These are unedited excerpts from books you might not see for a while. LOL
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This is from my story about a human who enters a cooking competition against a bunch of shifters.
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“Hey Zio, something wrong?”
Zio looked up at his friend Antall, the vampire’s concerned expression pulled him from his thoughts. Antall must’ve used his freaky mind reading powers on him. Zio didn’t mind, vampires did it reflexively to make sure those surrounding them had no plans to kill them off.
“Bills.” He trudged up a smile. “Mom’s medical bills are starting to pile up. Even if I take all the overtime I don’t think I’ll make a dent.” He tried to keep the defeat out of his voice but from Antall’s expression he didn’t do a very good job.
Antall leaned against the counter beside Zio’s station. “Tough luck. Maybe you should enter the competition. That’ll get you back on track. I bet you could win it you’re super talented.”
Zio blushed at the praise. Some people still believed vampires subsisted solely on blood. Nothing could be further from the truth. Vampires were predators that needed a variety of foods to supplement their blood diet. Their picky nature had vampires owning the best restaurants in the city.
“What contest are you talking about?” Zio slid the onions off his board into the empty bowl.
“The cooking competition to be the werewolf king’s personal chef. Vampires and shifters don’t get along so I won’t be entering, but there’s a one-hundred thousand dollar prize and a guaranteed six-figure salary.” Antall’s eyes glowed with excitement. “You’d be great at it. You are fast and efficient in the kitchen and you have enough creativity to pull it off.”
“I might as well spend a few bucks and buy a lotto ticket.” Zio smirked. “I can’t even imagine the competition.”
The city held dozens of amazing chefs. To think Zio would be of the same caliber was just dreaming. A nice dream but foolish to get his hopes up. He grabbed a bell pepper and began chopping it up.
“Bullshit, you’d be good at it,” Antall insisted. “Look, I’ll talk to Vinnie, he’ll give you time off if I ask.”
Zio shook his head. “I don’t want to impose on Vinnie, he’s been good to me. Besides I can’t afford to lose my job.”
“I appreciate your dedication, Zio,” Vinnie’s voice boomed behind them. “What is my no good cousin trying to talk you into now.”
Zio turned to face the restaurant’s owner, and Antall’s cousin.
“I’m trying to get Zio to enter the king’s chef competition. His mom’s medical bills are really big and he needs money.” Antall explained. There was no privacy in the kitchen and Zio had no
Vinnie rubbed his chin with one large hand. “I’d hate to lose you Zio but you gotta do what’s best for your family. Tell you what. You go try out and I’ll hold your spot until you either win or are let go. Antall here can pitch in while you’re gone. You’ve been a great employee and I’d rather keep you on.”
“I’ll help,” Antall vowed.
Zio’s mouth dropped open. “You’d do that?” Antall was notorious for being a classically trained chef who only worked when he was bored. He hung around the kitchen, chatted with the cooks and ate food. Zio met him when Antall came to teach a lesson at his culinary school. They’d been friends since.
“Of course Zio. I’d give you the money too but we both know you’re too proud for that.”
Zio nodded. “I am.” He wouldn’t take money from a friend even if Antall could afford it.
“You need to present a signature dish for the initial interview. It starts tomorrow.” Antall pulled out his phone and tapped on it a few times. “I sent you the link to register. Now get out of here, go home and practice.”
“No,” Vinnie countermanded. “Go over there and practice. I’ve got all the ingredients here. Anything you make we can have the staff sample and give you feedback. That way you can adjust your recipe.”
Joy zipped through Zio. “You’d help me?”
Vinnie nodded. “I like you kid. You’re the only human I can say that about.”
“Thanks Vinnie.” Zio knew vampires didn’t get along with humans and shifters much. They didn’t like humans because they reminded vampires of what they were like before they lost their humanity, and shifters because they had a rivalry for the same resources. Few vampires were like Vinnie and Antall, born into the world of vampire and true bloods, even fewer would tolerate a human.
“No problem, just be sure to mention where you work at every stage and we’ll call it even,” Vinnie declared.
Zio laughed, relief shining through. “Absolutely.” At least he could feel he was giving back to his overly generous employer. Zio didn’t like feeling like he owed anyone. “At least unless I mess things up. I don’t want people to think incompetent humans work here.”
Vinnie patted Zio on the back. “You’ll do fine. Now go get busy and come up with a stellar dish.”