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Authors: Chloe Cole

Breakingbeau

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Breaking Beau

Chloe Cole

 

Book two in the Rock Hard series.

 

When Rex and Quinn hire a chef to come on tour with the band,Beau Trudeau finds a welcome distraction in quirky Gigi Somerville. She’s nothis type at all, but she’s fun to have around, and she’s sort of growing onhim…

If Gigi wants to start the business she’s worked so hardfor, she needs something big to happen. When the members of Hank Lemon and theLaw contact her to cook for them during their summer concert tour, she’selated. Not only is this a dream opportunity, when she meets Beau Trudeau, sherealizes she can kill two birds with one stone. He’s the perfect guy to foisther unwanted virginity upon before she has to go back to the real world andfifteen-hour workdays. He’s scorching hot but, even better, he has no interestin a relationship. In fact, he’s so perfectly wrong for her, there’snochanceof her actually falling for him…

 

Ellora’s Cave Publishing

www.ellorascave.com

 

 

 

Breaking Beau

 

ISBN 9781419937743

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Breaking Beau Copyright © 2011 Chloe Cole

 

Edited by Grace Bradley

Cover design by Syneca

Photography: Bart78; Yuri Arcurs/Shutterstock.com

 

Electronic book publication December 2011

 

The terms Romantica® and Quickies® are registered trademarks ofEllora’s Cave Publishing.

 

With the exception of quotes used in reviews, this book may notbe reproduced or used in whole or in part by any means existing without writtenpermission from the publisher, Ellora’s Cave Publishing, Inc.® 1056 HomeAvenue, Akron OH 44310-3502.

 

Warning: The unauthorized reproduction or distribution of thiscopyrighted work is illegal. No part of this book may be scanned, uploaded ordistributed via the Internet or any other means, electronic or print, withoutthe publisher’s permission. Criminal copyright infringement, includinginfringement without monetary gain, is investigated by the FBI and ispunishable by up to 5 years in federal prison and a fine of $250,000. (http://www.fbi.gov/ipr/). Please purchase only authorized electronic or printeditions and do not participate in or encourage the electronic piracy ofcopyrighted material. Your support of the author’s rights is appreciated.

 

This book is a work of fiction and any resemblance to persons,living or dead, or places, events or locales is purely coincidental. Thecharacters are productions of the author’s imagination and used fictitiously.

 

The publisher and author(s) acknowledge the trademark status andtrademark ownership of all trademarks, service marks and word marks mentionedin this book.

 

The publisher does not have any control over, and does not assumeany responsibility for, author or third-party Web sites or their content.

Breaking Beau

Chloe Cole

Dedication

 

For Aunt Helen, who read my books, dirty parts andall, at the age of eighty-five, because she loved me.

I miss you.

 

Chapter One

 

“And this last dish is called Chicken Italiano. It’s organicchicken breast with olive oil, chicken stock, roasted red peppers, hot cherrypeppers, onions, garlic and red bliss potatoes.”

Gigi set the plates in front of Rex and Quinn then steppedback. She tried not to stare at them as they ate, but it wasn’t easy. This jobmeant everything to her. If they hired her to be their personal chef on theroad, her dream of launching Some Like It Hot catering would finally become areality.

If they didn’t? It’d be another year or more before shecould secure the loans she needed to move forward, and that was if she even gotapproved. She clenched her hands together to keep them from shaking.

Relief swamped her as, for the fourth time in less than anhour, Rex groaned as he swallowed the first bite.

“How can it be healthy and that good? I still can’t believeyou managed to make this kind of stuff in that tiny little kitchen,” he saidwith a shake of his head.

Quinn chimed in with a sigh of pleasure as she set her forkdown. “If we didn’t still have desserts to get through, I would totally gobbledown this whole plate.”

Rex chuckled and reached out to pat her rounded belly. “Hey,if my boy’s hungry, I say feed him as much as he wants.”

She let out a snort. “Yeah. If I do that for the next threemonths I’ll never get back into my real stage clothes.”

“I think your maternity clothes look great on you.”

“Well, what looks cute when you’re six months pregnantdoesn’t look so cute once you’ve given birth. Come on, Rex, the whole reason wewanted Gigi to come in is so that I can eat healthy for the baby while we’re onthe road. Don’t encourage me to be a glutton!”

