Recipe for Disaster
Nina Harrington

June 2013

A recipe for disaster:

Take one estranged Italian family,

A celebrity chef cousin,

Add a secret inheritance,

A pinch of family rivalry,

And a red hot hunk for taste.

Mix and simmer until boiling point!

Bunty Brannigan knew turning thirty would be tough, but she never expected her life would unravel before the candles on her cake had been blown out…

But before Bunty can say Mozzarella she discovers that she is in line to inherit controlling shares in the Caruso family business and someone has attacked her charming celebrity chef cousin Luca in her deli. 

Throw in a sizzling hot Italian lawyer and her birthday has turned Bunty’s world upside down!

 Reviews:

‘Nina Harrington’s “Recipe for Disaster ” is a delightful read. The story is about family, dreams, second chances or even third for some exceptional cases, taking charge of your life when you’ve just turned thirty and It’s never too late.’ – Imagicalia 4*

‘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… This would definitely be a great book to take with you to the beach!’ – Harlequin Junkie 4 ½ Hearts

 ‘I was deeply engorged in Italian love gods, gorgeous food, underhanded going ons, vintage couture and lots and lots of drama that the book was devoured within hours’ – The Book Geek Wears Pajamas  4/5

‘chock full of all the good things that you need to make a light, humorous summer read.’ – Claire Robinson on Goodreads 4/5

Extract from Recipe for Disaster:

‘Hi, Bunty. Isn’t he the dreamiest?’

Bunty Brannigan whirled around on the narrow London footpath and grinned at her old school friend Pippa, who was sneaking a quick cigarette in the doorway of the bookshop where she worked.

‘I thought you had stopped smoking, Pip.’

‘Hey. Lent is still a few months away and I need something to give up and it is not going to be my latest man crush, that’s for sure.’

Bunty snorted through her nose and dodged the pedestrians to step closer. ‘Who is tickling your fancy this time? The sales rep who slips you all of those free books? Or another hero from those hot erotica novels you keep trying to persuade me to read?’

Pippa shrugged and looked back longingly at the window display before replying with a slow sigh of frustrated lust. ‘They are nothing to me now compared to the lovely Luca.’

Bunty followed her gaze, gasped and stood frozen outside the bookshop. In an instant her shoulders slumped towards the pavement.

‘Oh, mozzarella balls!’

Bunty couldn’t help it. The words came tumbling out of her mouth before she could stop them.

The downside of ghost writing your cousin’s cookery books was that sometimes you had to see a collection of your precious recipes — the traditional Italian dishes you had slaved late into the night to perfect — with Luca Caruso’s face plastered all over the cover.

And there he was.

Leering at her from behind the hardback copies of what the huge cardboard placard declared to be the eagerly awaited latest cookbook from Italy’s hottest new television chef.

Luca Caruso. Her least favourite cousin from her Italian family.

‘He really is to die for,’ Pippa drooled, gazing up at the life-size colour poster of Luca that dominated the bookshop window. ‘If only we had dreamy Italians like that around here every day.’

Bunty stared up at the poster and dreamy was not the first word that came to mind at that moment.

The stylist had gone overboard this time and the Luca who smirked back at her was just too perfect, too smooth and way too arrogant and oily to be digestible.

Real chefs did not have manicures and dental veneers, and that self-satisfied pout made her want to grab the placard and tear it to shreds.

Why did he have to turn up today of all days? Her thirtieth birthday was supposed to be something to celebrate! But the more she looked at the picture, the more depressed she became.

Look at him!

She was precisely one month older than Luca and their lives could not be more different.

Luca was the celebrity chef with the entourage of slick image consultants that made sure he looked totally professional and in control no matter what TV chat show or magazine interview he gave, extolling his business success and how he had personally saved the Caruso food company with his passion for good cooking.

While she was the one who actually came up with all of those recipes.

What did she have to show for all her years of hard work? Bunty sniffed. Her image revolved around aching feet from standing all day and a collection of plain, easy-to-wash work clothes.

He looked fresh and enthusiastic while she was exhausted from running ragged just keeping her shop afloat.

Pippa would probably be stunned by the fact that she was even vaguely related to this cardboard cut-out. But on second thoughts it was probably best not to talk about the Carusos. It would only upset her and she already had enough on her plate for that kind of headache.

‘Mozzarella? Do you think so?’ Pippa tilted her head to one side, slid her black-rimmed spectacles down from the top of her head onto her nose and peered closer to the glass. ‘No. Not my Luca. Did you see him on Hot Chefs Italia last week? Talk about host with the most. Girls in the audience were drooling! Luca Caruso is now, officially, on my hunkalicious hotties list.’

‘Sorry. I missed that one,’ Bunty whispered and pressed her lips tight together. She would rather run down the high street wearing nothing but strategically placed sheets of pasta than waste her time watching her cousin Luca Caruso pretend to know the first thing about cooking. Which he didn’t.

Italy’s hottest chef? Fake, fake, fake, fake, and fake. If the bookshops only knew the truth about who was really writing those recipes they would run Luca out of town!

Luca was the only member of the famous Caruso pasta-making family who could not boil water without burning it. Which was so ridiculous it was not funny.

Shame that she had signed a contract swearing her to secrecy.

‘Are you here for the book signing tonight?’ Pippa asked, and then whispered, ‘Luca will be here. In person. Oh, I can hardly wait. Do you think he would notice me if I swooned?’

