It's In His Kiss - By Mary Leo

Chapter One

It wasn’t as if Rose-Marie Cupido had actually believed she would find her one true love during this past year, she’d simply been hopeful that it could possibly happen. Everything else the gypsy had predicted had come true: the wild success of With a Twist, the martini bar and bistro she and her two best friends had opened. The fact that she was now listed as one of San Diego’s top ten chefs, and the unexpected letter she’d received from her estranged father wanting to mend their relationship—all these predictions had come to pass. But finding her true love before February fourteenth?


Besides, Rose truly didn’t see how she could fit a romance into her already busy schedule, no matter how badly she may want or need one. What with all her responsibilities of running the kitchen, ordering the food, and cooking six nights a week, squeezing in a budding romance seemed highly unlikely.

She had all but given up on the love prediction, convinced it would never happen, until Maximilian Rosso walked into the bar looking for his cousin, Jasmine.

She knew him instantly, knew the curve of his chin, the shape of his lips, the deep amber of his eyes, but most of all she knew the swagger of his walk. No other boy or man she’d ever known walked with that much cool. He’d had that strut since they were kids and she was glad to see it hadn’t changed.

All at once, the proximity of his tantalizing body caused the gypsy’s red crystal heart sitting on the bar glow like crazy, and all at once Rose felt completely dumbstruck, not knowing what to do or say. The likelihood that Max could fall in love with her in less than thirteen days seemed about as probable as her not stressing over every meal that came out of her kitchen.

The crystal had already cast its glow on some hot cutie that Jasmine was all happy about, but if Max was truly the one for Rose, she had her work cut out for her. For one thing, he barely knew she existed.

Just last year, Rose and her two best friends, Jasmine and Daisy had decided to get all glammed up on Valentine’s Day to make it a fun night instead of moping around because they didn’t have dates. They decided on dinner and drinks at Harbor House in San Diego’s Seaport Village, then a walk along the boardwalk to walk to their next stop when they came across the gypsy with her folding table, shiny baubles and colorful silk scarves. Rose caught the amazing red glow of the large crystal heart perched on her table and went directly for it as if she had no choice in the matter. When she reached for it, she realized that Jasmine and Daisy were doing the same thing.

Rose hadn’t thought her friends had even noticed the gypsy, and certainly not the dazzling crystal that seemed to have a life of its own. A red so deep and so vibrant she felt sure it was magical.

“Never seen it choose three before,” the gypsy woman crowed, almost laughing as she spoke. Rose was at once apprehensive of this assertive woman who looked as if she were dressed for a costume party rather than someone to be taken as a serious medium.

Still, Rose and her friends lingered in front of her small table, each mesmerized by the crystal.

Looking back, Rose thought she should’ve known their lives were about to change, but logic had told her to be skeptical of this lively woman.

“It chose you, each of you. Don’t you even want to know why?”

Rose had tried to walk away. They all three had made the attempt, but the gypsy had captivated their imaginations.

Each of them seemed enthralled and couldn’t leave without knowing what this charismatic woman had to say. When she finally had their full attention along with several dollars in her tip jar, she began her predictions. She prophesized their opening of With a Twist in the Gaslamp District. The bar and bistro would bring them success and wealth. She’d even given the details of the property’s exact address and the date they’d be open for business.

Then she predicted something for each girl. Rose would hear from her father and the two of them would cast aside their differences and begin to heal their relationship.

Rose was doubtful. “The last I heard, my father died several years ago.”

“This was never true,” the gypsy said. “Your father is alive and