Gigi watched their interaction with a pang. They were anamazing-looking couple. Rex was dark and a total bad boy, complete with tattoosand a faux hawk. He had this brooding air about him, until he looked at hiswife. Then he lit up as if he was the happiest guy in the world.

She shifted her gaze to Quinn. Rex was right, she did lookgreat in her maternity clothes. She wore a stylish baby-doll dress in blackwith white stripes. It was short enough to show off long, toned legs that anywoman would envy. Her black hair was adorable in a pixie style.

Gigi quelled the urge to run a hand over her own sloppyup-do and wipe the flour off her apron. It wouldn’t matter anyway. With orwithout the trappings, she would never look like Quinn Myles.

She watched as husband and wife bonded over their baby,Quinn pressing a hand over Rex’s as they tried to get their son to kick. Theywere obviously crazy about each other.

What would it feel like to have someone look at her thatway? As if she was the most important thing in the world to him?

Didn’t matter, she reminded herself. After more than adecade of busting her ass, she was within arm’s reach of her dream. She wasn’tgoing to get distracted now with silly notions of romance. She needed to stayfocused on what was important—getting these potential clients to love her andher food so she could make her dream a reality.

“I’ll take these away and get the desserts lined up. And bythe way, I brought some carryout containers with me. I’ll pack the leftovers upso you can heat them up later if you’re hungry.”

“Did I hear leftovers?” a silky voice drawled.

Gigi set down the dishes on the countertop and turned toface the newcomer with a smile. Her smile froze in place as she tried to keepfrom keeling over. A towering Adonis with honey-blond curls had just steppedinto the miniscule kitchen of the tour bus.

“Howdy, ma’am. Beau Trudeau.” He stepped closer and held outhis big hand.

She swallowed hard and tried to find her voice. “GigiSomerville. Nice to meet you.” Her hand was dwarfed by his and she tried toignore the sizzle that snaked up her arm at his touch.

“Gigi catered that benefit Rex and I went to last month withthe amazing crab dip. She’s considering coming on the road with us for the nextcouple weeks so it’ll be easier for me to eat healthy while we do this last setof shows.”

“Like I told you before, I think it sounds like a greatidea, darlin’. You need to take care of yourself and my little godson.”

He gazed at Quinn and Rex and for a second it seemed as if adark cloud passed over his features before his face cleared and that infectiousgrin returned, dimple and all. “Besides, I assume I’ll reap the benefits? We’rea package deal, after all.” He aimed his smile at Gigi this time and her mouthwent dry.

She wet her lips and his eyes followed the path of hertongue. Crap, what had she been about to say?

“Of course,” Quinn said. “She’d be cooking for all of us,both buses, crew included. Just dinners though, breakfast and lunch we’re onour own and we have to stay out of her way in the afternoons so she can getaround the kitchen. You’re still cool with sharing the Man Bus? And…curtailingyour activities for the next couple weeks?” She gave him a pointed look.

“I can handle anything for two weeks. Besides, maybe a breakwould be good. I could take up needlepoint or something.”

Gigi’s cheeks grew warm. As far as his “activities”, itdidn’t take a genius to figure out they meant sex. She’d known the job wouldentail staying on a tour bus with some of the guys, but she hadn’t known one ofthem would look likethisguy. Not that it would have made anydifference. She had no choice but to take the job if they offered it. Having agorgeous, horny guy living next to her while she did it would just make thingsa little less relaxed. She’d manage.

Quinn and Rex exchanged a look. “We might as well make itofficial,” Quinn said. “Gigi, we don’t need to taste dessert to decide. We’dlove you to be our chef for the next month, if you’ll have us. We’re a littlerough around the edges, but I promise, you won’t find more appreciativecustomers. We love food and rarely get the home-cooked variety, so you’ll betreated like a queen here.”

Tears of joy and relief sprang to her eyes and she blinkedthem back. “I accept and I can’t wait to start. Shall we celebrate with somefresh berry tart?”

Everyone began chattering as she passed out the smalldessert plates. This was it. The pay from this gig and the cache that camealong with being the chef to a relatively high-profile client was exactly whatshe needed to start her business. Maybe Rex and Quinn would even like herenough to recommend her to others.

Now all she needed to do was not screw things up by droolingall over their band-mate. Piece of cake.

