New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author

of Contemporary Women's Fiction, Romantic Comedies, and Historical Romances


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New Updated Edition! (2012)

DAI ebook edition


After being out of print for many years my classic romantic comedy Kiss the Cook is back!  I hope you enjoy this updated and improved version of my first contemporary romance.  Available exclusively in ebook format.




Bubbly, off-beat beauty Melanie Gibson has her hands full.  Not only is she caring for her beloved grandmother, she's also working desperately to secure a bank loan for her fledgling gourmet catering service.  The last thing she has time for is romance--not even with Christopher Bishop, the sexy financial whiz who's been evaluating her business.


After eight years of toiling to put his younger siblings through school, Chris is ready to lead the life of a carefree bachelor.  Then he meets Melanie, and finds himself thinking about forever.  Melanie insists she's too smart to fall for a man with the devilish good looks of a practiced playboy, but Chris is determined to show her that their passion is too powerful to deny--and that love is the sweetest thing of all.



Original Cover and Back Cover Copy (published May 2000)

Kensington's Bouquet line

ISBN 0-8217-6604-X



Reprint Cover and Back Cover Copy (reissued January 2006)


ISBN 0-8217-7870-6






Melanie stepped outside into the oppressive heat carrying a frosted mug of lemonade. Laughter bubbled up in her throat at the sight that greeted her eyes. The only part of Chris that was visible were his legs. The rest of him was under her car. As much as she didn't want to, Melanie couldn't help but admire those muscular, tanned male legs.

Walking up to him, she tapped his Reebok with her flip flop. "I brought you something to drink."

He scooted from beneath the car, moving sideways like a sand crab. When his head was clear, he stood up and wiped his dirty hands with an equally dirty rag. In spite of being sweaty, rumpled, and sporting a smudge of something black on his jaw he looked good enough lick. The fact that his not-so-white-anymore T-shirt was molded to his broad chest and impressive abs definitely upped the sexy quotient. Uh huh, like he needed to look more sexy.

He took the proffered lemonade and drained it in a series of nonstop gulps that drew Melanie's attention to his strong, tanned throat. When he finished, he touched the cold mug to his forehead. "Thanks. I needed that."

"Want some more?"

He shook his head. "Not now, thanks."

His proximity was having a strange effect on her stomach. Stepping away from him, she asked, "How's it going?"

"Good. I just finished changing the oil. I gave you a complete tune-up and your battery is hooked up to my recharger. All that's left is changing the spark plugs." He indicated the opened hood with a jerk of his head. "Wanna watch?"

"Sure, but I have to warn you: I know diddly squat about cars."

"That's okay. I know diddly squat about cooking."

Melanie followed him to the front of the car then watched him open a package of what she assumed were spark plugs. She wasn't sure what fascinated her more-- the ease with which he selected foreign-looking items from his toolbox, or the way his muscles bunched and flexed while he worked. Whatever it was, she was soon thoroughly engrossed, and surprisingly curious.

She leaned over the engine with him. “How do you know so much about cars?”

“My dad and grandfather taught me.  Grandpa was a mechanic.”

She pointed. “What's that little do-flickit?"

"The air filter," he said, screwing a spark plug into place.

"How about that thingamabob there?"

"The carburetor."

"I've heard of that. What's it do?"

"It vaporizes liquid fuel and controls its mixing with air for combustion in the engine."

"Uh-huh. And the English translation of that is… ?"

"It makes the car go vroooomm."


She wiped a bead of sweat from her forehead with the back of her hand. "Whew. It sure is hot out here."

Chris snuck a glance at her and nodded in mental agreement. Hot as hell. And every time he looked at her, in those cutoffs that showcased her longs, slim legs and curvy butt-- which was currently hoisted in the air as she leaned over-- it got a little hotter.

