large or small.
Before I decided to be a chef, I wanted to be a professional golfer. I’d never taken a lesson in my life, but I loved to watch it on TV, even as a kid. I play a little bit now, just for fun, but I think it’s probably a good idea I decided to stay in the restaurant business, like my parents.
Cooking takes skill and imagination. I’m so not a cook, but admire people have the talent. With regard to ingredients, is there a specific body type, hair, or eye color that attracts you? Does your current lover meet your criteria?
I’ve been so busy setting up my restaurant that my love-life has been on hold for longer than I care to admit. But when I met Jemma I was immediately intrigued by her looks. I call her my wicked fairy – tiny build, loves to wear black, and a shock of pink-tipped hair. I’m looking forward to introducing her to my family. Once they get over her appearance I know they’ll love her, but she’s nothing like any other woman I’ve ever brought home
You seem conservative, yet you’ve fallen for an unconventional lady. Opposites must attract for you both. Where’s the most interesting place you’ve taken Jemma?
We haven’t even been on a date, yet! Not a real one, anyway. Jemma would lose her job if it was found out she and I were anything other than colleagues, and I’m ashamed to admit I didn’t take her concerns seriously enough. As soon as everything settles down I’m going to treat her to an intimate dinner for two at Paulo’s, after the restaurant has closed. After all, it was where we first met.
Secret lovers… what’s the most romantic thing she’s said to you thus far?
My name. The first time she called me by name – well, let’s say, it meant a lot.
Do you usually rely on your physical prowess or your intelligence to attract women?
Okay, waaaayyyy too embarrassed to answer that question. I’m no hulking brute of a guy, and no Einstein either. I suppose my cooking would attract some women – I’m told there’s nothing sexier than a man in the kitchen.
Yep, I’d have to agree with you there! Have you ever done anything that could have landed you in prison?
Are you kidding? If I’d done something that could have landed me in prison I wouldn’t have lived long enough to be charged with the crime. My mother would have killed me. She only looks sweet and innocent.
LOL! Moms are the best police system in the world! Who’s your best buddy? What do you guys do when bromancing?
My cousin, Daniel, is more than just a buddy. We grew up together, doing our homework at a table in my parent’s little cafe, getting in trouble for whatever boys do. He’s also my right-hand man at Paulo’s, and I wouldn’t be where I am today without him. I mean that literally. He’s the one who nominated me to be Chef d’Amour on this romance reality TV show. I was furious at first, but I suppose I know should thank him.
Sometimes our friends know what we need better than we do. What’s one thing Jemma does that makes you realize she’s the one?
I never thought I’d say this, but when Jemma is cranky and snarky I love her all the more. She’s such an honest person, never hiding her feelings behind a false smile. When she’s mad you know it, and you know why. But she has such a caring heart. The way she looks after her grandmother – it’s lovely.
What worries you the most?
I come from a big, loud, Portuguese family, where everyone lives in everyone’s pocket and knows their lives inside and out. While some days this is intensely annoying, there is a support system I can trust. When something goes wrong, everyone is there to help.
Jemma never knew that. A lot of bad things have happened in her life, and she’s scared to trust anyone. I’m having to work very hard to get her to accept leaning on me doesn’t mean she’s weak. I worry that she may never fully trust me.
I’m sure you’ll succeed with Jemma and the restaurant.
Thanks so much for letting me visit today!
Great to have you, Paul! Before you leave, tell us how to find your book.
I’d love for everyone to meet Jemma, so I invite you to buy CHEF D’AMOUR right away. You can find it in both print and ebook direct from The Wild Rose Press – and until September 1 the ebook is only $2.50 (TWRP site only). As an added bonus, Brenda Margriet’s other story, her romantic suspense, MOUNTAIN FIRE, is only 99 cents until September 12th on Amazon, Kobo and more. Visit her website – www.brendamargriet.com – for all the buy links!
All Jemma Hedge wants to do is care for her ailing grandmother, and a job behind-the-scenes on the reality show Reservations for Two is the perfect opportunity. There’s one rule—no fraternizing with the cast. Easy enough, until she meets the show’s sexy bachelor, Paul Almeida, the smouldering restaurateur she’s already had the displeasure of meeting.
Paul risked more than money when he opened his dream restaurant. To give his fantasy a fighting chance he accepts the role of Chef d’Amour on a brand new reality show. Flirting with the women vying for his heart should keep him too busy to worry about overstepping boundaries with the crew, until he spots Jemma.
The ingredients for love are at hand. Can Jemma and Paul create the perfect blend?
Dizziness swirled through Paul and he lifted his mouth for an instant, long enough for a quick, desperate breath before dipping back to sip from Jemma again. A taste, one more, another—then she tore away, thrust away, threw his hands down. She pressed against the far wall, staring at him with her unearthly blue eyes. Her breasts heaved under her black t-shirt. A flush shaded the hollow of her throat.
His palms tingled from the silk of her skin, her tang lingered on his tongue. Need for her simmered in his veins.
She stared at him, one hand held to her mouth. He should say something. Apologize. Apologize? What the hell for?
“Are you trying to get me fired?” Her voice came out squeaky, panicked.
Oh, right. She wasn’t allowed to associate with him. “Of course not.” That kiss was well over the line, but he didn’t regret it, not one bit.
“Then what was that?” Her hand flailed between them.
“I kissed you.”
“I know that!” Her eyes flashed. “Why?”
“I wanted to.” He rolled tense shoulders. His breathing eased as his pulse steadied and he resisted the impulse to hold her hard against him, nestle her to his body. She’d probably slap him. “I have to tell you, Jemma. You are much more fascinating than any of the women on the show.”
“I’m not a contestant!” Red brightened the tip of her nose. “You can’t pick me. You have to pick one of the contestants.”
“I’ll pick who I want.” And I pick you. He didn’t dare say it out loud.
“Stay away from me.” She edged past him, grasped the door handle. “Just stay away from me.” She fled.
Brenda’s love of books began as a child. She ran into the living room holding “Old Hat, New Hat”, tripped and smashed into the corner of the coffee table. The book sustained a deep gouge in its cover, and Brenda has never forgotten its sacrifice.
As a teenager, she saved babysitting money to buy a typewriter. It had an electric keyboard with manual return, and cost more than $300. When she wasn’t clacking away on it, she could be found hiding behind the couch with her nose in a book.
Her first release, Mountain Fire, is a romantic suspense set in Northern BC. Her second release, Chef D’Amour, is a contemporary romance set behind-the-scenes on a romance reality TV show.
Brenda lives in Northern British Columbia with her husband, three children (all of whom are taller than her) and various finny and furry pets. By day she is Production Manager at the local television station, and by night she pecks away at her works in progress.
Find out more about Brenda, including social media and buy links, at http://www.brendamargriet.com