* * * * *

Beau kept his eyes trained on the new chef as she bustledaround the kitchen passing out plates and making small talk. They’d called thecrew in to help polish off the desserts and celebrate their upcoming fast-foodmoratorium. Everyone was in great spirits and he had to admit, as he forked upthe last bite of banana cream pie, she was a damn good cook. For him to say sowas something too. He’d grown up on his mama’s food and she was about the bestcook he knew.

He briefly contemplated licking his plate, but reconsidered.She hadn’t gotten to the formality of signing the contract, better not to scareher away by acting like a Neanderthal. Yet.

He set his dish in the sink and leaned his back against thecounter as he watched her work the crowded room. She was a bundle of energy,flitting this way and that, hell-bent on making sure everyone had enough ofeverything. A natural nurturer. His cock twitched as he wondered if thatnurture carried over into the bedroom. Not that she was his type at all. Herhair was a sort of nondescript light brown and sat in a haphazard pile on topof her head. A semi-frumpy figure was shrouded in a serviceable apron withlittle red cherries on it. Under that she wore baggy jeans and a blue polo shirt.If he had to put a name to the look, he would’ve dubbed it “FrazzledSoccer-Mom”.

Not that there was anything wrong with moms. Jesus, he onlyhad to look at Quinn to remind himself of that fact. She looked beautiful inher little dress and the glow of pregnancy only made her look better. Thepurple lock of hair that usually hung over her eye was now black since shecouldn’t dye it until the baby was born. It made her look softer somehow.

At that moment, she tossed her head back and laughed atsomething Rex said and Beau pinched his eyes closed to shut out the view. Hewas long past any romantic feelings for her, but something about seeing her andRex together made him feel empty inside…as if he was missing something. Despitethe revolving door of female companionship, he was never more aware of hisdissatisfaction than when he looked at the two of them together.

They were happy, he reminded himself. And he was happy forthem. No reason to be a hater.

He turned his attention back to Holly Hobby as she plucked afat raspberry off one of the tarts and popped it into her mouth. It was thesame color as her full lips and Beau had the sudden desire to see if those fulllips would be as sweet. Must be thoughts of the impending dry spell getting tohim.

Almost as if she read his thoughts, her gaze flickered tohis. Her cheeks flushed and he grinned his easy, good-old-boy grin. She’dseemed nervous around him from the get-go. Was she just shy, or was shestar-struck? Either way, it was a welcome change from the usual aggressivestyle of the groupies he was used to. Who knew, maybe they could be friends?Might be nice to have a woman to talk to who wasn’t Quinn. Plus, a littleflirting and maybe he could talk her into making some fried chicken and greens,bring a little of the South to the Man Bus.

“What’s my name, Skip or something? How come nobody told meabout a party?”

Beau turned to face the newest member of their band. Upuntil last year, they’d managed as a three-piece, but with their popularitygrowing and their desire to make more layered, complex music, they’d taken theleap and gotten a bass player. Enter Tai-Nan Jose Rivera. He was a greataddition to the group and was slowly becoming part of the family. It was niceto have someone back in the Man Bus with him now that Rex had moved intoQuinn’s bus. It wasn’t that he was lonely, there were too many people aroundfor that. It was just nice to have someone to bullshit with after a gig againwho didn’t want him to sign their tits.

The only thing about Tai was that he wasn’t down with theladies all that much. Although the ladies were extremely down with him.Half-Korean and half-Puerto Rican, his dark, exotic looks drew them in droves.That was fine with Beau, because he had more than he could handle now that Rexhad defected. But in spite of numerous invitations, Tai had yet to hook up. Heinsisted he didn’t have a girlfriend back home, and he wasn’t gay, so Beauwasn’t sure what the problem was. Turning away women night after night took akind of discipline he just couldn’t get his head around.

He held up a hand at Tai. “Don’t blame me. I didn’t knowthere was going to be food, I just got here.”

Quinn and Rex came over and brought Gigi with them. “Gigi’sour new chef. She’ll be bunking with you guys for the next couple weeks sincemy bus only has the one room. No worries, though, Beau’s going to take thecouch,” Quinn said, then stuck her tongue out at Beau.

Two weeks on the couch for a good, home-cooked meal everynight was a fair tradeoff so he nodded. “Can do.”

