The Chef and the Ghost of
Bartholomew Addison Jenkins
by Aletta Thorne
Genre: paranormal romance,
mainstream romance, holiday
Publisher: Evernight Publishing
Date of Publication: October 26, 2017
Number of pages: 158
Word Count: 51,000
Cover Artist: Jay Aheer
Tagline: What happens if you have a one-nighter—with a ghost?
Autumn, 1982. MTV is new, poodle perms are the rage, and life just might be getting better for Alma Kobel. Her ugly divorce is final at last. Her new job as chef at Bright Day School’s gorgeous old estate is actually fun. But the place is haunted—and so is Alma’s apartment. Bartholomew Addison Jenkins’ ghost has been invisibly watching her for months.
When he materializes one night, Alma discovers Bart—as he likes to be called—has talents she couldn’t have imagined…and a horrifying past. What happens if you have a one-nighter with a ghost? And what happens if one night is all you want—and you end up ghosting him?
Some spirits don’t like taking “no” for an answer.
A ghost. Of course he was a ghost—even though before that night, she’d never felt anything spooky at her place in the almost-year she’d lived in it. Alma still had the plate with the omelet on it in one hand. Ghosts didn’t eat, did they? She held it out to him anyway.
“Go ahead and have your supper,” he said. “I don’t need food. I take it you understand why.”
Alma nodded, not sure what to say. For a ghost, the man looked rather … dashing, she decided was the world. He must have been muscular in life. There were nicely rounded biceps under that loose shirt, and they showed when he moved his arms. His knee knickers fit tightly over a flat belly, and his stockings made his calves look like they were made out of smooth, white marble. His eyes were a startling, luminous golden brown.
“Sadly, we are still perfectly able to smell a good meal cooking.”
“We?” Alma said.
The man nodded. “Your dead,” he said, solemnly.
“My dead?” she said.
“Well, you live here, don’t you? So, I’m your dead, now.” He stopped looking so serious then and as if guys in knee knickers and white stockings were born doing it, he opened her refrigerator and pulled out the bottle of Chablis. “Here, give me your glass,” he said, and topped it off. The glow from the refrigerator’s light made him even more luminous—and just the slightest bit translucent.
“Thanks,” she said, although it was her wine. She put her plate and glass down on a little enamel-topped kitchen table she’d bought at a local church thrift shop and pulled out one of the table’s funky old chairs for herself.
“Fork? Napkin?” he said, pulling those things out of the drawers next to Alma’s stove. Alma used cloth napkins from the restaurant supplier—big white ones.
“You know where my things are,” she said, spreading the napkin across her lap.
“That shouldn’t surprise you,” he said. “Eat your omelet while it’s hot. Go ahead.”
Alma took a bite. “Um, the pepper grinder on the stove?” she said. “Could you, please?”
“My lady.” He smiled and handed it to her with a little bow.
She ground a little pepper over her plate and took another bite and sipped her wine. He sat down across from her, put his elbows on the table, and his chin in his hands.
“I enjoy watching you eat.”
“Okay, I guess. It’s not … weird?”
A ghost is watching me eat an omelet. “What’s your name?”
“Bartholomew Addison Jenkins,” he said. “These days, I just use Bart.”
“These days. But you’ve been here since you…”
“Since 1784,” he said.
“Which was when you died, I guess.”
“I must tell you, dear lady, saying that to one of us is considered rude. In better ghostly circles, that is. Some of us are not aware we are dead. Some of us do not like to be reminded of it.”
What Makes This Book Special
Asking an author about what makes her new book special is a little like asking a mom what’s so great about her kids: obviously, hers are the best kids ever! Maybe a little trying at times, but anyone can see how totally superlative they are in every way!
Problem is, you haven’t read The Chef and the Ghost of Bartholomew Addison Jenkins yet, so I’d better be a little less glib and a little more specific. Here are three things about this book that I’m really proud of: the characters, the plot twists, and the fact that it’s very funny in places, even silly.
Could I address silly first? I think if you’re telling the truth about life (and good romance does that better than any other genre I can think of), you have to deal with silly. Life can go from being terrifying to giggly-silly in half a heartbeat--and some terrifying things happen in The Chef and The Ghost of Bartholomew Addison Jenkins. But there is also a LOT of silly! The book is set in 1982, and The Chef is Alma Kobel, a young woman just emerging from a nasty divorce with a promising food career…and a haunted apartment. She’s lonely—and so is Bartholomew Addison Jenkins, who materializes in her place one autumn night. He’s pretty cute for an 18th century dead guy—and eager to educate Alma about some delightful and surprising talents ghosts no one would expect a ghost to have.
So what DOES happen if you have a one-nighter with a ghost? Alma’s about to find out—and it’s both terrifying and ridiculous. And pretty steamy in places! The plot in this book is a wild, wild ride.
Alma’s character was very fun to write. I was a chef myself in the 80’s, and like Alma, I worked in a fancy private school kitchen, and did some restaurant work. I remember the pirate ship scene the culinary world was then, and it was great fun reliving it. Alma, like me, went to college for serious English literature—but discovered that the real world needed someone with a real world skill. She’s gutsy, but not as tough as she thinks she is. And the happy ending she gets in the book’s close is hard-won with laughter, tears, a loaf of whole wheat bread over the head, and a totally illegal steel wool pot scrubber stuffed down the bra! (It’s a long story…)
The Ghost of Bartholomew—or Bart as he likes to be known—was also a blast to write. I can’t go into too much detail about him here without spoilers, but I’ll note his nice legs, his wit and the fact that he is proud of the fact that he’s kept up with trends over the past two hundred years. Also: great kisser. Really great kisser. Bart’s best ghost friend Geoff is maybe my favorite character in the book: a trickster with a bigger heart than he lets on. (Did I mention how much I loved the old “Topper” TV show when I was little?)
So, if you want a delicious ghost story that will make you laugh while it hollers “Boo!” check out The Chef and the Ghost of Bartholomew Addison Jenkins. I’ll bet you’ve never read anything quite like it. I’ll leave you with one last piece of advice: if you ever do chat with a ghost, especially a cute one, don’t remind him he’s dead. Among the deceased, that’s considered to be very rude—and as Alma learns, you don’t want to be rude to the ghosts!
About the Author:
Aletta Thorne believes in ghosts. In her non-writing life, she is a choral singer, a poet, a sometimes DJ, and a writer about things non-supernatural. But she’s happiest in front of a glowing screen, giving voice to whoever it is that got her two cats all riled up at three AM. Yes, her house is the oldest one on her street. And of course, it’s quite seriously haunted (scared the ghost investigator who came to check it out). She is named after a little girl in her family who died in the late nineteenth century, at the age of two. The Chef and the Ghost of Bartholomew Addison Jenkins is her first romance.
And personal: https://www.facebook.com/aletta.thorne.3