Bunty took a deep calming breath before replying in a sweet voice, ‘Sorry. Too busy at the moment. Lots to do before the birthday party tonight.’

‘Oh, what a shame. He could have given you a few tips. You being the Italian food expert around here. Well, don’t wear yourself out. The birthday girl has to be ready to have some fun on a Friday night.’

Luckily Bunty did not have to reply because a customer pushed open the stained-glass door to the bookshop and the doorbell called Pippa back to work. She gave Bunty a quick finger wave. ‘I’ll try and get over once Luca has finished signing all our stock. See you later!’

Give me a few tips? Bunty didn’t know whether to laugh or cry.

‘Hi, Bunty. Isn’t he the dreamiest?’

Bunty Brannigan whirled around on the narrow London footpath and grinned at her old school friend Pippa, who was sneaking a quick cigarette in the doorway of the bookshop where she worked.

‘I thought you had stopped smoking, Pip.’

‘Hey. Lent is still a few months away and I need something to give up and it is not going to be my latest man crush, that’s for sure.’

Bunty snorted through her nose and dodged the pedestrians to step closer. ‘Who is tickling your fancy this time? The sales rep who slips you all of those free books? Or another hero from those hot erotica novels you keep trying to persuade me to read?’

Pippa shrugged and looked back longingly at the window display before replying with a slow sigh of frustrated lust. ‘They are nothing to me now compared to the lovely Luca.’

Bunty followed her gaze, gasped and stood frozen outside the bookshop. In an instant her shoulders slumped towards the pavement.

‘Oh, mozzarella balls!’

Bunty couldn’t help it. The words came tumbling out of her mouth before she could stop them.

The downside of ghost writing your cousin’s cookery books was that sometimes you had to see a collection of your precious recipes — the traditional Italian dishes you had slaved late into the night to perfect — with Luca Caruso’s face plastered all over the cover.

And there he was.

Leering at her from behind the hardback copies of what the huge cardboard placard declared to be the eagerly awaited latest cookbook from Italy’s hottest new television chef.

Luca Caruso. Her least favourite cousin from her Italian family.

‘He really is to die for,’ Pippa drooled, gazing up at the life-size colour poster of Luca that dominated the bookshop window. ‘If only we had dreamy Italians like that around here every day.’

Bunty stared up at the poster and dreamy was not the first word that came to mind at that moment.

The stylist had gone overboard this time and the Luca who smirked back at her was just too perfect, too smooth and way too arrogant and oily to be digestible.

Real chefs did not have manicures and dental veneers, and that self-satisfied pout made her want to grab the placard and tear it to shreds.

Why did he have to turn up today of all days? Her thirtieth birthday was supposed to be something to celebrate! But the more she looked at the picture, the more depressed she became.

Look at him!

She was precisely one month older than Luca and their lives could not be more different.

Luca was the celebrity chef with the entourage of slick image consultants that made sure he looked totally professional and in control no matter what TV chat show or magazine interview he gave, extolling his business success and how he had personally saved the Caruso food company with his passion for good cooking.

While she was the one who actually came up with all of those recipes.

What did she have to show for all her years of hard work? Bunty sniffed. Her image revolved around aching feet from standing all day and a collection of plain, easy-to-wash work clothes.

He looked fresh and enthusiastic while she was exhausted from running ragged just keeping her shop afloat.

Pippa would probably be stunned by the fact that she was even vaguely related to this cardboard cut-out. But on second thoughts it was probably best not to talk about the Carusos. It would only upset her and she already had enough on her plate for that kind of headache.

‘Mozzarella? Do you think so?’ Pippa tilted her head to one side, slid her black-rimmed spectacles down from the top of her head onto her nose and peered closer to the glass. ‘No. Not my Luca. Did you see him on Hot Chefs Italia last week? Talk about host with the most. Girls in the audience were drooling! Luca Caruso is now, officially, on my hunkalicious hotties list.’

‘Sorry. I missed that one,’ Bunty whispered and pressed her lips tight together. She would rather run down the high street wearing nothing but strategically placed sheets of pasta than waste her time watching her cousin Luca Caruso pretend to know the first thing about cooking. Which he didn’t.

Italy’s hottest chef? Fake, fake, fake, fake, and fake. If the bookshops only knew the truth about who was really writing those recipes they would run Luca out of town!

Luca was the only member of the famous Caruso pasta-making family who could not boil water without burning it. Which was so ridiculous it was not funny.

Shame that she had signed a contract swearing her to secrecy.

‘Are you here for the book signing tonight?’ Pippa asked, and then whispered, ‘Luca will be here. In person. Oh, I can hardly wait. Do you think he would notice me if I swooned?’

Bunty took a deep calming breath before replying in a sweet voice, ‘Sorry. Too busy at the moment. Lots to do before the birthday party tonight.’

‘Oh, what a shame. He could have given you a few tips. You being the Italian food expert around here. Well, don’t wear yourself out. The birthday girl has to be ready to have some fun on a Friday night.’

Luckily Bunty did not have to reply because a customer pushed open the stained-glass door to the bookshop and the doorbell called Pippa back to work. She gave Bunty a quick finger wave. ‘I’ll try and get over once Luca has finished signing all our stock. See you later!’

Give me a few tips? Bunty didn’t know whether to laugh or cry.

It was turning out to be one of those days.