“Nice to meet you, Tai.” Gigi smiled and shook his hand,then immediately moved away to make him a plate.

Beau followed Gigi’s path with his gaze, compelled to watchher but clueless as to why.

“This is going to be interesting,” Tai predicted in the slow,thoughtful voice he used so often. Beau couldn’t shake the feeling that Tai wasright.

Chapter Two

 

Five days later, bags packed, Gigi waited for the bus topick her up. The butterflies that had been camping out in her belly for thelast few days kicked up a huge fuss as the behemoth vehicle came around thecorner, right on time.

She grabbed two bags and lugged them to the curb, leavingbehind several others and a cooler in case the refrigerator wasn’t big enoughfor all the food she’d purchased. She was all prepped to walk in and focus onehundred percent of her energy on cooking. Maybe it would keep her mind off thefact that it was going to be her and Beau all alone for a day and a half onthat bus.

Beau had been staying at his fishing cabin in the FloridaKeys, so the band had decided that he would swing by and get her in Tennesseeon his way north. Then they’d meet up with the rest of the band in New York toplay their first show of the tour. After that, there would be ten more showswith almost nonstop travel back down the East Coast. In spite of constantlyreminding herself this was just work, she couldn’t suppress the feeling thatshe was embarking on a great adventure.

The door folded open and Beau came down the steps to meether. His hair glowed like a burnished halo over his head, but the grin was alldevil. She resisted the urge to swipe a hand over her mouth to check for drool.

“Hey there, girl. Looks like you got a lot of clothes therefor just two weeks. I woulda never took you for that type.”

His puzzled gaze traveled over her jeans and polo shirt andshe tried not to cringe.

“Your first instinct was dead-on. I’m not exactly what you’dcall a fashion plate. Most of this stuff is cookware, then some staples for thenext few days. It’s heavy, so be careful,” she warned as he bent low.

He hoisted up one of the largest boxes without even agrimace. His biceps bulged and she had to look away for fear of grabbing holdof one and squeezing. This nonsense had to stop before it started. He was sofar out of her league it was as if they weren’t even playing the same sport.

Her gaze returned to him just the same, and she watched ashe boarded the bus. She grabbed a bag and followed. She was so taken with hisrear twitching as he walked, she wasn’t watching where she was going. Aterrifying, one-armed, windmilling second later, she was sprawled out over thesteps, on top of a bag that had both sounded and felt suspiciously like acarton of eggs.

“What the— Are you okay?”

She craned her neck up to see that Beau had abandoned hisbox and was bent over her, his face tight with concern. If she had threewishes, she would have used one in a heartbeat to have a do-over of theprevious ten seconds. Her knees throbbed where they’d connected with the metalsteps and her face burned in abject humiliation.

“Damn it, Gigi, answer me. Did you break something?”

“My eggs,” she muttered miserably.

“Your eggs? You mean…” His eyes went a little wide as hestruggled to make sense of her words.

“No! I don’t even—no. Like, eggs. From chickens.”

He stared at her for a long second and then flashed hisdimples. “Well, that’s all right then. We can get more of those at the store.Come on, let me help you up.”

She pushed herself onto her knees and winced. Beau took herelbow and guided her to her feet. Sparing a glance at her ruined shirtfront,she groaned. Judging by the carnage, she’d managed to land on the entire dozen.Gloppy whites mixed with runny yolks, saturating her top.

Beau stared at her chest intently until she cleared her throat.“Um, I gotta change.”

“Sorry, I was just thinking, from this angle it kind oflooks like one of those abstract, artsy-fartsy paintings.”

She laughed in spite of her embarrassment. “If you’re nice,I’ll frame it for you.”

“I’m always nice.”

His voice had gone low and ran over her like an intimatecaress. She stared up into his true-blue eyes and tried to think of a response.Jesus, he was beautiful.

He stepped back and released her arm abruptly. “Besides,usually I get panties thrown at me, so this will be an interesting change ofpace.”

“I bet.”

“Come on, let me show you to the bathroom. There’s cleanwashcloths under the sink. You can throw on one of my t-shirts for the timebeing until you get your stuff unpacked. I’m going to finish loading the bus thenclean up this mess.”

“I can clean it,” she protested. She’d already caused enoughtrouble and it was only her first day.

“Just get washed up. You’ll have plenty to do with unpackingall this stuff and making me a gourmet meal tonight.”

