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Kissing in the Kitchen

Kissing in the Kitchen

Seasons of Love Series Novella

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A Mature-Age Christian Romance

Main Tropes

  • Widow
  • Forced to Work Together
  • Short and Sweet
  • Small-town Feel
  • Mature-age Characters

About the Book

Ruth Coffman has been a widow for over twenty years and is content in her independence. But when making the plans for an upcoming wedding finds her repeatedly thrown together with the charming new chef from Minden's main restaurant, she starts wondering if God has other plans for her. Should she take the risk of starting a new relationship at this stage of life? Or would she be better off single - like she has been for decades?

Norm recently moved back to the area to help take care of his aging parents after working for nearly thirty years as an executive chef in Chicago. He's always been too busy for relationships or a family of his own, which never bothered him before. As he spends more time in Minden, he starts to imagine a different future for himself - one that might just include sharing his kitchen with the beautiful widow with the fiery red hair. Can he open himself after so many years of self-imposed distance from the people around him? Or will his stubbornness sabotage any chance of a friendship with Ruth?

Please note: Kissing in the Kitchen is a bonus novella within the Seasons of Love Series and is approximately 20,000 words. It is a stand-alone story but does contain spoilers of Books 1 and 2 of the series.


Karen Brasher aka Avid Reader5.0 out of 5 stars Kissing in the Kitchen

Reviewed in the United States on March 12, 2022

This is a sweet short novella involving two older adults, one a widow and the other never married. They share a love for feeding people. He is a professional chef and she is a self taught cook who loves to share her hospitality with others. Read how they meet and develop feelings for each other even through hardships.

Look Inside - Chapter One

Ruth Coffman was excited about having lunch with Luke. Her son-in-law was getting
remarried, and while Ruth was extremely happy for him and loved Charlotte
deeply, it was still hard to get used to another woman in his life. Since her daughter,
Rachel - Luke’s wife - had died five years ago, Luke was all the family she had. Charlotte had arrived in Minden only four months ago, but their
relationship had blossomed quickly and Ruth’s time alone with Luke now had
another participant. Today, however, Charlotte was tied up on some conference
calls working out the details of her new job and Luke had invited her to Bud
and Janine’s Cafe for a lunch date. Ruth didn’t visit the cafe often, but the
rumor mill was buzzing with news of the new cook that Chrissy had hired.
Apparently, he was some fancy chef from Chicago. And wasn’t that exciting for
their little town?

Ruth had lived in Minden for nearly forty years, since her parents moved there when
she was a young teenager. The town had changed dramatically over that time -
businesses had moved in and out, entire families had come and gone. She’d
helped raise money for new playground equipment in the park when Rachel was
young and had been a substitute teacher at the Minden Elementary School before her husband, Peter, had gotten sick. The Minden community had carried her, a
newly single mother of a precocious eight-year-old girl, through those times.
She couldn’t imagine living anywhere else. She loved her little town. Some
people walked down Main Street and focused on the few empty store fronts or the
stained brick buildings. But as she looked down the street after parking her
car a block away from Bud and Janine’s, she saw memories. There was the bakery
where she’d ordered Rachel’s wedding cake, next to the mechanic shop where her
station wagon had heaved its last, shuddering sigh. There was the craft store,
where she’d bought yarn to make Rachel’s baby blanket. It had changed owners
twice since back then, nearly thirty years ago. It was still Minden, though.

Hopefully, this outsider from Chicago would stick around and help Chrissy keep the cafe
for a long time. It hardly seemed fair to Ruth, what Bud and Janine were doing
to that poor girl - up and leaving her with such a huge responsibility and not
much notice. Ruth knew Chrissy, though, and knew that she was stronger and
smarter than she thought herself. The town of Minden would step up, too. Just
like they had when Ruth needed them. They’d support Chrissy and the cafe that
was now hers. As long as the food wasn’t terrible, she mentally added.

She opened the door to the cafe and heard the bells jingle. Since she had been in
last, the cafe was now decorated for Christmas. The pictures on the wall were
wrapped in cheery holiday paper, and small decorations sat on each booth and
table. There was garland strung across the front of the counter, tied with red
bows. Christmas music played softly from the stereo in the rear of the

She spotted Luke, already sitting at a booth and scanning the menu. She removed her
scarf from its home around her neck and attempted to fix her slightly
wind-blown red hair. She had taken to having it colored over the past few
years, as the grays had gotten more and more pronounced. She knew it was vain
of her, after all, who was she trying to impress? But she just wasn’t ready to
be an “old” lady with white hair. Each time she went to the salon for a touch-up, she laughed at herself. She had been a widow for twenty-two years and was quite comfortable being single. But she was still a woman who had to look at herself in the mirror each morning and come to terms with the
ever-increasing laugh lines - she refused to call them wrinkles -- and the age
spots on her hands.