Her skin was the color of warm honey, and his fingers itched to touch its soft smoothness. Her reddish-brown hair was a riotous cap of untamed curls that begged to be messed with. Her eyes reminded him of sweet, gooey, yummy chocolate, and her mouth… whoa! Those plump pink lips had carnal thoughts racing through his mind, making it nearly impossible to concentrate on what he was doing.

Her finger bounced back and forth, pointing at this and that, asking what everything was. He answered all her questions, falling more and more in lust with each passing minute. His mind tried to convince his hormones that this was not the woman they were looking for-- this woman was more than a one-nighter and represented a serious threat to his bachelor freedom-- but his hormones were having none of it.

This is the one we want, his hormones informed him. This one right here, who doesn't know an oilfiller from a brake pad. The one who smells like fresh-baked brownies and stares at you with those big chocolatey-brown eyes. Now do something about it before we get nasty.

She pointed to something else, asking what it was. When he turned his head to explain the intricacies of the wiper-fluid dispenser, they bumped noses. Chris froze and stared into her startled eyes.

She was so close. And she smelled so good. And looked so good. God, so good.

Before she could back away, and before he could change his mind, he did what he'd wanted to do since almost the first moment he saw her. He angled his head and brushed his mouth over hers.

He’d expected to feel a tingle, but he wasn’t prepared for the electric sizzle that crackled through him. All thoughts of spark plugs, do-flickits, and thingamabobs drained from his head. He reached for her, pulling them both upright. Their heads smacked into the raised hood at the same time.

"Ouch!" Melanie yelped, leaning back and rubbing the top of her head. "Wow. I feel dizzy. I bet I have a concussion."

Chris wrapped one arm around her waist, pulling her close, and ran gentle fingers over the small lump forming on her head. "Me, too."

She gazed up at him. "You think you have a concussion?"

"No. I feel dizzy. And it has nothing to do with hitting my head."

"The heat getting to you?"

His gaze settled on her mouth. "You could say that."

Her eyes widened. "Oh, my. You're going to kiss me again."

"That okay?"

"I'm not sure. The first one almost knocked me unconscious."

He lowered his head. "Yeah," he breathed against her mouth. "I know exactly what you mean."



I hope that whets your appetite!




Review by Détra Fitch

Christopher Bishop was an accountant who just made partner. He was looking forward to a few wild bachelor years. The last thing he wanted was a serious and long time romance! That was, until he met Melanie Gibson (aka Mel Gibson). He soon figured out that wild years did not mean he had to to be single.  Mel did not need, was not looking, and did not want a romance with anyone! That went double for men as sexy looking as Chris! Men that looked that good should be illegal! She tried to turn him down...honest! But Chris was determined to change Mel's mind about dating him. He intended to show her that when love came around you had no choice but to MAKE time!

*** Men like this are down right sinful! Jacquie D'Alessandro has written a funny and romantic story that readers will fall in love with from the first page! Fair warning here...DO NOT open the front cover of this one until you have time to read the whole thing. You will not be wanting to put it down.  Excellent and highly recommended! ***

Review by Heather Nordahl
for Affaire de Coeur
As Jacquie D'Alessandro's hilarious tale opens, Melanie  Gibson (yes, her nickname is Mel), a chef and owner of a takeout restaurant, is making a delivery of a fried chicken dinner to a law firm.  The order has been cancelled, but she doesn't know it .  When no one answers her knock, she brings it back to her car, which won't start.  She had double-parked when making the delivery, blocking in Christopher Bishop's car.  The handsome accountant is steamed but tries to help her out.  While trying to start her car, his pants are ripped by a  spring in her seat.  He ends up driving her home in exchange for a chicken dinner . . . and this is just the beginning of a wacky courtship, in which one article of clothing is ruined  in each encounter!

This story works on so many levels.  Melanie and  Chris are believable, multidimensional characters.  Melanie's spry, wisecracking Nana and Chris' matchmaking mama  add humorous color to the tale, which snaps along at breakneck pace.  And humorous and dramatic moments are handled equally well.