The eggs had started to coagulate and were sticking to herstomach so she nodded then followed him into a bedroom. He rifled through thedrawers and tossed her a shirt. He pointed to the bathroom then headed out toget the rest of her bags.

“I’m really sorry for the inconvenience, Beau.”

“It’s not your fault, girl,” he drawled, a wicked lightblazing in his eyes. “Women tend to get wet when I’m around.” He stepped offthe bus, but his low chuckle trailed behind him.

She didn’t respond, but closed the bathroom door with a snap.As she turned toward the shower, she got a glance of herself in the mirror. Herhair had started falling from its clip and her shirt looked as if she’d been onthe losing end of a paintball war. The worst thing, though, was the goofy grinthat wreathed her face.

Beau “Fiddly” Trudeau was trouble. Big trouble.

* * * * *

Two hours later, ensconced in a cozy Buddy Holly shirt, Gigiwas putting the last of the food away. There wasn’t enough space for all thecooking paraphernalia she’d brought, so some had spilled into the living room,but at least it was put away.

She glanced at her watch and realized with a start that itwas almost four o’clock. She’d have to prep dinner before unpacking herclothes, otherwise she’d be behind. That, and she’d have to give Beau hist-shirt back. She lifted the corner and sniffed it again for the dozenth time.It was freshly laundered, but still had a hint of something—sandalwoodmaybe?—that reminded her of its owner.

Beau was holed up in his bedroom writing music. He’d been atit for over an hour now but very little sound was coming from the room. He’dexplained that the band was under pressure to release another album quickly,hoping to capitalize on their newfound popularity. He didn’t seem all thatenthusiastic about the task, but she was thrilled. After only a few short hoursin his presence, a break from the incessant and almost palpable sexualityrolling off him was exactly what she needed to regain her focus.

By the time he barged out awhile later, supper was in full swing.She had her earphones on and had been singing along to an old Drifters songwhile she stirred the creamed corn.

“Is that bread?” he shouted.

She plucked the buds from her ears and smiled. “Yep. Almostready too. Another ten minutes. You hungry?”

“Hell yeah. I’m always hungry, so you never need to ask. Ifyou’re cooking, I’m eating.”

“How’s it going with the writing?”

“Slow. It’s going real slow. I’m feeling sort of blockedlately, but it’ll turn around.” He flicked a glance to the iPod she’d laid on thecountertop. “What’re you listening to?”

She gave a sheepish shrug. “Oldies. I love doo-wop.”

He grinned. “Me too. Feel-good music. Makes you think itwould’ve been great to live in the fifties. What else do you listen to?”

“Classical most of the time. I also like old-school rapthough.”

He let out a crack of laughter. “Okay, now that’s a wild mixof styles.”

His teeth were white and strong against his tan skin and shewondered what it would be like to have them on her shoulder…or thigh. Shesqueezed her legs together at the sudden warmth pooling between them. “Whatkind of music do you listen to?”

“I usually like to listen to what I play, so mostly I chooserock music, or country when I’m back home. There’s a time and place for almostevery type of music though.”

She nodded. “I agree. You know, after I got the job Ichecked you guys out on YouTube. You sound really great.”

He cocked his head to the side. “You never heard us beforethat? Even when you contacted Quinn about the job?”

“Quinn actually called me after we met at that event. Iwasn’t really sure who— I mean, maybe I’d heard you guys on the radio, but—”

He cut her stammering off with a wave of his hand. “It’sokay, no need to explain. Just lets me know that our global domination isn’tcomplete yet.”

“Want to play me a song while we wait for the bread? I’dlove to hear you play.”

He picked up the violin he’d laid on the table. “Sure. Whatdo you want to hear?”

“What can you play?” she countered.

He looked thoughtful for a second before he answered matter-of-factly,“Just about anything.”

“Anything?”

“Pretty much.” He shrugged. “If I’ve heard it, I can playit.”

“Beethoven Violin Concerto,” she demanded. Her heartskittered as he raised the instrument to his chin and gave her a wink.

His eyes drifted shut as the first clear notes rang out. Themusic poured from him, like rays from the sun, and she basked in the light. Shetook a step toward him, drawn inexorably closer, before she caught herself andstopped. Luckily he was too caught up to notice.

