“Thanks. I hope it tastes good.”
She laid her hand on his shoulder. “I have no doubt it will.”
“Oh, come on, you two,” Mia said. “I like it better when you’re flinging insults at each other.”
“Give it five minutes,” Flynn said, looking at Amelia. “I’m sure they’re coming.”
Amelia gave him a warm smile, squeezed his shoulder, then headed back into the dining room.
The dinner conversation was decidedly less controversial. Both Amelia and Mia raved over the lobster lasagna, and Flynn couldn’t help but agree. It had turned out great.
“There’s a hint of something spicy in here, Flynn. What is it?” Amelia asked. “Did you add jalapeños or something?”
“Red pepper flakes and a touch of cayenne pepper. Just enough to give it a hint of heat.”
“It’s excellent. Lasagna can often get bogged down in the sweetness of the tomatoes and cheese. I really love the idea of adding a little spice to it. We should put this on the menu.”
Coming from a chef, that was one hell of a compliment. “You can feel free to experiment with your own recipe and, yeah, we can add it to the menu.”
“Good. I’ll work it in around the pasta selections.”
After they finished dinner, they sat back and drank more wine.
“I’m sorry to have to tell you I didn’t make dessert. I’m not a dessert-making kind of guy.”
“I can whip something up,” Amelia said. “Provided you’re in the mood for dessert.”
“I don’t know about Flynn,” Mia said, “but I’m always in the mood for dessert.”
“That’s not necessary, Amelia. I told you, it’s your night off.”
She leaned over and patted his hand. “And I told you that I love to cook. Let’s take a stroll into the kitchen and see what you have available.”
He sighed. “Fine.”
He watched while she examined the contents of his refrigerator and pantry. “You have strawberries. I could make us some shortcakes and we’ll have it with strawberries and whipped cream.”
“Just like that.” Mia had taken up a spot at the island.
Amelia let out a short laugh. “Some baking would be in order, but yes.”
Flynn shrugged. “If that’s what you want to do.”
“Absolutely. Let’s get these dishes out of the way and I’ll take care of dessert.”
Flynn shoved the sleeves of his Henley up to his elbows. “I’ll do the dishes.”
Mia slid off the bar stool. “No, you’re both cooking. I’ll handle dishes.”
In the end, Amelia and Flynn helped put food away while Mia did dishes. With the three of them it took no time at all to clear the kitchen. Flynn and Mia finished up while Amelia started on the shortcake. Since Flynn didn’t have individual pans for making smaller cakes, she ended up going with one large cake. He cleaned and sliced the strawberries while she prepped the cake and put it into the oven.
“You didn’t have to do this, you know,” he said.
Amelia smiled. “How many times are you going to say that so that I have to reply that I love to cook? If a day goes by where I’m not cooking I don’t feel like it’s a complete day. So get over it, Flynn.”
“Yeah, Flynn,” Mia said. “Get over it. Amelia loves to cook, so get out of her way.”
He supposed he was going to have to get used to the idea that cooking wasn’t burdensome to her. He’d wanted to give her a night where she could put her feet up and relax, but maybe this was her way to relax.
As she leaned against the counter and sipped on her glass of wine, Amelia said, “Let me put it this way. If you and your brothers—or a bunch of your teammates or friends—were together and someone suggested you go outside and play a game of football, would you balk and say, ‘No, I don’t want to because that’s too much like work for me’?”
He frowned. “Hell, no. I love playing football.”
She nodded. “Exactly. That’s how I feel about cooking.”
He began to see her point. “Okay, I get it. Rock on with your shortcake, Amelia.”
She laughed. “I intend to.”
The smell of the cake baking filled the kitchen with a delicious sweetness. Baking wasn’t something he got into, but maybe he’d have to expand his horizons, because he sure as hell loved desserts. And when Amelia pulled the perfect cake out of the oven, it was all he could do to wait until it cooled. While it did, Amelia made whipped cream.
“Can you come live with me and be my personal chef and my new best friend?” Mia asked.
Amelia grinned. “Sure. When you make that new business a go and you’re rich and successful, give me a call.”
“Hey,” Flynn said, shooting a frown at his sister. “No stealing my talent.”
“Is that what she is?” Mia asked. “Your talent? Or is she more than that? Because we haven’t yet discussed what I overheard the other night about the two of you having sex.”
“And we’re not ever going to discuss that, Mia, because it’s none of your business.”
Flynn had shot a warning glance over to Mia. She might have had a few glasses of wine, but his sister knew when he meant what he said.
“Okay, fine. Let’s talk about how soon we can eat the shortcake instead.”
“Actually, right now,” Amelia said. “Flynn, can you get the strawberries out of the refrigerator?”