Will Bunty’s Italian grandmother still try to stay in control from beyond the grave?
Can Fabio persuade Bunty to change her mind about dating Italians?
Will the convent girls be forced to finally confess to Sister Teresa the truth about the visiting choirboys and the missing communion wine?
And how much chocolate do you need to create a life size ***** man part?
Let the mayhem begin…before it becomes a recipe for disaster!
ADVANCE PRAISE FOR Recipe for Disaster
“This is an entertaining read full of wonderful, engaging characters. (And lots of authentic yummy sounding food!!) Nina Harrington did a great job with the pace of the story and kept it lighthearted even though it is filled with family tiffs, personal struggles and lots of emotions. The attraction between Bunty and Fabio seemed realistic and slowly grew throughout the book in the midst of all the family drama. This would definitely be a great book to take with you to the beach!”
Bunty sat back in her hard wooden chair and swayed a little from side to side as her whole crew of pals and teachers from the convent school and catering college joined in a very loud and very out of tune version of Mambo Italiana that Elena was playing at full volume in her honour.
Normally the background music would have been Greek bouzouki music or Elena’s favourite classical opera CD with tenors singing about frozen tiny hands, so this really was a special treat. Just for her.
There were wine spillages and salad dressing smears and breadcrumbs all over the tablecloths, and probably the new plum coloured wrap dress Alex had squeezed her into. At some point she had lost her shoe until the table when she sat down after all the toasts had been made.
Then Fran had presented her a crown she had made from gold paper and wire and insisted that she wear it as a party princess. At a jaunty angle of course.
Worse. Her makeup was probably a wreck after a brief but intense crying jag. Her favourite teacher from the convent school knew most of the girls crammed around these tables only too well – good and bad. She could tell some tales of mischief and mayhem.
But instead Sister Teresa had made the sweetest speech about how proud her mother would have been of her and what she had achieved, which had everyone in the room reaching for the tissues, paper napkins, on in more than one case the corner of the tablecloth. There was not a dry eye in the house. Even Alex the strong ‘accidentally’ dropped her napkin on the floor and had to drop out of sight for a couple of minutes to find it.
Bunty glanced up across the tables spread out around the room. It didn’t matter that she looked a mess. Not to her friends and family who had come out on a cold January evening to help her celebrate her birthday.
She grinned across at Maria who was carrying out yet more plates of more lamb and roast potatoes. Her friend replied with a jaunty wink as one of the catering students patted her bottom the second the plate hit the table and Maria pretended to squeal, and then sat down heavily on his lap and wrapped her arm around his shoulders.
These were her real friends. Her real family. Girls from the local convent school she had known all of her life and their husbands and boyfriends, pals from the local shops, students she taught at the catering college. All loud, boisterous and having fun. And that was precisely how she liked it. No false pretences here. Real people who shared her life each and every day.
She was so lucky to have them.
A warm glow of happiness and contentment spread from deep inside her like a furnace that pumped the heat from her heart to the very ends of her fingertips. She had never felt so safe and secure for years. Protected. And cared for and part of a very special community of friends who looked out for one another.
Maybe turning 30 was not so bad after all when she had friends like these in her life. So what if she didn’t have a mega TV career like her cousin Luca? She had something much better.
Bunty leant sideways and rested her head on Alex’s shoulder. ‘Have I said thank you yet for pulling this all together? It’s amazing and I love it.’
Alex laughed out loud and gave her a one armed hug. ‘Several times. It’s the wine you know. Causes short term memory loss in older women. I have built up resistance over the years so it takes a lot longer to kick in.’
Then Alex started rubbing her hands together and humming the last verse under her breath. ‘Now. Back to the important stuff. What totally outrageous thing have you decided to do before the end of the day? Remember the rules – it has to be spontaneous, the opposite of what you would normally do, and fun! Points will be awarded for the most ingenious solution!’
‘Dance on the table? Bunty suggested then shook her head and waved her arms around. ‘No. Forget that one. The table legs wouldn’t cope with my current body weight and this food is too good to waste and it would only lead to spillages.. Something outrageous. Um…’
Then she looked over Alex’s shoulder back towards the entrance to the restaurant and her breath caught in her throat.
Standing not three feet away from her was one of the best looking men that she had seen in her life. She was 5ft 9ins so he had to be at least 6 feet 2ins in his very shiny slim smart black shoes. Her gaze tracked up his body before the sensible part of her brain clicked in to stop it.
Slim hips. Broad shoulders. A hand made cashmere and silk business suit in a shade of midnight blue which was so perfect it made her drool. A tailored white shirt open at the neck just enough to draw attention to his natural tanned skin at the throat. Dark chestnut brown hair that curled into neat waves which simply begged to be touched.
‘Hello,’ he said in a rich deep male voice which crossed the air space that separated them and reverberated inside her head. ‘I’m looking for a Bernadette Caruso Brannigan. Have I come to the right place?’
He was Italian mixed with a delicious topping of American English. And he had come looking for her.
‘Bunty whipped around in her seat before Alex caught her open-mouthed staring at the top three buttons on his shirt, which were unfastened, revealing a hint of tanned skin with dark chest hair. Taunting her.
If he dressed like this in January, August would be interesting.
For some reason her breathing had become irregular and she suddenly felt remarkably warm.
Oh Alex,’ she breathed in a low hiss of appreciation. ‘I owe you big time.’
‘This is so true? But what particular thing have I done now,’ Alex replied between mouthfuls of garlic bread.
‘You didn’t tell me that you hired a male stripper.’
‘Who? What?’ Alex looked up and whirled her head around like a meerkat before it froze in the same direction Bunty was focusing on.
‘Oh. I see what you mean,’ she coughed. ‘Girl, I don’t know who he is, but I think you have just found your challenge. What are you waiting for? He is all yours. Go get him.’
Text Copyright © 2012 by Nina Harrington. Cover Art Copyright © 2012 by Harlequin Enterprises Limited Permission to reproduce text granted by Harlequin Books S.A. Cover art used by arrangement with Harlequin Enterprises Limited. All rights reserved. ® and ™ are trademarks owned by Harlequin Enterprises Limited or its affiliated companies, used under license. All rights reserved © Nina Harrington