His brow wrinkled, not in concentration, but with emotion ashe played. She stood and watched, afraid to make a sound and break the spell hewas weaving, but an all-too-short minute later, his eyes snapped open and hebrought the piece to a premature close.

“That one?” he asked with a grin.

Her eyes burned with unshed tears, she was so moved by thebeauty of the moment…the beauty of the man. She didn’t trust herself to speak,but nodded vigorously. Then promptly burst into tears.

“Holy sh— I’m so sorry, baby girl.” His panicked tone almostmade her grin. “I didn’t mean to make you cry.” He moved closer and patted hershoulder awkwardly.

She took a shuddering breath and beamed at him through theveil of tears. “It’s okay. It’s a good cry. I love that piece. Do you know thewhole thing?”

He nodded.

“Amazing. You’re…magic, Beau. That is such a talent, jeez,do you know what people would give for a talent like that?”

A ruddy flush stained his cheekbones. She’d embarrassed him,she realized with delight. Strange, a guy with so much swagger getting allflustered over a few tears and a compliment.

“I’m glad you liked it,” he muttered.

“I did, so much. Did you always know this is what you weremeant to do?” she asked.

The confidence he typically wore like a red cape was stillnowhere to be seen as he shifted uneasily from foot to foot. “I used to want tobe a doctor, but I always had a head for music. Not much else, seemed like. Ihad some…trouble reading when I was young.”

He looked away for a moment before lifting his chin andreturning his gaze to hers. “Music was all so clear in my head from listening,I didn’t need to read it. My mama suggested lessons. It was a great escape. Bythe time I learned how to manage my dyslexia, the violin had me, strung tight.I had no choice. This isn’t what I do. It’s what Iam, you know?”

She did know. That was how she felt in the kitchen. It gaveher a sense of belonging and fullness she’d never felt anywhere else.

Beau folded his arms then stepped back. Gigi got the sensethat he’d said more than he’d intended.

“Now, if you’re all done crying, maybe we can talk aboutthat unbelievable smell. Two questions. What’re you making, and is it almostready?”

Change of subject to a safe, impersonal topic. Perfect. Shedidn’t want to like this guy any more than she already did. “Baked-friedchicken, creamed corn and asparagus tips.”

He squinted at her suspiciously. “Is it baked or fried?”

“It’s baked,” she continued hurriedly over his groan, “but Iswear you’d never know it! In fact, if you’re not licking your fingersafterward, you can have anything you want tomorrow night.” Her cheeks burned ashis gaze narrowed and flickered to her mouth.

“To eat, I mean,” she sputtered. Argh,notbetter.“For dinner.”

A grin split his face and she punched him lightly in thearm. “Stop trying to fluster me, Mr. Trudeau. It’s impolite.”

“Yes ma’am. And I will certainly take you up on that offer.Whichever way you meant it.” He chuckled and brushed past her to the kitchen.

At least the unbearable tension had been broken. The lastthing she needed was to get all nutty over a man now. Especially one who likelywouldn’t give a girl like her the time of day.

It’d be a whole lot easier to manage if he’d stop looking ather like that though.

Chapter Three

 

The second Beau sank his teeth into the crunchy coating, heknew he’d lost the bet he’d made with Gigi. The flavor exploded in his mouthand he groaned. “Damn, girl, that’s some good chicken.”

“Thanks. It’s way healthier than fried, but still tasteslike the South. Plus, it’s got a nice subtle heat that sneaks up on you at theend.”

Funny, he’d just been thinking exactly the same thing abouther. She still wore his shirt and he marveled at how different it made herlook. It was long on her, mid-thigh, but clung to her full, round breasts inthe sexiest way.

Originally, he’d thought her frumpy, but now he wondered ifit was just the clothes. Maybe he’d mistaken modesty for frumpery, or maybe shejust didn’t know how to dress her curves. Whatever the reason, with just the minoradjustment in wardrobe, he’d become acutely aware that this pistol wasdefinitely loaded.

He realized he was staring and tore his gaze away to pourthem both a refill of sweet tea. She still hadn’t taken a bite of her food andseemed to be waiting expectantly. He realized she wanted him to keep eating, totry everything before she ate. He was happy to oblige as he forked down amouthful of sweet creamy corn. He gave her a thumbs-up as he chewed and sheclapped her hands, delighted by his approval.

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