Tyler Remington looked at the head chef and took another deep, calming breath--the three-hundredth deep breath of the afternoon. So far that meditation technique wasn't working, but he knew it would be bad for his career if he threw his ladle at the man's head.
When he'd got the job as sous chef for the famous Hans Berner, Tyler had thought he had it made. After graduating top of his class, he found the job market tough, and the loan he got to go to cooking school weighed him down. Answering an online ad and subsequently getting the job had him walking on air, until he found out there was a reason Chef Berner couldn't keep any workers.
The man was a complete and total ass.
"You did not add enough garlic to your soup," Chef Berner said, waving his hand and then tossing his tasting spoon into the sink. "You have ruined my recipe."
He didn't bother to argue that the soup was perfect, even though he'd followed Chef Berner's recipe to the letter and hadn't given in to the urge to add fresh rosemary.
It really needed some rosemary.
"Yes, chef." It wasn't worth the argument. What the head chef said was how it was. A well-run kitchen was sort of like the military. You did what you were told, and if Chef Berner was in charge, you didn't ask questions.
After three months, Tyler was worn down. He hated his job, he hated coming to the fancy hotel every day and he was ready to slit his own wrists if it would get him out of making the same damn soup twice a day.
Most of all he hated Berner.
Luckily, it was his break time. Under the sympathetic gaze of his co-workers, who equally despised the chef, he went out the back door to escape for the measly fifteen minutes he had between prep times. Not that the air out back was clean. The alley was as grimy as any other alley, along with the lovely reek of rotting food from the dumpster.
Leaning against the rough brick, Tyler blinked back his tears.
He jumped about a foot when his pocket began to vibrate.
Pulling his cell phone out of his pocket, he frowned at the unfamiliar number on caller ID. Great, it was probably a salesperson. Of course, at this point he'd talk to anyone who wasn't the head chef.
"Is this Tyler Remington?" a deep baritone asked. The voice was rich with a soft accent that sent shivers up and down Tyler's spine.
"Yes, I'm Tyler."
"My name is Cody Stark. I'm your brother's partner at the ranch."
Icy terror made the hand holding the cell phone shake. "What happened to my brother?" That could be the only explanation for why a total stranger was calling him.
He'd never met Baron's partner, but he'd heard nothing but good things about the man from his older brother. The two met after Tyler started culinary school and he hadn't had a chance to go back to the ranch since. A fact he now regretted.
"There's no reason to be too concerned, but Baron was thrown off his horse today. He broke his collarbone, a couple of ribs and the doctor says there's some brain swelling. Now, your brother is a tough cowboy and he's gonna be fine. The only reason I'm callin' is because you're on his emergency contact list and I know your brother would want you to be informed. So far he hasn't regained consciousness but the doctors are optimistic."
Tyler cut off the man's chatter. "I'll be right there."
Now all he had to do was tell Jack he was leaving town. His boyfriend never liked it when he wasn't the centre of attention.