Sugar and Spice and All Those Lies

Chanterelles garnished with cream and mayhem

Cooking a great meal is an act of love. An act of grace. A life-affirming gift. These are lessons Gina learns from her mother, daughter of a French chef. Gina is a young woman born to poor parents; a nobody (her words) who gets lucky when she’s chosen to cook at a Michelin-starred restaurant in the San Francisco Bay Area. She finds a world of new challenges, and new loves—one that exposes her to fascinating people who’re also gripped by dark motivations. Can the lessons she learned from her mother about cooking and life sustain Gina in this other world of privilege, pleasure and unexpected danger?
About the Book

Cooking a wonderful meal is an act of love. An act of grace. A gift that affirms and gives life—not only does it nurture those who partake of a meal; it also feeds the soul of the person who creates it. These are lessons Gina learns from her mother.

Gina is a young woman from a poor neighborhood. One of those nobodies not lucky enough to have a large house on a hill overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge. But she has a passion for cooking, passed on through her mother from a grandfather who was a French chef but whose dreams were obliterated by a robber’s bullet.

Gina gets lucky when she’s chosen to cook at a Michelin-starred restaurant in the Bay Area where she has the chance to create inventive recipes. She finds a world beyond the limits of her old one. The world of a privileged class with money to spare for dinners that cost hundreds of dollars. A world of new friends, new challenges, and new loves. She becomes good friends with pastry chef Marcia, and intrigues Leon, a rich regular client who has been dating Cristi, her friend from childhood.

She meets Brent, a brooding homicide detective, after an incident involving Cristi This other world, it turns out, is also one of unexpected danger that eventually threatens her life.

Amidst her culinary adventures, she falls in love, in different ways, with both Leon and Brent, two very different men. Leon is spoiled, carefree, unfaithful and used to getting his way but is also honest, charming and persistent. He’s also protective of what he considers his legacy. Brooding Brent—trained as a lawyer and haunted by the many violent deaths he has seen in his work —is serious, idealistic, and seemingly content to be solitary. He is also deeply caring, solicitous, and always ready to help anyone in need.

Can the lessons she learned from her mother about cooking and life sustain Gina in a world that exposes her to fascinating people who’re also gripped by dark motivations that lead to disastrous consequences?