Bon Appetit!

Review by Rendezvous Magazine
A bad hair day has Melanie Gibson, owner of the Pampered Palate, which serves gourmet chicken to go, meeting the sexiest man she's ever seen. Christopher Bishop's job as partner in an accounting firm is very demanding, but something about Mel has him anxious to finish his work and play with her. Chris knows his firm was hired to provide the bank with the information they need to grant Mel her loan for expanding her business. When he learns that the loan has been turned down, he's afraid of what will happen to them if Mel finds out he's responsible for destroying her dream.

KISS THE COOK is Ms.  D'Alessandro's first foray into the contemporary genre. It has the humor, sometimes subtle and sometimes laugh out loud, that will endear readers to this author. Pulsating with sexual tension and a cast of marvelous characters whose dialog is fresh and filled with passion, this delicious tale is a definite keeper.


Reader Comments


I laughed (a lot), I cried and I enjoyed. This is a light, fast romp of a story. From the first chapter where Murphy's Law takes over to the HEA the characters touch the emotions. Mel Gibson's hormones literally talk/sing to her and are a pip. I even enjoyed the fact that the hero, Chris, was an accountant. A nice change from the usual hero image.  The dialogue was a hoot. Sample (no spoilers):

"Don't worry. You're in good hands. We'll have a lot of fun." She eyed him with clear suspicion. "Define fun." He laughed. "Trust me on this."

I don't know about you, but I'd have been running in the other direction. Mel is braver than me.

Nana, Mel's grandma, is a card. She says whatever she wants, whenever she wants. It only adds to the humor. She is, also, people smart. She helps when emotions are out of control and manages to make the most profound statements seem obvious. I really enjoyed her.

If you're looking for a laugh, characters that have values shining through, and a fast, fun read, go out and get "Kiss the Cook". You won't regret it, I don't. It's firmly on my keeper shelf.

Ok, Jacquie, when do we get the next one?

Charming romance...The author of Red Roses Mean Love has written a great contemporary romance that readers will cherish. Melanie and Chris will charm your heart and make the reader smile. Highly recommended.

I just read Kiss the Cook yesterday.  I couldn't put it down, I really enjoyed it.  The page where Mel starts thinking about Indecent Proposal and how could she come up with a million dollars? was just hilarious.  You write both humor and sadness so well.

I also reread Red Roses Mean Love last week.  I love that book, and am really looking forward to your next historical.  Have you ever given any thought to writing a prequel about Justin and Victoria?  They seem like a fascinating couple.  I cried several times while reading that book, you have the knack for just the right amount of sadness, not too much that makes it painful but just enough so when the hero does his groveling it is very gratifying.  I found myself liking the character leads in both of your books very much, and that is so important to me in liking an authors work.

Thanks again for using your talent to provide such wonderful entertainment.  I also have to mention you have the most beautiful name.

I LOVED THAT BOOK!  It was hilarious!  I really enjoy your writing and will now be on the lookout for anything else you write.  I originally ordered Red Roses Mean Love and Kiss the Cook for my sister, but now I believe I'll keep them and I'll have to order another set for her!

Thank you for being such a great writer!

I just wanted to write and tell you how much I enjoyed Kiss the Cook.  I read it today and really loved it.  The fast-moving pace, witty dialogue and fun characters made it a great read.  I am very impressed that both your historical and contemporary books were so incredible.

Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to write to me.
I love hearing from Readers!


Booksellers' Best Award for Best Long Contemporary Romance - First Place, sponsored by the Greater Detroit Chapter of RWA. 

The 2001 Award of Excellence - Finalist, sponsored by the Colorado Romance Writers Chapter of RWA. 

Hughie Award for Best Contemporary  Category Romance - awarded by RBL Romantica website.


You can find me on Facebook, Twitter, and blogging with the Whine Sisters -- stop by and say hi!


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