Luke stood up and gave her a quick hug and she kissed his cheek. In every sense of
the word, he was her son. When Rachel had brought him home, like a little, lost
puppy, Ruth had simply shaken her head and given him a home. Over time, he had
shared his story - kicked out of his mother’s house and struggling to make ends
meet doing odd jobs and construction work. She, on the other hand, had shared
her home and her faith with him, pulling him into this community. Now, nearly
ten years later, Lucas Brand was as much a Minden staple as Ruth herself. He
was a local business owner, a deacon in the church, and a fixture at community
events. She was incredibly proud of him, probably more than he realized.

“Brrrr. It definitely feels like winter out there!” she exclaimed.

Luke nodded. “Sure does. Not much getting done at my office. I’m definitely not a
fan of this time of year - can’t spend enough time outside, which means I have
to spend too much catching up on paperwork.”

Chrissy came over and greeted them warmly. “What can I get you to drink today, guys?”

Luke gestured to Ruth to speak first. “I’d love a hot tea.”

“And I’ll take an iced tea.”

“Perfect. I’ll be right back with those while you look at the menu. Just so you know, the
special today is homemade chicken pot pie that Norman made this morning. Comes
with a dinner roll and a small side salad.”

When she came back with their drinks, they both ordered the special. Ruth made a
pretty good pot pie herself, so she had to try the newcomer’s version and see
how it compared. When their food came out, it was delivered by the newcomer
himself and Ruth was struck by the man leaning over their booth, placing
steaming plates of creamy pie and small bowls on the surface. He wasn’t at all
what she had expected after hearing about the bigshot from Chicago. First of
all, he was older than she expected. She was expecting someone in their
late-30s, but Norman appeared to be closer to her age. Unlike many men his age,
he had thick hair, though it was liberally scattered with gray. There was a thick mustache as well, and the hint of a beard - as though he hadn’t shaved in
several days. His green eyes were striking against his dark skin. He smiled at
her and the skin around his eyes crinkled charmingly.

“Thank you,” she said, in a quiet voice.

It was then that Chrissy made an appearance. She had been tied up at a table of
retired farmers who loved to meet at the cafe and shoot the breeze. Chrissy
grabbed the empty tray from him and Norm spoke up for the first time. His voice
was deep and warm, like the hot tea Ruth had been sipping. "Just wanted to
make sure they got it while it was still hot, and I know those fellas can talk
your ear off."

Chrissy waved his explanation away. "No, no, it's great. Thanks for doing that.
Norm, these are my friends. Miss Ruth and Luke. This is Norman, my new chef.
You are in for a huge treat." She feigned a whisper, placing her hand on
one side of her mouth and leaning in toward the table, "He's even better
than my dad."

"Nice to meet you, Norman,” Ruth said and offered her hand.

"The pleasure is all mine. Please call me Norm." He took her hand in his,
strikingly warm from the dishes against hers, still cold from the chill
outside. Ruth looked once more into the emerald of his eyes and could feel
herself start to blush.

After a few seconds, Luke cleared his throat when Norm had yet to turn to him.
"Yep, nice to meet you, Norm. Thanks for the food." Norm glanced at
Luke for a few brief seconds before looking back at Ruth.

“Uh, yes. Nice to meet you, Luke. Enjoy your lunch.” Norm made his way back to the
kitchen and Chrissy stayed at the table to chat.

While they started on their food, blowing on forkfuls of the chicken pot pie, they
talked about Charlotte’s meetings for the day, and Chrissy’s upcoming plans to
go with Todd to Chicago to take care of some business with the cafe. Todd had
recently admitted to Ruth and to Luke that he had been secretly attending
college classes for several years to get a degree. Ruth didn’t see what the big
deal was. Of course, like most of Minden, she knew what kind of man Todd’s
father had been. If Todd was finally ready to let his ghosts stop controlling
his path, she was thrilled for him.

The bell, indicating another order was prepped in the kitchen, rang and Chrissy
made her exit. As she left, Luke made sure to tell her how good the chicken pot
pie was and Ruth echoed the sentiment. It really was good, she had to admit -
better than hers. She wondered what the difference was and contemplated if she
could talk Norman into sharing some of his culinary secrets with her.

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